Does 2 Chronicles 15:13 tell Christians to kill non-believers?

The Question: Does 2 Chronicles 15:13 tell Christians to kill non-believers? It says: “All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death…”

This is a popular piece of scripture many people misquote and attempt to say it means that God calls Christians to kill non-believers.

Well first off it’s important to look at the whole chapter so you can see what is really being said here. 2 Chronicles 15:1-15 details how Asa, the king of Judah, and the people of Judah and Benjamin, had strayed away from the God of Israel but had now turned back to the Lord in times of great distress. It goes on further to say that in their repentance they made a covenant between themselves and God to:

“…seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, 13 but that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death” (2 Chronicles 15:12-13)

They were not by any means saying all people who don’t believe in God should be killed, they were saying: we as individuals and as a group are committing to seek and follow God and if we don’t follow through on this covenant we make with God, we should be put to death.

Deuteronomy 17:2-5 is another passage people claim where the Bible says non-believers should be killed. In the same way this is talking about people either of the Israel/Jewish nation or living as a part of their culture, who have made a covenant to follow God. This is not saying they were to go out and kill non-believers.

Now, there are indeed other places in the Bible where God commands the destruction of entire nations, however nowhere does it state that God commands his followers to kill all non-believers. There is certainly a great deal of war and fighting in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean God is violent or bloodthirsty, that is a result of evil being in the world and our own actions.

If you actually read the Bible, you will see throughout that nothing is more prevalent than God’s love towards all peoples and his desire to have a personal and meaningful relationship with each one. That doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen to ‘good’ people or that God will magically make our lives ‘perfect’ if we follow Him. We are still responsible for our actions and have to deal with the consequences of them and of living in a world dominated by evil.

God desires all to be saved and reconciled to Him (1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9), and despite how people may try to twist or manipulate specific passages of Scripture to suit their point of view, all I have to do is look at other areas of scripture to gain context as to what is actually being said or to gain an understanding of God so I can know for sure what is not being said, even if I may not understand what is being said.

know without doubt, that God does in fact not command his followers to kill non-believers. God sent his son to pay the ultimate price so that we have a chance to be reconciled with him. He did not send Jesus to condemn us, but to save us (John 3:17). He doesn’t preach a message of judgement or death, but of mercy, life and love.

 


 

 

 

10 thoughts on “Does 2 Chronicles 15:13 tell Christians to kill non-believers?”

  1. Then you would say that all of these verses were out of context correct? www(dot)bibliotecapleyades(dot)net/biblianazar/esp_biblianazar_81.htm

  2. how are you going to say God commanded destruction of whole nations but is not violent? you don’t make any sense. seems kind of religiously fanatical to me

  3. In Luke 19:27 Jesus clearly says:
    “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.”

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.

      You are absolutely correct, Jesus does indeed say those word’s, however I have to point out you seem to be making the common error of cherry-picking a specific verse and claiming it ‘means’ this and this or ‘proves’ some point or view, whereas if you take a few moments to read the previous section it should be fairly obvious the point or view you are claiming this verse makes is incorrect.

      For example, why even take the whole verse, why not just take the two words ‘Kill them’ from Luke 19:27 and then we could just say that this ‘clearly’ means God commands us to kill everyone…

      Seems crazy, right? And I would certainly agree. It’s equally crazy in my opinion trying to take a sentance or in many cases even a whole paragraph and then claiming that ‘clearly’ is a ‘command’ to do such and such without reading or understanding what was written before/after.

      So, I could certainly write an article on Luke 19:27 however it’s a fairly straightforward and simple parable to explain and it’s not difficult to see that Jesus is certainly not telling His followers to kill unbelievers in any way, so I’ll just explain it here briefly.

      Luke 19:11-27 is a parable Jesus is telling Zacchaeus and the disciples about how we spend our time on earth. He uses an illustration/story of a nobleman who leaves his kingdom for a time to be made ruler in another kingdom (depicting Jesus returning to Heaven where he is crowned king before returning to earth) and the servants left in the original kingdom (earth) while the ruler is away. It also mentions those subjects who oppose the ruler, “…sending a delegation after him to say, ‘we don’t want this man to be our king’ “. The parable talks about how some of the servants used what the ruler had provided them wisely, being good stewards, and others not so much. At the end when the ruler finally returns, those who were responsible with the time and resources were rewarded, and those who squandered them were left with nothing. It also mentions that those who completely rejected the ruler were destroyed, which is indeed what the Bible says will happen to those who don’t accept Christ’s rule when He returns again.

      So, it should be fairly plain that this is indeed not a call to ‘kill non-believers’ if you actually read the parable instead of looking at a single verse.

