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Does God Command People To Kill Babies?
A common way to attack God and the Bible is to claim the God of the Old Testament was wicked and and evil, and the God of the New Testament was a God of love. Two different gods who are inconsistent. Hosea 13:16 is often used to show God commands the killing of babies.
But it's the same God in both the Old and New Testaments and God does not change. What was happening is that Hosea 13:16 shows what happens when people reject God, and He withdraws, giving them what they wanted. Here is what Hosea 13:16 says:
"Samaria will be held guilty,
For she has rebelled against her God.
They will fall by the sword,
Their little ones will be dashed in pieces,
And their pregnant women will be ripped open." - Hosea 13:16
Is there a command to kill babies or is God describing what will happen?
There is no command. In Hosea God is describing what will happen when Assyria invades. To know what God is doing you need to understand God's wrath. His wrath is not like Zeus sitting in the sky and throwing thunderbolts at people who do not please him. What is called God's wrath is God withdrawing from those who are under His wrath. As He withdraws what will happen, naturally starts to happen... and it's not good. Why? Here is what Colossian 1:16-17 says about Jesus (God):
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
When God stops holding things together, what happens? Things come apart. Morals. Culture. As well as physical things. In the case of Hosea 13:16, without God's protection the Assyrias will invade and very bad things will happen, such as babies being killed by the Assyrians (they were vicious). What is important to understand is that we live in a totally corrupt world. It does not appear to us to be corrupt because God is restraining evil and holding everything together. Everything that is good comes from God. EVERYTHING. When God stops restraining evil, things start getting bad (and irrational), just as we are seeing happening in our world today. That is God's wrath. God's wrath is His leaving us on our own, and that means we have nothing good.
Fortunately God does not immediately and fully separate from us. We have turned away from God and are under His wrath today. But, it's not His full wrath. He is still providing many good things. But the day will come when He His patience with us ends. It is called judgment day. He will separate those who want to be with Him (Christians who believe, repent and trust Jesus alone), from those who reject Him. (Is that you>).
By the way, Jesus is the God of the Old Testament and the New Testament... when in the New Testament Jesus gives the greatest commandment:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets (meaning the whole Old Testament)
...Jesus is quoting the Old Testament! It says: -- You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. - Deuteronomy 6:5. And Leviticus 19:18 says - "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Nothing has changed from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
Why is God so different in the Old Testament than He is in the New Testament? (GotQuestions.org Article)
Cruelty In The Bible? Hosea 13:16 (Science Pastor)
Dashing Babies Against The Rocks (Psalm 137:9) (GotQuestions.org Article)
THE GOOD NEWS
Before you get the good news, you need to know the bad news. It's about you. God says:
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. - Romans 3:23
Sin means disobeying God, aka breaking God's law. God is perfect and perfection is required to enter heaven. It's a standard none of us can achieve. We all fall short. For example, compare yourself with just one of the Ten Commandments. Have you ever told a lie?
All liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. - Revelation 21:8. Or what about:
Have you ever taken something that does not belong to you, no matter how small? Have you ever looked at another person with lust? In Matthew 5 Jesus said:
Everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.' Have you done that?
You have broken God's laws. You have sinned. There must be justice, and that means eternity in hell, the lake of fire, the second death. Unless...
Unless there was someone willing to pay that penalty on your behalf. Someone who will take on themselves the consequences you deserve. And there is. There is one person who can and will do that. That person is Jesus Christ. If you trust this is true (believe), and repent (turn away from disobeying God), Jesus' death is applied to your account and you are freed from the penalty of sin to be with God forever.