Available for a suggested donation of $4.00.
Thou shalt not kill. (Exodus 20:13)1
The Sixth Commandment first appears in Exodus 20, and it is the shortest of all the Ten Commandments. The King James Version translates it, "Thou shalt not kill." The New American Standard Bible renders it more accurately, "You shall not murder." This commandment is reiterated in Deuteronomy 5, as are all of the Ten Commandments, and in a slightly different form in Exodus 23:7. It is also repeated five times in the New Testament – Matthew 5:21, Mark 10:19, Luke 18:20, Romans 13:9 and James 2:11.
The Sixth Commandment, although, not expressly codified before Moses received the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai, was in force in and before Noah’s day:
Yahweh’s Order versus Man’s Order
…God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth…. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you…. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. (Genesis 9:1-6)
Yahweh’s2 created order is set forth in the very first chapter of Genesis:
…God said, Let us make man in our image … let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. …and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28)
The Patriarch David reiterated this same dominion mandate:
Thou [Yahweh] madest him [man] to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. (Psalm 8:6-8)
Environmentalists and animal rights activists blatantly reject this divinely created order and man’s dominion over all other living things:
Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs.3
There is no ethical basis for elevating membership of one particular species into a morally crucial characteristic. From an ethical point of view, we all stand on an equal footing – whether we stand on two feet, or four, or none at all.4
…there will surely be some nonhuman animals whose lives, by any standards, are more valuable than the lives of some humans. A Chimpanzee, dog, or pig, for instance, will have a higher degree of self-awareness and a greater capacity for meaningful relations with others than a severely retarded infant or someone in a state of advanced senility. So if we base the right to life on these characteristics we must grant these animals a right to life as good as, or better than, such retarded or senile humans…. At the same time … the fact that a being is a member of our own species is not in itself enough to make it always wrong to kill that being…. This is why when we consider members of our own species who lack the characteristics of normal humans we can no longer say that their lives are always to be preferred to those of other animals.5
Contrast Yahweh’s divine order with what Senator Al Gore wrote in his book Earth in the Balance (1992):
[We must] make the effort to save the global environment the central organizing principle of our civilization.6
The reason radical environmentalists, such as Al Gore, make such statements is because one of the "Foundation Principles" of UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) is the "recognition of Gaia as manifest reality." "Gaia" is the Greek word for earth. The Gaia theory holds that the earth, as a living organism, is the creator of all life and all life is a part of that creator:
James Lovelock, the originator of the Gaia hypothesis, maintains that the entire complex earth system behaves in a self-regulating manner characteristic of something alive, that it has managed to maintain critical components of the earth’s life support systems in perfect balance over eons of time – until the unprecedented interference of modern civilization: "We now see that the air, the ocean and the soil are much more than a mere environment for life; they are a part of life itself…." …The long and intricate process by which evolution helped to shape the complex interrelationship of all living and nonliving things … evokes … a spiritual response – when one reflects on its deeper meaning.7
While this dogma is ridiculously blasphemous, Christians should, nevertheless, recognize that the environment is important. Furthermore, Christians are commanded to be good stewards of the earth and all of its inhabitants. Many Christians have overreacted to non-Christian environmentalism because it is a direct threat to turn Yahweh’s created order upside down. Regardless, Christians should be in the forefront of biblically based environmentalism because it is the only ecological strategy that can save the environment or restore it to what it was intended to be when Yahweh first created the universe.
Gaia, Mystery Babylon, and the Tower of Babel
In reality Gaia is just another term for or tentacle of Mystery Babylon, and today’s equivalent of Mystery Babylon is just a spiritual extension of the tower of Babel. The book of Jasher8 provides an account of this tower raised in opposition to Yahweh:
…they [the descendants of Noah] began to build it [the tower of Babel], and whilst they were building against the Lord God of heaven, they imagined in their hearts to war against him and to ascend into heaven. And all these people … divided themselves in three parts; the first said we will ascend into heaven and fight against him; the second said, we will ascend to heaven and place our own gods there and serve them; and the third part said, we will ascend to heaven and smite him with bows and spears…. And when they were building they built themselves a great city and a very high and strong tower…. And … if a brick should fall from their hands and get broken, they would all weep over it, and if a man fell and died, none of them would look at him. (Jasher 9:25-28)
Under that system even a brick was more precious than human life. Today the same spirit of Gaia weeps at the death of a tree, but doesn’t blink at murdering a human infant. Compare Jasher’s account of the tower of Babel with the Apostle John’s description of the things that Mystery Babylon values - listed in decreasing order of importance:
…the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her [Mystery Babylon], shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon…. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. (Revelation 18:9-13)
Mystery Babylon valued gold and other material objects above human life, and today under the Gaia world-view, human life is likewise valued least in importance. The opposite is true under Yahweh’s system – human life is so sacred that Yahweh declared that anyone, even an animal, who maliciously takes a man’s life must forfeit his own life in return.
Under Gaia’s environmental plan human life is degraded, taking second place to everything else, from baby whales to spotted owls to snail darters. The following statement from the Club of Rome9 demonstrates just how far human life can be degraded under this spurious world-view:
In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill…. All these dangers are caused by human intervention…. The real enemy, then, is humanity itself.10
This view is not unique to the Club of Rome as demonstrated by the following quotations:
…the world has cancer, and … the cancer cell is man….11
If I were reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to Earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.12
…as radical environmentalists, we can view AIDS not as a problem, but as a necessary solution.13
The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable but a good thing….14
The November 1991 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Courier quoted the late Jacques Cousteau:
In order to stabilize world populations, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it’s just as bad not to say it.15
Mr. Cousteau has now done his part to "stabilize world populations" in that he is now deceased. Perhaps other "humanitarians" should follow Mr. Cousteau’s lead instead of volunteering others for this "philanthropic" project.
