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Why the Harshness of the Old Testament?

The Big Questions

When honest people look around them and see a world that seems backwards in almost every way, and in which terrible things happen day after day, the first question that often comes to their minds, is, How can a loving God allow bad things to happen in the world? Many seem content to walk through life leaving that question unanswered. The more curious, however, search out explanations for the worlds wrongness in different places. If theyve been led to the Bible, they might encounter a second big question: How could a loving God have ordered the killing of so many people, especially in the Old Testament?

Some Answers
Thinking in Spiritual Terms
Fundamentally underlying the answers to these questions, and key to them, is an understanding why we are in this flesh age. Hard as it is for our flesh bodies and limited minds while in them to think in terms outside of the flesh, if we do not do so, we will not understand the seeming cruelty of our Father. And when we think in spiritual terms, the happenings of the flesh life become but a blip on the radar of a master plan for eternity.

Another key to understanding the goodness of our Fathers plan is to search the Scriptures. Regardless of denomination, church authorities tend to hand to us on plates false notions about what religion consists of. Most people have been told that religion consists of a set of petty rules, and religious leaders purport to hold them in the highest regard. For example, dont drink. Dont smoke. No sex here. Attend our services. Give us money. Get saved. People who are absent from the pews too much are regarded as backsliders, and churches hold altar calls for repentance. Certain denominations have man-made rituals and obligations they hold in high regard as well. In order to answer the questions posed, we must toss all preconceived notions of churchiosity out the window and approach them with fresh minds of babes. Christ attacked traditions commonly found in religious establishments:

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Mat 15:1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, Mat 15:2 Why do Thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. Mat 15:3 But He answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? Mat 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. Mat 15:5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; Mat 15:6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

The Original Creation (First Age)

In a number of places in the Bible, our Father declared that He created the earth to be good. However many eons of time ago, He created an earth in which we lived in a spiritual dimension. The first instance of was in Genesis 1:2 can be translated became, and thus two things can be inferred: (1) that something caused the earth and the souls on it to go bad; and (2), that there is an unspecified period of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.
Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Isaiah 45:18 confirms that our Father made the earth not in vain (vain is 8414 in Strongs has a connotation of lying waste, desolation, desert, worthless):
Isa 45:18 For thus saith the LORD That created the heavens; God Himself That formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD ; and there is none else.

What Happened to the Earths Goodness? If our Father created the earth to be good, inhabitable, etc., something must have happened to render it such a hostile and trying place to live. That event was the rebellion of the devil and those who followed him. After our Father gave him everything a being could have possibly wanted, he decided that he wanted to be God. Two passages identify Satans pride, his desire to be like the Most High, and the negative influence he has over the nations in this age. The devils powerful sway over the peoples, which our Father only allows him for this age to test His children, is the source of the evil happenings in the world. Our Father is not the source of evil things. In the first passage, our Father calls out the devil for wanting to be like Him:
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Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! Isa 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of GOD: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: Isa 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the MOST HIGH . Isa 14:15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. Isa 14:16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; Isa 14:17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? Isa 14:18 All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. Isa 14:19 But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet. Isa 14:20 Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.

In the second passage, we see small pieces of what the devil was like in the first age, what hes like in this second age in which were living, and what his fate will be. In the first age, he was perfect in [his] ways from the day that [he] wast created, till iniquity was found in [him].
Eze 28:11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Eze 28:12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Eze 28:13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Eze 28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Eze 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. Eze 28:16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Eze 28:17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Eze 28:18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. Page 3 of 14

Eze 28:19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.

Why Not Just Destroy the Devil? Because a good portion of the souls that our Father created chose to follow the devil. The devil often clothes evil in charm and attractive deception (though he is certainly capable of outright violence, death, and destruction), and many souls chose to follow him. Stars are generally regarded to mean people or souls.
Rev 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: Rev 12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. Rev 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. Rev 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

In other words, a third of the souls our Father created followed Satan directly. What of the other two thirds? Ezekiel offers a clue of what the thirds of people are like that corresponds with the whole world (excluding a small number of elect, which is a subject for another study in itself) who the antichrist/Satan deceives in Revelation 12:9:
Eze 5:1 And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair. Eze 5:2 Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them.

Our Father loves His children, and He makes clear His desire for all to repent in II Peter 3:810. Though it will not happen and some will always choose evil, His longing is for all to be saved. As such, He prolongs this age until all have that chance. Some people have to endure hellish experiences to come to the point where they acknowledge our Father.
2Pe 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the LORD as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2Pe 3:9 The LORD is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2Pe 3:10 But the day of the LORD will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

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The Second Age

In order to give all souls a chance to repent, our Father created a second age into which all souls are born without memory of what happened in the first. The phrase the foundation of the world is used several times in the New Testament, for example in Ephesians 1:4:
Eph 1:4 According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:

The word translated foundation is Strongs Greek 2602, which has connotations of deposition, founding, and conception. That word is derived from a parent word, 2598, which means to throw down. The verse also indicates a people chosen before the throwing down of the world that was (further confirmation that there was an age before this one), but that subject is outside the purpose of this writing. Thus, going back to Genesis 1:2, the rebellion of the devil and the souls that followed him led to the throwing down of the first age and the creation of the second age in order to offer all souls a chance for eternal life. The following passage in Jeremiah describes part of that throwing down:
Jer 4:23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. Jer 4:24 I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. Jer 4:25 I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. Jer 4:26 I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD , and by His fierce anger. Jer 4:27 For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end. Jer 4:28 For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.

