QUESTIONER: “If you are writing war poetry and claiming that war is a bad thing in your book, ‘War is Who we Are’, how come in the bible (which you even call ‘the sacred texts’) your God actually commands King Saul to commit genocide on the Amalekites, right down to killing women, children and babies? Where does that fit into your anti-war philosophy? Inconsistent much? Even Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’. Doesn’t that put Jesus at odds with the God of the Old Testament who was plainly a megalomaniac butcher?”
ALAN’S RESPONSE: Thank you for your question. I’m sure that you speak for very many people, including some of those who call themselves ‘Christians’, who I have actually heard say that ‘Jehovah is scary whereas Jesus seems nice’. People have always tried to put a wedge between the Old and New Testaments by claiming that they must have different “Gods”, because Yahweh (rendered as “the LORD” in Old Testament translations) seemed to them to act like a power-crazed warlord, whereas Christ is declared to be the “Prince of Peace”. So how can we harmonize this alleged discrepancy — which, as we shall see, is imaginary?
The Essential Differences Between Old and New Testament Eras
What the questioner has not yet realised is the true nature of the difference between the Old Testament era and the New Testament era. The Old Testament era involved continual preparations for the coming of the Messiah. That is primarily what the Old Testament era was about. Everything which happened spiritually and historically served that necessity. Even so many aspects of the Old Testament law pointed forward in symbols to Christ as the Fulfiller of that law. The Old Testament was all about the coming of the Christ. Period. Whereas the New Testament era involves implementing that for which the Messiah has now come. Therefore entirely different ‘methods of operation’ have prevailed in each era. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that Christ is at the heart of both the Old and the New Testaments, though many who have not studied the sacred texts may recoil at that idea.
Now, dear questioner, please don’t disappear because I haven’t fully answered your questions in the first two paragraphs! One really needs to grapple with all this because it impinges on so much else concerning the veracity and integrity of our faith. So let me expand on this.
In Old Testament times, the principal historical objective was for the bloodline of the coming Messiah to be preserved. Therefore, every event recorded in the Old Testament was designed to ensure that the Christ would eventually be born into this world and that no obstacle could possibly stand in the way of that. The thickets and brambles of history had to be kept clear so that the purity of the bloodline would be ensured. Unreservedly, that is what the entire Old Testament era was about and what it pointed towards. One could say that the Old Testament era was the ‘womb’ in which the coming Christ was nurtured. As Augustine of Hippo put it, “In the Old Testament, the New Testament was latent — in the New Testament the Old is patent”. Another way of saying that would be: “Within the Old Testament, the fullness of the New was concealed; in the New Testament, the purpose of the Old is revealed”.
The pivotal event in the history of the world has been the coming of the Christ. Everything before it and since then has hinged on that single event in history. What was the centrepiece of that single event? The death and subsequent resurrection and ascension of Christ. What was a major result of the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ? The complete overthrowing of Satan and his being cast out from access to heaven (First Letter of John, chapter 3, verse 8). Prior to that overthrow, in the Old Testament era, all the nations were wholly under the influence of Satan, so that not only were they opposed to the law and will of God as societies and individuals but their religious practices were steeped in idolatry, paying obeisance to many bizarre and grotesque effigies, outright sorcery, ritual prostitution, superstition, witchcraft, and even human sacrifice. This was the best that Satan could do in regard to spirituality and was designed to keep people in a state of spiritual ignorance concerning the Christ to come. This was the corrupt milieu into which God birthed the Old Testament nation of Israel (not to be confused with the modern impostor country called Israel, which has nothing to do with Old Testament Israel). Coupled with that, everything carried out by Satan throughout the Old Testament period had, as its sole aim, the killing off of the bloodline of Christ. Let’s open this up even more…
Appreciating the Way that the Bloodline was Preserved
From immediately after the Fall of the first humans, Satan knew that God was sending a Redeemer into the world, though he had no idea when or how. It could have been in nine months or nine thousand years, for all he knew! This is of supreme importance in understanding what happened throughout the Old Testament, including the situation which the questioner describes as “genocide”, as I will show. The first glimmer-of-a-prophecy about the coming Christ was in the telescoped prophetic words spoken directly to Satan by God, as recorded in the Book of Genesis, chapter 3, verse 15: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel”. In that verse, we see the enmity between Satan and all the progeny of Eve who would be the carriers of the chosen seed which would lead to the birth of the Christ which would take in the entire people of God of all time. Satan therefore knew that birth was coming through the seed of the woman, who — after passing through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — came to be embodied in Old Testament Israel, so that the Christ would come ‘in the flesh’. So Satan continually tried to prevent that from happening throughout history. This is precisely what is being revealed in symbols when the sacred text says that ‘the woman’ “was pregnant and crying out in the pain and agony of giving birth…and the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, ready to devour her child as soon as she gave birth” (Book of Revelation, chapter 12, verses 2 & 4b). So all Satan (characterised there as a “dragon”) could do was to ‘lie in wait’ and try to find ways to cut off the flow of the bloodline which would lead to the birth of the Christ. Just look how that went down in history, as Satan repeatedly attempted to prevent the promised seed (the Christ) from being born via that bloodline in many and various ways:
- First, Satan set out to destroy Abel through his obvious agent, Cain; but God raised up Seth in his place (Book of Genesis, chapter 4, verses 8 & 25).