Peter Singer has also been credited with the following statement that points an accusatory finger specifically at Christianity:
Christianity is our foe. If animal rights is to succeed, we must destroy the Judeo-Christian16 Religious tradition.17
Although today’s environmentalists and animal rights activists loudly protest, Genesis 9 sanctions the killing of animals by man. However, even a domesticated animal was to be put to death for killing a man. This statute originally found in Genesis 9:1-6 was later codified by Moses:
If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten…. (Exodus 21:28)
This distinction between man and animals was instituted because, unlike animals, man was made "in the image of God." Thus, a man’s life is more sacred to Yahweh than an animal’s life; whereas, to animal rights activists and environmentalists the reverse is usually true. Consider the following declaration by Reed F. Noss of The Wildlands Project:
…the native eco-system and the collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans…. Putting the needs of one species (humans) above those of all other species combined … is one of the most pernicious trends in modern conservation.18
While animal life is sacred to these fanatics, the majority of these same people have no regard whatsoever for the most innocent, defenseless and vulnerable of human lives – an infant within its mother’s womb, and in some instances even a disabled infant after it has been born:
…killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often, it is not wrong at all.19
Many animal rights activists cry and wail about every other created thing under heaven while adamantly demanding the right of a woman to kill her own child. Simply put, man’s order is out of order with God’s order.
Yahweh’s laws dictate that man takes special care of His creation. For example, Yahweh requires that beasts of burden be rested every seven days along with mankind – Exodus 23:12. King Solomon applied this same principle to the care of animals in general:
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. (Proverbs 12:10)
Nevertheless, Yahweh must find it appalling when man turns His created order upside down. For example, the United States government has decreed that life does begin at conception, that is, the life of a cow. A prenatal calf is therefore taxable as a capital asset, and the cost of caring for this capital asset is deductible from the date of conception. However, the same government refuses to recognize a human embryo as having life until it is born, except in rare instances when it serves the government’s own purpose.
Turning the World Right Side Up
It should be obvious that unless we return to the Creator and the Creator’s laws, man will be unable to properly protect and care for the environment and its inhabitants. The Gaia principle is certainly not going to accomplish this goal. In fact, replacement agendas that substitute worship of the Creator with worship of the creation only make matters worse. The Apostle Paul addressed this transposition:
…the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures…. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature [or creation] rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:18-25 NASV)
The earth is in a polluted state because its inhabitants have rejected their Creator and His laws:
The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed [Yahweh’s] laws, violated [His] statutes, broke the everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty…. (Isaiah 24:5-6 NASV)
The environment’s only hope is to be found in the sons of Yahweh:
…the anxious longing of the creation [the environment] waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. …in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21 NASV)
The success of environmentalism is in the hands of the sons of Yahweh, not in the hands of Al Gore or any other son of Gaia or any other false god. Only the sons of the Creator, Yahweh, can return us to the laws of the Creator – the One who built the ecosystem and who wrote the conservation manual.
Today’s environmentalists are in the process of turning the world upside down. It is the commission of the sons of Yahweh to turn it right side up. The first step in accomplishing this task is recognizing Yahweh as our God and that, according to His environmental plan, human life is at the pinnacle of importance:
Behold the fowls of the air… Are ye [a man] not much better than they? (Matthew 6:26)
How much then is a man better than a sheep? (Matthew 12:12)
It is for this reason that murder is such a grievous sin in the sight of Yahweh.
Voluntary, Involuntary and Justifiable Homicide
The Bible addresses three types of homicide – voluntary, involuntary and justifiable. Voluntary or intentional homicide is murder committed with premeditation and malice, and it is often described in the Bible as being committed against innocent blood. Involuntary or unintentional homicide is accidental. Justifiable homicide is the lawful or warranted taking of a human life.
The following Old Testament passages address voluntary homicide or premeditated murder:
…if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die. (Exodus 21:14)
…if [a man] smite [another man] with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer…. And if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer…. Or if he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer…. But if he thrust him of hatred, or hurl at him by laying of wait, that he die; or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote him shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer…. (Numbers 35:16-21)
…if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die…. Then the elders of his city shall … deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. (Deuteronomy 19:11-12)
The Hebrew word "arab" in Deuteronomy 19 translated "lie in wait" is also translated in the Old Testament as "ambush." Both terms indicate premeditated murder.
The taking of innocent life, whether by an individual or by a nation, is a grievous matter in the eyes of Yahweh. When Cain murdered his brother Abel, Yahweh depicted the consequence in graphic terms:
…YHWH20 said unto Cain, … What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. (Genesis 4:9-10)
The Pentateuch presents essentially the same idea:
Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of [two or more] witnesses…. Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death…. So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it 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. Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I YHWH dwell among the children of Israel. (Numbers 35:30-34)
Simply put, the voice of the blood of all innocents cries from the ground for justice. For this reason, Yahweh requires redress for even unsolved murders:
If one be found slain in the land … lying in the field, and it be not known who hath slain him: Then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain: And it shall be, that the city which is next [closest] unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take an heifer … and the elders of that city shall … strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley…. And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley: And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. (Deuteronomy 21:1-7)
Incidentally, this practice is probably what influenced Pontius Pilate to wash his hands, at the trial of Yeshua21 (Jesus’ given Hebrew name), and then proclaim that he was "innocent of the blood of this just person" (Matthew 7:24).
Yahweh employed this same standard of judgment upon a whole community when King David ordered an unlawful census in 2 Samuel 24:1-25. Although it was David who imposed the census, his subjects, who let him get away with doing so, were judged more harshly than was David.
