Capital Punishment

by Grover Stevens

Capital punishment is a subject that has been hotly discussed for many years, in increasingly so in recent years. Capital punishment is the death penalty for certain crimes, such as 1st-degree murder, treason, rape, and kidnaping. Several years ago, the United States Supreme court ruled that the death penalty is "unconstitutional." Since then, there has been a steady increase in ALL crime, but more especially in capital crimes, such as murder, rape, and kidnaping.

In all of the discussion, we have heard sociologists, psychologists, criminologists, politicians, and various crusaders, voice their opinions, but few, indeed, have inquired into, or concerned themselves with what GOD has said about it. Christians, in general, are confused and divided over what to believe, or say, on this issue. I hope you will be profited, and God will be glorified by this study.

God Demands Capital Punishment

I hasten to add that God demands the death penalty -- capital punishment for capital crimes. I invite you to get your bible and study what God has to say on this important subject. God has not only approved of the death penalty, particularly in the case of murder, but has required it in no uncertain terms in every age of Bible history -- Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian. The Scriptures are clear and consistent on this subject, as I shall show.

God's Law Of Capital Punishment

God's law of capital punishment is stated clearly and concisely in Genesis 9:6. In God's own words the law reads: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: For in the image of God made he man". According to this, as long as man is in the image of God, then this law of God is in effect and valid, as I shall show.

From Creation To Moses

This law is implied in the case of Cain's murder of Abel in the very beginning of the human race. Cain's comments, and God's reply, show the gravity of this sin and imply that the penalty for it is death (Gen 4:9-15). Just why God did not execute the death penalty in this case we do not know, the bible does not say. There are, however, several possible reasons which may be considered.

In the first place, God knows every man's heart, and he may have known that Cain did not intend to kill his brother, but that it was accidental.

Then, too, God may have wanted to show his mercy to mankind first, then later require adequate penalties for transgressors.

And, it might have been that God wanted to demonstrate first, that a government of all mercy would not promote the happiness and welfare of man. It is worthy of note that soon afterwards the earth was "filled with violence". And God was then constrained to punish mankind with the flood, which was capital punishment in a dramatic and impressive way.

Also, the poem of Lamech in Genesis 4:23-24 is a clear indication of the death penalty for murder.

Furthermore, the destruction of the world by the flood in the days of Noah is a case where God, himself, executed the death penalty because of man's crimes. Also, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the End of the World, and the Second Death in hell are other instances of God practicing capital punishment.

If the death penalty is immoral, as some argue, then God is immoral, because He practices it!!

Some acknowledge that God himself does indeed practice capital punishment, but they think that God has reserved for Himself alone the right to punish with death. But this is shown to be a false concept by the law of God for capital punishment.

This Law is in language so clear that no one can misunderstand it. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man". (Genesis 9:6) This penalty was to be executed "by man". And God ordained the next of kin to execute the penalty. (Genesis 9:5)

The reason God gave for this penalty was, "For in the image of God He made man". Thus, God preserves the dignity and sanctity of human life be demanding the supreme penalty -- death -- for those who disregard this dignity and sanctity of human life by committing murder. Some have gotten this all backwards. One legislator said that the repeal of capital punishment is "a victory for the dignity of man, for those who believe in the sanctity of life." Such people believe in the sanctity of life of the murderer, who does not believe in it, BUT THEY DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE SANCTITY OF LIFE OF THE INNOCENT!!!

Note further that this law is universal in its application. It applies to ALL mankind, in ALL nations, and ALL races, and at ALL times -- AS LONG AS MAN IS IN THE IMAGE OF GOD!!!

Under The Law Of Moses

The Ten Commandments"Thou Shalt Not Kill"

God continued his sanction of capital punishment under the law of Moses. In the ten commandments, God said, "Thou shalt not kill". (Exodus 20:13). Some have tried to use this commandment to FORBID capital punishment. Such arguments just have to be either the grossest if ignorance, or the worst of hypocrisy. First, there is a difference in Murder and Capital Punishment. And second, a law is only as strong as the penalty imposed on its violation. All killing is not murder; some may be accidental. The New American Standard version translates this commandment, "You shall not murder". Young's concordance lists ten Hebrew words and six Greek words for the English word "kill" as used in the King James version of the bible. The Hebrew word "ratsach", means "to murder" and this is the word used in the ten commandments. In Matt 5:21, when Jesus quoted this commandment, He used the Greek word which means "murder". Furthermore, the sophistry of such an argument is exposed by reading in the next chapter God's penalties for violating His commandments. In Exodus 21:12, God tells us that the murderer was to be punished by death. Any law, if it is to be respected and obeyed, MUST have an appropriate penalty for its violation. If there is no penalty, or and an inadequate penalty, the law becomes anemic and meaningless. God enforced His law against murder by imposing the penalty of death on the violator. Immediately following the giving of the ten commandments, there follows a series of penalties, among which is the death penalty for murder. God said, "He that smiteth a man, so that he dieth, shall surely be put to death". (Exodus 21:12)

