On Muhammad and his Paedophilia

Mohammed Aisha

One of the evidences that Muhammad was not a prophet of God but a sexually depraved man was his predatory relationship with Aisha who was 6 years old, while he was in his 50s. Some Muslims are quite embarrassed that their guru indulged in this act, and try to come up with different excuses to evade or justify it.

Other Muslims are not so moved; they brag of it and demand others respect their rights to emulate their paedophile prophet. Before I look into some “rationalizations” Muslims give, let me first document this from Islamic sources:

1. “Aisha reported that Allah’s Apostle married her when she was seven years old, and she was taken to his house as a bride when she was nine, and her dolls were with her; and when he (the Holy Prophet) died she was eighteen years old.” (Muslim 2:8:3311)

2. Narrated Hisham’s father: “Khadija died three years before the Prophet departed to Medina. He stayed there for two years or so and then he married ‘Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consummated the marriage when she was nine years old.” (Bukhari 5:236)

3. Narrated ‘Aisha: “The Prophet married me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani al-Harith bin Khazaraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girlfriends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted me to do. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house …

“There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said ‘Best wishes and Allah’s blessing and a good luck’. Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly, Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and that time I was a girl of nine years” (Bukhari 5:234).

4. “[T]he Apostle of Allah married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e till his death)” (Bukhari 7:64/65).

Even though the hadiths are unanimous that Aisha was married at 6, some modern Muslim revisionists dismiss these sources as “fake” and try to inflate her age to 13, 18 or even 20 to safeguard the image of grand poobah Muhammad. Now, let’s examine some other trump cards they use.

Child marriage was a custom in Arabia in the prophet’s time. That is why none of his enemies denounced him for it

There is no evidence that pre-Islamic Arabia married off their little girls to old men. There are no records from that period to support this claim. They betrothed their girls to boys, not to adults.

On the one hand, Muslims tell us pre-Islamic Arabs buried their female infants until Muhammad stopped it (as if they needed a prophet to tell them that was evil) and on the other, they want us to believe Arab men ravished their little girls in bed. They re-write and re-cast the past to suit their tastes.

To assert that Muhammad’s paedophilia was acceptable because his critics didn’t mention it is an argument from silence. The records of Muhammad we have came from his disciples and we all know what happened to all those who criticised him – they were either killed or silenced.

Some of the remarks from Muhammad’s critics in the Quran indicate that they perceived him as insane and demonised, so his bizarre sex acts would only have confirmed their suspicions.

Even if the pagan Arabs engaged in paedophilia, a true prophet should know better to condemn it. When a man claims to be the “best of creation” or a “honourable messenger of God,” his morals and teachings ought to be a veritable template of ideal morality – dignified above the ignorance and vices of his time.

That he followed the ignoble perversions of his pagan folks is proof that he wasn’t any different from the deluded folks he claimed to be sent to guide. No matter how Muslims slice the cake, this ultimately disqualifies Muhammad as a true prophet.

Aisha’s parents offered her to Muhammad. The marriage was to strengthen their ties with him, not for sex. Aisha herself didn’t complain of being a wife, so what’s your business?

This line of thinking can only come from a conscience that is as seared as hot iron. First, it was Muhammad who demanded to marry Aisha:

“The Prophet asked Abu Bakr for Aisha’s hand in marriage. Abu Bakr said ‘but I am your brother.’ The Prophet said ‘You are my brother in Allah’s religion and his book but she is lawful for me to marry” (Bukhari 7:18, Narrated Ursa).

Abu Bakr was already like a brother to Muhammad (that makes Aisha like a niece to him), so he didn’t have to rape his daughter to strengthen their ties. Why should little Aisha be levied out like a pawn between two grown men? This is wrong at every level. How could Allah be silent over this?