- Then he tried to pollute the bloodline of Seth with an unprecedented outburst of demonic evil — fallen angels copulating with human women resulting in the mutant Nephilim — but God raised up Noah with his immediate family and drowned the rest of the population (Book of Genesis, chapter 6, verses 1-2 & 8).
- A famine came in the land and the bloodline of the promised seed through Jacob’s offspring was threatened with starvation. But God raised up Joseph against all the odds to become the administrator of grain in Egypt and thus feed his brothers — a fact which Joseph realized when he said to his brothers, “God sent me before you to preserve you as a remnant on the earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (Book of Genesis, chapters 37-45).
- Satan subsequently tried to have every male child in Israel killed at birth by the midwives; but God, through Moses, made provision to ensure that this would not succeed (Book of Exodus, chapter 1, verses 15-22).
- Later, he stirred up Queen Athaliah to murder all the royal heirs of Judah (from which ancestral line the Christ would come); but Jehosheba hid little Joash — the last royal heir in line — in the recesses of the temple for six years (Second Book of Kings, chapter 11, verses 1-3).
- Satan then stirred up Haman to destroy all the Jews; but they were miraculously delivered at the expense of their enemies (Book of Esther, chapter 3, verse 6; chapter 9, verses 1-17). (Remember that this enemy of Israel, Haman, was actually a descendant of the Amalekites which Saul had been directed to exterminate, though some had obviously escaped).
- In the fullness of time, as the climax to all this attempted ‘Christ-prevention’, when the ‘Messiah-moment’ had arrived and the Christ was born, Satan used his human servant Herod to issue an edict that all the male babies under two years of age in Bethlehem and its environs should be killed to try and flush out the promised Messiah; but that too was an abortive measure (Gospel of Matthew, chapter 2, verses 16-18).
- Finally, he attempted to destroy Christ Himself and nullify His work by inciting his earthly agents to crucify Him (Gospel of Luke, chapter 4, verses 28-30; Gospel of John, chapter 11, verse 53; Gospel of Luke, chapter 23, verses 8-12; cf. Acts of the Apostles, chapter 4, verses 27-28). But in doing that, Satan just made a public fool of himself in his massive failure (Letter to the Colossians, chapter 2, verse 15). For he could only kill the body and not the soul.
Let’s face it… all that Satan has ever been able to do in regard to affecting Christ was to “strike His heel”, which is nothing compared to having one’s head ‘crushed’, which has been the fate of Satan — just as that glimmer of a prophecy in Genesis 3 foretold.