It might initially appear unfair or unjust of Yahweh to judge a whole community for the sins initiated by one man. Yahweh’s justice system is first about individual responsibility. Only if individual responsibility fails or breaks down is the community then responsible. How different this is from America’s perverse antipodal system that from the onset attempts to do away with individual responsibility by forcing the community to collectively pay for crimes or share in the liability of individuals. America’s government has many insidious ways of accomplishing this including its penal institutions, the graduated tax system, social services, required insurances, etc.
Under Yahweh’s system people are either "a law unto themselves" (Romans 2:14) or they are punished for their lawlessness. When the Apostle Paul enumerated the fruits of the Spirit: "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance," he added, "against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:21-22). Moreover, Paul declared that "the law is not made for a righteous man" (1 Timothy 1:9). This does not mean that the law is irrelevant to a righteous man. He is, instead, internally animated by the law (Hebrews 8:10), rather than having to be externally motivated.
A righteous man does not need the law lording it over him, neither are Yahweh’s judgments required to keep him in line. Just the opposite is true for the lawless person who manifests the deeds of the flesh: "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like" (Galatians 5:19-21). Criminals of this caliber must be externally kept in check by the law or, more specifically, by the judgments of the law:
…the law [specifically the judgments] is … made … for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers [adulterers], for them that defile themselves with mankind [homosexuals], for menstealers [kidnappers], for liars, for perjured persons [false witnesses], and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine. (1 Timothy 1:9-10)
Yahweh’s law system is all about responsibility, voluntary or coerced and individual or collective. Thus Yahweh’s law provides that innocent blood must be atoned for either by an individual or, in the absence of either prosecution or conviction of an individual who commits the crime, by a community at large. In accordance with this law, the Prophet Joel declared judgment upon both Egypt and Edom:
Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness … because they have shed innocent blood in their land. (Joel 3:19)
What does this say about modern America and the innocent blood shed in many of her recent military conflicts, not to mention the millions of infants killed in their mother’s wombs? Will Yahweh deal any differently with America compared to how He dealt with Egypt or Edom? But someone may argue, "It’s our presidents, politicians and judges who are to blame for the blood of those innocents!" But who was it who elected these scoundrels into office? Who permits these criminals to remain in office? Who allows these murderers to get away with shedding innocent blood that is crying from the ground unto Yahweh for justice?
The Apostle Paul’s admonition to Timothy concerning the appointment of elders is just as applicable today to those who elect22 and who continue to support ungodly civil rulers in their evil deeds:
Do not lay hands upon [elect in modern America’s case] anyone too hastily and thus share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin. (1 Timothy 5:22 NASV)
Paul also charged the Ephesian Christians with similar instructions:
…no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. …for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them…. And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. (Ephesians 5:5-12 NASV)
Unless she repents, America will some day be harshly judged for her sins and the sins she tolerates in her elected leaders. In light of this probability, the faithful remnant should pray as the sailors did who dumped the Prophet Jonah overboard:
…We beseech thee, O YHWH, … let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood…. (Jonah 1:14)
There are a number of different types of voluntary homicide depending upon who murders whom. The English word "homicide" is derived from the Latin word "homoceder," "homo" meaning "man" and "cedere" meaning to kill. All words ending in "cide" pertain to killing or murder. The person who is killed is identified by the word or partial word that precedes "cide." Homicide is the killing of one man, whereas genocide is the killing of an ethnic group or race of men. Patricide is the killing of your father, matricide your mother, fratricide your brother, sororicide your sister, mariticide your husband, uxoricide your wife, parricide a kinsmen, suicide yourself and infanticide an infant.
All of these killings are criminal if they are committed with malice and premeditation. It is, therefore, unnecessary to belabor the serious nature of most of these acts of homicide. However, there are two exceptions. Not everyone today views suicide and infanticide as murder.
Suicide must be categorized as voluntary, involuntary or justifiable homicide. The very nature of suicide rules out involuntary manslaughter. A person could accidentally kill himself and this could technically be identified as involuntary manslaughter. However, the debate is not over accidental suicide, but the intentional taking of a person’s own life. Consequently, suicide must be categorized as either voluntary or justifiable homicide. In order for it to be justifiable, suicide must be justified in the Bible, not simply in the minds of those who condone or promote it.
Because there are no Bible passages that sanction the intentional killing of one’s self, suicide cannot be categorized as justifiable homicide. In response, the proponents of suicide may ask for scripture that explicitly forbids suicide. However, opponents to suicide are not required to produce such a scripture as demanded by suicide proponents anymore than they are required to provide scripture that expressly forbids patricide, matricide, fratricide or other specific types of homicide. All acts of intentional homicide are covered by the Sixth Commandment – "You shall not murder!"
Suicide is generically addressed in Exodus 23:
…the innocent … slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked. (Exodus 23:7)
A person who commits suicide takes an innocent life unless he kills himself as the consequence of guilt incurred from another capital offence. Furthermore, life is only for the taking by the One to whom it belongs. Our life is not ours, but Yahweh’s who gave us life and who gave His life for ours:
…YHWH he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his…. (Psalm 100:3)
Christians, who are the temple of Yahweh’s Spirit, have additional incentive for abhorring suicide:
Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NASV)
Because our lives belong to God, anyone who takes his own life is playing God and thus, in addition to breaking the Sixth Commandment, that person is also guilty of transgressing the First Commandment.
