top of page

Does God kill?

Among the many strange, and in some cases, new doctrines which have appeared on the horizon of Seventh-day Adventism during its short history, is a doctrine which has been referred to as "the character of God" message by those who embrace it. Most others know it better as the doctrine which teaches that God does not kill. Those who have accepted it declare that this message is the end-time message and is the ultimate understanding of God's character. Others see it as a dangerous doctrine which undermines the very basis of Christian faith, the trustworthiness of the Scriptures.

Specifically, this teaching says that God Himself never ever, under any circumstances, personally takes or removes the life of any creature. It says He may allow others to do it, He may accept the blame for it, but He Himself never is the agent or the cause which removes life. What this means is that every place in the Bible where it says that God killed or destroyed or took a life, is not to be believed the way it reads, but must be reinterpreted to fit this doctrine. So then we would have to accept that God never caused the great flood in Noah's day, never destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah, never slew Korah, Dathan and Abiram, never destroyed Pharaoh's army in the Red Sea, etc. etc.

The reasoning behind this belief is that God cannot break His own laws. The Sixth Commandment says, “Thou shalt not kill.” These laws are not simply a set of rules, but are actually a revelation of God's character; a description of what God is really like. Therefore, the reasoning goes, God cannot deny His own character. Since, “Thou shalt not kill,” describes what He is like and reveals His nature, then we must accept that it is contrary to God's character and nature to kill. Thus, we end up with the doctrine, “God Does Not Kill.”


This doctrine compels us to focus on the issue of whether or not the Bible is the dependable word of God. It has been made out to be an issue concerning the character of God, but before we get anywhere near that issue, there is another issue to be settled first and it is the issue of whether or not the Bible is the word of God.

Who inspired those men who made all those statements in the Bible about God killing, or destroying? Did holy men of God speak as they were moved by the Holy Ghost? (2 Pet. 1:21). Did the holy ghost inspire these men to make statements which were not true? This is the dilemma we end up in when we deny the truth that God does kill. We must either deny this doctrine or we must deny the Scriptures!

In order to accept this teaching, we must, like the Trinitarian and the Sunday worshipper now declare, “this doctrine is not explicitly taught in the Bible (in fact the very opposite is explicitly taught!) but we believe it anyway.” But if our concept of God requires us to twist or disbelieve the plainest statements of God's own word, then our concept of God is wrong!! Let us immediately abandon the false concept for there is no safety in an idol. If our concept of God is based on error, where are we any better off than the Trinitarian? God gave us His word for our learning. Let us then learn as we read. It is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16) Let us then learn doctrine from it, be reproved and instructed by it. Let our ideas of God be based on it, but God forbid that we should come to the place where we are wiser that the Scriptures. Where, “thus saith my opinion,” is of more weight than “thus saith the word of God.”

What do we do with all the clear, unmistakable passages which say that God not only killed, but ordered the killing of people? Here is one striking example:

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. (1 Sam 15:2,3)

Here we have plain unmistakable statements. Samuel says to Saul, “Thus saith the Lord.” Who was it that gave Samuel that message? Was it God? Was it the devil? Who spoke the words to Samuel which he claimed was coming from God? I have asked this question of some of my friends who believe this doctrine. I have asked it over and over but I have been unable to get an answer. They have talked about principles and character, but I cannot get a plain simple, “God said it,” or, “Satan said it.” You see, if God said it, then we have the problem of a God who cannot kill, who will not kill Himself, but who does order His servants to kill. A God who asks others to do what He Himself will not do. But if Satan gave this command to Samuel, then what do we have? We have a prophet who says, “Thus saith the Lord,” when it is really, “thus saith Satan.” This would make Samuel a prophet of Satan rather than a prophet of God.

