Why did God command Israel to destroy the Canaanites?

Some of the more troubling passages in the Old Testament are God’s commands to Israel to completely destroy the Canaanite nations. In Deuteronomy 7:2 God commands, “And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them.” God gave no exceptions. The Israelites were not to allow the Canaanites to stay in the land. They were not to make treaties with them or make them their servants. They were to drive them completely out of the region. If a nation waged this kind of war today their actions would be called war crimes and genocide. A previous article discussed the justice of God in condemning the Canaanties and why the Israelite’s actions were not criminal or immoral. Why did God condemn the Canaanites? What did they do that was so bad?

The Bible points to several reasons for God’s command to destroy the Canaanites. In Genesis 15 God told Abraham his descendants would not be given the land of Canaan for four hundred years because “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” God’s command to annihilate the Canaanites is directly related to their sins. The destruction of the Canaanites was the just judgment of God on them for their wickedness.

What sins did the Canaanites commit? The Bible’s describes the Canaanites as irrepresible idolaters. The idolatry of the Canaanites was of the grossest kind and involved frequent child sacrifices. (Leviticus 18:21) For example, the Canaanites offered their children to Molech. The idols of Molech were often formed in the shape of a bull with a hollow interior. The statue was heated with fire. Parents would place their child inside the idol, burning the child to death. Child sacrifice appears to have been a regular feature of Canaanite idolatry. The idolatry of the Canaanites also involved ritual fornication and prostitution. Baal was a fertility god who the Canaanites believed needed to be awakened by the sexual activity of his worshipers. These vile practices attempted to make fornication and prostitution sacred. The Canaanite religion was immoral and violent. God judged them through Israel for their depraved worship of false gods.

God’s displacement of Canaan for Israel was also merciful. He drove out the Canaanites so the worship of His name would be at the center of the world and all the world would know He is God. God chose Israel so the entire world would know Him. God brought Israel out of Egypt and into Canaan so the entire world would know His power. (Joshua 4:24) In 2 Kings 8 King Solomon declared that the whole world would hear of God’s great name. In His wisdom, justice and mercy, God judged Canaan for their sin and placed His people in a central location so the world would know that He is God.

What is the Bible’s Response to Violence?

America has once again been stunned by outbursts of unthinkable violence. Mass shootings are happening far too frequently. Murder remains a regular feature on the evening news. Every time someone shoots up a school or unloads into a crowded restaurant, Christians need to address these tragedies with compassion and thoughtfulness.

Christian love demands we show genuine concern for all affected by these awful crimes. Whether the victims schoolchildren, gangmembers or police officers, the Christian must respond with heartfelt compassion for all who suffer at the hands of others. The wanton taking of a human life is always a horrible evil. Every person is created in the image of God. To harm a person is to attack the image of God. Every murder is a direct affront to the dignity and glory created in every person by God. Christians must clearly denounce any murderous act as a horrible evil without attempting to justify, excuse or mitigate the wickedness of the attack.

Horrendous deeds remind us the corruption of sin has filled this world with evil. The first person on the earth killed his brother. One of his descendants bragged about killing a man. Within a few generations the earth was filled with wickedness. God said, “The earth is filled with violence.” (Genesis 6:13) Murder is the inevitable result when men forsake God and pursue their own desires. Murder strikes down fellow human beings who bear the image of God. Murder destroys life and desecrates the image of God. Murder is a great evil which has been around since the earliest days of human history.

Even those who might be inclined to deny any moral absolutes acknowledge mass shootings are a terrible evil. The Christian need not argue about whether the problem is caused by guns, mental illness, religion, lack of religion or the shooter’s upbringing. The Biblically informed believer can say with confidence that whatever the immediate contributing factors to individual acts of violence, the tragedy occurred because everyone is corrupted by sin. The present excess of violence, hatred and destruction shows that sin is all too real.

The problem of evil drives us to seek a solution. The Christian knows the only hope for mankind is Jesus. Gun control, mental health solutions and better education may be worthwhile goals, but they are unable to solve the problem of sin. Those with murder in their hearts will find a way to execute their desires. The only solution is a heart transformed by Jesus. In Christ evil desires begin to be replaced with good. Only in Jesus does humanity find hope for genuine righteousness and an end to the evils of this world.

Above all else, the Christian must never forget that in the end God will overthrow man’s wickedness. Psalm 2 says, ” Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD . . . He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Wicked men will rage against God and man, but in the end Jesus will punish all evil and will establish His righteous kingdom.

What does the Bible say about global warming?

A regular feature in nature shows, reports of natural disasters and discussions of international affairs are dire warnings about climate change. Many conservative Christians are skeptical about the claims of global warming. Many others are terrified that humans are doing irreparable harm to our planet. Does the Bible say anything about global warming?