Even Abu Bakr mildly protested, “But I’m your brother” but Muhammad prevailed with the force of his personality and Abu Bakr had to “submit” like a good Muslim. In fact, Muhammad had been dreaming of little Aisha before this time:

Narrated ‘Aisha “Allah’s apostle said to me ‘You were shown to me twice (in my dream) before I married you. I saw an angel carrying you in a silken piece of cloth and I said to him ‘uncover (her)’ and behold it was you…” (Bukhari 9:140)

A man in his 50s dreaming of a girl still playing with her dolls is a pervert. What else was this for if not sex? And who would Aisha complain to? Was it to her brainwashed parents who gave her off to a lecher? Here is the point, a man who finds a child sexually appealing is mentally ill. The idea is repulsive to a normal man.

You can’t compare 6 year old girls today with desert girls of that time. There were geological and climatic factors that made them grow faster and bigger

What a silly argument. Muslims say derp things just to cleave to a false prophet. A 6 year old child in 7th century Arabia is the same as a 6 year old child in Africa today. There is no difference. That’s why Aisha was still playing with her dolls at that age.

What geological factors? Tectonic plates? Continental land mass? Since when did desert climate turn 6 year old girls into adults capable of choosing who to marry or consent to a mutual act of love?

Are Muslims trying to tell us that an evolutionary process has taken place in humans in the last 14 centuries? Such an idea is pure hubris.

Muhammad married mostly widows and divorcees. He couldn’t have been a pedophile

Not all paedophiles are serial or “full blown” predators. Some of them marry adult women and still go after children on one side, some don’t. One doesn’t have to steal a hundred times or at different places to be a thief.

Muhammad was 50 at the time his first wife, Khadijah, died. All the other women he married were either teenagers or in their early 20s.

He solicited Hind Abu Talib, his cousin, to marry him, but when she told him she had a child, he desisted. When he asked someone to solicit Zia’h bint Aamir for marriage, she accepted, but when he was told of her age, he declined also (Tabari, IV:1298).

Muhammad also sent a message to a beautiful widow, Zabaa, through her son. When he learnt she was no longer young, even though she accepted his proposal, he remained silent” (Ibn Sa’ad, Tabaqat 8:157).

In the hadith, he asked Jabir ibn Abdullah, “Have you got married?” He answered in the affirmative. Muhammad enquired, “A virgin or a matron?” He responded, “I married a matron.” Then Muhammad said, “Why not a virgin? So you may play with her and she may play with you?” (Bukhari 3:34:310).

Muhammad was indirectly reiterating how he fondles little Aisha:

Narrated ‘Aisha: “The Prophet and I used to take a bath from a single pot while we were Junub. During the menses, he used to order me to put on an Izar (dress worn below the waist) and used to fondle me” (Bukhari 1:298).

In Judaism, little girls were also married off. Even Mary the mother of Jesus married 90 year old Joseph when she was 12. Europeans and Indians also observed this

This is an argument of desperation. In Judaism, betrothal is conducted when both partners are young. The actual marriage takes place when they both grow older. This is far different from a filthy old man wobbling naked in bed with a 9 year old girl.

The only source Muslims derive the “90-year-old-Joseph-marrying-12-year-old-Mary” from are apocryphal works which everyone agrees are fanciful legends.

Notwithstanding, the works indicate that Mary gave birth to Jesus at 14 or 16 (New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, “St. Joseph”) Even if these myths were true, they prove nothing because Joseph is not a “perfect example” for Christians as Muhammad is for Muslims.

The appeal to some European or Indian child marriages centuries ago is irrelevant. Royal families in Medieval European did arrange prepubescent girls for marriage but they often waited till puberty to consummate it.

Besides, none of these people ever claim to be “perfect examples” for mankind. Even the Hindu Vedic scriptures mandates marriages to be 3 years after puberty. Muhammad was still a pervert by their criteria.

We shouldn’t judge Muhammad’s actions by today’s standards

Oh yes, we should. In as much as he presented himself as a “perfect example” for Muslims to follow, we need to question his morals. Children are being raped in Islamic nations today because of the legacy of this sick man.

They also practice Mufakhazat Alzigaar (called “thighing”), in which an adult man puts his penis between the thighs of a female child and moves back and forth till he has a release.

An official fatwa issued in Saudi Arabia says this is legal because Muhammad practiced “thighing” on Aisha when she was 6 years old until she reached 9 years (Fatwa #31409).