Let us consider also the destruction of Pharaoh's army in the Red Sea. Somebody performed a miracle and opened up the sea for the children of Israel. This happened when Moses stretched out his rod over the waters. Who was it that opened the sea, held back the waters and delivered Israel? Was it God, or was it Satan? A little later, Moses stretched out his rod again and the waters came sweeping in and destroyed the armies of Pharaoh. Who was it that now released the waters? Was it God or was it Satan? The same person who held back the waters is the same one who released them. If Satan was the one who released the waters, destroying the armies of Pharaoh, then it must have been he who delivered the Israelites and took them through the Red Sea by holding back the waters. But if God was the one who parted the waters and held them in place, then it must have been he who released them, thus wiping out Pharaoh's army. One person performed both actions. We cannot have it both ways.

How do we understand these, and a hundred other similar Scriptures? There is not a single verse in Scripture which says, “God does not kill.” There are on the other hand, dozens of verses which say that God not only killed people, but also commanded people to kill other people. Do not these verses carry any weight with us? Having formulated our ideal of what love should be and what mercy means, shall we come to the Bible with our minds already made up and make strenuous efforts to bend the Scriptures to fit this doctrine? Note carefully that the doctrine is not taught by the Bible. The belief is first implanted in the mind: “God is too good to kill anyone. True love means never ever taking life.” This is a false concept of love. However when once this idea has been accepted, the next step is that the Bible must be bent to fit this idea. It matters not how many verses must be twisted, chopped or ignored. “Thus saith the Lord,” must be overruled by, “does it fit my doctrine?” In all honesty, is this the way to study the Bible?

No. The proper way is to read the Bible, hear what it has to say and base our beliefs upon its teachings. Thus we may discover what is truth. When we find things which are hard to understand let us seek for understanding through prayer and careful study, but never resort to denial of the plainest teaching of the word of God. Why was it necessary for God to order the death of women, children, sheep, oxen etc? This is hard to understand but there was a reason why God had to do it. It did not make Him happy to do it but there is something to be learned here and we cannot learn it by denying the Scriptures. Let us accept what the word of God says as our starting point, and then we can move on from there.

When we examine this doctrine carefully we find a dangerous principle at work. What is it? It is simply this: Even if the Bible says it, I wont believe it if it doesn't fit in with my ideas. This is surely a dangerous approach to take in studying the Bible.

Let us note that there are certain passages in the Bible where it says that God did a certain thing, while another passage clearly indicates that it was Satan who was responsible. One example of this is where David was tempted to number Israel (2 Samuel 24:1). In this particular reference it says:

And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. (2 Sam 24:1)

However, when the same story is told in 1 Chronicles it says:

And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. (1 Chr 21:1)

Here we see plainly that in a sense, God did the thing, because He allowed it to happen. He had a purpose in allowing it. Nevertheless, the active agent in the temptation was actually Satan. So we know that there are times when God does take the blame, or accept responsibility, even though He does not personally perform the action. The question, though is not whether it happens SOMETIMES. Of course it happens at times, but the question is, is it true in every single case? The evidence is very clear. This happens sometimes, but is not true in ALL cases. Some of the Bible records are so plain and unmistakable that there is no way that an honest person can interpret them to be saying that God was only taking the blame while somebody else was actually at fault.

The Character of God

It has been said that the issue in the understanding of this doctrine is the character of God. I agree. The greatest fault of this doctrine is that it distorts the character of God. It presents God in a light which is not the truth. This means that we end up worshipping a false philosophical God. A God of our own imagination. Is this not idolatry?

We do not want a false concept of love. We do not want a false concept of God!! Many parents today will not punish their children. Why? They “love” them too much to cause them pain! Is this love? A sentiment which is too weak to do what is necessary is not true love but is rather an imposter which results in the uncontrollable, dangerous society in which we live today.

Surely, if we are required to have a character like God's and God never ever destroys life, what shall we do when plagued by rats, cockroaches, flies, or mosquitoes? Surely there must be something wrong with a doctrine which creates a moral dilemma for me every time I am forced to kill a mosquito! We may destroy a wasps' nest, not because of feelings of vengeance or vindictiveness. Feelings are not the issue. But it may be built in a place where its very existence is a threat to the safety of my children. It does not matter how I feel. If I care for the welfare of my family I must do something about it. If I am too weak or squeamish or busy or have a moral conflict about it, then I must get somebody else to destroy the nest. This is the simple fact.