      If it’s the truth you are looking for, I’d strongly recommend actually reading everything through and not taking my or anyone elses words as ‘fact’ or ‘truth’. I’m guessing that what happened here is you simply did a google search or something of ‘where the bible says to kill non-believers’ and came up with that verse, and then copied it in to ‘prove’ a point? That’s an okay tactic to take if you are not interested in finding the truth and are just looking to placate yourself or something along those lines, however if you genuinely want to know what the Bible actually teaches and says then the only real way to do that is to read it through 🙂

      I’ll also add that picking verses out of context or taking culteral/time-period issues out of context are very shallow ‘arguments’ and incredibly easy to counter. If your goal is to legitimately argue against the ‘Bible’ and ‘Christianity’ then I’d STILL recommend you read it through thourougly and study up on the history and culture as only then would you even be in a position with adequate knowledge of the subject matter to put forward any coherant arguement.

      Of course I’m banking that through your study and research to that end God would reveal some truth to you and lead you into a deeper understanding and maybe you would come to know him 😉 but that’s a risk you may have to take!

  4. Thank you VERY much for this insightful commentary. This exact chapter (and likewise, the issue) came up in church today and I admit I struggled to try to explain this same argument. I was trying to argue that God would not have ordered them to slaughter those that would not seek him and that view would be in direct conflict with the teachings of Jesus. I agree there are times that God ordered the destruction of entire nations but that’s because of their collective wickedness. God wants everyone to CHOOSE to follow him and we win more hearts by example than force. Jesus’s teachings weren’t only correct but they were also wise. I only hope to help people correctly so thank you for helping me with a better way of understanding it.

  5. But if god is all powerful, why not just snap his enemies out of existence instead of using people to murder other human beings including kids? ‘Put to death’ in any context just shows an involvement of a human element. Either god is not powerful enough or just doesn’t exist. Just like every other god that christians choose not to believe.

    1. Hi Gihan, thanks for taking the time to comment, always appreciated!

      So I think the question/argument you are making is touched on a little bit in two different articles: http://thefrequentlyaskedchristians.com/how-could-god-condone-genocide-or-extermination/ and http://thefrequentlyaskedchristians.com/why-do-bad-things-happen-to-good-people/ however if I understand you correctly, what you are saying is this: ‘If God did exist and was all powerful, He wouldn’t allow evil to exist, He wouldn’t allow bad things to happen to good people, etc. etc, so if He even does exist, then He isn’t all powerful as we obviously have a ton of evil in the world.’ is that correct?

      This is a question/argument that has certainly been asked before by many other people and there are a lot of great articles on it such as: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/how-can-god-allow-so-much-evil-and-suffering/ and https://www.rzim.org/read/just-thinking-magazine/if-god-why-suffering and https://www.bethinking.org/would-a-good-god-allow-suffering/q-why-does-god-allow-evil-to-exist are a few that you might find useful.

      I have it on my list to write an article on this exact topic as well but the general gist of what I think it comes down to is this: free will. If God ‘destroys’ all evil immediately, then by that standard there would be no humans left because we all are ‘evil’ at some point or do ‘evil’ things at some point (this point is of course assuming there is such as thing as Good/Evil which requires a moral standard from a higher entity to begin with but that is sort of a different topic). So then IF God is indeed ‘good’ (whatever good means) and doesn’t want us, his creations to be destroyed and wants a relationship with us, then there needs to be a way for us to be reconciled to Him, which is where Jesus and the sacrifice He made comes into play, however if we are all destroyed instantly because God ‘snaps his enemies out of existence’ (as we are all enemies of God at some point) then there is no chance for us to CHOOSE to be reconciled to God. Now, the other question that comes up in my mind then is this: ‘Well what about God destroying his enemies at the current time, God has ‘some’ people who are reconciled to Him right now, so why not just destroy everyone but those people?’ but if God is ‘good’ and ‘fair’ then that doesn’t give other’s a fair chance to accept His way of reconciliation. That then leads to the point of ‘Well God exists outside of time and controls time, why not then destroy all the enemies of God throughout all time, and save the ones who have chosen, will choose, etc. to be reconciled?’ Which is essentially exactly what God is doing and says He will do 😉

      So, if God is real and all powerful, but also wants His creation to be reconciled with Him, what other option would He have but to let us ‘live’ this life with the existence of evil, with the option to choose Him if we decide too? You could I suppose say, well God, being God, ‘knows’ everyone that would choose Him so why doesn’t he just save us the pain/suffering/difficulty of living this life with all the bad things in it and just ‘grant’ the people who He knows will choose Him eternal life and reconciliation without them having to go through the process? However that then isn’t choice anymore, nor is there any relationship developed between us and God through that process which leads us to choose him in the first place, so that wouldn’t make much sense either that I can see…

      Anyway, hopefully some of that made sense and was useful to you! Take care.

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