Vayeira 5768 – Divine Genocide

A chart inspired by the comments on my last post:

Ante-deluvian
Genesis 6
Sodom & Gomorrah
Genesis 18-19
Egypt
Exodus 1-4
Canaan
Joshua
Commonality
Primary Cause Violence Violence Oppression &
infanticide
Child sacrifice Violence
Possible Secondary Cause Sexual immorality Sexual immorality Idolatry & hard-heartedness Idolatry ?
Means of Destruction Flood Fire & brimstone Ten plagues War Miraculous
Means of Escape Ark Feet Blood & feet Red cord, feet, & deception Divine guidance
& human action

The primary cause in each case of divine genocide was unjust violence. There were definitely secondary issues, such as homosexuality, temple prostitution, hard heartedness, etc., but I don’t think those were named as causes.

The means of destruction was always at least partly divine. In the case of the Canaanites, God used the Israelites, but they were still assisted by direct divine intervention.

The means of escape were never solely divine. God always provided guidance and sometimes protection, but people were always partly responsible for their own safety. If Noah hadn’t built the ark, he would have died with the rest. If Lot hadn’t walked away from Sodom, if the Israelites hadn’t painted their lintels and crossed the Red Sea, if Rahab hadn’t hung the red cord, or the Jebusites deceived Joshua, they all would have died.

Remember one of the lessons of Lech Lecha: What happens to the fathers, happens also to the children.

(The destruction of the Canaanites doesn’t fit into this scheme as neatly as the other three do. For one thing, the Canaanites weren’t a single civilization, but multiple independent city-states with varying degrees of spiritual sickness. Some were allowed to leave if they were able, while some were to be completely wiped out, with no escape possible.)

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13 Responses to Vayeira 5768 – Divine Genocide

  1. Triton says:

    I assume by “violence” you actually meant unjust violence.
    And I think I would sum up the means of escaape of the “saved” as faith-inspired action. The element of faith is essential, as we see in the case of Lot’s wife. She had no reservation fleeing the city; it was a lack of faith that made her look back and doomed her.
    And this brings up the pre-trib rapture proponent’s case: the “faith-induced action” we use to save ourselves is believing in Jesus and accepting Him as Lord and Saviour. It is our salvation that rescues us.
    (By the way, don’t get the impression that I favour the pre-trib rapture theory. I’m somewhat undecided, but lean towards a post-trib rapture. I’m just playing devil’s advocate here.)
    Anyway, the whole reason I brought this up is because a scenario where Christians must endure the Tribulation doesn’t seem to square with God’s attitude regarding the folks from Sodom. I guess I’m just looking for a way to reconcile these events.

  2. jay c says:

    You’re right about unjust violence. God himself doesn’t hestitate to use violence when necessary. It’s violence against the innocent–such as courts rewarding cheats and liars while imprisoning or fining men of principle–that will get us into trouble.
    Making Jesus our Lord and accepting him as Messiah enables him to overlook our faults so that we may rejoin with him eternally, but that doesn’t save us from trouble in the here and now. The kind of action that saved Noah and Lot was more than mental assent. It was physical. They had to get off their butts and do something. At the moment (I reserve the right to change my mind at the drop of a hat) I don’t believe in a rapture at all. When Paul talked about being “caught up in the clouds”, I’m not sure he meant that literally. If he did, then I don’t think he meant that it was a permanent escape from earth.
    A pre-trib rapture definitely doesn’t fit God’s usual pattern. Noah sat in the boat while the rain hammered the roof. Lot camped out in a small town near Sodom (he was supposed to be in the hills, watching the fireworks with Abraham) while fire and brimstone rained down on all the cities around him. And the Hebrews suffered through some of the Egyptian plagues and watched their neighbors suffer through the others. Rahab and company sat in her house while the city walls crumbled and her neighbors were slaughtered. The pattern seems to be that God shelters his people from the brunt of the storm, but doesn’t remove them from it altogether.
    A post-trib rapture doesn’t violate the pattern terribly, but it doesn’t fit perfectly, either. When the Flood was over, Noah started farming the same earth again. Lot set up house in a nearby cave (not exactly a happy ending, though). The Hebrews took the Egyptians’ gold and silver, which you definitely can’t take to Heaven with you. Rahab and the Israelites replaced the Canaanites in the Promised Land instead of moving on to some other land.
    Here’s the pattern as I see it right now: God allows the faithful to be persecuted, partially shelters them while he destroys their persecutors, and then sets them up to inherit what the unfaithful lost.

