By Femi Aribisala
The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ does not send people to steal, kill and destroy.
Is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ behind the wars, massacres and genocide of the Jews in the Old Testament? Certainly not! God says “love your enemies;” he does not say annihilate them. Jesus’ Father is merciful; and “he does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17). As a matter of fact, “his mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 106:1).
Solomon says: “the path of the just is like the shining sun that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18). Even so, the bible provides progressive revelations of the character of God. However, in the person of Jesus, we finally have the true full expression. Jesus says: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father… The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” (John 14:9-11).
Prince of peace
The psalmist says: “Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” (Psalm 144:1). But this is contrary to the Lord revealed in Jesus. Jesus insists citizens of the kingdom of God do not fight. He says: “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews.” (John 18:36). Children of God do not even resist evil people. (Matthew 5:39).
God did not intend the Israelites to have an army or to stockpile weapons. Israel’s king was forbidden from amassing horses; required in those days for going into battle. (Deuteronomy 17:16). Moses told the Israelites initially: “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14). But soon, they were the ones fighting for the Lord. Nevertheless, the position of God remained constant: “I will destroy your horses from among you and demolish your chariots.”(Micah 5:10).
This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.” (Zechariah 4:6). Accordingly, God’s plan was to give the Promised Land to Israel without a fight. He said: “I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way.” (Exodus 23:27-28).
But the Israelites preferred to be war-mongers like other nations. Therefore, they pursued their own military agenda. This meant fighting wars. Judges says: “When they chose new gods, war came to the city gates.” (Judges 5:8).
Paul said to Titus: “Pay no attention to Jewish myths.” (Titus 1:14). Indeed, many biblical stories of Jewish conquests are fictitious. Victims of Jewish genocide did not stay in the grave. Moses allegedly exterminated the Midianites: “They fought against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses, and killed every man.”(Numbers 31:7). But the Midianites later resurrected as rulers of the Israelites: “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites.” (Judges 6:1).
The Amalekites were “terminators;” destroyed again and again. When Joshua overcame them, the Lord allegedly said to Moses: “I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” (Exodus 17:13-14). However, every time they were “annihilated,” they would mysteriously later come back to life: “David and his men arrived back at Ziklag. The Amalekites had raided southern Judah and attacked Ziklag.” (1 Samuel 30:1).
Furthermore, the ruthless ethnic-cleansing of Canaan turned out to be no more than Jewish fables. Wars said to have been successfully concluded under Joshua only started after his death. (Judges 1:1-2). In most cases, the Israelites could not dislodge the original inhabitants of the land. (Judges 1:19-36).
Thieves and robbers
The prophets were against Jewish glorification of blood-letting. Habakkuk declares woe on those “who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by crime!” (Habakkuk 2:12). Isaiah maintains: “The indignation of the LORD is against all nations, and his fury against all their armies.” (Isaiah 34:2). It is the blind who lead the blind to war. When the earth is finally full of the knowledge of God; Isaiah predicts: “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4).
Moses’ wife was a Midianite. Nevertheless, he said the Lord told him to tell the Israelites: “Treat the Midianites as enemies and kill them.” (Numbers 25:16). However, Jesus contradicts Moses by saying: “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:44-45). This shows Moses did not really know the Father in heaven and his directives did not come from God.
Jesus repudiates Moses’ doctrine of retributive justice. He says: “You have heard that it was said, ‘eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:38-39). He says furthermore: “Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:32-33).
Jesus confounds the whole biblical folklore of Jewish massacres and land-expropriation. He says: “All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.” (John 10:7-8). According to Jesus, God does not send people to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10). On the contrary: he is the resurrection and the giver of life. (John 11:25).
When James and John wanted to command fire from heaven like Elijah to consume a Samaritan village that denied them free passage, Jesus rebuked them. He said to them: “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” (Luke 9:55-56).
Some Israelites thought they were sons of Abraham, but Jesus told them the devil was actually their father. (John 8:44). Before Jesus came, men essentially second-guessed God and created him in their own image. Therefore, only after Jesus’ faithful witness could we come to the true knowledge of God. Accordingly, Jesus maintains: “No one really knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Luke 10:22).
The Father of Jesus is not a Jewish tribal God: “’The LORD, the God of the Hebrews. (Exodus 3:18). He is: “The LORD, the God of all mankind.” (Jeremiah 32:27). Indeed, Jesus says: “Many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:11-12).