Those who believe in this doctrine state that God does not kill those who are continually suffering as the slaves of sin. Instead He leaves them to the tender mercies of Satan who tortures them at will. Which is the greater mercy, the more loving thing to do? To kill irredeemable sinners or to leave them to the “mercy” of Satan?

Thou Shalt Not Kill

What is it to kill? Killing is basically the performance of any action which results in the death of another. If I perform an action which causes someone to die, then I may be said to have killed that person. I may shoot somebody myself, pay somebody to strangle him, or remove all access to food so that he eventually starves to death. It does not matter how I do it. If my action results in the death of another person, then it is I who have killed that person. I am the responsible party. Therefore, the judge who passes the death sentence on a murderer is responsible for killing him. The man who hangs him is also responsible. They have both killed him.

The sixth commandment says, “thou shalt not kill.” We find this command in Exodus chapter 20. Did God mean what He said when He gave this command? Did He intend that the Israelites should take it seriously? Did He expect them to obey? Certainly He did! Why then did He, a few verses later in the very next chapter seemingly order them to disobey this command?

He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death. (Exo 21:12)
And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death. (Exo 21:17)
Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. (Exo 22:18)
Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death. (Exo 22:19)

Did God contradict Himself? Not at all. The fact of the matter is that when God said, “thou shalt not kill,” He clearly was not referring to just and judicial acts of killing and execution. He was referring to acts of murder. Deliberate, unjust, premeditated killing. This, you shall not do because God NEVER does this. God's character is that He never murders anyone; He never is the reason why a person is destroyed.

Ellen White wrote in one place:

“God destroys no man. Everyone who is destroyed will have destroyed himself.” {COL 84.}

If this statement is taken out of context it may seem to support the view that God never takes the life of any person. However, The word of God can never contradict itself. Once we understand this, the meaning of this quote from Ellen White is simple. God never ever predestines any man to be destroyed. God never ever arranges circumstances so that a soul may be lost. Every man chooses his own way, charts his own course and in this sense destroys himself. He chooses the way which leads to death. Notice that in this sense, even Satan, the great destroyer, may be said to “destroy no man.” In the above quotation, even he is not given the credit for destroying men, but, “every man destroys himself.” It is clear that this, and similar quotes should not be used as a basis for claiming that God never removes a person's life. This is talking about destruction in the sense of choosing it, and not in the sense of executing it. Here is another quote from Ellen White which teaches in the clearest possible way that God does commission His angels to destroy, or kill men:

The same angel who had come from the royal courts to rescue Peter, had been the messenger of wrath and judgment to Herod. The angel smote Peter to arouse him from slumber; it was with a different stroke that he smote the wicked king, laying low his pride and bringing upon him the punishment of the Almighty. Herod died in great agony of mind and body, under the retributive judgment of God. {AA 152}

Men choose their own course, decide their own actions, but when they come to the place where they have so perverted themselves that they are no longer fit to live, then God Himself may remove their lives or commission His agents to do it. There is nothing in this which is contrary to God's character of love. God who is strong enough and loving enough to give life, is also strong enough to take that life when it is clear that it has been perverted beyond hope of recovery. If all killing is evil, and God never does it, because it is evil, then it means that He has ordered His servants to do what is evil MANY, MANY times. Could He then be a good person?


Actions are nothing. Motives are everything. At least this is true when it comes to questions of guilt. If I sprinkle poison in a bowl of soup thinking it is salt, and accidentally kill all the people who drink that soup, then I have killed several people. Am I then guilty of murder? The answer is no. If, however, I knowingly sprinkle the poison in the soup, then I am guilty of murder. The action itself is not the critical issue where guilt is concerned. The critical question is “what motive prompts the action?” In the same way, killing may be an innocent act or it may be a murderous deed. It is the motive which counts.

The point is that, removing a life is just an action. It can be accomplished in a thousand ways. What really is important is the question of what prompts that killing. What is the motive, the reason behind it? Is it hatred? Malice? Retaliation? Or is it mercy or justice? God may send an angel to execute those who are unfit to live, He may send a flood of waters, or He may send fire and brimstone from heaven. He may send His servants as He sent the Israelites against the Canaanites; He may permit the evil person to be destroyed by Satan or his angels. However, the result is ultimately the same. God has carried out righteous judgment and has executed those who were no longer fit to live. God has performed it, God has ordained it, God has commissioned it, therefore it is He who destroys the wicked. This is justice and is not contradictory to a true concept of love.

