What do we make of the Old Testament God who commanded the children of Israel to commit genocide, pillage and other atrocities? Could this “God” be a projection of the shadow self – a mirror image of the dark side of humanity – of the people living in the Old Testament times? Would this be the reason these people were killing and plundering other tribes in the name of “God” and being intolerant of those who did not worship the same “God” as they did? How do we reconcile such a petty, vengeful and barbaric “God” with the New Testament God we read in the Bible – One whom Jesus revealed as our loving “heavenly Father”?
According to this website:
“The shadow self is what sabotages our relationships, jobs, it denies our spirit, keeps us from realizing our destiny and dreams. It is what we sweep under the rug. It gets buried and repressed into our deep unconscious self. ….. Other people mirror back our hidden emotions and feelings. Owning to manifest your full potential you have to claim the parts of yourself that you denied, hidden or given away to others to act out for you. If you keep attracting people with similar qualities or traits in your life it is to show you what aspects you are disowning in yourself. This gives us an opportunity to recognize them and reclaim them.”
“It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses- and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism.” – Carl Jung
So in view of understanding the human psyche, here are my thoughts on 2 Kings 10:18-27 about the killing of worshippers of another faith:
The old testament prophets and kings didn’t really hear God correctly – more likely they heard the voice of the conscience/Satan/dark side of their humanity.
They saw God in their own darkened image. The old testament God – the one that was judgmental and vindictive – was simply a mirror of their shadow self.
We know that Jesus is God and He came to show people what God is truly like. So if God = Jesus, therefore God doesn’t destroy lives, but saves and heals.
Therefore, any command the prophets or kings thought they heard regarding killing the enemies or outsiders or unbelievers or worshippers of another faith, is not from God.
The Bible may have recorded those events, but it doesn’t mean God was behind those killings or God supports them.
Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” All the old testament folks had never seen the Father. They saw mostly a mirror image of their duality manifesting in terms of good and evil, light and dark, but not a unified image of God who doesn’t dwell in duality but in unity – in tune with Himself.
“When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”(1 Corinthians 13:11-13)
Hence, Jesus came to renew people’s minds to see God (our true Self) as Love, so that our thoughts flow in tune with God’s thoughts once more. This is the rhythm I believe Rob Bell was referring to in his video “Rhythm“.
When people begin to see themselves as whole and complete, made in God’s image, they recover their true identity, and they become integrated in every way. “By Him (Jesus), all things are held together (or are integrated).”
The old testament folks dwelt in duality, and out of their disintegrated and distorted image of God and of themselves, they ended up doing cruel things, like genocide, etc, all in the name of “God”.
Jesus rebuked James and John for wanting to call the fire of heaven to consume the Samaritans, saying that “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. The Son of Man did not come to destroy but to save man’s lives.” I believe it’s because Elijah did not have the same spirit of grace as Jesus has. Elijah was heeding the voice of his seared conscience (sin-consciousness and self-righteousness), not the voice of God the Father.
The children of Israel thought they had to fight and kill in order to possess a physical promised land. Jesus came to show them the true rest – “Cease striving and know I am God (we are gods)”.
What happened in AD70 is not the vengeance or punishment in the physical sense from God – it was the suffering and torment in the conscience of those who were under the old covenant of law mindset, thinking that God is Someone who judges and condemns. It was the voice of their fallen mindset accusing them, and thinking that the attack of the Roman army on Jerusalem was caused by God, when actually it was their mirror image of the schizophrenic God that they had mistakenly believed in, because they refused to believe the good news that Jesus is their true identity.
“Violence in the Old Testament” by Derek Flood
“Cleansed from an Evil Conscience” by Colin Lagerwall