Dec 03

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Capital Punishment

I watched as a television news station interviewed a man regarding his views on the death penalty. The man, attempting to base his view upon the Bible, replied that capital punishment is wrong.
Let us see if he is right. In Genesis 9:6, we see that it was God who decreed capital punishment as the penalty for murder— “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: For in the image of God made he man.”
God continued the death penalty for murder under the Law of Moses, “Moreover, ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: But he shall surely be put to death” (Numbers 35:31, 33). As a matter of fact, the death penalty was decreed for at least five other crimes (Lev. 20; Deut. 17, 22; Ex. 22).
Finally (although this is not exhaustive), Romans 13:1-6, in discussing the God-given power of the governments, states that it “beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” The sword was an instrument which inflicted death, not a spanking. That Paul recognized this right is expressed in Acts 25:11.
Thus, it is incorrect to say, as did the interviewed man, that the Bible teaches that capital punishment is wrong. To deny the right, yea, this duty of government to assess and inflict the death penalty is to stand at odds with God.

Gary Henson

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