Accidental Killing

Accidental killing is not murder. God made provision to spare the life of one who has killed "unawares" or unintentionally, by providing "cities of refuge" (see Numbers 35). But the murderer WAS given NO refuge. From verse 16 to 21, the phrase "The Murderer Shall Surely be Put to Death" is repeated five times, and verse 21 says, "the REVENGER of blood shall SLAY THE MURDERER, when he meets him". A trial was to be held and the murderer was to be put to death at the evidence of witnesses, but no person was to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. The wisdom of this safeguard has been observed by legislators ever since.

No Ransom For The Life Of The Murderer

Furthermore, God decreed that NO RANSOM was to be taken for the life of the murderer, but that he MUST be put to death. Go said, "moreover ye shall take to satisfaction for the life of the murderer, which is guilty of death: but HE SHALL SURELY BE PUT TO DEATH...so ye shall NOT POLLUTE the land wherein ye are: for blood defileth the land: and the land CANNOT BE CLEANSED OF THE BLOOD that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it" (Numbers 35:31-33). From this, we learn that God knew that to allow a murderer to live is to "pollute the land". This explains God's words to Cain when he said, "The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground". And, it explains why, many years later, David required his son, Solomon, to execute a murderer that, so far, had gone unpunished (I Kings 2). Notice especially in verse 31, "That thou mayest take away the innocent blood which Joab shed, from me and from the house of my father". (What a difference between King David's action upon leaving office, and that of governor Rockefeller of Arkansas, who commuted to a lesser sentence all death row prisoners, upon his leaving office).

Thine Eye Shall Not Pity Him

Let's look at one more passage before going to the New Testament. Turn to Deut 19:11-13. Here we read that God commands to "deliver him (the murderer) into the hand of the avenger of blood, THAT HE MAY DIE. Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee". The society that takes pity on the murderer under the guise of love, humanitarianism, or wisdom, is thinking that THEIR love and wisdom is BETTER THAN GOD'S, and they will reap the evils of their disobedience. They seem to have no pity for the innocent victim, or his family and loved ones, or the future victims of the murderer, whether they be guards in prison, or the citizens on the streets after his almost certain release. God said, "They shall SURELY be put to death...that it may go well with thee".

A Just Recompense Of Reward

Before we go to the New Testament to see what Christ and the Holy Spirit said about Capital Punishment in the gospel dispensation, let me call your attention to the fact that the New Testament says that "every transgression and disobedience" in the Old Testament "received a JUST recompense of reward" (Heb. 2:2). So the New Testament says that the DEATH PENALTY under the Old Testament was a "JUST" or "DESERVED" punishment.

From Christ To The End Of The World

And now, let's see what Christ's attitude was toward capital punishment. Has God changed His will on capital punishment in the New Testament? What is Christ's law concerning the death penalty in the Christian Dispensation in which He has all authority in heaven and on earth? The Lord Jesus Christ is the mediator of the NEW COVENANT which God made with man, and which is to last to the end of time. What does this New Covenant teach on this subject?

Separation Of Church And State

In the first place, we should understand that the Lord Jesus established a clear distinction between the Kingdom of GOD and the kingdom of CAESAR -- between the religious realm and the civil realm -- or, in modern terminology, between CHURCH and STATE.

The kingdom of God in the Old Testament (before Christ) was a "theocracy"-that is, the religious and civil courts were combined. That, is UNION of "church" and state. BUT, when Jesus Christ established His kingdom, he made it clear that it was separate and apart from the civil -- the kingdom of Caesar. That is SEPARATION of "church" and state. Jesus said, "My kingdom is NOT of this world". Caesar's kingdom WAS of this world. One becomes a citizen of the civil kingdom by civil law, and one becomes a citizen in God's kingdom by spiritual law -- by the new birth- - a spiritual birth. One is civil and secular, and the other is religious and spiritual.