We are commanded to choose life over death:
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live. (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Suicide is the ultimate expression of faithlessness, whereas to face and endure adversity, especially against what appears to be insurmountable odds, is one of life’s greatest exhibitions of faith. The former depiction is the pessimistic, faithless outlook of Job’s wife. The latter depiction is the optimistic, faithful outlook of Job:
Then said his [Job’s] wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die. But he [Job] said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil [adversity NASV]? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. (Job 2:9-10)
The person who takes his own life for reasons of despair, disease or other hardships automatically eliminates any chance of a miraculous deliverance. He also negates a legacy of undying faith when faced with physical suffering or death as exhibited by many of the First Century Christians:
…we [the Apostle Paul and his travelling companions] despaired even of life: But … we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us. (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)
In November 1994 Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicides. This is known as the so-called "death with dignity act." Delayed by legal injunction, assisted murder became a legal medical option for terminally ill Oregonians on October 24, 1997. However, human legalization does not make physician-assisted suicides lawful. When man legalizes something, it is usually an attempt to make legal what God has already made unlawful. In Yahweh’s sight suicide is murder, thus an assistant to suicide is an accomplice to murder:
Cursed be he that taketh reward [payment] to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen. (Deuteronomy 27:25)
Doctors who assist others in killing themselves are thus guilty of murder.
Euthanasia is the next step on the slippery slope following doctor-assisted suicides. Herbert Hendlin, executive director of the American Suicide Foundation and Professor of Psychiatry at New York Medical College, defined this slippery slope in his book Seduced by Death, Doctors, Patients and the Dutch Cure:
[The] "slippery slope" … descends inexorably from assisted suicide to euthanasia, from those who are terminally ill to those who are chronically ill, from those who are physically ill to those who are mentally ill, and from those who request euthanasia to those whose lives are ended at the doctor’s discretion.23
This slippery slope for Americans, however, did not begin in 1994 in Oregon, but rather on January 22, 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court, in Roe vs. Wade, ruled that the killing of an unborn baby was an act protected by the United States Constitution. The Right to Life organization produced a pamphlet in 1974 entitled The Mercy Killers, written by Dr. Paul Marx. I quote, in part, from this excellent treatise:
If you have accepted the communications media’s general interpretation of the Supreme Court decision of January 22, 1973 ("Black Monday"), it may disturb you to learn that abortions in this country are now completely legal for the first nine months of pregnancy. The Court decreed that any restrictions imposed by an individual state, even with respect to the last 10 weeks, must be for the benefit of the mother only. The child now has no legal rights at all before birth, and no absolute legal rights thereafter.
It may further unsettle you to learn that the Court’s decision (Roe v. Wade) was not based on any notion that the unborn child is not a human being in the "biological" sense. The Court, as it admitted, was fully aware of the "well-known facts of fetal development." And, indeed, it should have been: it had in possession a brief verifying the scientific facts, signed by 220 physicians from around the world – every leading embryologist, fetologist, geneticist, obstetrician and gynecologist who could be contacted – and no contradictory evidence had been offered in rebuttal.
The Supreme Court decision was based, rather, on a "quality of life" criterion: the unborn child is not a person in any "meaningful" or "whole" sense, said the justices. The Court did not conclude that "meaningful" or "whole" personhood [sic] begins at birth; it said only that it does not begin before that time. The distinction is profoundly important, because the Court’s vague and open-ended definition supplies the constitutional precedent for dehumanizing other segments of humanity by defining their lives as meaningless or incomplete….
The war on the unborn, then, is inching ever so subtly toward inclusion of the elderly, the severely handicapped, the mentally retarded and other non-productive persons – all of who can easily be dehumanized by being re-defined as "not persons in the whole sense."
…Abortion logically invites euthanasia. For that matter, abortion is fetal euthanasia, and abortionists may fairly be called mercy killers. That this parallel is not a far-fetched invention is evident from the fact that most ardent pro-abortionists are nearly always euthanasians as well. For example, pro-abortionist Dr. Alan Guttmacher (president of Planned Parenthood) and theologian Joseph Fletcher (the "Father of Situation Ethics") are members of the Board of Directors of the high-powered Euthanasia Educational Council….
The euthanasians themselves argue that if we may kill unborn babies we may kill other human beings. In the Atlantic Monthly (April, 1968) Joseph Fletcher argued that if the life of a mongoloid baby, for instance, can be "ended prenatally [before birth], why should it not be ended neonatally [after birth]?"….
World-renowned anthropologist Ashley Montagu contends that a newborn baby is not truly human until he or she is molded by social and cultural influences later.24
Do not let this last statement go unnoticed. When is "later" and who decides on the "social and cultural influences" used as the criterion? In other words, biblically correct Christians, who do not fit the mold of today’s anthropologists like Ashley Montagu and who are, therefore, politically incorrect, might not yet be considered "truly human" and they would thus be expendable under such policy.
The Negative Population Growth, Inc. advertised in 1992 that by the year 2150 the world’s population should be well on its way to being reduced to "an optimum population of not more than two billion." Addressing the first euthanasia conference in 1968, Chaplain Robert B. Reeves of New York City’s Presbyterian Hospital, disclosed that both infanticide and euthanasia were indispensable in accomplishing this objective:
We have in our society two supreme challenges. They are, first, to find an honorable equivalent to Spartan exposure [of the elderly] on the rocks at one end of life, and second, to find an honorable equivalent to the Eskimo hole in the ice [of unwanted infants] at the other end of life.25
When Yahweh and His laws are abandoned, man is capable of rationalizing anything:
The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts…. His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity. He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor. (Psalm 10:4-8)
By example, mercy killing is condemned in the Bible. When the Amalekite, who at King Saul’s request had "mercifully" put Saul to death after Saul had been fatally wounded in battle and after Saul botched killing himself, reported his actions to David, he was dealt with swiftly and decisively:
…David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him [the Amalekite]. And he smote him that he died. And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee…. (2 Samuel 1:15-16)
On April 19, 1995 one hundred and sixty-eight people were ruthlessly murdered when Timothy McVeigh and accomplices bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Our hearts and prayers went out for the parents, relatives and friends of those innocent victims. Their blood cries out for justice in this society where justice is difficult to find. Nevertheless, the silence of the blood of millions of innocent lives butchered in the wombs of their mothers drowns out the cries from the one hundred and sixty-eight people murdered in Oklahoma. In the same fashion that some people do not identify suicide as intentional homicide, there is also a segment of society who does not recognize infanticide as murder.
