By Reverend Mark Hunnemann
The book of Joshua presents the sensitive reader with a problem; the slaughter of the indigenous Canaanite population in order for Israel to occupy their land.How are we to understand this today, and what lessons can we learn from it in general, and particularly regarding how we understand God and the paranormal? This is a legitimate issue that deserves a reply--but I will only be able to touch on some basics--for fuller reflection one will need to see more in-depth articles. Any similar actions today would rightly be condemned by Christians, but there are special features to Israel's actions which are unique, which means their actions are not to be imitated today.This command to Israel is one reason that the Pentateuch goes into so much detail regarding the singular divine calling of Moses.The commands given and written by Moses originate in God's own mind (Deuteronomy 18:15-20). Without this certainty of Moses as God's spokesman, Israel would have had no right to the land.In fact, in Deuteronomy 18:9-14 God tells us how much He hates occult sins (e.g.psychics/mediums, and attempts to speak to the dead) and this is intentionally juxtaposed to Moses call...showing that the prohibition is trans-cultural and trans-generational in authority. It was these very sins which called forth God's wrath, using Israel as His vessel of judgement.
A second preliminary point is that He sets out laws of warfare which distinguish between battles fought against cities outside the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 20:16-18) and those fought against cities in the Promised Land. Only the latter were required to be devoted to complete destruction (Deuteronomy 20:1-20). With these clarifications, let us now (in mere outline form) show why this command is not an unsovable problem.
1. It is crucial to understand that Yahweh is the Creator and owner of all people and lands. Hence, He has the right to distribute lands according to His good and holy will (Exodus 19:5; Psalm 24:1) He is also (and this is so very important in the ghost debate) the universal Judge, to whom all people everywhere are accountable.This can be seen in the Flood account in Genesis 6-8; the judgement on the Tower of Babel, and all throughout both the Old and New Testament. Thus, God alone has the ultimate rights over the land of Canaan, and bring them into judgement for cosmic treason against His holy character and will.
In addition, as the Creator of life, the Lord has the right to end one's life..or an entire nation.. In fact, God is sovereign over your death, and that moment is in His hands (Psalm 139) God has the right to "kill" anyone at anytime....which we call 'death'.. We are not God, so abortion is not our prerogative. Behold, your God!
2. Since all people are sinners (Romans 3:23), they are subject to God's judgement (6:23). The bible gives a moral rationale for the destruction of the Canaanites. (Deuteronomy 7:1-5) If the Jews did not kill all the Canaaanites, then they would lure them into idolatry. We are told in the New Testament that believers will participate in the final judgement (1 Corinthians 6:2). Likewise, Israel was God's instrument of judgement, expressing to the watching world the holy character of God, and foreshadowing the Day of Judgement (hell) and our participation in the carrying out of the final judgement. To the extent that Israel mirrored God's holiness and justice, the surrounding nations outside the Promised Land were blessed by this holy war. In nations which were drowning in occult darkness, being exposed to the light of truth regarding the True God, was very much a blessing, to those who received it.Behold, your God!
The Amorites and other Canaanites were not "innocent people"....they hated Israel and they were unspeakably depraved.... They were given 400 years to repent, but unlike Ninevah, most did not repent.
Some people have wrongly called this "ethnic cleansing", but there was no double standard. Israel herself experienced God's wrath multiple times--they were blessed if they obeyed but they were cursed by God if they committed spiritual adultery. Ethnic cleansing is occurring today and Christians should be the first to oppose it.
3. The Sinai covenant set up a unique entity--a theocracy--in which church and state were combined.Hence, the distinction between sin and crime was not as it is today (since we are not a theocracy).Sin would pollute God's covenant community. Over and over and over again, the Lord warned the Israelites that they HAD to destroy the Canaanites or they would most certainly be dragged down by them. Sadly, that is precisely what happened. We could call it "the Canaanization of the Jews". The first city they destroyed was Jericho (one of the oldest cities on earth..perhaps the oldest), which was symbolic of the whole land. The city's name has reference to the moon, so they likely were worshippers of the moon...a moon idol behind which were demons.Canaan was teeming with idolatry and ritualistic murder, and as a result it was a stronghold of Satan...teeming with demons.Idolatry, injustice, and evil were everywhere, and this triad is what Yahweh wanted to protect His elect people from, the apple of His eye. As we are told, the Canaanites sin had reached "fullness', making them ripe for judgement. The people had become so corrupt the very land is said to have vomited them out. Behold, your God!
4. The apparent implacability of total slaughter with no exceptions was just that, an appearance. The verbiage is strong, but provision was made for any who were converted to Yahweh (e.g. Rahab) It was not ethnic cleansing that occurred, but rather it was spiritual cleansing.Ethnicity had nothing to do with the Canaanites destruction because, from day one, the Jews were a mixed bunch. They were supposed to be a light to the nations, according to the Abrahamic covenant.
In summary, God's ownership of all land and the One who judges the world with perfect justice, the need to protect the purity of the Israelite theocracy, the depravity of the Canaanites had reached a critical mass,and provisions for even the Canaanites to be saved--all illustrate the justice behind this holy war of annihilation. That was a unique part of Israels mission, and nobody today can follow in their footsteps. Again, it was not ethnic cleansing (Christians should strongly oppose any such actions) but it was spiritual cleansing.
When I watched the Dead Files last Friday, I was alarmed that, once again, Amy put the blame on evil dead kids who were out to kill the living adults. This trio of alleged earthbound children supposedly pushed a woman down the steps (according to this medium), and she is blessed she wasn't killed. Last week she recommended a curandero (sorta like a shaman), and this week (not sure if it was a re-run) she said, "I was going to recommend an exorcism, but you need a chaos magickian." Even many occultists are fearful or least wary of these people. I mention all this as an application of what we have learned. 2 Corinthians 10 tells us that we are to destroy (not the Canaanites) but arguments or ideas contrary to God's holy word. We are in a holy war, not jihad as Muslims practice, but a holy war nevertheless.How can one believe in children being trapped here (and killing people)? It is madness. The cure for such monstrous beliefs is a fresh vision or understanding of God's absolute holiness. Wrestling with the destruction of the Canaanites should make it abundantly clear how holy God is, and how contradictory to God's holiness are the foundational beliefs of the paranormal community.Christians, behold your God!
Mark Hunnemann is the author of Seeing Ghosts Through God's Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits. It's also available in eBook format.