In the third hadith I quoted at the beginning of this piece, Aisha said she became sick and lost her hair after marrying Muhammad. That could be a sign of distress from sexual abuse.

Medical science has established the damaging effects of child marriage. It results in complicated pregnancy and childbirth due to underdeveloped pelvis and birth canal of the girl child.

Child marriage has been linked with cervical cancer, pre-term delivery, STDs, infant mortality and a 88% chance of having obstetric fistula which can result in permanent disability (Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 2004, 87:72-77).

The power and control the man has over the child bride can also lead to domestic violence and marital rape resulting in social isolation and other psychological maladies.

These are marks of a cult of child destruction and anyone who is not ashamed of following a 7th century paedophile has abdicated his/her humanity.

Tower Craft: Reworking Judgement Day

One day in 2011, two Jehovah’s Witnesses showed up at my door to preach. I decided to listen and engage them afterwards. We read Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 which says in part: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed unto judgment including every hidden things, whether it is good or bad.”

I later took over the discussion and pointed out to them that the Bible text we read refutes their belief about judgement day – as a period of education during which those who didn’t have the chance before death would become JWs. Instead, the Bible says God will judge both good and bad actions. It’s not an “instruction program.” Both JWs became silent.

They didn’t expect to be taken off their scripts from that angle. Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to “base their beliefs solely on the Bible,” but in the real sense of it, they are based solely on Watchtower Society’s teachings. Without this organization, no Witness would adhere to their aberrant doctrines.

A prime example is their teaching about Judgement Day:

Judgement Day will be a period of a thousand years during which humans will … regain what Adam and Eve lost … [It] will be not only a time of instruction from God, but also a time for those alive to apply what they learn and enjoy the blessings that result.” (Awake! Jan. 2010, 10-11)

Judgement Day will give billions of people their first opportunity to learn about God’s will and to conform to it. This means that a large-scale educational work will take place” (What Does the Bible Really Teach? 2005, 215).

It will be a time of education for them. ‘Scrolls’ containing instruction from God will be opened, and they will need to follow these in making their minds over in harmony with God’s will. They will be ‘judged individually according to their deeds’; that is, the deeds they do after being resurrected and after learning the contents of the ‘scrolls’” (The Truth that leads to Eternal Life, 1968, 110-111).

Here is what Revelation 20:11-15 says:

I saw a large, white throne and the one who was sitting on it. The earth and the sky fled from his presence, but no place was found for them. I saw the dead, both important and unimportant people, standing in front of the throne. Books were opened, including the Book of Life. The dead were judged on the basis of what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead. Death and hell gave up their dead. People were judged based on what they had done. Death and hell were thrown into the fiery lake. (The fiery lake is the second death.) Those whose names were not found in the Book of Life were thrown into the fiery lake.”

This passage alone shatters the lies JWs are taught. In their New World bible, Rev. 20:13 is rendered “… and death and the grave gave up the dead in them.” This is a deliberate mistranslation aimed at safeguarding their annihilation belief.

The Greek word there is hades which according to Greek scholar W. E. Vine, “never denotes the grave, nor is it the permanent region of the lost; in point of time it is, for such intermediate between decease and the doom of Gehenna” (An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, 1940, “Hades”).

Augustus H. Strong stated that “the future punishment of the wicked is not annihilation … the wicked enter at death upon a state of conscious suffering which the resurrection and judgement only augment and render permanent.” (Systematic Theology, 1907, 1036)

Let’s examine the specific arguments in their “Bible study” book, What Does the Bible Really Teach? (pp. 213-215):

Jehovah God is the ultimate Judge of mankind. However, he delegates the actual work of judging … This appointed Judge is the resurrected Jesus Christ

This line contradicts what the Watchtower Society said decades before: “All humankind on earth will stand as perfect creatures before the throne of the Supreme Judge, Jehovah God.” (The Truth, 1968, 112)

Who is the Judge sitting on the throne? Is it Jesus or Jehovah God? The Bible Teach book says on p. 219: “Jesus himself is the archangel Michael.” Why would God delegate the work of judging all mankind to an archangel? Where in the Bible do we find an archangel sitting on a throne as a Judge over humanity?

