THE BIBLE CLEARLY TEACHES CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IS RIGHT
Liberals are consistently against capital punishment. Conservatives are generally for it. It ought not even be controversial for Bible believers. The Bible clearly teaches it.
The death penalty was first announced to Adam. Death is the penalty for sin. Genesis 2:15-17 In Adam we have all followed our first father into sin. Romans 5:12-21. As sinners we all face the penalty for sin which is death. Romans 6:23
GOD ALLOWED EVIL MEN TO EXECUTE HIS SON, JESUS, TO SAVE US FROM OUR SINS
There is only one way to be saved and rehabilitated from sin and to avoid eternal damnation and that is to receive Christ as our Saviour. Jesus died to take the punishment for our sins. He rose again the third day to prove that it was God Himself who died on the cross. Those who trust Him are saved from God’s penalty for sin, which is eternity in Hell. Not only are we saved from God’s punishment for sin, but His Holy Spirit comes to live in us and begins the process of spiritual rehabilitation, the process of being conformed to the image of Christ.
Prior to the Flood God announced that the world’s population had become unspeakably vile; somewhat as it is today. The cup of God’s wrath was filled to the brim and He decided to send a worldwide flood to destroy mankind from the face of the earth, except for Noah and his wife and their three sons and the son’s wives; to whom God showed His grace by saving them from the flood in an ark. You can read about it in Genesis 6, Matthew 24:37-29, Hebrews 11:7 and II Peter 2:4-5. You can also find evidence of this world wide flood in fossils brought about by the drowning of humans, animals, and birds that were instantly buried under tons of mud and rock throughout the earth as a result of the universal Flood. .
HUMAN GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHED
After the Flood had subsided and Noah and his family left the ark, they built an altar and worshipped God. At that time God gave them His covenant and also a command that from now on God required human government to put murderers and others guilty of capital crimes to death. Read about this in Genesis 8:20- 9:17 Note that God’s beautiful rainbow is a constant sign of that covenant.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBLE FOR CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
About one thousand years later God gave Moses His Law for Israel in Exodus and Leviticus. In Exodus 21 and Leviticus 20 God’s Laws expand the crimes requiring capital punishment. Not only murderers were to be executed, but also those who smite or curse their parents, those who steal and sell slaves, those guilty of adultery and those guilty of homo-sexuality and other unspeakably vile sins.
I do not hate any sinner. I only hate sin. Sin is sin, whether it be murder or exceeding the speed limit. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God. I love sinners and love to share with them the wonderful grace of God.
As a Gospel preacher I hold out only one solution to sin and that is JESUS. When a sinner puts His trust in Christ who died to pay the punishment for his sins, God not only forgives and cleanses him from sin, but He begins a work of total transformation. The sins he once loved he hates. The Bible he once hated and the righteous standards he despised and ignored, he now loves.
WHAT ABOUT “THOU SHALT NOT KILL?”
Some argue that since the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 teach we are not to kill; therefore we must never put murderers to death, but rather imprison them for life. It’s true that the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” teaches that we as individuals are not to kill others nor take vengeance into our own hands; but that command does not nullify the responsibility of human government to carry out capital punishment. God does not contradict Himself. A Christian executioner is not disobeying God’s sixth commandment when he administers the lethal injection. A Christian soldier is not disobeying God’s sixth commandment when under orders he shoots the enemy. We are to leave justice and vengeance for human government to carry out.
Biblical justice includes carrying out vengeance for victims and their grieving families. It is a travesty of justice when such criminals are freed or given light sentences. No wonder our prisons are overflowing with criminals. Shame on judges who are soft on crime. The old time Western movies that ended with the sheriff shooting or hanging the bad guy are far more moral than the shameful miscarriage of justice we see in our courts today as murderers and rapists and pedophiles are freed to walk the streets of our cities and repeat their crimes.
HATRED AND PERSONAL REVENGE ARE ALWAYS WRONG
Liberals argue that the Old Testament is all about hatred and revenge but that the New Testament is all about love and forgiveness. Those who argue this way show a shameful ignorance of the Bible. The same God is the author of both the Old and New Testament. There is no contradiction between the two. Both the Old and New Testament teach that personal revenge and murder are sin. The New Testament, as well as the Old Testament teach that human government is responsible to carry out capital punishment. Romans 13:1-6. clearly teaches that it is right for police officers as well as our military to carry guns and use them when needed. It is right for human government to put those guilty of capital crimes to death. In fact, the Romans 13 passage teaches that those officers act as ministers or servants of God in that capacity.
Read the following accounts to learn that God killed those who broke His Laws and He often used His servants to carry out His vengeance on His enemies.