Render Unto Caesar The Things That Are Caesar's

In Matthew 22:21 Jesus commanded, "render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things which are God's". Thus, some things belong to Caesar's kingdom and some to God's. But, how can we render unto Caesar what is Caesar's unless we know what God expects us to render unto Caesar? We will learn this as we proceed.

Power From Above To Crucify

In John 18:10-11, Pilate said to Jesus, "Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and I have power to release thee? And Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, EXCEPT IT WERE GIVEN THEE FROM ABOVE: therefore, he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin". Notice first, that Pilate claimed to have the authority, or "power" to crucify, or put to death. Then Jesus said that Pilate would have no authority unless "it were given thee from above". Therefore, this conversation shows that Pilate, AS A GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL, had authority from God to crucify, or execute capital punishment.

But you say, does not Jesus say that Pilate sinned in crucifying Him, when He said that others have the greater sin? And I answer that is true, BUT Pilate's sin was NOT because he did not have authority from God to punish evil doers by death, but because he MISUSED that authority to execute an innocent man. Pilate had confessed earlier, in verse 4, "I find no fault in him". The proper use of his authority was, therefore, to protect Jesus, but instead, he sentenced him to be crucified. It should be plain, therefore, that Pilate had authority from above to crucify the GUILTY, but no government has the authority from above to crucify the innocent. It is significant that Jesus submitted to this government, even though it was corrupt. It is really the MAN who was corrupt--the officer, and not the office--the person or individual who occupies the office and not the government. A corrupt person may misuse the authority of his office. Jesus submitted to the authority of government, even though the people in charge of the government were corrupt. Just so, we should render unto civil government due respect and submission, because its authority is from above--and that includes the authority to crucify. It is obvious, therefore, that Jesus taught that civil government had the authority from above to execute capital punishment!

Civil Government Is Ordained Of God

This is further borne out by the apostle Paul in Roman chapter 13, verses 1 through 7 read: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher power. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rules are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have the praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But is thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye to Caesar also: For they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due: custom to whom custom: fear to whom fear: honor to whom honor".

In this passage of Scripture, God tells us that ALL power, or authority, is from God and that there is NO power EXCEPT from God, and that God ordained--that is, decreed or established, civil government--the powers that be". Let me emphasize that point: Civil government is ordained of God!! It is not, therefore, of Satan!! The notion of some that civil government belongs to the devil, is as false as it can be. These verses from the Word of God very clearly command "every soul" to render subjection, or obedience, taxes, custom, fear or respect, and honor to civil government. God does not command us to be in subjection to the devil, but He here commands us to be in subjection to civil government. The conclusion, therefore, is simple: Civil government is NOT of the devil, but, as the Word of God declares, but IS of God!! And, God commands every soul to be subject to it!!

The Jews, back in the time of Christ, generally held the position that submission to heathen government was wrong. They thought that because God had chosen them for His subjects, and as their king had dictated to them a system of law, and had at first governed them in person, then later by rulers of His own choosing, that therefore, it was disobedience to God to submit to heathen rulers and their laws. This is why they thought that is was "unlawful" to pay taxes to Caesar. In other words, the zealots among the Jews accepted God alone as their king, and they opposed submission to and support of ALL kings who were not of their religion and who did not govern them by the laws that God gave through Moses. This attitude caused them to withhold from the heathen magistrates that honor and obedience to which they were entitled, by their office, from all who lived under their government. This disposition of contempt fro civil government was carried over into the church by some of the Jewish converts, and this gave occasion for the gospel to be evil spoken of.

So Paul corrects this erroneous view in his letter to the Christians at Rome by laying down the duties which subjects owe the magistrates, and testifying to them that the disciples of Christ were not exempted from obedience to the wholesome laws, even of heathen governments under which they lived; nor from contributing to the support of the government by which they were protected, even though that government was administered by idolaters. He said this was the God-given duty of "every soul", whether they were Christians or not. In short: The Jews thought that their government was the ONLY one that was "of God". Paul, to the contrary, said, "There is no power but of God", or, ALL power is from God, including Caesar's, the one under which they lived. Remember, Jesus said Pilate's authority was "from above", and he submitted himself to it, even though he regarded Pilate, a person, as a conniving "fox".