Daniel 7:22 says “until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High…” Who is this Ancient of Days? Michael the archangel? Not according to the Bible. These rather prove the Deity of Christ. JWs have to choose; either Jesus is one with God the Father as the Judge, or He is Michael the archangel. Both can’t be true.

The book of revelation shows that Judgment Day begins after the war of Armageddon, when Satan’s system on earth will be destroyed.

What the book of Revelation really shows is that the martyrs killed during the Great Tribulation “because of their testimony for Jesus” and for not worshipping the Antichrist or receiving his mark will come to life, be judged and reign with Christ for 1000 years (Rev. 20:4-5).

It also shows that the Great white throne judgement will take place “when the thousand years are over,” after Satan release to deceive and gather the nations – Gog and Magog – against God’s people.

“And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown [at Armageddon]. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Rev. 20:7-10)

There is a continuity between verses 1 to 15 in the 20th chapter of Revelation, but the Watchtower cuts it up and grafts its own theories onto it.

After Armageddon, Satan and his demons will be imprisoned in an abyss for a thousand years. During that time, the 144,000 heavenly joint heirs will be judges and will rule “as kings with the Christ for a thousand years.” (Revelation 14:1-3; 20:1-4, Romans 8:17) Judgement Day is not some hurried event lasting a mere 24 hours. It lasts a thousand years”

This is where the tower craft falls apart. The “joint heirs” of Romans 8:17 refers to ALL of God’s children, not an elite “anointed class.” The 144,000 Jews of Revelation 14 are neither the “judges” nor the tribulation martyrs of Revelation 20.

The Watchtower deceitfully picks up unrelated groups of people from different verses and lumps them together as the same. Dr Ed Hindson explains:

“John foresees the tribulation martyrs ruling with Christ in the millennial kingdom. He also sees “thrones” and those seated on them to whom judgement was given. The scene is similar to the one by Daniel (7:9-10,22). While it is possible that these are the thrones of the twenty-four elders, they are not specified as such (see Rev. 4:4; 5:8-10;7:13;11:15). Since Jesus promised the twelve apostles they would sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (see Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:30), it seems likely that would be in view here during the earthly kingdom” (Earth’s Final Hour, Evangel Publications, 1999, 156).

It’s not surprising that the Watchtower couldn’t find any Bible text they could wrench from its context to support their claim that the final Judgement would last for 1000 years. This nonsense is a product of their wild imaginations.

During that thousand year period, Jesus Christ will “judge the living and the dead” (2 Timothy 4:1) “The living” will be the “great crowd” that survives Armageddon. (Revelation 7:9-17) The apostle John also saw “the dead…standing before the throne” of judgment

Here we go again. How could the “great crowd” in chapter 7 be the same as those who survived Armageddon which took place later in chapter 19? Jesus’ judgement of “the living and the dead” indicates the two main categories of judgements:

1. The judgement seat of Christ – testing and rewarding the good works of Christians – they are “the living” because they have received eternal life (1 Cor. 3:12-15, Mt. 25:14-30, 2Cor 5:10, Eph. 2:2)

2. The white throne judgement – judgment of the unsaved dead for their sins. They are “the dead” because they will all be eternally consigned to the lake of fire (1 Thess. 4:16, Rev. 20:11-12) The first will take place in heaven whereas the second on earth after 1000 years when the “earth and the sky” will dissolve (2 Pet. 3:7).

According to the apostle John’s vision, “scrolls were opened”… Are these scrolls the record of people’s past deeds? No… The Bible says: “He who has died has been aquitted from his sin.” (Romans 6:7) Those resurrected thus come to life with a clean slate, so to speak. The scrolls must therefore represent God’s further requirements”

These scrolls are records of the deeds of all men and they are only for the purpose of condemnation (Isaiah 65:6 and Daniel 7:10). Notice how the Book of Life, which settles the eternal destiny of all men, was glibly omitted by the Watchtower writer (Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8).

