Is capital punishment still valid today?


Before we discuss capital punishment, it is important to understand that murder is wrong.  This principle is demonstrated throughout Scripture.  God hates a man who sheds innocent blood (Prov 6:17). 


The First Murderer


After the Fall, Adam and Eve had two children, Cain and Abel.  When both children presented sacrifices to the Lord, Abelís sacrifice was accepted while Cainís sacrifice was rejected by God.  As a result, Cain became angry and was downhearted.  One day while Cain and Abel were in a field, Cain murdered his brother (Gen 4:8).

After the murder the Lord told Cain that Abelís blood cried out to him (4:10).  The Lord punished Cain by prohibiting the land to produce for Cain as well as making him a fugitive throughout the earth.  Thus, God disapproved of the murder of Abel even before there was Torah.


After the Flood


Not only was murder wrong before the great Flood, but God also declared that murder was wrong after the Flood.  God not only told Noah and his sons to populate the earth (Gen 9:1), but he also states in verse 6 that the penalty for murder is capital punishment.  Even though the meaning of this verse is clear, unfortunately many Christians today feel that capital punishment is wrong.


The Law Prohibits Murder


Even though God disclosed his disapproval for murder and punishment for the murderer, he reinforced the gravity of murder in the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:13; Deut 5:17).  Furthermore, he defines that a person who murders someone by accident may take refuge in one of the cities of refuge (Ex 21:13).  However, if a person commits premeditated murder, then capital punishment is appropriate (Ex 21:14).  Also, Numbers 35 explains that the cities of refuge were a safe haven for these people and also places for the accused to live until their trial.  He also clarifies in verses 16-21 that murder is premeditated or intentional.  Deuteronomy 19:2-10 also clarifies the difference between accidental killing and murder.


Jesusí View on Murder


Jesus, being a Torah-observant Jew, stated that murder was still wrong and that capital punishment was the penalty.  (Matt 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20).  Jesus also mentions that murder is the result of an evil desire of the heart (Matt 15:19; Mark 7:21).  This is why the Lord stated that if a believer hates another person or is angry without cause commits murder (Matt 5:21).




Christians need to stand firm on Godís truth.  Capital punishment is still ordained by God (cf. Rom 13:1-7).  Capital punishment accomplishes two things.  First, the murderer will not be able to murder again.  Second, people are less likely to murder people due to their fear of capital punishment.  It is a great deterrent.

Also, all Christians should oppose abortion because it is murder.  Psalm 139:13-16 teaches that an unborn fetus is a human life made in the image of God from the moment he/she was conceived.  Tragically, over 1.6 million unborn infants are murdered each year.  This average is 4,000 per day.  Much more could be said concerning abortion; however, for the answer to the question above, abortion is murder.

Finally, Euthanasia is murder as well.  God is just (Deut 32:4; Rev 15:3; etc.); therefore, he is the only one who has the right to take human life apart from capital punishment since it is appointed by God for a person to die (Heb 9:27). 



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