Friday, July 30, 2010

God Rewards Extremists

After slaying all of the Amorite men, women, and children in multiple cities with God's help, the Israelites settle down on the edge of Moab for a time. Balak, king of the Moabites, was scared by the Israelites' presence and reputation, so he sought out Balaam to curse the Israelites in order to help drive them away. After God almost killed Balaam for doing what God had told him to do, Balaam finally meets with Balak.

In a drawn out affair involving multiple prophesies and animal sacrifices with Balak and Balaam, God finally reveals, not only will God bless the Israelites instead of cursing them, but also that the Israelites will conquer Moab, Amalek will be destroyed, the Asshur will conquer the Kenites and then will be conquered themselves, along with Eber.

God Rewards Extremists
Christian terrorism. Mainstream Christianity compartmentalizes it as being caused by overzealous nuts who ignore the teachings of Jesus, such as not to judge others (Matthew 7:1, Luke 6:37). After all, it is not like God would reward such an act, such as Islam has the 72 virgins for martyrs. Nope, no virgins, but do not be fooled. The God of the Bible does indeed reward overzealous extremists.

Note that this study is explicit, but 100% Biblical. Judge for yourself if you should continue reading.

Numbers 25:1-3 tells us that while the Israelites were camped in Moab, Moabite women enticed some Israelite men into having sex with them and worshiping their god, Baal. This made God angry, and you would not like God when He is angry. Numbers 25:4 states:
The LORD said to Moses, "Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the LORD, so that the LORD's fierce anger may turn away from Israel." NIV
So God wanted all the leaders killed and stripped naked on display to make God forgive their sins. The phrase “these people” is ambiguous, and could mean just those who had sinned or all of the Israelites. Oh, and God's fierce anger (as we will later discover) is made manifest in the form of a deadly plague. God is so full of love and mercy.

Moses, seemingly oblivious to God's command but not to His anger, instead gathers the leaders (judges) and tells them to kill all of the men who have worshiped Baal (Numbers 25:5).

At that moment, Zimri, an Israelite man, walked by the assembly of the leaders with Cozbi, a Midianite woman, taking her back to his tent. Eleazar's son Phinehas springs into action. Phinehas stalks Zimri and Cozbi back to Zimri's tent. There, Phinehas skewers both of them together, sending his spear through Zimri and into Cozbi. At that moment, God stopped the plague, after it had already killed 24000 Israelites (Numbers 25:6-9).

It should be noted that the 24000 Israelites that God killed with the plague quite possibly died indiscriminately to their guilt. Remember that this scene happened while Moses was having a meeting to direct the killing of such guilty men. So it is likely that the sin of at least some of the 24000 was just letting their fellow Israelites sin, if they had known about it at all, which is questionable in such a large population (Numbers 1:46).

In Numbers 25:10-13, God rewards Phinehas:
The LORD said to Moses, "Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned My anger away from the Israelites; for he was as zealous as I am for My honor among them, so that in My zeal I did not put an end to them. Therefore tell him I am making My covenant of peace with him. He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites." NIV
God loved the vigilante style and zeal of Phinehas. God was ready to kill all of the Israelites, but He was so impressed by Phinehas that He stopped the deadly plague. So Phinehas saved an entire nation by his actions, making atonement for them, and God bestows Phinehas the great honor of having a lasting priesthood in his lineage.

This is exactly the kind of fodder which feeds the animalistic urges of extremists, helping them cross the bridge from merely being pious to becoming a religious terrorist. It answers the desperate questions: What can I do to win God's favor? What can I do to ensure the blessings of God for myself and my family for generations to come? What can I do to save my nation, my country, or my people?

This is dangerous, as history has proven time and time again, such as with the KKK, anti-abortion violence, and the Hutaree. This is one of the primary reasons I continue with the work I am doing here.


  1. The story of Abraham and Isaac comes to mind as well...

    It is at this point that I have a hard time understanding the argument for liberal evangelicalism when it tries to believe in the bible as inspired and even inerrant. I mean, I know it can be done, and is done by people I respect a great deal, but personally I don't see the point, I just don't think it is at all necessary.

  2. I know what you mean. I think that liberal evangelicalism may be a way for people to still keep the faith by simply ignoring the parts that they do not like (mainly in the OT).

    Several modern churches are built on this philosophy. Some, such as Calvary Chapel, stick primarily to the NT with only occasional, highly selective nods to the OT. So it is quite possible that many of these more liberal Christians just have not been taught about the Bible in a robust manner, and have not taken it upon themselves for deeper study.

  3. Thank you, Yemek and Elbise, you are quite welcome!