Summary: ’Thou shalt not kill’ - What it does and does not mean, with info. on INTENTIONAL killing [homicide, suicide, infanticide], INDIRECT killing, and INWARD killing. Link inc. to formatted text, audio & video, PowerPoint.

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Four Little Words

Exodus 20:13

“Thou shalt not kill.” In the Heb., lit. “Thou shalt do no murder”

To be the shortest verse in the OT it sure has a lot of meaning and application behind it. To fully understand we need to look first at what it does not mean, and then look at the literal interpretation and the many practical applications to today.

This commandment certainly forbids some things, but some today have twisted it to mean things God never intended, so we need to look at what this commandment does not forbid:

1. The killing of animals.

Activists quote this verse and say it’s wrong to kill an animal for any reason. But in this same chapter, v. 24 God gave instructions concerning the sacrifice of animals.

Genesis 9:3

Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

Don’t become a vegetarian based on this commandment. Jesus ate fish. This wasn’t sushi, He had caught and killed them, and I believe since He never sinned He breaded and deep fried them! If you’re glad to be a step above the animals on the food chain say amen!

Joke—man was arrested for shooting a California Condor. He was taken before the judge who was an animal rights activist, and everyone knew this guy was going to prison. The judge said, you have killed this rare bird, and my duty is clear. But do you have anything to say for yourself before I pronounce your sentence? The man said, yes, we were starving, hadn’t eaten in weeks. I’m out of work, and too proud to accept government help. I’m ashamed of what I have done, but it was a matter of life and death for me and my children. The judge said, I feel sorry for you, and since you killed it to eat, I’m gonna let you go this time. As the man walked out of the courtroom the judge said wait, I have to ask, what does California Condor taste like? The man replied, It’s not as sweet as spotted owl but not as tough as bald eagle. [There’s a man who didn’t know when to shut up]

2. Capital punishment.

The execution of criminals for the crime of murder is Biblical, and not a sin.

Exodus 21:12

He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.

This command was given before the Mosaic law was given.

Genesis 9:6

Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

Throughout the Word of God it has never been revoked. In fact, the NT book of Romans says legitimate government can carry out executions under the right circumstances.

Romans 13:1, 4

1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 4 For he 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 upon him that doeth evil.

Some say, yeah, but capital punishment isn’t a deterrent to crime. First of all, it doesn’t matter...God said it and that makes it so. Who are we to question God’s Word? Secondly, it is a deterrent, but here in America capital punishment is no longer carried out swiftly and consistently. Only 1 in 1,000 murderers are executed. And that only after a decade or more of appeals. Let it be swift, certain, and consistent. Plus, it’s always a deterrent to the man who did the murder...he’ll never do it again! Now if that sounds too harsh then you can come apologize to me later and I’ll forgive you!

70% of all violent crimes are committed by 7% of male criminals. How can this add up? Because it is these same men committing violent crimes over and over again. So the government comes up with their brilliant scheme called ‘3 strikes and you’re out.’ That’s about as ridiculous as giving your child ‘til you count to 3 to decide to obey you. It’s a promise in advance that you’re not in big trouble...yet. The Bible teaches it’s 1 strike and you’re out!

Anytime a society backs off from punishing its criminals it’s like the lamb defending the lion’s right to eat.

The National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas, TX released a report a few years ago stating that the average prison stay for murderers in America is 1.8 years. Rapists=60 days. Arson=23 days. Career criminals are laughing at the judicial system in America. They don’t fear God, they don’t fear the law, and they have no fear of you, the citizen. Government blames our violent crime problem on poverty, racism, and lack of education...what nonsense. It’s a moral break down and so the system has broken down as we err on the side of the criminal instead of the victim.

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Barry Helms

commented on Aug 3, 2008

Biblically sound.

James Buchanan

commented on Aug 19, 2008


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