There are many atheists and skeptics who say that religion was created to control the masses.
As a Black man, I often hear others say how can you believe in a God that was forced on your ancestors by the slavemaster. They forget or ignore that the bible did not originate with Europeans, but that’s another discussion.
Once some people are convinced their particular view is correct, they claim everyone else is BRAINWASHED.
It’s amazing how one can assume you haven’t studied history for yourself and that you’re being naive.
There are plenty of believers like myself who are educated, have studied history, have studied other cultures and still choose to believe in the Lord God of Israel from Everlasting to Everlasting through His Son and our Savior Yeshua, Christ Jesus, The Lamb of God.
The history of the bible goes beyond and before European influences.
Besides…Those who are truly connected with God don’t have ‘religion’…we have relationship.
1 Timothy 1:12 (NKJV)
For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
So many times we, in the Body of Christ, are very quick to blame God’s wrath and judgement on those who don’t believe and are practicing the works of the flesh. And, God has promised that those who practice the works of the flesh and continue in sin will be ‘dealt with’….
Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV)
19Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: [a]adultery, [b]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, [c]murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the [a]gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
However, when you carefully read the word of God, especially in the Old Testament, you will find that God’s judgment on His people was NEVER because of the sin of unbelievers, pagans or heathens…it was ALWAYS because of either THEIR OWN SIN, COMPROMISE, HYPOCRISY and ASSIMILATION or because of the SIN OF THE LEADER (KING).
First of all, remember that every thing that is written in the Old Testament, especially the catastrophic, sometimes unbelievable and admittedly difficult to understand acts of judgment, such as commanding everything alive to be killed, the ground opening up and swallowing entire families, a man being stoned for picking up sticks on the day of rest, and His people being exiled were written for our example…
1 Corinthians 10:11 (NKJV)
11 Now [a]all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our [b]admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
They were extreme examples to let us know God’s heart. It let us know how much some behavior pissed Him off.
That being said, now read carefully through Judges, 1st & 2nd Kings, 1st & 2nd Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi making a point to notice how God reacts to the behavior of His people.
Yes, God pronounced judgement on pagans, as when He told Israel to destroy Ai in Joshua Chapter 8.
But, notice that Israel suffered drought, famine and exile not because of heathens, but because of their own spiritual adultery. That’s why He made the promise to His people in 2 Chronicles Chapter 7 as a reminder of this…
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NKJV)
13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among MY PEOPLE, 14 if MY PEOPLE who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Israel and Judah were exiled into Babylon because of their own sin.
The entire nation suffered because of the sins of unrighteous leaders who did not seek Godly counsel nor listen to God. These were Kings who put their trust in the military rather than God…
Psalm 33:16 (NLT)
16 The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior.
The entire nation of Israel was punished because of leaders who were arrogant, ungodly, unrepentant, and vengeful. They used religion for their own agenda, such as King Jeraboam (Read 1 Kings Chapter 12). Yes, they were ordained by God. Some of them were great builders and had many successful projects, but their arrogance established the culture in the nation and set up His people to sin.
King Herod was very fond of John the Baptist. He loved listening to him and even protected him. He was a great builder and politician, but he was an enemy of Christ.
Mark 6:20 (NKJV)
20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he [a]did many things, and heard him gladly.
We all know that in 70 A.D. Jerusalem was destroyed. Yeshua even lamented about how He longed to protect HIS own people, but they wouldn’t have His protection…
Matthew 23:37-38 (NKJV)
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate;
So, here is my warning to those inAmerica or any other nation who calls themselves disciples of Christ. I know many Americans fear socialism, illegal immigration, radical muslim influence and the loss of the nation but remember this…
Even though God set the example of allowing violent judgement upon heathens in the Old Testament…
ISRAEL LOST THEIR NATION, WAS EXILED AND THEIR TEMPLE DESTROYED NOT BECAUSE OF SINNERS BUT BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN SIN, COMPROMISE, HYPOCRISY andASSIMILATION or because of the SIN OF THE LEADER (KING).
Please don’t take my word for it. Take your time (because it’s not a one day read or study), pray for wisdom, read and study it for yourself.
Also remember that every prophet called in the Old Testament that had harsh warnings from God had their messages rejected by the people of God.
If my blog blesses you, I gladly accept donations of $2 or less. 1 Corinthians 9:14 (CJB) 14 In the same way, the Lord directed that those who proclaim the Good News should get their living from the Good News.