People often complain that the Old Testament is a book of violence and terror. They give the wars king David fought, the Israelites’ battles with the Philistines and many other incidents, as examples. They cannot understand why the Old Testament is so violent, while God is supposed to be a a God of love, peace and happiness. So let’s consider some aspects of the Old Testament’s violence.
# Has the world ever known peace?
There was a short period of peace for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in God’s presence. Yet that peace was shattered when the evil one arrived. By deceit he became the ruler of the world (Genesis 3). Genesis 4 begins Satan’s violent reign when Cain murdered his brother, Abel. That became the characteristic of this age: violence, murder, hatred and wars.
# Violence in history and the ‘modern’ world
The Assyrians, Babylonians and the cruelty of tyrants through the ages are examples. At present it is the violence in Iran, Iraq, Syria and other places, the destruction by ISIS and Boko Haram in Africa, the Rohingya persecution and others. There is civil unrest in many countries, and that through the ages. Why? The answer is the character of the ruler of this world, Satan.
# What is Satan like?
- In the New Testament, Jesus gave a clear answer, ‘He was a murderer from the beginning….’ 1 Why is the devil so hateful and always tries to mess things up?
- Remember he forfeited his eternal life in God’s presence when he rebelled against God’s authority. 2 For that result he hates the God of peace. He is a vengeful, warring influence, always bent of destruction, whether of families, individuals or nations.
# The Bible is a book about reality, not a religious book.
- The Bible is not a fairy tale, it tells history as it happened. Scripture explains the mess the world is in under the devil’s reign. It contrasts it to the magnificent Redeemer, the Son of God who came to earth to crush the head of the devil. 3
- Jesus came to change it all (whoever wants to, can call on God to translate them out of the devil’s kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of light, through Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross 4). When Jesus comes the second time He will inaugurate a new heaven and earth, the home of righteousness. There will be no violence ever again on the new earth. What a great future awaits those who make Jesus their Lord.
God calls people in the midst of a fallen violent world, to become part of a nation under the headship of Jesus. Then the new nation will get a new dwelling, a home of righteousness where Jesus will rule eternally. 5
- John 8:44
- Mathew 25:41
- Genesis 3:15; 1 John 3:8
- Colossians 1:13
- 2 Peter 3:13