We live in a time when violence, but then so has every generation. Consider the slaughter of innocent people who died in the Holocaust in Germany at the hand of a crazed dictator name Adolph Hitler as proof that violence is nothing new. Today, terrorist fill the land of every nation. We have violent groups like ISIS (Islamic State), Boko Haram (jihadist group in northeastern Nigeria), Kataib Hezbollah, and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (formerly al-Qa’ida in Iraq). Innocent people have been killed by these terrorist all over the world. No matter your political views, there appears no end to such senseless violence.
Let us look a few in the scripture who have left this world by the act of violence. At the head of the fist, of course, would be Jesus of Nazareth who went about doing good. He was tempted in all points as we are, but there was no sin in His life. He was despised and rejected of men, but He showed no sign of hatred in His entire life in the flesh. He was as innocent and quiet as the lamb on the day of His illegal, cruel treatment and mockery during His trials before Annas, Caiaphas, Herod, and Pilate. He prayed for the people while He was on the cross, and it was on that cross that He paid the redemption price for sinful men. He taught men to overcome evil with good, and He has turned millions from evil to good through the preaching of the story of His life, His death, and His resurrection.
Abel being dead yet speaks (Heb. 11:4). He pleased God by his sacrifice that was offered by faith. No fault of his is mentioned, but he was killed by the jealous violator of God’s law. This first recorded murder was in the first family on earth, and the record of the unholy event is in the first book of the Bible (Gen. 4). Have you thought of how many sins that are so common in America today were found among the people mentioned in the book of Genesis? There was lying, drunkenness, murder, stealing, fornication, hatred, jealousy, love of money, and lust in the heart that led to overt acts.
Stephen died at the hands of Saul (Acts 7:59,60). James died at the hands of King Herod (Acts 12:2). Christians, since biblical times, have died for the cause of Christ all over the world. Nothing is new in the world (Eccl 1:9).
“God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth . . . and it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth . . . And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold I will destroy them with the earth” (Gen. 6:5-13). When the Lord was ready to destroy the earth, it was a time when “the earth was filled with violence” (Gen. 6:11). One thing that God hates is “hands that shed innocent blood” (Prov. 6:17). Men who know something of what God has said realize that He said, “You shall not kill.” This is first recorded when God spoke as mount Sinai quaked and smoked, and God Himself gave the commandment with the thundering trumpet voice so that even Moses did “exceedingly fear and quake” (Heb. 12:21). “Moses said unto the people, Fear not, for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not” (Ex. 20:20).
The New Testament speaks as plainly against murder and against the anger that may lead to it (Matt. 5:21,22). We are taught to understand that those who have “trodden under foot the Son of God” are worthy of “sorer punishment” than those who received capital punishment because they “despised Moses’ law. ” It is still God who says, “Vengeance belongs unto me, I will recompense.” “The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hand of the living God.” Let willful sinners have the “fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation” (Heb. 10:26-31). Abel’s blood cried unto God from the ground. God had no trouble learning who was guilty of the murder (Gen. 4:10). “God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7). Many do not realize that God has spoken and means what He says. Do you? Do your children?
Jonah, after a period of rebellion and a rude awakening, finally went to Nineveh to “preach unto it the preaching” that God had commanded (Jonah 3:2). He must have put his point across because the King said, “Let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands” (3:8). Nineveh was in great danger of being destroyed, and violence is singled out as one reason as it was in the day of Noah when men were destroyed off the face of the earth.
In explaining the destruction of Jerusalem to Ezekiel, the Lord allowed him to see a vision of the idolatry and other abominations to be seen in Jerusalem. Here is a portion of what He said: “Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence” (Ezek. 8:17). The same prophet foretold the destruction of Tyre. Among other things he said, “By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned” (Ezek. 28:16). Were they worse than many cities in America where one cannot walk the streets in safety, and where so many businesses are robbed at gunpoint daily? Does the same God rule in the kingdoms of men (Dan. 4:17, 25, 32; 5:21)? What are the prospects for God’s hands of vengeance upon our land? Is not the whole earth being shaken by guerrilla warfare, assassinations, kidnappings, and hijackings?
Sins of violence are not new, and I am no prophet or the son of a prophet, but I am convinced that there is the strong arm of vengeance ready for a land that will bring up such sinners from innocent childhood. I am afraid for the future of our nation. I plead for more people to make zealous effort to know, practice, and teach the word of God. The rebuilding of America must start in the home, and the truth should go to every creature. More laborers are desperately needed for this spiritual vineyard. In the days when the Old Testament prophets lived and reported on some of the Lord’s activities, they told of His use of pestilence (disease), famine, and the sword (Jer. 24: 10 cf; 42:17; 44:13). The Lord can handle the population explosion without any trouble. We all know the fate of Jerusalem for its rejection of the Christ, who was the gift of God’s love.
Read the last half of the first chapter of the book of Romans Pare it with your observations in this country as you read or listen to the daily news reports. The pagan world at the time of the apostles knew and condoned the deeds of people who were guilty of the sins which are today said to be normal sexual behavior. I refer to homosexuals, lesbians, and other sexual perversion (LGBTQ). God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and the cites near about because of such sins. God has warned every nation against such things, and has shown his wrath and vengeance against them which commit such things (2 Pet 2:6). They also knew of “envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.” Sinners of this nature are not to be without punishment. God has warned that every nation that forgets God shall be destroyed (Ps 9:17). He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit has revealed of the mind of God.