And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. (Rev 16:5,6)

Let us acknowledge something: God is never cruel, never vindictive, never causes unnecessary pain. Yet sometimes an action may seem cruel or vindictive to us, only because we do not understand all the factors. Let us bow in humility and accept what the Scripture says! Who are we to judge the words of God? When God told Abraham to cast out Hagar and Ishmael, was this an act of cruelty? On the surface it seems so. Hagar and Ishmael suffered a great deal as a result of what seemed like a harsh command. This does not seem like the work of a God of love, so what shall we do? Shall we conclude that Satan gave this command to Abraham? If we follow the principle of interpretation of those who say that God does not kill, then we will have to conclude that this must have been the work of Satan! However, as humble, finite, foolish mortals, the correct thing to do is to accept the word of God. God did give this command. Let us now seek to understand why. Let us see if we can discover what terrible factors were at work in this situation which forced a God of love and mercy to make such a seemingly harsh decree. With this attitude we may possibly learn God's lessons, but not if we decide that the Bible must be wrong!

Dangers of the "God does not kill" doctrine

1. What are the issues involved in the debate?

a. Firstly there is the question of what the character of God is really like. (COL 69)

b. Secondly there is the question of what is love really like? How does true love behave?

2. What does The doctrine really teach?

a. The Doctrine that God does not kill says that God never ever under any circumstance removes the life of any of His creatures; that such an act is contrary to the character and the will of God; That God never ever moves towards any creature with the intent of causing harm.

3. What is the proper way to approach a Biblical question?

a. Should we begin by speculation or reasoning? Should we allow our own ideas of what is right or wrong to determine whether or not we accept what the Bible says?

b. We should search the Scriptures and allow them to be the factor which determines what we believe.

c. The Bible suggests that we should search ALL the Scriptures, and not just take the four gospels only, when we are seeking to determine what is truth.

d. Philosophical or ideological questions must not be answered independently of, or in opposition to Scripture. This is an approach which is fundamentally wrong. Scripture must bear its testimony, exert its authority in the formulation of all our conclusions. This has been the approach of all the people of God in all ages, the only exception being during the time before the Scriptures were written when the prophetic voice and the personal voice of God were the guides which were followed.

4. What approach is taken in establishing the doctrine that God does not kill?

a. The nature of the issue is such that one cannot appeal to Scripture in order to settle the matter. In fact, before the doctrine can be accepted, confidence in the dependability of the Scriptures must first be overthrown. A serious warning sign!

b. It is significant that the vast majority of persons who have accepted the doctrine did not discover it initially in reading the Bible or the spirit of prophecy writings. Their first introduction to it was in a book or a study written by some author other than an inspired person. Yet, if this is a biblical truth, then surely many persons should have come upon it simply by reading the Bible with an open mind. This does not happen and the simple reason for this is that the Bible clearly contradicts this doctrine instead of teaching it. In order to accept it, faith in the dependability of the Bible must first be eroded.

5. What are the reasons against believing in the doctrine?

a. It destroys the validity of the Scriptures.

b. To say that God does not kill requires the manipulation of hundreds of texts which say that He does.

c. It calls into question the inspiration of men like Moses, Samuel, David etc. who plainly declared that God told them to kill.

d. This doctrine causes us to stand as judges of Scripture. We decide what it means, based on our biases – our preconceptions. No longer do we read and accept the words of the Bible. No longer does this book serve as our definer of truth. We now have a greater rule: Our opinion!

e. It distorts God’s character:

f . It presents God in a light which is false. g . It gives a false picture of love.

h. It presents the contradiction of a God, too loving to kill, but who instead leaves persons to be tortured at will by the cruelest being in existence.

i. It questions the integrity of a God who does not personally kill, but instructs His servants to do so.

j. It perverts the requirements of justice. It declares as illegal and unrighteous every act of just execution which has ever taken place from the universe began until now.

k. It removes God’s sovereignty. It suggests that God is helpless to act when beings pervert themselves and rebel against Him. All He can do is leave them to Satan and hope that Satan will put them out of their misery quickly.