For obvious reasons, the proponents of what is commonly known as "abortion" do not want this infamous crime labeled as infanticide. The liberal, leftist opinion-makers often win the war of words by semantically biasing the public mind before the battle begins. For example, Roe vs. Wade was won prior to reaching the judicial arena by identifying the battle as concerning abortion rather than infanticide. The primary definition for abortion in the 1975 Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary is as follows:
abortion… 1: the expulsion of a nonviable fetus: as a spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus during the first 12 weeks of gestation – compare miscarriage….26
miscarriage… 2: expulsion of a human fetus before it is viable and esp. between the 12th and 28th weeks of gestation.27
Technically a miscarriage is an abortion. What judge or jury would rule against a miscarriage? Had the battle been waged instead over infanticide or infant murder rather than abortion, Roe vs. Wade would likewise have been won before reaching the courtroom. No judge or jury in their right mind would have ruled in favor of murder. Infanticide can no more be debated than can patricide, matricide, fratricide, etc.
Some people who understand the correct definition and use of the word "abortion" have suggested that the term "aborticide" should be used instead. However, because it is impossible to murder an abort, the proponents of infant murder would have won Roe vs. Wade just as handily using the word "aborticide" as they did using the word "abortion."
The term "feticide," Latin for murder of a little one, would be more appropriate than "infanticide" in some instances if the controlling wordsmiths of our day had not already convinced most people that a fetus is something non-living and/or non-viable. Consequently, if this battle for the innocent is to be won, we must stop talking about abortion, aborticide and feticide and call it what it is – infanticide or infant murder.
When Life Begins
The debate concerning infanticide is principally waged over one basic question, "When does life begin? Both sides of the infanticide issue hotly debate this question. However, the only one who has the right to decide this question is the One who created life. Consequently, the final word on the issue of when life begins is to be found in the Creator’s Word. Although a direct statement concerning life in the womb cannot be found in the Bible, there are many scriptures that clearly and decisively address this issue:
…if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury [to the infant or its mother], he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. (Exodus 21:22-25 NASV)
There are no conditional statements such as "if the fetus is viable" or "if the pregnancy is in its third trimester" attached to this statute of Yahweh. The fetus or infant who is injured or killed, at any stage of life, in the type of brawl described in Exodus 21 is treated like any other human being to which lex talionis or the "law of retribution" applies. If the baby is miscarried but lives and no further harm comes to it, the father may choose to hold the perpetrator financially liable for the amount the judges determine. However, if the child lives but is injured, then the perpetrator is to pay an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, etc. For example, if as a consequence of the altercation the child’s arm is deformed, and if the father so decides, the perpetrator is to pay with the mutilation or amputation of his own arm. But if the child is too premature to live, or if he dies later due to injuries incurred during the altercation, the perpetrator is to pay with his life. It is murder because innocent blood has been shed, and it makes no difference to Yahweh whether the blood of the innocent is shed within or outside the womb.
Exodus 21:22-25 alone establishes that life begins at conception rather than at birth. Nevertheless, there are many other passages that substantiate this finding. Consider Job’s testimony:
Why did I not die at birth, come forth from the womb and expire? …Or like a miscarriage which is discarded, I would not be, as infants that never saw light. (Job 3:11-16 NASV)
Did not he [Yahweh] that made me [Job] in the womb make him [Job’s servant]? And did not one fashion us in the womb? (Job 31:15)
In other words, Job acknowledged Yahweh gave him life that could have ended while in his mother’s womb. The Hebrew word "owlawl" translated "infant(s)" literally means a suckling and is used throughout the Old Testament for infants both in and out of the womb. The Bible makes no distinction between life before or after birth – once conceived, a child has life in Yahweh’s eyes and it is murder to destroy that life.
The Patriarch David, like Job, testified that it was Yahweh who created him in his mother’s womb:
…Thou [Yahweh] didst form my inward parts; thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. (Psalm 139:13-16 NASV)
How ironic that today’s environmentalists, who want to protect nature because they recognize it as "wonderfully made," are often at the forefront of the movement to destroy that most wonderfully made creation of the human embryo. Occasionally, this destruction of life in the womb also destroys the environment of the womb preventing these women from conceiving altogether. Moreover, a recent government-funded study in Finland shows that women who kill their babies in the womb are approximately four times more likely to die in the following year than women who carry their pregnancies to term.
David declared that he had been "skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth." Is it not the earth that the environmentalists want to protect? Human life is a part of the earth, having been originally formed by the dust of the earth according to Genesis 2:7.
The Prophet Jeremiah testified that Yahweh not only knew Jeremiah while he was in his mother’s womb, but that Yahweh had a predetermined purpose for Jeremiah before He was even conceived:
Then the word of YHWH came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
Jeremiah’s life was viable and had significance not only from the time he was conceived in his mother’s womb, but also from the moment he was conceived in the mind of Yahweh.
