A Prayer of Jesus
I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will


Since Jesus obviously believed in the words of Moses and the prophets, how do these wars and killing that seemed to be directed by God in the O.T. actually play a part in the coming of Jesus? When I went back and looked at Deut. this evening, I became somewhat distressed with what I read. It didn't seem like something our Father would have his people do. "Slaughtered every last one of them, including the women and children". If this was His will then so be it, but by reading this, I see why so many Christian based countries throughout history have used war as a mechanism to spread their beliefs.

My Answer

Here is what troubles you:

[10] "When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it.
[11] And if its answer to you is peace and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you.

(Make slaves of them!)

[12] But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it;
[13] and when the LORD your God gives it into your hand you shall put all its males to the sword,

(Kill all of the men!)

[14] but the women and the little ones, the cattle, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourselves; and you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the LORD your God has given you.

(Make concubines of the women, salves of the little ones! Enjoy!)

[15] Thus you shall do to all the cities which are very far from you, which are not cities of the nations here.
[16] But in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes,

(Kill every man, woman, child and animal)

[17] but you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Per'izzites, the Hivites and the Jeb'usites, as the LORD your God has commanded;
[18] that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices which they have done in the service of their gods, and so to sin against the LORD your God.

Ethnic cleansing and genocide have a long history!  And here we read that God commanded the Hebrews to practice it in so strict a fashion because they could not be trusted to be faithful in the presence of idolaters! 
You shall utterly destroy them! This is not a problem to those who believe in biblical inerrancy.  So, now we know what is in their hearts. 

We can be very certain that God, who is Just and Righteous, played no part in the slaughter committed by the Israelites when they entered Canaan -- nor to the wars in Palestine today, where the Israelites are again attempting to possess the land.

Luke 6
35 Moreover be agape-loving your enemies and be doing good and be lending, receiving back nothing. And your reward will be great in heaven, and you will be sons of the most high because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be becoming merciful, just as your father is merciful.

Yes, Jesus honored Moses, but he did not approve all that Moses taught or did.  The problem in the Old Testament was not one of the character of God, but of the character of the ancient Israelites.  This comes out most clearly here:
Matthew 19
7 They say to him: Why therefore did Moses command to give a scroll of divorce and put her away?

8 He says to them: because Moses tolerated it to you because your hard-heartedness. This did not come to pass from the beginning.
Jesus was very specific in approving Moses, as in the following utterance:
John 5
46 For if you were believing Moses, you would have believed me; for concerning me did that one write.
The things that Jesus approved from Moses and the Prophets was those things they wrote of him:
Luke 24
27 And beginning with Moses and from all the prophets he explained to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
44 So he said to them: these are my words which I spoke to you while yet being with you, because it is necessary all the things written in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms concerning me be fulfilled.
This how he defined the function of Moses and the Prophets (the scriptures):
John 5
39 You search the scriptures, because you suppose in them to be having eternal life, and these are those witnessing concerning me. 40 And you do not want to come to me in order that you have life.

Life is only in Jesus, not Moses:
John 6
32 Therefore Jesus said to them: Truly truly I say to you, Moses did not give to you bread from heaven, but my father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the one coming down from heaven and giving life to the world.
When an unjust or merciless "law of Moses" was put before him as a test, he found a way to deftly avoid the carrying out of the law while at the same time showing mercy on a sinner:
John 8
1 But Jesus proceeded to the Mount of Olives. 2 Now early he again was present in the temple, and all the people were coming to him, and having sat he was teaching them. 3 Now the scribes and the Pharisees bring a woman caught in adultery, and having stood her in the midst 4they say to him: Teacher, this woman was caught in the act being adulterous. 5 Now in the law of Moses it was commanded such to be stoned. What therefore do you say? 6 But they were saying this testing him, in order that they have something to accuse of him. But Jesus having bent down was writing in the earth. 7 So as they persisted questioning him, he stood erect and said: Let the one not having sinned among you first cast upon her a stone. 8 And again having bent he was writing in the earth. 9 Now those having heard were going out one by one beginning from the eldest, and he was left alone and the woman being in the midst. 10 So Jesus having stood erect said to her: Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you? 11 The woman said: No one, Lord. So Jesus said to her: Neither do I condemn you. Be going, from now on be sinning no more.

We can understand why Jesus did not verbally reject or say things critical of Moses.  It was necessary for him to finish his course and complete his testimony in Israel; taking an overtly  negative position with respect to Moses would have cut short his time on earth, as he would have been killed before preparing his disciples to continue his work.  But concerning the character of God, Jesus said this:
Luke 6
35 Moreover be agape-loving your enemies and be doing good and be lending, receiving back nothing. And your reward will be great in heaven, and you will be sons of the most high because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be becoming merciful, just as your father is merciful.

Obviously, this is not the one who commanded Moses to slaughter the Canaanites.

Our Father began to reach out to individuals in our race
, including Moses, before the race was ready for His word. Through certain individuals he prepared a way for the final revelation of Himself and his mercy in Jesus.  This involved giving them a rudimentary law, (the Law of Moses) that would guide them until Jesus delivered the perfect law.  But Jesus supplanted the Law of Moses in every way, leaving us his own law that conserved as much of Moses as possible under the mercy of the Father. 

To sum up briefly, the Lord verified and honored only that portion of the OT that is about him, plus other texts that he verified by his references to them.  Therefore, the only "scripture" that is authoritative for us is his utterances in the gospels, (and Acts 1), the OT testimony to him, and whatever else he verified by specific reference to it.  You will find it an interesting and revealing study to search out from the testimony of Jesus exactly what is and what is not valid.  

Our merciful Father did not command the genocide in Canaan!  The slaughter of the Canaanites played no part in the coming of Jesus.  One might theorize that it did by securing the homeland of the Jews through whom Jesus came into the world, where otherwise they would have been destroyed as a people through idolatry.  But the Jews were not faithful anyway and the Lord found a way to introduce the Truth in spite of that.  He would surely have done so in any event.

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