Minister Of God To Execute Wrath

So we see from Romans, chapter 13, that civil government is "ordained of God" (verse 1), and that it is the "minister of God to EXECUTE wrath and revenge upon him that doeth evil" (verse 4). Furthermore, God commands "every soul" to be in subjection to it: and says, "Whosoever resisteth the power" is in reality resisting God, and that all such "shall receive damnation" from God, besides, and in addition to, the wrath, or punishment, of the government.

When people properly understand this, it will not be difficult for them to see God's law regarding capital punishment.

He Beareth Not The Sword In Vain

Now, notice, that God's Word says, "he beareth not the sword in vain". The sword was the instrument of capital punishment. In Acts 12:2 we see that James was "put to death with the sword". Civil government, therefore, is God's minister to "bear the sword", that is, to execute capital punishment; but, if capital punishment is forbidden, then it would be bearing the sword "in vain", or "for nothing", as the New International version puts it. So, God's Word teaches that civil government is ordained of God to actually execute the death penalty.

God's Minister For Vengeance

Verse 4 further asserts that civil government is the "minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil". Thus, civil government is a revenger; but a revenger for whom? And it executes "wrath" on the evil doer; but WHOSE WRATH??

In Romans 12:19 God says, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, vengeance is mine, I will repay saith the Lord". So, here the Christian is told NOT to avenge himself, for "vengeance is mine, saith the Lord". Then, in chapter 13, Paul proceeds to tell HOW the Lord takes this vengeance--through his minister, the civil government.

So the Christian, as an individual, is told, "Avenge not yourselves, but give place unto wrath". Furthermore, our Lord Jesus Christ said in Matt. 5:39, "But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also". And, in verse 44, "...Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you". Thus, Christ tells us that our personal, individual responsibility is NOT to retaliate or take revenge, but rather to pray for and do good to the evil doer, and to "give place" unto wrath.

On the other hand, civil government is "God's minister...to execute wrath" upon the evildoer who robs or assaults me, or others. The words "avenge", "vengeance", and "revenger" in these passages are all the same root word. God forbids me, as an individual, to "avenge" myself, for, He said "vengeance belongs to HIM" -- to God -- "I will repay, saith the Lord" (Rom. 12:19). Then, in Romans 13, God proceeds to tell us that HE takes that vengeance through the agency of his minister, the civil government. God said the civil government was his minister, "a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil". It follows, therefore, that the "wrath" that God commands me, as an individual, to "give place" to, is the same "wrath" that his minister, the civil government "executes" upon him that doeth evil.

Example Of Paul

These principles of the duty of the individual Christian, and of the government, are clearly demonstrated in Acts 21. The apostle Paul, as an individual Christian, did not retaliate when he was being beaten to death by the mob. Civil government (Roman soldiers) intervened and protected him from the evil doers (Acts 21:31-32). Instead of retaliation, Paul sought to do them good by trying to teach them the truth about Christ. But in the next chapter, Paul appealed to the civil government for protection on the basis of his Roman citizenship (Acts 22:25-29). And in the next chapter, Paul sought and received from the civil government, and armed guard who would have killed the assassins if they had tried to carry out their evil designs (Acts 23:23-24).

Friends, the lesson is clear: I, personally cannot take the life of the murderer who has murdered one of my loved ones. BUT, the civil government is the "minister of God, a revenger" who is commanded of God to do so!! "He beareth not the sword in vain."

Punish Evildoer For The Lord

This same principle is taught in 1 Peter 2:13-15. "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as them that are sent by him FOR THE PUNISHMENT OF EVIL DOERS, and for the praise of them that do well".

Crimes Worthy Of Death

Paul further confirms capital punishment in Acts 25:11 when he said to Governor Festus, "For if I be an offender, or have committed anything WORTHY OF DEATH, I refuse not to die; but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man deliver me unto them. I appeal to Caesar". Here Paul clearly recognizes that there are some crimes that are "worth of death", and that the offender ought to die! He said, "I refuse not to die". On the other hand, he affirms the right of self-defense for those who are NOT guilty. "No man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar". Can language be plainer?