  3. Mark Call says:

    You beat me to it again, Jay!
    My favorite “faith in action” story is actually from the midrash on Moses and the timing of the sea parting —
    evidently the sea didn’t REALLY part until several of the faithful had taken action and started walking. Only when they were “in it up to their necks” and SHOWN their faith did the waters part.
    I also remember Jon’s ‘parachute’ example, concerning people who proclaim their faith in the skill of the man who packed the parachute they might use to exit an airplane.
    You can talk faith in that ‘chute all you want, but that faith is made manifest when you take the first step out of the airplane.
    Finally, I harken back to the line in Revelation that I frequently quote, “Come out of her my people…be not partakers of her plagues.” That still sounds like both a warning, and a call to action, by me.

  4. Mark Call says:

    And Triton, I’m not really sure what you mean here:
    …a scenario where Christians must endure the Tribulation doesn’t seem to square with God’s attitude regarding the folks from Sodom. I guess I’m just looking for a way to reconcile these events.
    Abraham’s questioning of God had already established that S&G were pretty well bereft of the righteous. Lot clearly liked the city, and wasn’t anxious to go, but managed to “come out” eventually and be saved.
    Maybe if I take the “harder line” my question about whether there’s anything to reconcile becomes more clear.
    I’m not convinced that some folks who think that Yeshua died “so they could eat a ham sandwich” and have a ‘get out of hell, free’ card just for saying a sinner’s prayer once ever really “knew Him”. At least not the Savior who came not to change “one yod or tiddlte” until “heaven and earth pass” and said “If you love Me, keep My commands.”
    Remember the old joke about the man in the flood who eventually died; the punch line is God saying, “I sent you two boats and a helicopter – what were you waiting for?”
    The Hebrew concept of t’shuvah implies more than the modern translationn of ‘repent’. It means (get off your a__) to TURN as well as change your mind, something like the concept of by your works your faith is demonstrated. Even if He sends a boat, we have to be willing to get in it.
    Sodom and Gomorrah were going down. The only question was whether His people would choose to “come out” first.

  5. Triton says:

    When Paul talked about being “caught up in the clouds”, I’m not sure he meant that literally. If he did, then I don’t think he meant that it was a permanent escape from earth.
    Well, I interpret this one literally, though I agree that it is not a permanent escape since we’ll be here for the millennial reign. Basically, we go up to meet the Messiah in the air, then come back down again to enjoy (administer?) His rule. The debate is mostly in the sequencing of these events with regards to the eschatological judgments.
    A post-trib rapture doesn’t violate the pattern terribly, but it doesn’t fit perfectly, either.
    I agree, but would add that none of the scenarios I’ve seen fit as well as I would like. Hence, my reluctance to adhere to any particular theory with any zeal.
    God allows the faithful to be persecuted, partially shelters them while he destroys their persecutors, and then sets them up to inherit what the unfaithful lost.
    I’ll go along with that. The problem, though, is in determining the extent of the shelter during the Tribulation. A worldwide food shortage (Rev. 6:6), for example, would affect Christians just as much as anyone else. I’m not seeing a lot of “shelter” from God’s judgment in that kind of situation, you know?
    Also, for the other judgments you mentioned, God gave explicit instructions to those He was going to save. We have no such instructions for avoiding the Tribulation. Though I suppose it’s possible that those instructions will be forthcoming just in the nick of time. But I’m not ready to construct a theory that depends on future revelation that may or may not occur.
    And Triton, I’m not really sure what you mean here
    You might want to read the comments from the previous post. I’m trying to reconcile a God who spares Sodom if only ten righteous men can be found with a God who will not spare millions or billions of Christians from the Great Tribulation.
    This dilemma would seem to support a pre-trib rapture, and I wanted Jay’s opinion on it.
    I’m not convinced that some folks who think that Yeshua died “so they could eat a ham sandwich” and have a ‘get out of hell, free’ card just for saying a sinner’s prayer once ever really “knew Him”. At least not the Savior who came not to change “one yod or tiddlte” until “heaven and earth pass” and said “If you love Me, keep My commands.”
    Jay and I have already been over that, and I would prefer not to revisit it at this time. You can read my opinion here and here if you want. In the meantime, though, I’d like to limit this discussion to the dilemma I presented:
    How do you reconcile a God who spares the heathen at Sodom for the sake of ten men, but will not spare