Back to Thinking of Ourselves In Spiritual Terms

In the Old Testament particularly, our Father not only allowed but ordered the killings of men, women, children, and animals. Before addressing the question of how a good God could command such things, it is important to again remind ourselves again that we must think in spiritual terms regarding this question. Paul spells out clearly (1) that the souls of animals differ from the souls of people, and (2) that that our celestial/spiritual bodies differ from terrestrial/flesh bodies. The flesh of men is not the same as the flesh of animals. So the destruction of enemy cattle in the Old Testament is not the same as the destruction of a human being, and in fact we ourselves destroy them for food. It is obvious that our Fathers focus is the salvation of the souls of
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mankind, and that animals are of lesser value in that regard.

1Co 15:39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

Again, mankind has two bodiescelestial/spiritual and terrestrial/flesh.

1Co 15:40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 1Co 15:41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 1Co 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 1Co 15:43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 1Co 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 1Co 15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

The Harshness of the Old Testament

With a significant amount of background, we have arrived at a place where we can start to answer the question, How could a loving God have ordered the killing of so many people, especially in the Old Testament? With the creation of the second age, our Father set in motion a plan of salvation to be offered to all peoples of the earth. To bring forth that plan, He chose a people He called Israel to bring forth Christ, the Messiah, Savior to all who would believe (truly) on Him. Israels Purpose In Genesis 32:28, our Father told Jacob that his name would no longer be called Jacob, but Israel. Numbers 24:17 identifies Christ as the Star Who would come out of Jacob:
Num 24:17 I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the Page 6 of 14

corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

Israel was also the nation that our Father chose to represent His name on the earth (a task at which they failed miserably and continue to fail at), so that by His works through them, other nations would know He is YHVH:
Exo 14:4 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD . And they did so. Exo 32:11 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD , why doth Thy wrath wax hot against Thy people, which Thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Exo 32:12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did He bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from Thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Thy people. Exo 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Thy servants, to whom Thou swarest by Thine own Self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. Exo 32:14 And the LORD repented of the evil which He thought to do unto His people.

As the people our Father chose to bring forth Christ, and to represent His name, they were subjected to higher standards than were the rest of the nations.
The Rules

Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are full of rules that the Israelites had to follow. The purpose of those laws and rules were at least threefold for the people who our Father chose to bring forth Messiah: (1) To keep the people pure, clean, and holy to Him, (2) To instill obedience in the people, much as a parent would a child, (3) To act out in symbology, foreshadowing, and types the purpose of Christs coming as savior of the world. Following are examples of all three. The food laws of Leviticus 11, such as the command not to eat swine, were meant to keep the people healthy. How could a sick people serve our Father? In Exodus 19:5, our Father emphasizes obedience:
Exo 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine:

And, finally, we see the symbology of Christ, the Passover Lamb and our Savior Who was without blemish, then future, foreshadowed and acted out in the Old Testament rules
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for Passover:
Exo 12:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, Exo 12:2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Exo 12:3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: Exo 12:4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Exo 12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:

Because of the utter importance of this people Israel in staying straight enough to bring forth a Savior for all, our Father expected much of them, and the penalties for disobedience were harsh and at times meant death. There were many such instances of death for disobedience, as in the case of Achan. Lest it be asked why Achans whole family was punished, they were surely aware of and helped cover up his transgression.
Jos 7:15 And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD , and because he hath wrought folly in Israel. Jos 7:16 So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken: Jos 7:17 And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken: Jos 7:18 And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. Jos 7:19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto Him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. Jos 7:20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: Jos 7:21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. Jos 7:22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. Jos 7:23 And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD . Jos 7:24 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, Page 8 of 14

and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. Jos 7:25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. Jos 7:26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.

At this point is does well to remember, again, that this life should be viewed in spiritual terms, and those who died as examples for disobedience have every opportunity to be saved for eternity (a subject that will be returned to at the end of this writing). What of the Killings Our Father Ordered of Other Nations? The Old Testament, especially, is rife with examples of our Father ordering mass killings of people, notably the Canaanites. And yet again, it is important to keep viewing these events from a spiritual perspective. Not a soul who has lived died in the flesh has yet forfeited a chance at salvation for the eternity. The Canaanites and other non-Israelite nations were peoples who practiced every form of idolatry (some of which included human sacrifice) that was abominable to God and violated the very first of the Ten Commandments He gave to Israel in Exodus 20:3: Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Our Father not only despised anyones heathen worship of other gods, but He knew that for easily swayed Israel to mix with them would mean them falling off into idolatry themselves and endangering His plan of salvation. Therefore, the heathen nations were to be utterly destroyed:
Deu 20:17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee: Deu 20:18 That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.