6. What dangers are there in believing in the doctrine?

a. There is the danger of taking the position of attributing God’s work to the devil. (P.P. 404-5)

b, There is the danger of losing respect for Scripture and thus losing the blessing which is there for us.

c. There is the danger of misunderstanding the plan of salvation and the issues involved in the controversy, thus failing to grasp lessons vital for our recovery from the power and influence of sin.

7. Are there irreconcilable contradictions with the doctrine?

a. Yes, insomuch that in order to establish the doctrine, some say that Satan gave some of the Old Testament commands disguised as God, others say that God gave the prophets certain powers but they used it to do Satanic works in the name of God, while others say that there is a consistent fault in the Scriptures which are caused by the failure of the Bible writers to understand the character of God.

8. What are the basic reasons for believing in the doctrine?

a. A false conception of love.

b. A distorted understanding of the issues in the controversy.

c. Inadequate knowledge of Scripture

d. Inadequate respect for Scripture

e. Inadequate knowledge of the SOP

f. Unhealthy dependence upon the opinions of men.

9. What are some of the conclusions reached after believing in this doctrine?

a. Michael Clute concluded that Satan met Moses halfway up on mount Sinai and gave him all the laws concerning killing of animals, and killing lawbreakers etc. He concluded that God Himself could not have given these laws.

b. Fred Wright concluded that God did cooperate with the Israelites in carrying out their desires to kill, but it was never God’s desire or wish that they should do so. This does not agree with Scripture where God many times instructed people to kill who had no intention of doing so. It also presents God as a Being who sometimes submits to a moral evil to which He is opposed.

c. Dr. Lorraine Day and others concluded after believing this doctrine for some time, that all the wicked will eventually be saved.

d. Others have been forced to conclude that the Bible has a consistent fault in it which runs all the way through the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation, with the exception of the teachings of Jesus.

Relevant Quotes From Ellen G. White
God destroys no man. Everyone who is destroyed will have destroyed himself. Everyone who stifles the admonitions of conscience is sowing the seeds of unbelief, and these will produce a sure harvest. By rejecting the first warning from God, Pharaoh of old sowed the seeds of obstinacy, and he reaped obstinacy. God did not compel him to disbelieve. The seed of unbelief which he sowed produced a harvest of its kind. Thus his resistance continued, until he looked upon his devastated land, upon the cold, dead form of his first-born, and the first-born of all in his house and of all the families in his kingdom, until the waters of the sea closed over his horses and his chariots and his men of war. His history is a fearful illustration of the truth of the words that “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Gal. 6:7. Did men but realize this, they would be careful what seed they sow. {COL 84-5}
God had made it their privilege and their duty to enter the land at the time of His appointment, but through their willful neglect that permission had been withdrawn. Satan had gained his object in preventing them from entering Canaan; and now he urged them on to do the very thing, in the face of the divine prohibition, which they had refused to do when God required it. Thus the great deceiver gained the victory by leading them to rebellion the second time. They had distrusted the power of God to work with their efforts in gaining possession of Canaan; yet now they presumed upon their own strength to accomplish the work independent of divine aid . “We have sinned against the Lord,” they cried; “we will go up and fight, according to all that the Lord our God commanded us.” Deuteronomy 1:41. So terribly blinded had they become by transgression. The Lord had never commanded them to “go up and fight.” It was not His purpose that they should gain the land by warfare, but by strict obedience to His commands . {PP 392}

The Israelites crossed the river Arnon and advanced upon the foe. An engagement took place, in which the armies of Israel were victorious; and, following up the advantage gained, they were soon in possession of the country of the Amorites. It was the Captain of the Lord’s host who vanquished the enemies of His people; and He would have done the same thirty-eight years before had Israel trusted in Him. {PP 435.1}