MOSES COOPERATED WITH GOD IN EXECUTING EVIL MEN
In Exodus 14 we read the marvelous story of how God opened a way on dry ground through the Red Sea to allow Israel to escape their slavery from the Egyptians. We also read of how later Pharaoh’s army followed Israel through that dry road in the Sea. God alone could have closed the Sea on the Egyptian army and destroyed them. Instead, God chose to include Moses in carrying out the death penalty on Egypt‘s army. God commanded Moses to lift up his rod over the Sea and lo and behold the Sea came together over Pharaoh’s army and drowned them.
GOD HONORED LEVITES AS PRIESTS FOR EXECUTING SINNERS
In Exodus 32 while Moses was up on the Mountain receiving God’s Law, Aaron, Moses’ brother, was leading the Israelites in the idolatrous worship of a golden calf he had fashioned. When Moses returned from the mountain and saw the idolatry and the orgy, he was furious. God in His fury commanded faithful Israel to put these idolaters to death. The tribe of Levi volunteered and carried out God’s command. God rewarded His faithful, courageous servants by choosing them as the priestly tribe of Israel.
In Numbers 15:32-36 God commanded Israel to stone some Israelites who were desecrating the Sabbath by picking up stick. Sounds pretty severe, doesn’t it, when you think how we treat the Lord’s Day? For more information on this, go to my link on the SABBATH on this web site.
In Joshua 7 we read how Achan and his family were stoned to death because Achan had in disobedience to God, stolen some valuables from the ruins of Ai. God commanded Israel to carry out the execution.
These are just a few of the many instances in the Old Testament where people were commanded by God to execute law breakers.
GOD CHOOSES EVEN WICKED MEN TO CARRY OUT JUSTICE
Note a couple of references to human government in the Book of Daniel. Daniel 4:25 teaches that “the Most High (God) ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will.” Again in Daniel 5:21 we learn “that the Most High God ruleth in the kingdom of men, and the He appointeth over it whomsoever He will.” This truth applies to wicked emperors of ancient Rome, as well as to good and wicked rulers of modern nations. It also applies to us in America. We are privileged to vote for our leaders, but it is ultimately God who determines elections.
JESUS’ SERMON ON THE MOUNT AND REVENGE
When we come to the New Testament in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 Jesus expands on the Old Testament Law. He does not rescind the Law. Rather, He amplifies it, carrying it beyond acts to even our thoughts and attitudes. One who hates another is a murderer. One who lusts after other women is an adulterer. In this sermon we are taught to forgive those who harm us and take advantage of us. The Sermon on the Mount is clearly Christ’s description and standards of those who belong to His Kingdom, those who are Christians. For more on this subject go to my BEATITUDES series on this web site.
ROMANS 13 AND GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSIBILTY TO AVENGE WRONG
In Romans 13 we learn of our relationship with human government. There again we learn that “the powers that be are ordained of God.” There we learn that when we resist human government, we are resisting God. There we learn that when we break laws and resist arrest, we pay the consequences. Policemen and those in our military carry guns and use them as ministers of God. We are to respect them and have a healthy fear of them when we break the law, even if it is driving over the speed limit.
Thank God that in America we have a nation that was founded by Christian men of character who attempted to build a nation on Biblical principles. Thank God that we as American citizens still have the power to elect men and women to political power to advance in government the values that we hold. Thank God that we still have the power to vote out of office those who do not truly represent us. How much longer we will have that freedom, we do not know. Regardless of what happens in the future, understand that God ruleth over all. We are ultimately in His hands.
JESUS WAS FOR CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
In Luke 13:1-5 we have an incident where Jesus could have spoken out against capital punishment if it were wrong, but He did not speak out against it. The Pharisee, Gamaliel also comments on this event in Acts 5:37. There Jesus reminds the people of an incident of which they were probably very much aware. A group of Galileans had formed a revolt against the Roman Empire. They came to Jerusalem under the guise of offering animal sacrifices. Pilate, the governor, learning of the revolt, ordered them to be executed along with their animal sacrifices. Their blood was mingled with the blood of their animal sacrifices on the altar.
Jesus refers to these rebels as sinners, receiving the just punishment from Pilate. Then He warns the people and all of us today that unless we repent we shall all perish in our sins.
WHAT ABOUT REHABILITATION?
While we are on this subject let me make one more point. The purpose of prisons and the purpose of executions are to punish; not to rehabilitate. We have it wrong today. We think the primary purpose of prison is to rehabilitate and not to punish. Because of our twisted thinking, crime is on the increase and prisons are over-crowded. If we would execute those who have committed capital offenses and if we would make prison an unpleasant experience, crime would decrease and criminals would think twice before committing crimes.
There is a place for rehabilitation. That should be our job as Christians. Only God can truly change hearts and rehabilitate prisoners. We should visit prisoners and bring them the Gospel. We should have Bible classes with those who desire to know God. After prisoners have served their time, they can return to society as changed men and women ready to serve God and be a blessing instead of a burden to society.
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