GOD’S LOVE HARMONIZED
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
Question: The Bible tells us that God is a God of love, but how can we harmonize that with the
fact that He commanded the nation of Israel to utterly destroy their enemies – men, women and
children (Deuteronomy 7: 1, 2)?
Answer: Following Israel’s forty years of wandering in the wilderness, the time had arrived for
them to enter Canaan. God had a right to give Canaan to the descendants of Abraham, for we
read, “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof” (Psalm 24: 1). God had three reasons
for commanding Israel to destroy the little nations that occupied Canaan:
(1.) The Canaanites were descendants of Noah’s grandson Canaan. They were not ignorant
savages, but quite civilized peoples who, after the manner of the Sodomites, had become
degraded and corrupt by engaging in all forms of idolatrous worship and wicked practices. Had
God permitted them to live and to intermingle with the Israelites in the land, by intermarriage,
etc., the Israelites, whom God intended to develop, would have been injured.
(2.) God intended to make types of Israel and the Canaanites: Israel pictures Spiritual Israel, and
the Canaanites picture the weaknesses and imperfections of the fallen nature. The Israelites fight
against, and destruction of the Canaanites prefigures Spiritual Israel’s fight against, and eventual
victory over the weaknesses and imperfections of the fallen flesh. On an even larger scale, this
type pictures the blotting out of the blemishes of sin, and the gradual uplifting of God’s faithful
restitution people in the Millennial Kingdom.
(3.) When these Canaanites were slain they became unconscious, and will remain so until their
awakening from the sleep of death in the Millennial morning, as our Lord’s Word declares, “All
that are in the graves shall hear his [our Lord’s] voice, And shall come forth” (John 5: 28, 29).
They will come forth as members of the world in general, with an opportunity to attain eternal
life, if obedient. God’s having them put to death was a mercy, for had they lived longer, they
would have become more degraded, making their uplift out of sin even more difficult in God’s
From the above considerations, we see that no injustice was done to the Canaanites by the Lord’s
decree. They suffered no more than, if as much as, if some pestilence, famine or other common
disaster had come upon them. They suffered the death penalty just as the whole human family
suffer it. And our confident hope respecting them and all mankind is built upon the fact that God
so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son to redeem all from the curse or sentence
of death which came upon all through Father Adam’s disobedience; and that He who redeemed
the world is shortly to bless all the families of the earth with a gracious opportunity to come back
into harmony with God, back to human perfection.