The calm faith of their leader inspired the people with confidence in God. They trusted all to His omnipotent arm, and He did not fail them. Not mighty giants nor walled cities, armed hosts nor rocky fortresses, could stand before the Captain of the Lord’s host. The Lord led the army; the Lord discomfited the enemy; the Lord conquered in behalf of Israel. The giant king and his army were destroyed, and the Israelites soon took possession of the whole country. Thus was blotted from the earth that strange people who had given themselves up to iniquity and abominable idolatry . {PP 436.2}

The Israelites had not gained the victory by their own power; the conquest had been wholly the Lord’s ; and as the first fruits of the land, the city, with all that it contained, was to be devoted as a sacrifice to God. It was to be impressed upon Israel that in the conquest of Canaan they were not to fight for themselves, but simply as instruments to execute the will of God ; not to seek for riches or self-exaltation, but the glory of Jehovah their King. Before the capture the command had been given, “The city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein.” “Keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed . . . and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.” {PP 491.2}

The utter destruction of the people of Jericho was but a fulfillment of the commands previously given through Moses concerning the inhabitants of Canaan: “Thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them.” Deuteronomy 7:2. “Of the cities of these people, . . . thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth.” Deuteronomy 20:16. To many these commands seem to be contrary to the spirit of love and mercy enjoined in other portions of the Bible, but they were in truth the dictates of infinite wisdom and goodness. God was about to establish Israel in Canaan, to develop among them a nation and government that should be a manifestation of His kingdom upon the earth. They were not only to be inheritors of the true religion, but to disseminate its principles throughout the world. The Canaanites had abandoned themselves to the foulest and most debasing heathenism, and it was necessary that the land should be cleared of what would so surely prevent the fulfillment of God’s gracious purposes . {PP 492.1}

The inhabitants of Canaan had been granted ample opportunity for repentance. Forty years before, the opening of the Red Sea and the judgments upon Egypt had testified to the supreme power of the God of Israel. And now the overthrow of the kings of Midian, of Gilead and Bashan, had further shown that Jehovah was above all gods. The holiness of His character and His abhorrence of impurity had been evinced in the judgments visited upon Israel for their participation in the abominable rites of Baalpeor. All these events were known to the inhabitants of Jericho, and there were many who shared Rahab’s conviction, though they refused to obey it, that Jehovah, the God of Israel, “is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath.” Like the men before the Flood, the Canaanites lived only to blaspheme Heaven and defile the earth. And both love and justice demanded the prompt execution of these rebels against God and foes to man. {PP 492.2}

Herod was acquainted with the law of God, which says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3); and he knew that in accepting the worship of the people he had filled up the measure of his iniquity and brought upon himself the just wrath of Jehovah.

The same angel who had come from the royal courts to rescue Peter, had been the messenger of wrath and judgment to Herod. The angel smote Peter to arouse him from slumber; it was with a different stroke that he smote the wicked king, laying low his pride and bringing upon him the punishment of the Almighty . Herod died in great agony of mind and body, under the retributive judgment of God. {AA 151,152.}

Lot returned sorrowfully to his home and told the story of his failure. Then the angels bade him arise and take his wife and the two daughters who were yet in his house and leave the city. But Lot delayed. Though daily distressed at beholding deeds of violence, he had no true conception of the debasing and abominable iniquity practiced in that vile city. He did not realize the terrible necessity for God’s judgments to put a check on sin . Some of his children clung to Sodom, and his wife refused to depart without them. The thought of leaving those whom he held dearest on earth seemed more than he could bear. It was hard to forsake his luxurious home and all the wealth acquired by the labors of his whole life, to go forth a destitute wanderer. Stupefied with sorrow, he lingered, loath to depart. But for the angels of God, they would all have perished in the ruin of Sodom. The heavenly messengers took him and his wife and daughters by the hand and led them out of the city.

