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"Thou shalt not kill"

"Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13 KJV)

The Sixth Commandment

Many over the centuries have used "thou shalt not kill" to justify pacifism, or "conscientious objectors" in the military, or opposition to capital punishment for those who committed heinous crimes. And yet, if they read all of the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament, they would see that there were occasions when God not only permitted the taking of human lives, but commanded it. Examples:

The Ten Commandments

"And he said unto them, Thus saith The Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour" (Exodus 32:27 KJV)

"Thus saith The Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." (1 Samuel 15:2-3 KJV)

God is not a hypocrite. He means what He says, and says what He means - consistently. When the Israelites were given the Sixth Commandment, they knew from everyday life that it prohibited murder, not lawful killing, such as in self-defense, or in defense of one's nation, within legally-prescribed rules. In matters of criminal law, the guilty were punished in kind - in ancient times, prisons were merely places where accused people were held until trial and punishment - prisons were not the punishment itself. Murderers were put to death, not, ironically, and unjustly, sentenced to life:

"the murderer shall surely be put to death" (Numbers 35:17 KJV)

What is the Christian view, according to the Scriptures, on murderers?

"no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him" (1 John 3:15 KJV)

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8 KJV)

Fact Finder: The greatest miscarriage of justice that ever occurred was when the completely innocent Jesus Christ was executed. As part of that miscarriage of justice, was a murderer set free?
Mark 15:7-11, Acts 3:14


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