The whole of Romans 6 speaks of symbolic death to the power of sin, not physical death. JW leaders are experts taking a word here, another there and a different one from a different place in the Bible to build their rafts in the air. God’s judgement is likened to “the wrath of God.” His sentence on Lucifer, fallen angels and the world in Noah’s time weren’t “educational” neither will the final judgement (Rom. 1:18; 2 Pet. 2:4; Gen. 6).

By the end of Judgement Day, surviving humans will have “come to life” fully as perfect humans (Revelation 20:5)

The proof text refers to Tribulation martyrs who “come to life” 1000 years before the final judgement, so how could it refer to “the end of Judgment Day?” And how could Satan “be released from his imprisonment and allowed to try to mislead mankind one more time” (ibid) when he had already been eternally consigned to the lake of fire before this final judgement in vs. 10?

Only those who rely on the uninspired Watchtower writings can be so fooled. If the Watchtower Society can be so flat-out wrong and sly on an otherwise clear topic as this, how can its teachings about God, Jesus or salvation be reliable? This is why truth is found in inspired Scripture, not in uninspired Watchtower writings.

The Old Testament Wars and Christianity

A common opinion of many non-Christians is that the Old Testament passages of the Bible depict an angry, cruel God who sanctioned wars, murders and destruction analogous to the war-mongering Allah of the Quran. For some, this is the slickest excuse they rehearse to justify their rejection of God.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) a deist, in his Age of Reason made references to “all the horrid assassinations of whole nations of men, women, and infants, with which the Bible is filled; and the bloody persecutions, and tortures unto death and religious wars, that since that time have laid Europe in blood and ashes.”

To anyone conversant with history, this statement conveniently skips over huge gaps of millennia, civilizations and ethnicity, betraying a writer plagued by extreme prejudice and obtuse rhetoric.

While there are anti-Christians who use several Old Testament events to attack Christianity ignoring the obvious distinctions, there are some Christians that consider the OT to be uninspired or totally irrelevant. We need to take a look at the bigger picture, since the New Testament honours the Old:

“Everything written long ago was written to teach us so that we would have confidence through the endurance and encouragement which the Scriptures give us.” (Rom. 15:4)

We must not ignore the Old testament, in fact, we cannot have a clear understanding of the New testament without having a good grasp of it. The Old testament gives us the background of God’s relationship with His people, His Laws and prophecies of Jesus the Messiah. But the loaded questions that the OT wars generate makes it important to approach it in the context of history, prophecy, purpose, theology and dispensation.

“The OT came into being in the course of a history, and most of what it says has to do with history,” says Werner Schmidt, an Emeritus Professor of Old Testament. “The historian’s task, therefore, is to sift critically the data of Israelite history from the OT.” The Biblical accounts of the wars the Israelites fought were historical records of their time and not prescriptive commands for Christians today. The historical timeline of the nation of Israel can be divided into six:

Nomadic Antiquity (15th? -13th century BC) – The period between God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, liberation of the Jews from Egypt and God’s Laws given at Sinai.

Prenational Early Period (12th-11th century BC) – Settlement of the Jews in the Promised land, age of the Judges and wars of Yahweh.

Monarchic Period (1000-587 BC) – Period of the kings of Israel (Saul, David, Solomon etc), the prophets Elisha, Elijah, Isaiah etc, Syro-Ephramite war against Judah, the division of the kingdom and Assyrian siege of Jerusalem.

Exile (587-539 BC) – Final destruction of Jerusalem by Babylonians. Period of prophets Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel.

Post- Exilic Period (539-515 BC) – Fall of Babylon to the Persians, rebuilding of the temple. Time of prophets Haggai, Zechariah etc.

Hellenistic Age (333-64 BC) – Alexander the Great’s victory over the Persians, Maccabean revolt, re-dedication of the Temple and conquest of Palestine by the Romans (Werner Schmidt, Old Testament Introduction, St. Paul Press: India, 2010, 9-10).

Any appeal to the OT wars without a consideration of this historical timeline is deceptive and invalid. For instance, the Jews enjoyed a period of relative peace during the monarchic and post-exilic period than the nomadic and prenational era; and most of the wars of that era were over the “Promised Land” God gave them.

