letters to surfers

Q How do you explain the extermination of the Amorites?

Robert Brow July 1999 (Web site - www.brow.on.ca)

In addition to the article about the Curse of Ham, which I suppose is the one you accessed, there is an article on John the Baptist: The Truth about Consequences."  I describe the process of day of the Lord wrath interventions in the book Advent Comings of the Lord Among the Nations.

This makes clear that God does from time to time decide to judge, and in some cases destroy a nation that has become corrupted.

God can use all sorts of means of doing this including a flood, fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah, pestilence, earthquakes, and invasion by a nation intent on occupying territory. But there is always a possibility of repentance up to the last moment (as in the case of Jonah in Babylon. See the article on "The Repentance Heresey").

What upsets us is that all sorts of innocent men, women, and children die in any wrath intervention. This is happening right now among millions dying of AIDS in Africa. That seems terribly unfair to us, but it does not seem to worry God. For him it makes no difference whether death occurs at an early age or in war or in a ripe old age. Physical death is merely a transition from this space-time system to our eternal state. From our human point of view it is very upsetting, but only because we cannot see the other side.

The fact of judgment in this world is nothing to do with eternal damnation.

We should not assume that all the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, or Canaan, or Babylon, or Jerusalem in AD 70 went to burn in hell. There can be a deliberate choice of eternal darkness (the death of shrinking away from the love of God as in John 3:19-21). When a criminal is executed, we cannot tell when and how his heart turned to the love of God.

Now as regards the seven Amorite nations of Canaan (Deuteronomy 7:1), the particular abominations that resulted in the wrath of God are listed in Leviticus 18:20-25 and Deuteronomy 18:9-14.

That God had decided to terminate the Amorite people is clear from Genesis 15:16. "The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete," but their time of wrath would come in three or four centuries. You get a similar idea concerning the Pharisees in Matthew 23:32.

God could have destroyed the inhabitants of Canaan by flood, famine, invasion, or in a manner similar to Sodom and Gomorrah. He chose to use the incoming Israelites who arrived across the Jordan at exactly the appointed time when God had in any case planned for his wrath to terminate the Amorites as a nation.

As with most invading armies, their leaders will assume that God has commanded them to execute the genocide (as in the case of the Indian tribes of Canada and the United States). Perhaps Moses and Joshua prayed to God, and felt that this was their divine assignment. We don't have to defend what they did, but we cannot get God off the hook for exercising wrath when He chooses.

And behind all the terrible events of history, Christian faith assumes that any wrath intervention is part of the love of God. It is never designed to send people to hell.

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