From a Group Discussion
one evening after Generation Word Bible Study. . .
Is Capital Punishment Scriptural?
The Monday Bible teaching ends about 9:00 and snacks are served. During the next hour(s) some of the best learning takes place as people discus issues regarding the faith.
One of the issues that sprang out of an evening’s teaching was the relevance of capital punishment. The opinions were varied among the believers who all had scripture and examples to support their views. In the end every one agreed that the discussion opened our eyes and exposed us to questions that would require us to continue to study.
The two main opinions were:
1) Capital punishment can not properly be applied by mankind since all are fallen and corrupt;
2) Capital punishment is a command of God that is to be applied by the government to fulfill their role in serving society.
The first view says government should not because of possible mistakes. The second view says government must in order to be responsible before God. The first view is one of the common issues that the prophets of the OT confronted Israel with before that society was judged. When a judicial system becomes entangle in legal deception they will be destroyed by God who set governments in place. Before the Israelites were destroyed the prophets said to them, “you have shown partiality in matters of the law.(Mal.2:9), “Her leaders judge for a bribe.” (Mic.2:11), “You have killed those who should not have died and have spared those who should not live.” (Ez.13:19)
Notice “those who should not live” refers to people the government was responsible to execute. God established the rule of governments in Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds the blood of man by man shall his blood be shed.” The governmental law of Moses contained capital punishment for the crimes established by that government. This principle carried into Rome’s rule over the Jews as seen when Jesus told Peter to put away his sword because “those who live by the sword (criminals) die by the sword (ruling government).” (Mt.26:52) Paul himself submitted to the pagan government’s right of capital punishment when he told them, “If I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. (Ac.25:11) Paul also says that the government “does not bear the sword for nothing.” (Rm.13:4) Can the United States justly handle this solemn responsibility? Are they willing to accept a mandate from God?? We’ll see.