Here the angels left them, and turned back to Sodom to accomplish their work of destruction . {PP 160.}

The people first beheld the destruction of the works of their own hands. Their splendid buildings, and the beautiful gardens and groves where they had placed their idols, were destroyed by lightning from heaven, and the ruins were scattered far and wide. The altars on which human sacrifices had been offered were torn down, and the worshipers were made to tremble at the power of the living God, and to know that it was their corruption and idolatry which had called down their destruction. {PP 99.2}

As the violence of the storm increased, trees, buildings, rocks, and earth were hurled in every direction. The terror of man and beast was beyond description. Above the roar of the tempest was heard the wailing of a people that had despised the authority of God. Satan himself, who was compelled to remain in the midst of the warring elements, feared for his own existence. He had delighted to control so powerful a race, and desired them to live to practice their abominations and continue their rebellion against the Ruler of heaven. He now uttered imprecations against God, charging Him with injustice and cruelty. Many of the people, like Satan, blasphemed God, and had they been able, they would have torn Him from the throne of power. Others were frantic with fear, stretching their hands toward the ark and pleading for admittance. But their entreaties were in vain. Conscience was at last aroused to know that there is a God who ruleth in the heavens.

A single angel destroyed all the first-born of the Egyptians, and filled the land with mourning. When David offended against God by numbering the people, one angel caused that terrible destruction by which his sin was punished. The same destructive power exercised by holy angels when God commands, will be exercised by evil angels when he permits . There are forces now ready, and only waiting the divine permission, to spread desolation everywhere. {GC88 614.2}

God’s judgments were awakened against Jericho. It was a stronghold. But t he Captain of the Lord’s host Himself came from heaven to lead the armies of heaven in an attack upon the city. Angels of God laid hold of the massive walls and brought them to the ground .–3T 264

Korah would not have taken the course he did had he known that all the directions and reproofs communicated to Israel were from God. But he might have known this. God had given overwhelming evidence that He was leading Israel. But Korah and his companions rejected light until they became so blinded that the most striking manifestations of His power were not sufficient to convince them; they attributed them all to human or satanic agency . The same thing was done by the people, who the day after the destruction of Korah and his company came to Moses and Aaron, saying, “Ye have killed the people of the Lord.” Notwithstanding they had had the most convincing evidence of God’s displeasure at their course, in the destruction of the men who had deceived them, they dared to attribute His judgments to Satan, declaring that through the power of the evil one, Moses and Aaron had caused the death of good and holy men. It was this act that sealed their doom. They had committed the sin against the Holy Spirit, a sin by which man’s heart is effectually hardened against the influence of divine grace. “Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man,” said Christ, “it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him.” Matthew 12:32. These words were spoken by our Saviour when the gracious works which He had performed through the power of God were attributed by the Jews to Beelzebub. It is through the agency of the Holy Spirit that God communicates with man; and those who deliberately reject this agency as satanic, have cut off the channel of communication between the soul and Heaven . {PP 404-5}

The Lord is regarded as cruel by many in requiring His people to make war with other nations. They say that it is contrary to His benevolent character. But He who made the world, and formed man to dwell upon the earth, has unlimited control over all the works of His hands, and it is His right to do as He pleases, and what He pleases with the work of His hands. Man has no right to say to his Maker, Why doest Thou thus? There is no injustice in His character. He is the Ruler of the world, and a large portion of His subjects have rebelled against His authority, and have trampled upon His law. He has bestowed upon them liberal blessings, and surrounded them with everything needful, yet they have bowed to images of wood and stone, silver and gold, which their own hands have made. They teach their children that these are the Gods that give them life and health, and make their lands fruitful, and give them riches and honor. They scorn the God of Israel. They despise His people, because their works are righteous. “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works” (Ps. 14:1). God has borne with them until they filled up the measure of their iniquity, and then He has brought upon them swift destruction. He has used His people as instruments of His wrath, to punish wicked nations, who have vexed them, and seduced them into idolatry. {2SM 333.1}

Quotes which seem to support the idea that God does not kill.

The Saviour in His miracles revealed the power that is continually at work in man’s behalf, to sustain and to heal him. Through the agencies of nature, God is working, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment, to keep us alive, to build up and restore us. When any part of the body sustains injury, a healing process is at once begun; nature’s agencies are set at work to restore soundness. But the power working through these agencies is the power of God. All life-giving power is from Him. When one recovers from disease, it is God who restores him.