The Weapons Of Our Warfare And Not Carnal

But someone asks, How do you reconcile this with Paul's teaching in 2 Cor. 10:4 where he says, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal..." The answer is simple. Paul was a citizen of both the political kingdom of Caesar, and also the spiritual kingdom of Christ. In 2 Cor 10:4 Paul was speaking as a citizen (and an apostle) of Christ's spiritual kingdom; and in Acts 25:11 he was speaking as a citizen in the political kingdom of Caesar. In 2 Cor 10:4 Paul was emphasizing the fact that the warfare, and its weapons, of Christ's spiritual kingdom were spiritual, and not carnal. The kingdom of Christ is NEVER to be defended, maintained, nor advanced by carnal warfare, or carnal weapons, but only by preaching the gospel of Christ and persuading men to accept Him as the Lord and King of their lives. Force has absolutely no place in Christ's kingdom, because citizenship there is spiritual and wholly voluntary. Force would vitiate to the core every act of worship or service to Christ. Forced worship is not worship! There is no virtue in doing what we are compelled to do. But, the fact that carnal methods are not to be used to obtain submission in the spiritual realm does not make their use null and void by civil governments in a material realm.

Conclusion

All of this being true, we conclude that in every age of human history, God has ruled that murder is a crime worthy of death, and that the murderer must pay for his crime. God said, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed". And again, "Ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of the murderer, which is guilty of death..so ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it". And again, "The powers that be are ordained of God..he is the minister of God, a revenger, to execute wrath upon the evil doer..he beareth not the sword in vain".

The lesson is clear. God has ordained the death penalty for some crimes and especially murder. And, God has ordained the civil government as the human agency to execute this penalty. And God said that the land or nation that allowed a murderer to live would be polluted. And, THAT is the situation in these United States of America today!!

Objections Considered

Now let us briefly consider some of the objections that are voiced against the death penalty. However, in doing so, we must keep in mind the fact that NO objection, regardless of merit, can set aside the plain teaching of God's Word.

We Can't Save The Soul Of The Murderer If He Is Dead

No, and neither can we save the soul of the person nor persons he has killed, and will kill. But so far as the murderer is concerned, his approaching death will probably provide the best time to discuss his soul's salvation with him.

The fact of his being a sinner and his need of a Saviour and the urgency of his conversion are forcibly brought to bear upon his heart. Whereas, on the other hand, if he expects to live an indefinite length of time, this expectation often breeds apathy and procrastination regarding his eternal salvation.

The Death Penalty Does Not Prevent Murders

Wrong; it most certainly does to some degree. Law enforcement officers report that in interrogation, criminals will often admit that they did not commit murder in the act of committing a crime because they "didn't want to burn". So, in these cases, it did! Furthermore, the preventive element in capital punishment is weakened or eliminated by other factors, such as lengthy trials and appeals which make punishment long removed from the crime. Some death-row criminals have died of natural causes because the death penalty was so long in being executed. No one dreads a penalty that may NEVER be enforced!! God's Word warns of this very thing. In Ecc. 8:11, God says, "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil".

Capital Punishment Is Premeditated Killing

Such an argument is merely a play on words, and is an appeal to sentiment, and is pure subterfuge. Certainly pre-legislated punishment is premeditated and determined beforehand. And that is as it should be. But, that is not the same as premeditated murder. God commanded, "Thou shalt not kill (murder)" in the 6th commandment, and then gave the penalty for violator, "He that smiteth a man so that he die, shall surely be put to death". So, GOD pre-legislated, and therefore, premeditated the death penalty for the murderer. And then God warned Israel not to pity the murderer, but that he should surely be put to death. Was God, or IS God, ever unjust?

What Righteous Man Could Every Execute Another Human Being?

I reply that no person is required to be the executioner, but each of us must support the law that will provide for the executioner to do what God says must be done. And I also answer by asking, "Could not a righteous man obey what a righteous God commanded to be done?" In 1 Samuel 15:33 we read where Samuel, one of the best men that ever lived on this earth, and a preacher and a priest of God, slew a wicked man whom God had ordered slain. "And Samuel hewed Agag to pieces before the Lord and Gilgal".

The Death Penalty Cannot Restore The Lost Life Of The Victim

This is true, but neither can life imprisonment, not any other kind of punishment. Shall we, therefore, abolish all punishment?

The Spirit Of Christianity Is Opposed To Capital Punishment

And I reply that that depends on what is meant by the "spirit of Christianity?" It is true that the very tone and tenor of the kingdom of Christ is opposed to the use of carnal methods to either defend, maintain, or advance THAT kingdom, but God has ordained such carnal methods in the material and political realm; and the fact is that the TRUE spirit of Christianity is one of respect for God and ALL of His word. God's word teaches me that my personal response to the evildoer should be one of non-vengeance. But, it appoints the civil government as the "Minister of God" to execute the proper punishment on the evildoer, and that includes the death penalty, as I have shown.

