Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 3 (Part Six)

Were the Israelites Invincible?
Deuteronomy 11:22,23,25 (NWT) reads: “If you strictly observe this commandment that I am giving you and you carry it out, to love Jehovah your God, to walk in all his ways and to cling to him, Jehovah will drive away all these nations from before you . . . . Nobody will stand up to you. Jehovah your God will spread the dread and fear of you over the whole land on which you walk, just as he promised.”
If the skeptic read the first part of this verses (I know he did) he would not be surprised that “The Amorites confined the Danites to the mountainous region,” for they had lost their zeal in fighting them and did not seek to drive them away completely as evidenced by the chastisement that Jehovah’s angel gave at Judges 2:1-3 (part of the context of verse 25). There it (NWT) reads: “I brought you up out of Egypt into the land about which I swore to your forefathers. Furthermore, I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you. For your part, you must not make a covenant with the inhabitants of this land and you should pull down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed my voice. Why have you done this? That is why I also said, ‘I will not drive them away from before you, and they will ensnare you, and their gods will lure you away.’”
We note that the promise to Israel was conditional. So, it is not surprising that after he gave resounding victory to them, he later got displeased when they did not go about thoroughly removing the worship of the pagan gods and thus no longer helped them as powerfully.
However, the skeptic still challenges us with the account of Ai. Joshua 7:4 reports how when Israel was first entering Canaan to conquer it, before Jehovah rebuked them strongly, they were defeated – did Jehovah fail? No. Jehovah’s reply in Joshua 7:11 (NWT) shows that “Israel has sinned. They have violated [the] covenant that I commanded them to keep.” This violation was not as severe as their later violation, so Jehovah eventually overthrew Ai. Therefore, there is no contradiction. Jehovah never promised conditional invincibility.

Did Any of Moses’ Contemporaries Enter the Promised Land?
Numbers 26:65 shows that Joshua and Caleb, who were faithful, were allowed to enter the Promised Land. But, don’t Moses’ words at Numbers 32:13 contradict that? The skeptic would like us to think so. Moses says there (NWT): “So Jehovah’s anger blazed against Israel and he made them wander about in the wilderness for 40 years, until all the generation that was doing evil in the eyes of Jehovah came to its end.” But, before we pass judgement too soon, let us look up to verse 11 and 12. They (NWT) say: “The men who came out of Egypt from 20 years old and up will not see the land of which I have sworn to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not followed me wholeheartedly – except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua the son of Nun, because they have followed Jehovah wholeheartedly.”
            I can’t pass judgement on the skeptic. He was probably completely honest in his heart when he complied this contradiction. No doubt a visual impairment caused him to pass over the names of the two survivors he thought verse 13 implied also died. I wouldn’t want to charge him with stupidity, or inability to read – he clearly found verse 13.

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