Never Underestimate the Evil of Satan’s Protégés
Thus, the whole of the Old Testament is a testament to the way that the promised Seed was preserved from one generation to the next, and that the genealogy which would lead to the Christ was kept intact. Another way in which this preservation of the Seed was carried out was the keeping down of all the evil tribes and peoples who came against Israel and Judah. People will often cite the fact (as did the questioner above) that Saul was commanded by God through the prophet, Samuel, to slaughter every last Amalekite, including women, children, babies, their mothers and even all the livestock (First Book of Samuel, chapter 15, verses 1-3). People hope they can thus prove that God is heinously cruel to order such a thing and must be a different God to the one of whom Christ is said to be the Son in the New Testament. But they fail to understand that the Amalekites and the like were steeped in utter evil. They were cruel, rapacious, sorcerous desert Nomads who were rabidly opposed to God’s people with a particular hatred. Their sorcery was so renowned that…
“According to the Midrash [Jewish rabbinical literature], the Amalekites were sorcerers who could transform themselves to resemble animals, in order to avoid capture. Thus, in 1 Samuel 15:3, it was considered necessary to destroy the livestock in order to destroy Amalek”.Wikipedia article on the Amalekites
The history of Israel’s conflict with the Amalekites goes back to when they were the first to attack the children of Israel after their escape from Egypt (Book of Exodus, chapter 17, verse 8). Especially noted in the sacred text is that in that raid the Amalekites majored on destroying the weaker members of the children of Israel who were straggling at the back of the convoy, which would have been the women with children, the ill and infirm, and the elderly. As is said: “Remember what the Amalekites did to you along your way from Egypt, how they met you on your journey when you were tired and weary, and they attacked all your stragglers; they had no fear of God” (Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 25, 17-18).
So it wasn’t as if the Amalekites were a nice little bunch of innocent nomads who should have been left alone. They had already tried to massacre the children of Israel and would keep doing so unless stopped. In common with other nations, the Amalekites needed driving out of the land. The kind of evil which the nations surrounding Israel practised was completely out of bounds for Israel and was one of the main reasons that those nations were being driven out of the land. The Children of Israel had pointedly been commanded not to imitate…
“the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, practices divination or conjury, interprets omens, practices sorcery, casts spells, consults a medium or spiritist, or who brings up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD. And because of these detestable things, the LORD your God is driving out the nations before you”.Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 18, verses 9-12
All these things, plus the determination of the Amalekites to destroy Israel, are what lay behind God’s command to Saul through the prophet Samuel to destroy the Amalekites completely.
However, the people of today aren’t much bothered about all this evil and they underestimate entirely the depravity of such peoples, even romanticising them. It has now become politically correct and trendy for cruel, rapacious, depraved, idolatrous, sorcerous, even plainly satanic nations and ethnicities to be portrayed as being benevolent, spiritual, wise and worthy of emulation, perpetuating the myth of the noble shaman (basically, a satanic sorcerer). New Age people especially romanticise the Mayans and Druids, yet both practised human sacrifice and occultism as part of ancient satanic religion. Even the true nature of what are known as ‘Stonehenges’ has been whitewashed with New Age romanticism, as they naively gather there to “pick up on the energies” and other delusional practices. Nowadays, most people not only tolerate depravity but they even hold huge ‘pride’ events to celebrate it, placing it under the euphemistic term ‘diversity’ and decorating it with a pretty rainbow — stolen from its real metaphorical context in the Bible — the ultimate in manipulative publicity. Nowadays, most people revel in the trashing of God-given gender. And nowadays, various kinds of witchcraft are widely practised (e.g. ‘manifesting’, visualising, ‘smudging’, ‘Shaktipat’ initiation through a touch on the forehead by a guru or a fake church preacher, spiritist events, and many New Age practices, etc.) and are also even lauded (viz. the popularity of ‘Harry Potter’ books and films). On the “Spirituality” shelves of major booksellers these days, most of the literature is disguised or euphemised witchcraft and outright occultism.
Nowadays, most people also despise the idea of a Divine Creator. So when they hear about what the Amalekites did, they just don’t care and they certainly don’t think that it warrants attacking them or wiping them out. Nowadays, Amalekite intellectuals would be invited to give presentations in libraries and on other platforms, alongside the perverse “Drag Queen Storytimes” to explain their ‘diverse ethnicity’ to a brainwashed public which has already been primed to receive it magnanimously.
