It is commonly reported that terrorists are hijacking religion to commit terrorist acts for political gain. It seems to imply that all religions are fair game to be hijacked for terror and political activities. This may also allude that verses found in the Holy Bible could also promote terror and world conquest to exterminate infidels if they refuse to capitulate to biblical demands.
It is indeed true there are verses in the Old Testament that commanded wars and provided historical records of war. It is important to understand the local geographical nature of those conflicts and the mandate given to those involved in the conquests otherwise the enemies of the cross will take scriptures out of context to accuse biblical Christianity to be just another religion that could promote terror and regime change.
For the record, the children of Israel were given commandment to exterminate certain groups of people residing in Canaan.
Exodus 23:23: For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.
Exodus 23:24: Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
Exodus 23:27: I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
Exodus 23:28: And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
Exodus 33:2: And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:
Exodus 34:10: And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.
Exodus 34:11: Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
Numbers 33:51: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan;
Numbers 33:52: Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:
Numbers 33:53: And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.
In fact, this mission was already preplanned four hundred years before the nation of Israel came into existence when Abraham was given a preview of things to come.
Genesis 15:13: And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
Genesis 15:14: And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
Genesis 15:15: And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
Genesis 15:16: But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
Deuteronomy 7:1: When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
Deuteronomy 7:2: 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:
Deuteronomy 7:3: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
Deuteronomy 7:4: For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
Deuteronomy 7:5: But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
Deuteronomy 7:6: For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
Deuteronomy 7:8: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
The Lord did not give the land of Canaan to the descendants of Jacob because they were obedient and faithful. In fact there were the most obstinate and rebellious people. They were given the land because of the promise God made to their fathers.
Deuteronomy 9:1: Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,
Deuteronomy 9:2: A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak!
Deuteronomy 9:3: Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.
Deuteronomy 9:4: Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.
Deuteronomy 9:5: Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Deuteronomy 9:6: Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.
The Lord has determined to bring wars and destruction to certain nations for a reason. When iniquities become full, judgment will fall whether it is by the hands of the children of Israel or otherwise. In fact, God’s chosen people, the children of Israel were not spared from judgment too.
Deuteronomy 18:9: When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
Deuteronomy 18:10: There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
Deuteronomy 18:12: For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
Deuteronomy 8:18: But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
Deuteronomy 8:19: And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.
Deuteronomy 8:20: As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.
2 Chronicles 12:1: And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him.
2 Chronicles 12:2: And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the LORD,
2 Chronicles 12:3: With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came with him out of Egypt; the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians.
2 Chronicles 12:4: And he took the fenced cities which pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles 12:5: Then came Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam, and to the princes of Judah, that were gathered together to Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak.
2 Chronicles 12:6: Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, The LORD is righteous.
2 Chronicles 12:7: And when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance; and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.
2 Chronicles 12:8: Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.
So the children of Israel were likewise punished as well. God determines who can continue to stay alive on earth and who has to leave. When nations transgress beyond the point of God’s tolerance, judgment will come regardless whether these nations have the benefit of receiving the written oracles of God.
Romans 2:11: For there is no respect of persons with God.
Romans 2:12: For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
Romans 2:13: (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
Romans 2:14: For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
Romans 2:15: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
Commandments for the children of Israel to exterminate certain groups of people were restricted to those residing in Canaan and not the world at large.
Deuteronomy 20:10: When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.
Deuteronomy 20:11: And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.
Deuteronomy 20:12: And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:
Deuteronomy 20:13: And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:
Deuteronomy 20:14: But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.
Deuteronomy 20:15: Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.
Deuteronomy 20:16: But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:
Deuteronomy 20:17: But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:
Deuteronomy 20:18: That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.
The nation of Israel was not given a mandate to conquer the whole world. Their primary mission was to exterminate those sinners God wanted to be removed from Canaan but they failed and compromised the mission. Those nations became a snare to them and eventually caused them to sin and they likewise had a taste of judgment.
Waging wars outside of Canaan was not a priority nor an absolute necessity. Unlike the inhabitants of Canaan destined to be completely wiped out, option of peace must first be extended to the inhabitants in those cities. If peace was rejected, they were given rules of engagement where not every souls that breathed were to be destroyed.
So when you think God is cruel and merciless towards the pagan nations, God allowed half a million people from His own chosen people to perish in a civil war for rebellion and apostasy against His law. The number of those slain during that conflict is more than three times the victims of those who died in the two atomic bomb attacks in Nagasaki and Hiroshima during world war 2.
2 Chronicles 13:16: And the children of Israel fled before Judah: and God delivered them into their hand.
2 Chronicles 13:17: And Abijah and his people slew them with a great slaughter: so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men.