  6. Triton says:

    Dang. Continued:
    How do you reconcile a God who spares the heathen at Sodom for the sake of ten men, but will not spare Christians from the Great Tribulation?
    And if He does spare Christians at the end, what is the procedure, if not a pre-trib rapture?

  7. jay c says:

    Mostly, I just put of reconciling any of it, assuming I just don’t have enough data yet. It’s one reason I’ve just danced around eschatology so far. If I dive in am I going to knock my head on the bottom of a wading pool or am I going to get sucked down in a maelstrom? God gave us information, so I’ll have to look at it more one of these days. Until then, I’ll just keep trying to live for him today.

  8. Mark Call says:

    How do you reconcile a God who spares the heathen at Sodom for the sake of ten men, but will not spare Christians from the Great Tribulation?
    And if He does spare Christians at the end, what is the procedure, if not a pre-trib rapture?

    Thanks for the clarification, Triton.
    (I assume as well, but haven’t seen it stated here, that we all distinguish between the “Day of the Lord” which no flesh survives, and any Tribulation.)
    I find Monte Judah’s take illustrative on the latter, and I know Jay has referenced similar patterns (as the fathers, so the sons…) before here.
    Adonai fed His people in the wilderness before, after they “came out” – He can and I think will do so again. He will also “hide” us, and gather His people together again, presumably in spite of the “no one will be able to buy or sell” issues. How will certainly be interesting to see.
    Like Jay, I’m a bit reluctant to speculate on specifics, other than the specifics of what His Word says we must do.

  9. Triton says:

    Excellent answer, Jay. I always appreciate it when a man can admit that he just doesn’t know. And I agree; eschatology is a difficult subject, and I am reluctant to hold too tightly to any particular theory.
    I assume as well, but haven’t seen it stated here, that we all distinguish between the “Day of the Lord” which no flesh survives, and any Tribulation.
    Why don’t you enlighten us, Mark, just to make sure we’re all on the same page. πŸ˜‰

  10. Mark Call says:

    Sarcasm, or subtlety, Triton?
    Jay’s eschewing of eschatology aside, I’m a bit reluctant to put too much weight on my own interp of prophecy either.
    I DO, however, tend to have certain “probability projections” (how’s that for soft-pedalling?) for how I picture things might develop. Some fall more into the category of how they probably WON’T develop (like a pre-Trib rapture, although – as a friend once noted – I could be pleasantly surprised πŸ˜‰
    I tend personally toward thinking we’ll have to “come out of her” before things get really bad in order to avoid being forced to take a chip or die. I do expect to see a physical “abomination of desolation” on a rebuilt temple at the three-and-a-half year point. (Somewhere in there I picture the LQ riding a Beast of some kind, too, but I don’t know what to make of that.)
    As you and others have said, I wouldn’t be surprised to physically meet our King “in the air”, and then come back to live under His reign.
    I tend to think that it’s still another thousand years (day or so) later until the Day of wrath that no flesh survives. But on that score I’m willing to be convinced (there’s plenty of time πŸ˜‰ and figure there’s plenty of work for us good-and-faithful-servant wannabes in the meantime…