In fact, the Bible predicts global warming. The Bible tells of a sudden and catastrophic warming which will destroy the whole universe. The Bible describes all things melting in a “fervent heat.” (2 Peter 3:10-12) God will one day wipe out this existing universe to replace it with a new one that is undamaged by sin.

However, the actual question asks if the Bible says anything about gradual increases in global temperatures which will cause many species to become extinct and render huge portions of the earth uninhabitable? This article is not intended to examine the science of climate change. Sound evidence for a rise in the average temperature of earth may exist, but such evidence is not actually relevant to the Biblical discussion. Will winter become warmer and summer hotter? Will sea levels rise and some species go extinct? Possibly. The history of the world teaches us that man has a profound impact on his environment and that animal species regularly go extinct. The Bible reveals that man’s sin brought all the suffering and trouble that currently afflicts the earth. All that is wrong with this world is absolutely the fault of man. Man’s sinfulness can continue to mess up the planet.

Will sinful man render the earth uninhabitable by his wastefulness? Absolutely not. Though man has been given dominion on the earth and he wields great power in the world, man is not the ultimate ruler of the earth. God gave man the responsibility to care for the earth. (Psalm 8:6) Man’s failure to do so has brought great harm to the world and now the earth is groaning in pain. (Romans 8:22) God also promised that “while the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22) God is the one who secures and maintains the seasons of the year. He promises that the world will continue through its seasonal cycles until the end.

The solution to the problem of global warming is not found in greener emissions, better recycling or sustainable fuel sources (though those are not bad things). The ultimate solution to the problem of man’s mistreatment of the world is found at the root of all problem’s. The solution is repentance of sin and obedience to God’s Word. Only then will men live selflessly instead of destructively.

No matter what man does, God is the one who sustains the earth. His promises do not fail, therefore the earth will not fail until it is time for God to replace it. This is not permission to live wastefully. Humanity must steward the earth, but no one needs to save it. God has it all under control.

What does it mean “there is no more sacrifice for sins?”

The Bible says in Hebrews 10:26 that if we sin willfully after coming to the knowledge of the truth, then there is no more sacrifice for sin. Does this mean that those who knowingly commit sin cannot be saved? Does this mean that those who live in sin will lose their salvation? What sacrifice is it talking about? What does this verse mean?

The book of Hebrews was written at a time when Christian Jews were being persecuted for their confession of Jesus. As a result of the persecution, some of them were leaving Christianity to return to Judaism. They were leaving the church to go back to the sacrifices and temple worship. The recipients of Hebrews had known the truth of the gospel, seen God’s working in the church and professed to be Christians. When Hebrews 10 says, “If we sin willfully,” it is addressing the particular sin the entire book of Hebrews was written to address. The willful sin is that of turning back on Christ. The willful sin is that of abandoning Jesus, the church and Christianity to return to false religion, self-righteousness or unbelief. For those who knowingly refused Jesus there was no more sacrifice that could be made for their sin.

Those who left Christianity to return to Judaism were returning to make sacrifices and offerings in accord with the Old Testament. However, “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sin.” (Hebrews 10:14) What sacrifice could an observant Jew offer for sin if they refused the sacrifice made by Jesus? If the great sacrifice provided by God is rejected, He is not going to accept a lesser sacrifice made by those who rejected His Son. Only the blood of Jesus “cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) To reject Jesus is to reject the only means of forgiveness. If Jesus is refused as Savior, no other hope of salvation can be found. No other sacrifice for sin can be made.

The warning of Hebrews applies to American Christians today just as fully as it did to Jewish Christians in the first century. The willful sin of Hebrews 10 is the sin of apostasy and is the unpardonable sin. The sin of apostasy is unpardonable because the one who turn from Christ refuses the only means of pardon God provides. If any knows the truths of salvation and refuses to receive Christ or if any walks away from the Christianity they once professed, then no more sacrifice can be found for their sin. No one can give enough money, be authentic enough, change the world enough or do enough good works to make payment for their own sin. If Christ is rejected, nothing else can be done to take away their sin.

Profession of Christ and participation in Christianity are not proof a person is truly saved. A person may attend church, may profess to be a Christian, may appear to be a Christian, but not be a Christian. A person may know the truth of the Gospel and live for a time as a Christian without accepting Christ as Savior. Every year professed Christians, some famous and many unknown, abandon the faith. Those who do so turn away from the only sacrifice for their sin to something which offers no salvation, no forgiveness, no reconciliation to God and no eternal life.

Hebrews warns that those who knowingly reject Jesus as Savior have no sacrifice that can be offered for their sin. No goats, lambs or bulls can be offered to take away your sin. No hope for forgiveness is found except through the blood of Jesus shed on the cross. No salvation is available except through faith in Jesus. Any who turn to Jesus and trust Him will be pardoned of all their sin.