The magnitude of those who perished is mindboggling where this number who died is twice the number of those who were wiped out during the tsunami resulted from an earthquake that hit the Indian ocean in 2004. This just demonstrates the wrath of God against all unrighteousness and fallen men often severely underestimate the holiness of God. It is worthwhile to note that God’s own people were not spared just as He did not spare those pagan Canaanites living on the earth He created when they committed abominable practices.
So the children of Israel continued to sin and rebel against the Lord and did not keep their covenant with God. Eventually God raised up the heathen nations, in particular, the Assyrians and the Babylonians to destroy their cities and carried them away for seventy years. They had a taste of being driven out just like what their forefathers did to the Canaanites of old for failing to keep God’s covenant.
When they were finally allowed to return from their exile and reside in their own land again in Israel awaiting for their Messiah to show up, they did not fare any better. Their Messiah then showed up but they rejected Him.
John 19:15: But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
Matthew 27:23: And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
Matthew 27:24: When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
Matthew 27:25: Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
So they killed their Messiah. Eventually Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans and the Jews banished for two thousand years and the rest was history. Those chilling words of taking responsibility for murdering their Messiah to be charged to their children are still frighteningly in effect till this day and they have been paying the price since.
With the nation of Israel now set aside, God no longer deals with one single nation alone. Thus the Lord moves forward His plan of salvation for the whole world. The nation of Israel is just a chosen vessel to bring forth the Messiah, the Saviour to the world and it has now been accomplished. The Church is now set in motion to fulfill her mission to bring the gospel of salvation to the end of the world.
The Church however, does not have a mandate to occupy real estate on earth. The Church is made up of individual members from all nations on earth who believe the Lord Jesus Christ and receive Him as Lord and Saviour. The Church is not an earthly nation and there are no Christian nations on earth. In fact the Church is a holy nation and certainly not an earthly carnal nation.
1 Peter 2:9: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Like the saints of old before the existence of the nation of Israel, the Church is heading to a heavenly country.
Hebrew 11:10: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Hebrew 11:16: But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
The Church has no business fighting wars on earth to occupy real estate. As such, there are no commandments given to Christians to wage war on earth like the children of Israel. This is simply not the mandate for Christians because they have a different calling and take on different priority.
Colossians 3:2: Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Any one who calls himself a Christian using scriptures to justify war on earth is out of line with biblical revelation.
There are commandments to wage wars in the Old Testament but they are only restricted to one geographical location on earth. The mandate was not given to any one else other than the children of Israel which is now history. Any one seeking to resurrect those commandments to justify wars on earth does not have a leg to stand on theologically let alone claims to be a believer of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Meanwhile, this world continues to be at war. We have been told in no uncertain terms there will be wars and rumours of wars.
Matthew 24:6: And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
The biblical reason for wars is greed. Nations will continue to go to war for real estates and resources. The strong will dominate the weak and this has always been the case since time immemorial.
James 4:1: From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
James 4:2: Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
After all, how can the world have peace when the Prince of Peace has not returned to earth to set up the Kingdom? So wars will be here to stay. This will culminate at Armageddon where the Lord will settle once and for all the controversy of wars with Israel and the nations on earth.
Revelation 16:16: And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Hosea 4:1: Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.
Hosea 12:2: The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him.
Micah 6:2: Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD’s controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel.
Jeremiah 25:31: A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD.
What Israel failed to accomplished in time past God will bring to past the extermination of Canaanite from His house.
Zechariah 14:21: Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.
Israel will finally settle in nicely in the land grant promised to their fathers according to the division of the land documented in Ezekiel 48 stretching from Hamath in the north to Kadesh in the south whether the nations on earth like it or not.
So whenever anyone brings out any verses from the Bible to justify terror and wage war, he is reading in the wrong place of history. Commands to wage war were only given to the children of Israel concerning a small piece of land in the Middle East that connects three continents more than three thousand years ago. No Christian in the New Testament is ever commanded to wage earthly wars on earth for the purpose of occupying real estate on earth.
Meanwhile in spite of chaos and conflicts in the world, Christians while on earth have been officially conferred to be representatives of the heavenly country with a mission to reconcile sinners to the Lord. They have been commissioned as ambassadors for Christ to offer peace not war.
2 Corinthians 5:20: Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
Matthew 5:9: Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
So Christians, know your status and mission on earth. It is one thing to protect yourself and your loved ones from criminals and terrorists which is scripturally justifiable, it is another to participate in terror to wage war. Don’t be manipulated by anyone on earth to commit terror and wage war for political gain. It is not befitting the status as an ambassador for Christ.