Penitent Amalekites Could have Aligned Themselves with Israel
Nowadays, most people think that their own morality is on higher ground than God’s! But once one has trust in God, one realises how God commanded those peoples to be wiped out because he knew what those people would do in the future. The Amalekites were sworn enemies of Israel and would never stop trying to wipe Israel out. The bloodline to the coming Redeemer had to be preserved at all costs. And if you say that no matter how wickedly or monstrously they lived it is totally wrong for anyone to be killed like that, let me say this: How long we live is not of real importance. The only thing that matters is finding our way back to God and living ‘in sync’ with Him. Death is only an issue for those who stubbornly refuse to make their peace with God. God is the potter and we are the clay. He has every right to do with us as He wishes. And here is what many may not realise: Penitent and moral Amalekites, if such a thing was then possible, could easily have sought refuge with the children of Israel and placed themselves under the shelter of God and in His hand for rescue. There was a place for such people among the people of God, as many sacred texts give witness:
“Let no foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say, ‘The LORD will utterly exclude me from His people’… The foreigners who join themselves to the LORD to minister to Him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be His servants—all who keep the Sabbath without profaning it and who hold fast to My covenant—I will bring them to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on My altar, for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations”.Book of Isaiah, chapter 56, verses 3,6-7
Thus, the children of Israel were not utterly exclusive. God’s ‘house’ was for people of all nations even back then, should they want it with all their hearts. Back then, the outsider who wanted to be inside — to be part of God’s people — could do so if that was in his or her heart, as we can see from many other texts bearing witness to that (e.g. Book of Exodus, chapter 12, verse 38; Book of Numbers, chapter 32, verse 12; Book of Joshua, chapter 2, verses 1-2; Book of Ruth, chapter 1, verses 4,16-17; First Book of Chronicles, chapter 22, verses 2,17; Second Book of Chronicles, chapter 30, verse 25; Book of Esther, chapter 8, verse 17; chapter 9, verse 27). But the Amalekites did not seek such refuge. As an ethnic people, they were sworn enemies of God, obsessively determined to wipe out Israel, and therefore they were crazed servants of Satan and thus they brought being wiped out on themselves. The bloodline to Christ had to be preserved at any cost. The Amalekites deliberately and knowingly pitted themselves against God and His people, imagining there would be no fallout in their lives. That is a supreme folly.
No Room for Spiritual Snowflakery
So now you should be able to understand why the Amalekites had to go. Although one must exercise compassion, empathy and grace, there is no room for spiritual snowflakery here — which is not the same as any of those three things, but is an excuse for disobedience towards God. If that ‘wipe-out’ had not been commanded, then the bloodline to Christ was under serious threat. After the coming of the Messiah, there was no longer any need to preserve the bloodline as the prophecies and necessities had been fulfilled in Christ. The nations no longer needed to be suppressed from stopping the bloodline but instead became subject to the gospel of repentance and redemption through Christ. In former times, before the coming of Christ, God “let the nations go their own way” (Book of Acts, chapter 14, verse 16), and “overlooked the ignorance of earlier times” (unless they were a threat to the bloodline of the coming Christ) which He will deal with justly in the judgement. But since the coming of Christ, there is no case to plead ignorance and “He now commands all people everywhere to repent” of their godless egocentric ways (Book of Acts, chapter 17, verse 30).
The Extent and Actions of Spiritual Warfare
What I am doing here is giving you a crash-course in the insidious nature of evil and the need for it to be utterly uprooted from wherever it exists. That is how serious it is. It Old Testament times, it was necessary to wage a war of contrition with physical warfare against the evil of those who wanted to destroy the bloodline leading to Christ. That was also spiritual warfare when Satan continually stirred up the nations against God’s people. In New Testament times we also wage war against satanic evil, but now the weapons of our warfare are very different:
“For though we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. The weapons of our warfare are not the weapons of the world. Instead, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We tear down arguments and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”.Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 10, verses 3-5
Spiritual warfare in the Old Testament era meant having to wage a physical war against satanic strategy because Satan’s method of operations (MO) involved the incitement of tribes and nations to destroy the bloodline of the future Christ. That bloodline had to be preserved at all costs and above all else. Now that the Christ has come and Satan is a vanquished foe with limited ability, our spiritual warfare is waged very differently. For “our struggle is not against flesh and blood”, as it was in Old Testament times, “but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Letter to the Ephesians, chapter 6, verse 12).
