Spiritual warfare involves human suffering. We must consider the scars it leaves on people and on land. Did you know that war injures the land too? Battles happen in real places, not just in the human heart and mind or in the heavenly realms – although that’s where principalities reside (Ephesians 3:10).
Environmentalists today think that land can be polluted only with chemicals and trash. But they’re wrong. God doesn’t care that much how we treat the land physically, although that is important to having a healthy society. He won’t judge us for littering. No, what really matters is how we treat the land spiritually — what we say and do on it every minute of the day.
People have a special relationship with the land. Their words and deeds either purify or muddy it spiritually. Some places are saturated in spiritual darkness, others in light. This problem isn’t polarized. There are degrees of darkness and light, just like there are shades of black and white. Some places are spiritually gray, others the color of cream or ivory.
However, the worst form of land defilement is murder, the shedding of innocent blood. This does not refer to warfare or self-defense. No, “innocent blood” means the unjust murder of innocent victims, from the unborn to the ages. The land is polluted through general murder, abortion, and genocide.
When you go into Canaan, God told Israel, don’t pollute the land through blood, for “blood defiles the land” (Numbers 35:33). When Israel sacrificed its innocent children to idols anyway, “the land was polluted with blood” (Psalm 106:38). When God told Ezekiel that the iniquity of Israel and Judah was “great,” he added, “The land is full of blood” (Ezekiel 9:9). He poured out the fury of his wrath on Israel because they had shed innocent blood on the land (36:18). God also prophesied judgment on Egypt and Edom for “shedding innocent blood in their land” (Joel 3:19).
Is today any different? If God judged Israel for child sacrifice to idols, how can he not judge us for abortion? Worldwide judgment is coming.
If we want to help people and restore them to Christ in our spiritual fight against evil, we must cleanse the land. Like people, only blood can cleanse it. But this isn’t the blood of an innocent sacrifice. Rather, it’s the blood of the guilty: “The land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it” (Numbers 35:33). This is why capital punishment is so important. Only the just death of a person guilty of injustice can cleanse the land of innocent blood. It also honors the image of God in man (Genesis 9:6).
In 2 Samuel, God cursed the land of Israel with a famine for three years. When King David asked him the reason, God said the late King Saul murdered the Gibeonites in his unrighteous zeal (21:1-2). Seven sons (including grandsons) of Saul were then hanged to cleanse the land of a great injustice – the shedding of innocent blood (21:6). Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan and grandson of Saul, was spared because of David’s prior covenant with him (21:7). Only after spiritual justice was met did God lift the famine. He was “intreated for the land” (21:14).
Such a thing is unheard of now. Most Christians don’t understand it. They’re too soft. But this is spiritual truth. It originated not with King David but with God. Only an unbeliever or ignorant Christian would blame David for this act, not seeing the righteous and just hand of God in it all.
Innocent blood has been shed everywhere for centuries through abortion, euthanasia, genocide, and war (bystanders, not declared enemies). The Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Trail of Tears, the Holocaust, the genocides in Rwanda and Sudan, legal abortion in America and around the world, and many other events – all these deeds were and are gross acts of injustice. The people involved have shed innocent blood. These acts have plunged countries into great spiritual darkness and famine, both of the Shekinah presence of God and of his sovereign Word declared with power (Amos 8:11).
Words are not enough to cleanse the land. The blood of the guilty must be shed. This is the essence of capital punishment, which God gave to human governments as a sacred duty. How do Christians who don’t believe in capital punishment believe in hell? Hell is capital punishment writ large. However, God’s just act of sending the guilty to hell cannot cleanse the land here on earth. Spiritually cleansing the land of innocent blood requires capital punishment.
Contrary to its naysayers, capital punishment is not injustice or murder. It does not produce spiritual darkness in the land but only lifts it. Such darkness is the result of evildoers shedding innocent blood. Yet many governments today often refuse to use capital punishment on those guilty of shedding such blood. Sometimes they punish the innocent instead. No wonder the land is filled with spiritual darkness. And no one seems capable or willing to lift it.
The land today is polluted with so much innocent blood that it will take seven years of tribulation to cleanse it. I believe that God’s coming wrath on the world, as described in 2 Peter 3 and the book of Revelation, will be nothing more than cleansing the land of innocent blood — since we ourselves wouldn’t do it. After the millennial reign of Christ and Great White Throne Judgment, God will create “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1). This land will be clean!
God takes the land seriously, as much as a human soul. Shouldn’t we?