This naturally leads us to concisely explore the prophecies underlying Jewish history. God promised a land of clearly defined boundaries to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants forever (Gen. 13:15; Jos. 26:3). This promise was fulfilled over 400 years later when God brought the Israelites out of Egypt “with a mighty hand” and tells them He “has chosen you out of all the people on the face of the earth” (Dt. 7:8; 14:2).

There were responsibilities attached to this position. God said to them: “You only have I known of the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for your iniquities.” (Amos 3:2)

He warned that they will “uprooted from the land [they] are entering to possess” and He will “scatter [them] among all the nations” if they practiced the abominations of the nations that had occupied the promised land. (Dt. 28:63, 64) This later happened and the Jews were taken into captivity by other nations.

God foretold that they would “become a byword and an object of ridicule among all people” and “a thing of horror and an object of scorn” among these nations (1 Kgs. 9:7; Dt. 28:37). True to this prophecy, the Jews were hated, mistreated and despised.

God promised to preserve the Israelites and their “descendants from the land of their exile” ( Jer. 3:11) He said: “For I will take you out of the nations: I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.” (Jer. 36:24) This was fulfilled also.

God has dealt with the nation of Israel for her sins more than any other nation of the world. What then was the purpose of their wars with other nations?

a) Many of the wars they fought were in self-defense as many surrounding nations hated and sought to destroy them. When they left Egypt, “The Amalekites came and attacked” them at Rephidim. Through God’s intervention, they defeated the Amalekites and God said to Moses “Write this on a scroll … because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under the heaven” (Ex. 17:8-14).

Each generation of the Amalekites persisted in waging war against Israel. This was why God later commanded King Saul to destroy them.

As they sought to peacefully pass through another nation, the Canaanite king “attacked the Israelites and captured some of them. Then Israel made a vow to the LORD: ‘If you deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroy their cities.” God granted their plea. (Num. 21:1-3) The king of the Amorites also sent his army to attack them but the Israelites also defeated them (vs 21-25).

Even after Moses’ death, “when all the kings west of Jordan heard about these things … they came together to make war against Joshua and Israel” (Jos. 9:1, 2). It was in a bid to survive in the midst of these hostilities, that the Israelites had to fight in self-defense. God also supported and defended them as long as they were faithful to Him (John Barton, Introduction to the Old Testament, Oxford Press, 2001, 9)

b) Just as God punished the wicked with a deluge in Noah’s day and fire in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, He used the nation of Israel as His medium of judging the wickedness of the nations they fought.

“It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (Dt. 9:5)

D. M. McFarlan noted that: “The Canaanites were the inhabitants of the land when the Israelites invaded Canaan. They included Amorites (a Semitic people), Hittites and Hivites” (Dictionary of the Bible, Geddes and Grosset, 2003, 39).

These nations practiced child sacrifices, demon worship and ritual sex (Ps. 106:38; Jer. 7:30). God gave the Amorites 400 years because their sins “had not yet reached its full measure” but when they persisted in their evils, He judged them. “When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong” (Gen. 15:13,16; Eccl. 8:11).

c) The battles were fought only under God’s commands and the outcomes depended on whether the Israelites were obedient to Him or not (Ex. 34:24; 2 Sam. 5:17-25). Before a certain war, Moses warned them: “you shall fall by the sword because you have turned away from the LORD, the LORD will not be with you.” They still went ahead to fight that war and they were defeated (Num. 14:39-45).

They didn’t wage war to convert others to Judaism (as Muslims do today) but only according to specific divine directions against nations deep in depravity.

Bible scholar, Allan R. Millard stated: “It is important to realize that Israel was only one of the Canaanites’ enemies, although ultimately the worst. The history of the 13th century BC includes major military actions, invasions, and a general decline in cultural standards” (ed. David and Pat Alexander, The Lion Handbook to the Bible, London, 1983, 213).

