Assessing the Death Penalty

Assessing the death penalty under the old Testament of the Bible. The first book of the Bible the book of Genesis informs its readers that man was created in the image of God. Woman was created out of one of Adam’s side ribs.

In Genesis chapter four verse one, Cain became the first born son of Adam and Eve. He also became the world’s first murder. However God did not instigate the death penalty. Instead he placed upon his forehead the mark of the murder.

Genesis chapter 4:15 The Lord said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” Throughout the earlier centuries of mankind, the Mark of Cain was synonymous with murder. Cain also became a vagabond and a fugitive. Cain lived several hundred years with remorseful guilt about killing his brother Abel. He also entered the Hades underground compartment for lost souls, and will have to give an account of his life on
judgment day.

Cain became the hero of his direct descendant Lamech. He bragged about killing a young man to his two wives Adah and Zilliah. What was the young man’s offense? He was guilty of harming and wounding him. “If Cain shall be avenged seven-fold, then Lamech seventy-fold.”

The sons and daughters of Cain multiplied upon the earth until it became filled with violence in the days of Noah. Because Noah was righteous in all of his generations, God spared his life and his families. The foundations of the deep and heaven were opened and the earth became flooded with water forty days and forty nights. It was God the Creator of Heaven and Earth, who passed universal judgment upon mankind. He was in favor of the death penalty.

About four hundred years after the death of the first patriarch Abraham, the Children of Israel were under bondage to their Egyptian tasks masters. God used several judgments to punish the Egyptians including sending the death angel to kill the first born humans and their live stock.

In the book of Exodus chapter twelve God instructs the children about the consequences of the world’s first Passover meal requirements. “For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorpost’s, the Lord will pass over the door, and not allow the destroyer to come into your house to strike you.” (Exodus 12:23)

In Exodus chapter 20 God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. The second commandment is Thou shalt not murder. In Exodus chapter 20:14 describes premeditate murder. “But if a man acts with premeditation against his neighbor, to kill him by treachery, you shall take him from My Alter, that he may die.”

Assessing the death penalty in the new testament of the Bible. The book of Matthew chapter twenty-six describes the classic betrayal of the Son of Man by one of His twelve disciples, Judas. He identifies his betrayer in verses twenty through twenty-four. He also passes divine judgment upon him. “The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for him if he had not been born.”

The suicide of Judas is described in Matthew chapter twenty-seven verses four and five. He cried out to the chief priests and the elders. Saying,”I have sinned by betraying innocent blood. And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” Then he threw down the pieces of silver and went and hanged himself.”

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought and a certain part and laid it at the apostle’s feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself.”

“While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Then Ananias, hearing these words fell down and breathed his last. So fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.(Acts chapter 5:1-6)

His wife also lied to the Apostle Peter three hours latter. Peter pronounces her husband’s death sentence upon her in Acts chapter five verses seven through ten.

Under certain circumstances Jesus Christ is in favor of the death penalty. However under the new testament God made with men, murder is a pardonable offense. Salvation, and sincere repentance are His prerequisites. The legal system has it’s own rules based partly upon the Bible’s Old Testament. God the Son can pardon a murderer, but he still will have to face man’s death penalty!