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Why did God command the killing

of people in the Old Testament?

In order to answer this question clearly, it is essential to understand the meaning and purpose of God's plan for creation. ​God's intention from the beginning was for all people to live together in peace and securi-ty on earth. But after man turned away from God and went his own way, after a short time he plunged the entire creation into misery....

The earth and everything that is on the earth belongs to God. But God gave us hu-mans the earth to possess so that we could live on it according to His commandments. Then, and only then, do we humans have the right to exist. If we live past God's will, we miss our destiny and at the same time forfeit our right to exist. Because everything we hu-mans do that does not correspond to the will of God is sin. God's judgment for sin is death....

But even before the creation of the world, God made a plan to redeem man from his mortality and restore peace to the earth. To accomplish his plan, God first called indi-viduals into his service. God made a cove-nant with them and gave them his promises. So from one man named Abraham a whole nation arose; the people of Israel. Israel was God's first chosen people, through whom God wanted to make his salvation available to all other peoples on earth.​​

After the people of Israel had initially lived as slaves for many years in Egypt, where they were cruelly oppressed, God freed his people through a man named Moses. Now that the Israelites were free, God gave them His holy commandments and ordinances to live by and to set Israel as an example for all other nations. In return, God promised His people His blessing and a fertile land in which the Israelites would live in peace forever.

After the end of the flood, people spread more and more across the earth. Kingdoms emerged from individual clans and claimed power and territories for themselves. War, violence and oppression were normal. None of the pagan nations asked about the true God. Likewise, God's commandments and le-gal regulations were ignored. Instead, the pagans worshiped a variety of self-created “gods.” In this context, they performed reli-gious rituals that were detestable in the eyes of God.

The only way for Israel to survive as a free people and take the Promised Land was to defeat the remaining nations around them. Therefore, God commanded the Israelites to fight his enemies with the sword, to con-quer their cities and to destroy them, that is, to kill or drive out all the people in them. At the same time, in this way God executed his judgment on the peoples who had pro-faned his holy name through their impiety and pagan cults. It would also help all nations to recognize that God is with Israel and that God rewards people who love him and live by his commandments. With God's help, the Israelites were able to defeat a number of nations that were militarily supe-rior to them and finally take possession of the land that God had promised his people. Furthermore, to prevent God's people from being seduced into worshiping false "gods" - as has happened again and again over the centuries - the Israelites should eliminate every trace of pagan idolatry.

Violation of some of the commandments God gave His people resulted in the punish-ment of death. These included murder, adul-tery, blasphemy and other serious crimes. These deterrent measures should serve to educate the people in God's righteousness, so that people learn to worship the one true God, to do good and to avoid evil. At the same time, God wanted to prevent people from falling away from Him and ending up in damnation. All of these testimonies that Holy Scripture gives us are intended to teach us and make it clear to us how serious sin is in God's eyes....

Even if God's judgments seem cruel to some people today, God fundamentally acts for the good of all people. From the very begin-ning, God's plan of salvation also aims to free the world from suffering and injustice. After all, that's what every person wants. The precondition for this is that all people recognize God's will and follow his com-mandments.

At the center of God's plan of salvation is Jesus Christ, whom God has designated as the Savior of all people. Through many prophe-cies God announced the coming of his Re-deemer. When the fullness of time was fulfil-led, God sent Jesus to the people of His people to offer them forgiveness of sins and eter-nal life through faith in His name. Jesus taught people to renounce violence in any form. In this respect, there is no justification whatsoever for the violent crimes that the Catholic Church committed “in the name of God” for purely power-political reasons....

To this day, God lets his good news of re-demption through Jesus Christ be pro-claimed peacefully among all peoples of the earth, so that everyone who wants to be-come part of God's people through faith in Jesus and thus participate in the promise of eternal life.



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