  11. Triton says:

    Sarcasm, or subtlety, Triton?
    Lighthearted sincerity, I assure you. I’ve always appreciated your input at Vox Popoli and certainly wasn’t trying to be nasty or anything.
    Some fall more into the category of how they probably WON’T develop (like a pre-Trib rapture, although – as a friend once noted – I could be pleasantly surprised
    I would tend to agree.
    I tend personally toward thinking we’ll have to “come out of her” before things get really bad in order to avoid being forced to take a chip or die.
    I know you interpret “her” to mean secular government (or something along those lines), but I’m not convinced. I’ve seen equally powerful arguments for “her” being the Roman Catholic Church, in which case “come out of her” would have an entirely different meaning.
    I’m still undecided, though, so if you have a case to make in that regard, I’d be interested in hearing it.
    I do expect to see a physical “abomination of desolation” on a rebuilt temple at the three-and-a-half year point.
    I’m not a preterist, but I do think the preterists are right about Daniel. I read a pretty good case for Daniel referring to first century events, but I can’t recall where I read it. I can’t even recall the argument; I just remember finding it convincing. Anyway, I’ll see if Google and I can scrounge it up if you’re interested.
    Somewhere in there I picture the LQ riding a Beast of some kind, too, but I don’t know what to make of that.
    I think she’s probably already riding something other than her husband, if you get my drift.
    I tend to think that it’s still another thousand years (day or so) later until the Day of wrath that no flesh survives.
    I’m afraid I’m drawing a blank here regarding the “no flesh survives” part. Could you provide a reference verse, please?

  12. Mark Call says:

    [re: ‘come out of her’ — ] I know you interpret “her” to mean secular government (or something along those lines), but I’m not convinced. I’ve seen equally powerful arguments for “her” being the Roman Catholic Church, in which case “come out of her” would have an entirely different meaning.
    I’m still undecided, though, so if you have a case to make in that regard, I’d be interested in hearing it.

    I’m not going to disagree too much here, Triton, other than to say I really interpret ‘come out of her’ more broadly, to mean ‘the world’. As in, ‘the world will hate you…for My sake’ references.
    Since I’ve never been explicitly Catholic, I can’t make a ‘come out’ claim directly there, although I also think that claim is valid. (And, to the extent that MANY errors in ‘the Church’ are essentially Catholic in origin, from Easter and the Friday-to-Sunday change on, I see that point as well.)
    …I do think the preterists are right about Daniel.
    I have seen a lot of the preterist info, and would be interested in your article. Even so, (especially having re-read some of Yeshua’s Matthew 24 and other prophecies in light of the fact that Maccabees was history by then) I have come to the conclusion that there’s more to come on that score.
    All of which leads to my own central view – that man makes the same mistakes over and over again, history repeats, and so does prophecy. After all, if ‘what happens to the fathers happens to the sons’, it’s to be expected. Which one is the “real one” is sometimes hard to say, even in hindsight.

    I’m afraid I’m drawing a blank here regarding the “no flesh survives” part. Could you provide a reference verse, please?

    I was afraid you might ask that. πŸ˜‰
    I did a quick search earlier; sometimes the ‘multiple Bible memory’ issue really makes some searches hard. (I use Blue Letter most of the time online, and usually KJV just for consistency.) Other references like the ‘great’ and ‘terrible’ “day of the Lord” (I know John references the “Lord’s Day” as well) exist. And I’m trying NOT to confuse it with Matt. 24:22!
    OK – I’ll have to do a better search when I get a chance. (I’m still looking for an e-Bible that will let me do such a search across multiple versions with synonym replacement!)
    Anyway, I can still be convinced on this score myself, but have begun to suspect that (now I remember at least part of it!) “ALL is fulfilled” when “heaven and earth pass”, (Matt. 5:18 again) and then Rev. 21:1…

  13. Mark Call says:

    PS, Triton.
    On the extended ‘come out of her’ case – I assume you might be familiar with Monty Judah…
    He does a pretty good series of teachings that tie several of these themes together in a prophetic sense, and talks of a ‘future Exodus’ that combines elements of ‘coming out’ of Egypt, Babylon, and probably even S&G with another stint for His people (meaning ‘us’) in the wilderness, and finally the Great Regathering followed by the ultimate Sukkot/’wedding’ feast.
    In this sense, Egypt and Babylon overlap in some areas, but represent a world religious and legal system, respectively – both of which attempt to replace God and enslave or take captive His people. Later both Rome, and even the US, seem to represent empires which combine those elements, and draw people in various types of bondage and paganism.
    And I guess in that sense, as well, when I rail against the “501(c)3 corporate church” it’s also a clear metaphor for a world system that has replaced His model with one that serves ‘the prince of this world’ rather than Him.
    When we “choose Whom we will serve”, it ultimately means He will redeem us, and lead us out of bondage to everything that is of the old master, and the ‘old man’.

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