Jeremiah, while in despair, provided unequivocal evidence as to when life begins:
Cursed be the day when I was born…. Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father, saying, "A baby boy has been born to you!" …let that man be like the cities which Yahweh overthrew without relenting … because he did not kill me before birth, so that my mother would have been my grave, and her womb ever pregnant. Why did I ever come forth from the womb to look on trouble and sorrow, so that my days have been spent in shame? (Jeremiah 20:14-18 NASV)
Jeremiah could not have been killed in the womb, unless, of course, he possessed life in the womb.
In Yeshua’s case there was life before the womb:
…thou, Bethlehem Ephratah … out of thee shall he [Yeshua] come forth … whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2)
Because there was life for Him before the womb, there had to have been life for Yeshua during the entire nine months in the womb as well. Moreover, there would have been no point to Yeshua’s miraculous conception if His mortal life had not begun until Mary had given Him birth. Yeshua’s mortal life began, as all human life does, in the womb of His mother.
Yeshua’s cousin John also provides evidence of life in the womb. We are told in Luke 1:44 that as a "babe" he "leaped … for joy" in his mother’s womb when Elizabeth heard Mary’s salutation. Not only did John move as all living babies do in their mother’s womb, but he also expressed happiness. Such expression validates life, and if babies can experience joy while in the womb of their mothers, then they can also experience the full-range of emotions including terror of the butcher’s knife as it intrudes their safe haven to stop their beating heart.
Furthermore, John’s father, Zacharias, was told that John would be "filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb." (Luke 1:13-15 NASV)
The Greek word "brephos" translated "babe" in Luke 1:44 is the same word used throughout the New Testament whether addressing an infant in the womb, as in John’s case, or for infants already born such as the babe Yeshua in His manger. Yahweh does not make a distinction between life in or out of the womb. Thus, to destroy a life before birth is equivalent to destroying a life after it is born.
Murder or homicide ends human life. The reader would not be here today if his life had been terminated either before or after he was born. Consequently, infanticide is just another form of homicide that constitutes murder.
If Only You’d Have Cared
I could have seen the sunshine; I could have known the spring.
I could have watched the robins fly, I could have heard them sing.
I could have smelled the flowers; I could have felt the snow.
The things you take for granted, are things I’ll never know.
You could have heard my laughter; you could have dried my tears.
You could have watched me playing, and growing through the years.
You could have shown me rainbows; God painted in the sky.
You could have held me in your arms; instead you made me die.
I might have been your daughter; I might have been your son.
I might have learned to crawl, and stand, and walk, and even run.
I might have felt you hug me, as your milk began to fill me.
I might have called you ‘Momma,’ but instead you chose to kill me.
They say "Have an abortion, it is your legal right."
They say I’m not a person, I can’t put up a fight.
They say that I’m not born yet, I haven’t drawn a breath.
My heart beats in my mother’s womb, as they sentence me to death.
If only you’d have loved me, like only mothers do.
If only you’d have given me, what your mother gave to you.
The gift of life, the gift of love, with me you could have shared.
I could have seen the sunshine, if only you’d have cared.
As it is with most things, the Jewish Talmud teaches something quite different from the Bible concerning when life begins. Consider the following quotation from The Jewish Encyclopedia, which, in turn, references the Talmud:
If young, by which is meant a new-born infant, it must be proved that it was not of premature birth; if prematurely born, it must be at least thirty days old to be considered a human being (Sifra, l.c.; Niddah 44b; "Yad," Rozeah, ii. 2). But the unborn child is considered as part of its mother (Sanh. 80b); killing it in its mother’s womb is therefore a finable offense only (Mek., Nez. 8; B. K. 42b).28
Consider also the following statements found under the heading "Abortion" in the Encyclopaedia Judaica:
…The talmudic scholars … maintained that the word "harm" refers to the woman and not to the foetus…. In talmudic times, as in ancient halakhah, abortion was not considered a transgression unless the foetus was viable (ben keyama; Mekh., Mishpatim, 4 and see Sanh. 84b and Nid. 44b; see Rashi; ad loc.)…. In the view of R. [Rabbi] Ishmael, only a Gentile [non-Jew], to whom some of the basic transgressions applied with greater stringency, incurred the death penalty for causing the loss of the foetus (Sanh. 57b)…. Abortion is permitted if the foetus endangers the mother’s life. Thus, "if a woman travails to give birth (and it is feared she may die), one may sever the foetus from her womb and extract it, member by member, for her life takes precedence over his" (Oho. 7:6). …when the mother’s life is endangered, she herself may destroy the foetus – even if its greater part has emerged – "for even if in the eyes of others the law of a foetus is not as the law of a pursuer, the mother may yet regard the foetus as pursing her" (Meiri, ibid.). …the majority of the later [Jewish] authorities (aharonim) maintain that abortion should be permitted if it is necessary for the recuperation of the mother, even if there is no mortal danger attaching to the pregnancy and even if the mother’s illness has not been directly caused by the foetus (Maharit, Resp. no. 99)…. A similar view was adopted by Benzion Meir Hai Uziel, namely that abortion is … permitted "if intended to serve the mother’s needs … even if not vital;" and who accordingly decided that abortion was permissible to save the mother from the deafness which would result, according to medical opinion, from her continued pregnancy (Mishpetei Uziel, loc. cit.).29
Although he may not have been aware of the previous quotations, former U.S. Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop objected to the former Talmudic excuses for infanticide:
Protection of the life of the mother as an excuse for an abortion is a smoke screen. In my 36 years of pediatric surgery, I have never known of one instance where the child had to be aborted to save the mother’s life. If toward the end of the pregnancy complications arise that threaten the mother’s health, the doctor will induce labor or perform a Caesarian section. His intention is to save the life of both the mother and the baby. The baby’s life is never willfully destroyed because the mother’s life is in danger.30
The previous Jewish quotations demonstrate that Talmudic immorality rather than biblical morality is influencing American justices as it pertains to infanticide. Consequently, America’s courts have become tribunals of injustice rather than courts of justice. Accordingly, any judge or juror who decides in favor of infanticide is an accomplice to murder.