Christ and After

Rituals of the Old Testament were not nearly as important in and of themselves, but to keep Israel pure enough to bring forth Christ and to foreshadow Christs coming. Once Christ came, those ritualistic ordinances were fulfilled in Him. For example, He became the Passover Lamb, so the Old Testamant Passover ritual is no longer needed.
Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He Page 9 of 14

quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross;

Even in the Old Testament, our Father made it clear that love for and knowledge of Him mattered much more than ritual to Him:
Hos 6:4 O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. Hos 6:5 Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of My mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. Hos 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

What of the other laws given to Israel? To be honest, I dont have an entirely clear understanding of how they all apply in modern times. To eat swine is still unhealthy. To murder is still wrong. And, too, these laws were given specifically to Israel when they were a united nation. Israel is scattered now, so even if they should be, punishments specific to Israel cant be carried out by law.
Amo 9:9 For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.

Christ also came to forgive, and He not only forgave the adulteress who would have been put to death under Old Testament law (whether or not she was a blood Israelite is not stated, and whether or not she was a married woman to which this law of Deuteronomy 22:24 applied is also not stated) but told her to go and sin no more. The sin was still there, but He did not call for the application of the Old Testament punishment (if it would have indeed applied).
Joh 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, Joh 8:4 They say unto Him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Joh 8:5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest Thou? Joh 8:6 This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not. Joh 8:7 So when they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. Joh 8:8 And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. Joh 8:9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. Page 10 of 14

Joh 8:10 When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? Joh 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

All the People Who Died

Having explained, hopefully, the reasons for seemingly harsh punishments and seemingly cruel massacres at our Fathers orders, particularly in the Old Testament, it is important to once again remember that we must think in spiritual terms when it comes to this question. For the eternity, many opportunities for ultimate salvation are given. The Spirits in Prison Immediately following Christs crucifixion, He preached to the spirits in prison (presumably those whose choices in flesh life landed them on the wrong side of the gulf in heaven described in Luke 16a complete study of heaven and hell is beyond the scope of this writing):
1Pe 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 1Pe 3:19 By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 1Pe 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

Salvation for the Gentiles While Christ walked the earth, He commanded His disciples to preach to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The time to open salvation to the Gentiles had not quite come yet.
Mat 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: Mat 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Following His death on the cross and His resurrection, however, He made it clear that salvation was from that time onward to be for all:
Act 11:4 But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying, Act 11:5 I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me: Act 11:6 Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the Page 11 of 14

air. Act 11:7 And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat. Act 11:8 But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth. Act 11:9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. Act 11:10 And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven. Act 11:11 And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me. Act 11:12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house: Act 11:13 And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; Act 11:14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. Act 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Act 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that He said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Act 11:17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as He did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? Act 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

The Millennium During the millennium, or thousand years immediately following the flesh age, souls have the opportunity to learn the truth unencumbered by Satans lies while he is chained in a pit. Presumably, that includes all of the souls who died for any reason in the flesh. More details on the millennium are given in Ezekiel 4048. If, after all of these opportunities for salvation, a soul still chooses not to love our Father, then and only then is that soul sentenced to the second death, which is permanent death (not eternal torture).
Rev 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. Rev 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, Rev 20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and Page 12 of 14

reigned with Christ a thousand years. Rev 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. Rev 20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, Rev 20:8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. Rev 20:9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and Him That sat on it, from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Does Thinking in Spiritual Terms Mean We Are to Not Care About the Happenings of the World in the Flesh?
Absolutely not. Our Father put us into this age, and we are to learn about His plan and watch the events of the world as they unfold according to it. The books of even the Old Testament prophets are filled with foretellings of events that have yet to happen. It is our duty to study them and the happenings of the world that relate to them, and to warn others, and Ezekiel serves as an example of our duties:
Eze 3:17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me. Eze 3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Eze 3:19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Page 13 of 14

Eze 3:20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Eze 3:21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.

As has hopefully been shown above, we are living in an age in which were being tested as the result of a rebellion that took place, with the devil as its leader, in the age that preceded this one. Our Father established a plan of salvation that was to be brought forth by His people Israel (who continually failed and still do fail to live up to the higher standards He set forth for them), specifically in that Israel would produce a Savior Who offers salvation to all who truly believe. The acts of violence of the Old Testament that trouble so many should thus be viewed in the context of this ultimate plan for eternal salvation. It is a plan that affords all souls, even the ones who died as examples or because of heathen beliefs, every opportunity for everlasting life.

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