In the Old Testament era, the hold Satan had over whole peoples was easy for him to maintain culturally through religious and tyrannical means — bearing in mind that he was still then the permitted “ruler of this world”, which went all the way through the Old Testament era until the victory of Christ on the cross when he was cast out from being the “ruler of this world” (cf. Gospel of John, chapter 12, verse 31). Today that hold is not so complete for it has been considerably weakened by the victory of Christ. What we have to contend with now is not Satan’s desire to prevent Christ from coming but his extreme anger and hatred towards God’s people because Christ has now come! But the weapon we have against all that is simply the gospel, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Letter to the Ephesians, chapter 6, verse 17), which has the power to rescue individual souls from the hideous grasp of Satan. Against that, Satan has no force whatsoever. Thus, for the past 2000 years he has had to watch helplessly while his subjects have been continually snatched out of his hands! When we couple that spiritual sword with all the other pieces of our spiritual armoury, then we are invincible.
“The belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation”.Letter to the Ephesians, chapter 6, verses 14-17
That is all we need today. No physical bloodshed is necessary. Truth, righteousness, faith, salvation and our words about Christ. We may be physically killed by authorities in the process of waging our spiritual warfare. But we are not here to preserve with physical weapons our lives on this earth, which is only part of a temporary corrupted creation. Once we are pledged to Christ as His disciples, He will uphold us in all situations, no matter how awful they may be. The moment of our departure from this life will be determined by Him. Faith loves that rather than resents it.
Now we know why we have to exact ruthless warfare against Satan. In the Old Testament era that warfare was waged physically to protect the bloodline of Christ and as judgement on the spiritual evil of sorcery, witchcraft and idolatry. In the New Testament era, we have to exact ruthless warfare on Satan’s hold over individual people among the nations, to snatch their souls from his hand and bring them into the Kingdom of Christ with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God in the gospel. We also have to exact ruthless warfare against any residual satanic influence in ourselves, leaving no stone unturned to root out any darkness which may not have been at first so easy to identify. Our skill in such rooting-out should improve exponentially as we make our way through life; and nothing can have a hold on us once we are Christ’s.
The Fate of the Amalekites is Nothing Compared to What Will Happen to the Impenitent at the End of this Age
Finally, I say, meditate on this: If you think what God did to the Amalekites in the Old Testament was ‘not what Jesus would do’, that is nothing to what has been prophesied to happen to the enemies of God in the New Testament, especially at the return of the Christ. Even in the Book of Revelation, which is the “revelation of Jesus Christ”, the last book in the New Testament, the judgements which will be meted out on God’s enemies and those who resist the gospel will make what happened to the Amalekites seem pale in comparison! (See Book of Revelation, chapter 9; chapter 11, verses 18-19; chapter 14, verses 17-20; chapter 16, verses 7-21; chapter 17, verse 14; chapter 18:21-23; chapter 19, verses 11-16; chapter 20, verses 7-10, 14-15).
How little ‘humanity’ at large comprehends the vast gulf between the filthiness of evil and the cleanness of purity and how that same ‘humanity’ has no understanding of the need to destroy utterly the former and to embrace wholeheartedly the latter. Complaining about what happened to the Amalekites is evidence of that lack of comprehension and understanding. When one becomes a disciple of Christ, one discovers that God “has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Letter to the Colossians, chapter 1, verses 13-14). In the Old Testament, to be rescued from the dominion of darkness meant waging physical warfare against the surrounding nations to preserve the bloodline of Christ and ensure that He would come. That is the context of the need for the Amalekites to be driven out of the land and to be destroyed. Who God kills and how He kills them is not something we need to worry our heads about because God is holy and just. So let’s leave the logistics to Him and do the work that we have been commissioned to do in the midst of “this present evil age”. If God commands or commends something, you can be sure that it is good and right, no matter how much that may offend His enemies!
[If you want to read the book which was mentioned by the Questioner, “War is Who we Are”, you can download it for free here: https://diakrisis-project.com/2022/11/10/new-book-war-is-who-we-are/ ].
© 2023, Alan Morrison / The Diakrisis Project. All Rights Reserved. [The copyright on my works is merely to protect them from any wanton plagiarism which could result in undesirable changes (as has actually happened!). Readers are free to reproduce my work, so long as it is in the same format and with the exact same content and its origin is acknowledged]
Excellent! You tied it all together in a way that I have struggled with how to share with others for years. Wonderful!!!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks so much. Glad it helped. Please share with others!
Excellent, direct and insightful article! You nailed it exactly! 😃 Timely subject on the New Paganism rooted in the old paganism. The air definitely needed to be cleared on this subject.
LikeLiked by 1 person