Ironically, America’s justice system cannot decide whether the infant in its mother’s womb is alive or not. This is demonstrated by court cases in which individuals have been accused of murder or attempted murder of unborn fetuses. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provided one example of our courts incongruity:
Kenosha – A Kenosha man has been charged with attempted murder for allegedly punching a pregnant woman in the stomach in what authorities say is the first time the state’s new "feticide" law has been used. Moses Tate, 26, was charged Wednesday [August 19, 1998] in Kenosha County Circuit Court…. Tate was angry because the woman had become pregnant by another man…. Saying he planned to "kick the baby out of her stomach," Tate grabbed her by the neck, swung her to the ground and punched her twice in the stomach, the complaint says….31
If this was a case of attempted murder, why is it not murder when a physician actually gets the job accomplished? Of course, that is precisely what it is. Even opponents to this type of legislation recognize that such laws indict infanticide doctors as murderers:
"If causing a miscarriage is murder, then by implication, so is abortion," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.32
Our society’s inconsistency, confusion and transposition of Yahweh's created order is also demonstrated in that some of the techniques used for killing babies in hospitals and infanticide mills are illegal for killing animals in slaughterhouses.
Although a baby killed while in its mother’s womb is murder, Yahweh may look upon women who have been indoctrinated by government policy and liberal opinions as victims themselves. They may not be held as accountable as those who indoctrinate the unsuspecting and who, through man’s vain philosophy, renounce the morality of Yahweh. In order for such mothers to be guilty of murder they must be cognizant that the fetus in their womb is a human life and then, with malicious intent or selfish motives, snuff out its life. In either case, praise Yahweh, He makes room for repentance and provides a covering for all sin with the blood of Yeshua the Christ.
Infanticide is not just about women killing the unborn. If there were not men who are moral reprobates, many women would not be faced with infanticide. It is a shared responsibility - with probably the greatest guilt to be laid at the feet of immoral, godless men.
There are many more men and women culpable for this sin than one might initially think. Some methods of contraception, including the "Pill,"33 Orval, the "morning-after-pill," RU484 and the IUDs (intra-uterine devices), can also terminate life after conception. Praise Yahweh for the propitiating blood of Yeshua the Christ because only a small percentage of people in today’s promiscuous society have not participated in this horrific sin in one fashion or another.
In addition to suicide and infanticide the Bible speaks to and condemns other forms of voluntary homicide.
Assassins and Hired Killers
Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen. (Deuteronomy 27:25)
Although applicable to doctors who assist in killing another person, this statute primarily applies to assassins and hired killers. It stands to reason that this would also apply to those who hire these murderers. They would be co-conspirators and thus they would be equally guilty of murder. Consequently, they should be judged and punished impartially under the law.
…he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand [in his possession], he shall surely be put to death. (Exodus 21:16)
If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you. (Deuteronomy 24:7)
Because the King James Version uses the words "stealeth," "stealing" and "thief" in these passages, this statute is often mistakenly placed under the Eighth Commandment, "Thou shalt not steal" instead of under the Sixth Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." One way to determine which commandment a statute belongs with is by the statute’s judgment. A statute’s judgment must be the same as the judgment for the commandment it falls under. In other words, the judgment for a transgression of a statute can never be more severe than the judgment for a transgression of the commandment to which the statute is subordinate. The judgment for Eighth Commandment transgression is restitution, not the death penalty; thus, man-stealing or kidnapping cannot be an Eighth Commandment statute.
Kidnapping is a Sixth Commandment statute because it often culminates in murder, or a kidnapped person might very well die while in or as a direct result of his captivity. Kidnapping is a crime of theft; however, it is the theft of a person’s life, not his possessions. Consequently, kidnapping is a Sixth Commandment violation and is punishable by death whether the kidnapped person has already been killed, sold or is in the possession of the kidnapper when he is apprehended.
Bouvier’s Law Dictionary defines "burglary":
The breaking and entering the house of another in the night-time, with intent to commit a felony therein, whether the felony be actually committed or not.34
According to Yahweh’s law, burglary is a capital offense. Therefore, the prohibition forbidding burglary must be a statute under one of the capital crime commandments. The conditions in the following passage would indicate that burglary is a Sixth Commandment infraction:
If [a] thief is caught while breaking in [to someone’s home after dark], and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account. (Exodus 22:2-3 NASV)
A person who defends his family, home or possessions by killing a thief in the dark of the night is not to be held accountable for putting a burglar to death. However, if an unarmed thief, who, in the judgment of the homeowner does not intend bodily harm, is killed during daylight hours, the killer is to be held responsible for the thief’s blood. Although unstated, the obvious reason for this distinction is because it is impossible to determine an intruder’s intentions in the dark of the night. Thus, during a night raid, Yahweh gives the benefit of doubt to the homeowner.