Too Many Crimes Have Been Legislated As Capital Crimes

That was possible true in times past, but the abuse of a principle does not invalidate the principle itself. We should seek the proper use of the principle and not the abolition of the principle all together. Murder, today, constitutes ninety percent of the capital crimes, while rape, treason, and kidnaping dominate the other ten percent.

Life Imprisonment Is A Worse Penalty Than Death

Even the Devil knows better than that: he argues, "Skin for skin! Yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life" (Job 2:4) Virtually all criminals would rather face a life term than the death sentence. One of the fables of Aesop tells of a poor man who was groaning under the weight of the load which he was carrying. Weary and exhausted, he threw his load from his shoulders, sat down by the wayside, and loudly called for Death to come and relieve him from his misery. Instantly the greedy tyrant stood before him, and, with an uplifted dart, inquired, "What wouldest thou have with me?" "Good death", exclaimed the poor man, in terrified amazement, "I want thee to help me get this bundle of sticks upon my back!" The fable needs no interpreter. And finally, I reply, that IF life imprisonment were really a worse penalty than death, it would not be lawful to utilize it.

The Death Penalty Is Cruel And Unusual Punishment

This is more sophistry. It is not cruel, or God would not have instituted it, or perpetuated it. It is not nearly as cruel as murder, and no more unusual. And it is not uncommon. It has been practiced from time immemorial by both God and man. Most nations, 39 or 50 states, and many ancient codes and laws considered it the just punishment for murder.

Capital Punishment Discriminates Against Minorities And The Poor

If so, then the system -- not the punishment -- is faulty. The officials who so misuse their God-given powers will answer to God for such disobedience. Every white, or rich, or prominent, murderer should pay with his life just as all others. If we have not attained "justice for all", we still ought not throw out the punishments and begin practicing "leniency for all and justice for none".

Capital Punishment And The War Issue Are The Same

No, they are not. Capital punishment is only for evildoers, and that only after a trial. War punishes the innocent, and without a trial. It is true that the issue of one government punishing another government involves itself in a war issue, but capital punishment for a person who has been tried and found guilty of murder is not the same as war.

Conclusion

Amid all the objections and discussions, one fact is clear: Murderers are dangerous to society, whether in prison or out. Check with any police department, and see how many "repeaters" there are among murderers. Twenty years may elapse between a first and second murder. Oftentimes, when all the experts feel certain that a given murderer is rehabilitated, they grant him a parole, he then goes out to kill again!! Murders are also common in prisons. Friends, God knows best, and allowing a murderer to live, even in prison, exposes to danger both the guards and the other prisoners; and also, all society in case of his parole or escape.

God is infinitely wiser than man -- than all men together. His way protects the innocent from known murderers. His way is a warning to the young to respect and protect human life at all times. His way provides for the guilty to "pay his debt" in the only way that God every sanctioned, or that man has ever felt adequate!!

In closing, let me urge you to speak up for God in every facet of life where he has spoken. Use your influence to reinstate capital punishment in the United States of America. We have been a great nation and God has blessed us. But, if we reject God's purposes for civil government, and default on God's stated punishments, we ourselves will have to face the consequences of disobedience. God's law for capital punishment stands!! "Whoso sheddeth man's blood by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man" (Genesis 9:6)..."He that smiteth a man, so that he dieth, shall surely be put to death" (Exodus 21:12)... Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction (ransom) for the life of the murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall surely be put to death...so ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it" (Numbers 35:31-33) ..."Deliver him (the person who has been tried and found guilty of murder) into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with three." (Deut. 19:11-13) ..."The powers that be (civil government)is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid, for he beareth not the sword in vain; for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath (punishment) upon him that doeth evil" (Romans 13:1-7) Friends, this is the word of God. It is pure folly to ignore it.

I can only add my own earnest prayer that the ever-darkening and threatening cloud of anarchy and destruction that hangs so heavily over our beloved country might yet be dissipated by widespread repentance throughout our country; and that by a careful and just consideration of the dignity of man, and the value of human life, and the interest which the state has in the safety of all its citizens, and the solemn requisitions of Divine law, exacting, in all cases the life of the murderer, that those who have the responsibility of forming, directing, and governing our society may clearly realize that the death penalty for murder is both reasonable, just, and merciful.