Why is the Bible Sometimes Violent?

Based on the readers statistics on this site, most people want to know when will the end comes. The most read page is How Close Are We To The End?. Understandably, people are curious because they don't want to hear about the world to be ending soon. Nobody wants to hear violence, suffering and death. Everybody for sure wants comfort and have everything in life. Unfortunately, the Bible says, that is not happening when the end comes especially for Christians. It is not a question anymore that the end is near. We can see the signs. We see natural disasters almost everyday. We hear and read the news about the collapse of economies particularly of the rich nations. We hear rumours of wars between nations as prophesied. There seems to be no end to our hardships in sight.

Somebody told me that the world shall see no ending and if there is, it's to our own doing and not because it is written in the Bible. Many will say the doomsday scenario is man-made. Well, this an atheist's point of view, somebody who does not believe the Bible. If a person does not believe the biblical prophecies, there's no way he or she will believe in the true God of the universe who saw the end times thousands of years before they happen. It is for the person like him why prophecies about the end were written so that when they are fulfilled, they will know the true God. In the Book of Isaiah 48:3-5, it says:

I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. For I knew how stubborn you were; the sinews of your neck were iron, your forehead was bronze. Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, 'My idols did them; my wooden image and metal god ordained them.'

There are many gods and idols in this world but only the Bible has prophecies. No other book of any religions writes about what lies ahead. That is an extreme challenge to the Bible if indeed it came from God since if the written prophecies fail, then the very foundation of Christian belief will crumble and so is Christianity. God has put so much stake on the prophecies to prove Himself that He is the true God. The Book of Ezekiel mentions many times "Then they will know that I am the Lord" after fulfilling the prophecies.

People in the times of Jesus often asked Him for a sign from heaven to prove that He was God-sent (Matt 12: 38-39; 16:1). That has always been the case for all generations. People wanted proofs. People are not satisfied about simply reading the Bible. What people do not know is we are supposed to live by faith and not on evidence everyday (Heb 10:38; 11:1). They wanted to see and talk to God everyday, see miracles everyday. They want a voice from Heaven to answer them immediately after they prayed. It is also the reason why people make graven images to whom they'll pray since they want to see a visible god. But there is no substitute for faith-- we must all pray to the unseen God and believe that He is listening.

Mortal men can't stand the Holiness of God

Do we not know that God is so Holy, an awesome God with a power of more than a billion galaxies or a billion black holes? He is unlimited in any sense. Nobody will last a second upon seeing our awesome God face to face in our mortal, sinful bodies, even for touching or looking at things which were made holy such as the passages below show.

...and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die(Ex 20:19).

The LORD said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover" (Lev 16:2).

“After Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles, and when the camp is ready to move, only then are the Kohathites [priests or Levites] to come and do the carrying. But they must not touch the holy things or they will die. The Kohathites are to carry those things that are in the tent of meeting...
But the Kohathites must not go in to look at the holy things, even for a moment, or they will die”
(Num 4:15, 20).

It is to our own benefit that God will not show Himself yet this time. Time is coming when we will see Him face to face and we will not die. For now, He wanted us to live by faith and show results in our lives (Eph 2:8-10). How many of us ever realized that the Israelites have suffered tremendously when they cohabited with God during their travels in the desert? They saw the miracles of God almost everyday. God manifested His awesome powers in full view of the Hebrews and the Egyptians. But take note! There is a trade-off when we see those same manifestations happening everyday. If people still won't believe, they will die because they have seen the glory and holiness of God. That is why death of unbelievers were very common in the Old Testament than nowadays because God lived among them and still won't believe. Even in the New Testament, the same applies if a person refuse to believe upon witnessing the power of God. Here are the passages in the New Testament that shows the fate of men who continue to doubt even after witnessing the glory of God:

Matt 5:13
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

Heb 6:4-6
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,  who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Heb 10:26-30
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?

One account of death was written in the book Acts when a couple, Ananias and Sapphira dared test the Holy Spirit, the Lord God Almighty. Read Acts 5:1-11. This couple saw the miracles the Apostles did. They may also have seen Jesus Himself when He ascended to heaven or when He was till alive. Another person, Simon, almost perished when he tried to buy God's gift with money (Acts 8:18-23). These are kinds of sin about testing the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3) similar to those committed by the Hebrews. It says in Matt 12:31-32--

And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

God is not a murderous God

What I am trying to arrive at is, God is not a murderous God as many people think. He has no pleasure in the death of anyone (Ezek 18:32; 33:11). He is not a violent God. Sin and death are violent which were a result of our being separated from Him. It was then impossible for God, His Holy Spirit to go down into the level of mortal and sinful mankind because He is pure and Holy. It is like exposing a speck of snow under the heat of a summer sun. But nothing is too hard for God. That act, Jesus Christ had accomplished when He came and lived with us and rose from the dead. People saw Him in flesh and people shall see Him in the future without perishing for God will destroy death forever.

1 Cor 15:26
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

What people need to understand is that, death is a result of sin. The death of our soul and spirit came to mankind when Adam and Eve sinned due to their disobedience to God. That is one of the reasons why Jesus came-- to destroy death. Death came from Satan, he who holds the power over death.

Heb 2:14-15
Since the children have flesh and blood, he [Jesus Christ] too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

Read also 2 Cor 3: 7-18 to understand that the veil that covers our eyes in order to see God's glory face to face has been removed by Jesus Christ.

Focus on God's plan and salvation

It was so difficult for the prophet Jeremiah to tell the sinful King Jehoiakim of the House Judah to repent and warn him about the coming downfall of his kingdom. Jeremiah wrote through his secretary, Baruch in a scroll about the destruction of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar. The King burned that scroll (Jer 36:27) since he did not believe the prophecies of Jeremiah and instead believed the lies of the false prophets that foretold that Jerusalem will not suffer (Jer 14:13-15). Soon, under King Zedekiah, King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the House of Judah and Jerusalem and the people were taken to Babylon as captives (Jer 39).

The coming kingdom of Jesus Christ will be free of violence. There shall be no more death, no more wars, no more famines. That is one of God's plans for us-- to live forever in a peaceful world.

It is the same predicament today to write about the destructions that is coming globally. People think that God is too "nice" to bring sufferings. After all, He is a merciful and loving God. But God manifests His love and mercy in times of troubles. The troubles we have are the results of our sins, our unbelief. As long as we are in the world, we will have troubles. We should fully understand that ending the present world is the only way for God to establish His own kingdom. We should rejoice because God has overcome the world.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world"  (Jn 16:33).

Moreover, suffering and God's fury can not be prevented and it actually brings us closer to God (Isa 10:22–25; 54:8; Rev 7:14). The prophecies are indeed full of violence and only few wants to read it. But those who believe do not belong to this world but are strangers to it. Christians are expected to be prepared and should not fear because God is doing His plans for His children just as He planned for those taken captives to Israel and Babylon.

Jer 29:11-14
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

Therefore violence is always a part of our daily living. Nobody is free from it. It is the result of sin. As the world continues to sin, the world should expect sufferings. Again, that is the reason why Jesus Christ came to end once and for all the violence and death in the world and establish a kingdom with lasting peace forever. I always love to read this very peaceful scenario in the coming worldwide Kingdom of Jesus Christ found in Isa 11:6-9--

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

Instead of being worried by the coming troubles, why not focus on the plan of God for us? Let us just be aware, pray and prepared. As we always say, we can expect a sunny day after the storm.

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