Sickness, suffering, and death are work of an antagonistic power. Satan is the destroyer; God is the restorer . {MH 112–113}

We cannot know how much we owe to Christ for the peace and protection which we enjoy. It is the restraining power of God that prevents mankind from passing fully under the control of Satan. The disobedient and unthankful have great reason for gratitude for God’s mercy and long-suffering in holding in check the cruel, malignant power of the evil one. But when men pass the limits of divine forbearance, that restraint is removed. God does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression; but He leaves the rejectors of His mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown . Every ray of light rejected, every warning despised or unheeded, every passion indulged, every transgression of the law of God, is a seed sown which yields its unfailing harvest. The Spirit of God, persistently resisted, is at last withdrawn from the sinner, and then there is left no power to control the evil passions of the soul, and no protection from the malice and enmity of Satan. The destruction of Jerusalem is a fearful and solemn warning to all who are trifling with the offers of divine grace and resisting the pleadings of divine mercy. Never was there given a more decisive testimony to God’s hatred of sin and to the certain punishment that will fall upon the guilty. {GC 36.1}

Satan is the destroyer. God cannot bless those who refuse to be faithful stewards. All He can do is to permit Satan to accomplish his destroying work . We see calamities of every kind and in every degree coming upon the earth, and why? The Lord’s restraining power is not exercised. The world has disregarded the word of God. They live as though there were no God. Like the inhabitants of the Noachic world, they refuse to have any thought of God. Wickedness prevails to an alarming extent, and the earth is ripe for the harvest. {6T 388–389}

Men have become bold in transgression. The wickedness of the inhabitants of the world has almost filled up the measure of their iniquity. This earth has almost reached the place where God will permit the destroyer to work his will upon it . The substitution of the laws of men for the law of God, the exaltation, by merely human authority, of Sunday in place of the Bible Sabbath, is the last act in the drama. When this substitution becomes universal, God will reveal Himself. He will arise in His majesty to shake terribly the earth. He will come out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity, and the earth shall disclose her blood and shall no more cover her slain. {7T 141.1}

God keeps a reckoning with the nations. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without His notice. Those who work evil toward their fellow men, saying, How doth God know? will one day be called upon to meet long-deferred vengeance. In this age a more than common contempt is shown to God. Men have reached a point in insolence and disobedience which shows that their cup of iniquity is almost full. Many have well-nigh passed the boundary of mercy. Soon God will show that He is indeed the living God. He will say to the angels, “No longer combat Satan in his efforts to destroy. Let him work out his malignity upon the children of disobedience; for the cup of their iniquity is full. They have advanced from one degree of wickedness to another, adding daily to their lawlessness. I will no longer interfere to prevent the destroyer from doing his work .” {RH, September 17, 1901 par. 8}

God could have destroyed Satan and his sympathizers as easily as one can cast a pebble to the earth; but He did not do this. Rebellion was not to be overcome by force. Compelling power is found only under Satan’s government. The Lord’s principles are not of this order. His authority rests upon goodness, mercy, and love; and the presentation of these principles is the means to be used. God’s government is moral, and truth and love are to be the prevailing power. {DA 759.1}

Some Scripture References

(2 Tim 3:16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

(Exo 20:21-22) And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. {22} And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven….. (Exo 21:14-17) But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die. {15} And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. {16} And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death. {17} And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

(1 Sam 15:1-3) Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. {2} Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. {3} Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

(1 Sam 15:9-11) But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly. {10} Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, {11} It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.

(1 Sam 15:16-19) Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. {17} And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel? {18} And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. {19} Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?

(Acts 12:21-23) And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. {22} And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. {23} And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

(Mat 10:28) And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

(Gen 19:12-13) And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: {13} For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.

(Gen 19:21-22) And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. {22} Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

(2 Ki 19:35) And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

(2 Th 2:8) And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

(Rom 13:1-4) Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. {2} Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. {3} For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: {4} For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

(Num 15:32-36) And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. {33} And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. {34} And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. {35} And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. {36} And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.

(Source: Restoration Ministry)

bottom of page