Scholars have also pointed out that the OT suggestions of genocides were common ancient eastern hyperbolic war victory rhetoric which shouldn’t be taken literally.

d) Even in these incursions, God extended His mercy to these nations. The Jews were to announce to the cities their terms of peace to avoid war (Dt. 20:10-13) and in some cases, inhabitants, such as Rahab and her family, were spared:

“By recounting the rescue of Rahab twice within this one narrative [Josh. 5:17, 23], the writer underscores the importance of the theme of salvation in the midst of judgment. This was not a war of plunder or personal revenge against the Canaanites. It was, rather, the work of God’s judgment against the people of the land (5:14). Those who helped the Israelites, such as Rahab, were exempt from divine judgement” (John Sailhamer, NIV Compact Bible Commentary, Zondervan, 1994, 187-188).

In their war against the Midianites, the women were also spared. God also used dreams to warn their enemies before an attack (Num. 31; Jud. 7:13-15). This reveals the justice and holiness of God who punishes generations of those who hate Him and shows His love and mercy to the generation of the righteous. (Ex. 20:5-6).

The New Testament also reveals these two aspects of God’s dealings side by side: “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God” (Rom. 11:22). Having an accurate picture of God entails keeping both aspects of His character before us.

e) The Israelites were under a theocracy i.e. God was their ruler. Nations today are not under God’s rule and do not have a specific history or covenant with Him as Israel had, so the OT wars do not apply to them. Those commands of war were specific for that time of Israel’s history, not for any other nation either then or now.

“God led redeemed Israel down to Sinai, where He entered into a covenant with the nation. He was setting the Israelites apart as a special people for Himself. Israel became God’s mediator of God’s theocratic kingdom on earth through the Mosaic covenant” (Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology, Moody Press, Chicago, 2008, 57).

This leads to the question: should the Church today follow the examples of the Jews in the OT and wage wars against heretics or pagans? The answer is no. The church is not Israel. There are clear distinctions between both:

1. Israel is composed primarily of one nationality, and it is identified with a particular geographical location – Palestine. The church, however, includes people from every tongue, tribe and nation and is not related to any area of the earth.

2. Israel was given a specific land with specific boundaries and promises. The church extends all over the earth and is not given a specific land.

3. The Christian church didn’t exist in the Old testament; it had a beginning. Jesus said “On this rock I will build my church” (Mt. 16:18) and it was built on the foundations of apostles and prophets with Jesus being the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:20).

4. Israel differed from the church in their calling. God chose Israel to be His mouthpiece to other nations. He gave them His laws, and through them, the Scriptures and the Messiah who came to save the world. But the church is to witness, evangelize and disciple all nations for Jesus Christ.

5. Israel alone had a covenant relationship with God in the OT. But now, God has made this first covenant “obsolete” and has made a “new covenant” with Christian – whether Jew or Gentile – to have access to Him through Jesus (Heb. 8:13).

6. God has spoken “in the past” to the Israelites “through the prophets at many times and in various ways.” But now, “He has spoken to us [Christians] by His Son” (Heb. 1:1-2). The blueprint of the Christian is based on what Jesus and His apostles taught which are revealed in the New Testament:

Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God” (Mt. 5:9)

But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Mt. 5:44)

And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” (2 Tim. 2:24)

This explains why there were no wars in the New Testament between Christians and the heathen and many Christians were persecuted and killed. Aside this, the Christian warfare is a spiritual one, directed against spiritual enemies:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 6:12)

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world [physical arm, guns, bombs or swords], On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4)

With the exception of instances of self-defense, the punishment of evil doers lies in the rightly constituted authority of the secular state – military, law enforcement etc. This necessitates a Biblical separation of the church and state: “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong … for he doesn’t bear the sword for nothing. For he is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (Rom. 13:3,4).

Thomas Schreiner notes that the vs. 4’s reference to rulers bearing the sword refers “to the broader judicial function of the state, particularly its right to deprive of life those who had committed crimes worthy of death” (Romans, ed. Moises Silver, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 1998, 6:684).

A sound interpretation and understanding of the Bible does not confuse the Old Testament wars with true Christianity. The hoary rhetoric that Christianity “reformed itself of the OT wars unlike the religion of Islam” is simplistic and ignorant, to put it mildly.