In the days of ancient Israel, flat roofs also served as terraces where the homeowner dried, stored crops and entertained guests. For this reason, homeowners were required to build protective railings around the perimeters of their rooftops:
When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement [railing] for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence. (Deuteronomy 22:8)
This statute makes homeowners responsible, within reason, for the safety of service providers or visitors to their home or property. If a person is injured or killed because of a homeowner’s negligence, the homeowner is held liable according to lex talionis or the "law of retribution":
…if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; breach for breach [fracture for fracture NASV], eye for eye, tooth for tooth [or life for life]: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. (Leviticus 24:19-20)
In cases where a person does not die as the result of an attack or negligence there is an added stipulation for his care:
…if men have a quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist [or is injured because of reckless negligence], and he does not die but remains in bed; if he gets up and walks around outside on his staff, then he who struck him [or who is responsible for his injury] shall go unpunished [shall not be put to death]; he shall only pay for his loss of time, and shall take care of him until he is completely healed. (Exodus 21:18-19 NASV)
"Rooftop legislation" extends far beyond terraces or patios. Deuteronomy 22:8 applies to anywhere a person might be endangered by negligence. In addition to home safety, this statute should also be applied to the workplace, construction zones and, machinery including farm equipment, automobiles, etc. For example, if demonstrable negligence is established in a court of law in the case against Firestone Tires for the accidents caused by tread separation, those responsible should be liable according to lex talionis. Furthermore, Firestone Tires should also be compelled to pay for any and all loss of time from employment for those injured or disabled as a result of their injuries.
Lex talionis should also be applied to the abusive use of alcohol and drugs. Scripture does not prohibit the use of alcohol or drugs altogether. Consequently, there is no scriptural reason to make the use of these substances illegal. Furthermore, alcohol prohibition did not work in the 1920s, and neither has today’s drug legislation.
Instead of making either alcohol or drugs illegal, responsible use should be promoted. Abstinence is preferable, and is safest for everyone concerned. However, not everyone is going to abstain regardless of the prohibitions enacted. Consequently, instead of legislating what Yahweh does not legislate, we should adjudicate what Yahweh adjudicates. In turn, this will promote personal responsibility. For example, instead of attempting to curb drunk driving by prohibiting excessive alcohol consumption, it should be mandatory that any drunk driver convicted of causing or contributing to the death of an innocent person be put to death. If the injured party does not die, the convicted felon should be compelled to pay for medical expenses and financial compensation during convalescence. This compensation should be in addition to his paying an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, etc.
Man’s efforts at controlling drunken driving and drug abuse have been wholly ineffective. However, when Yahweh’s laws are enforced people will be deterred from indulging in these potentially criminal activities. There will certainly be no repeat offenders when someone is killed as a result of someone’s drunken carelessness because the convicted murderer would be put to death. In the same manner, if someone is injured, disabled or dies as a consequence of another person’s irresponsible use of drugs, the punishment should correspond to the injury, death or damage to property. On the other hand, today’s ineffective drug and alcohol laws have, in many instances, made criminals out of people who have hurt only themselves. This has consequently also forced innocent taxpayers to pay for the housing, feeding and the entertainment of people who should have never been imprisoned35 in the first place.
A downsized and smaller government is an additional benefit derived from "rooftop legislation" enforced by lex talionis. Federal agencies such as OSHA and the Federal Drug Administration would be superfluous under such biblical law. The oversight of a speedy trial and administration of the proper judgment would be the only government intervention required or needed.
Animals are also held responsible for the death of humans:
If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned … but the owner of the ox shall be quit [not held responsible]. But if the ox were wont [accustomed] to push [gore] with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but … he [the ox] hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:28-29)
This statute applies to any domestic animal or household pet that maliciously kills or maims someone.
There are two exceptions to the death penalty for this statute:
If there be laid [imposed] on him [the owner of the ox] a sum of money [by the victim’s next of kin], then he shall give for the ransom of his life whatsoever is laid upon him. Whether he [the ox] have gored a son, or have gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done unto him. If the ox shall push [gore] a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned. (Exodus 21:30-32)
In other words, in such cases it is at the discretion of the victim’s next of kin whether the guilty party is to be put to death or pay a ransom for the life of the person killed. These exceptions should also be applied to "rooftop legislation" where the injury or death is likewise the consequence of negligence rather than malicious intent.
Perjury in Murder Cases
Perjury is a capital crime in capital cases. For example, if an innocent man is or could potentially be found guilty of any capital crime as the result of malicious false testimony in a court of law, the perjurer is to be executed:
If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong … and … if the witness … hath testified falsely against his brother; then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you. And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you. And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. (Deuteronomy 19:16-21)
Furthermore, this statute dictates that if a plot to murder someone is uncovered, the person plotting the murder is also guilty of transgressing the Sixth Commandment, whether he does the killing or whether it is carried out by the hands of someone else.
Life is a gift from Yahweh. Because man is made in the very image of God and man has been made the steward of that gift, the shedding of innocent blood, regardless of whether it is another person’s or your own, is absolutely forbidden:
: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:16-19)
These six things doth YHWH hate
Yahweh’s law comes from a perfect and just Judge and Lawgiver; therefore, it takes into account the person who accidentally kills another person:
In the midst of the judgment for voluntary manslaughter, Yahweh’s law provides protection for the man who accidentally takes another person’s life. James Moffatt renders verse 13 more clearly:
Yahweh identified and expanded upon this appointed place of asylum in the book of Numbers:
James Strong defines "shegagah," from which our English word "unawares" is derived, as "a mistake or inadvertent transgression." The translators of the New American Standard Bible rendered "shegagah" as "unintentionally" and the New Berkley Version translators rendered it as "accidentally."
Yahweh further expounded upon this temporary residence in the cities of refuge for anyone who committed an act of involuntary homicide:
Imprisonment in a city of refuge, a type of house arrest, may not initially seem just. However, sanctuary is much more charitable than death at the hands of the blood avenger or the dead man’s kinsman. Furthermore, there was no specified time limit for a manslayer’s confinement in a city of refuge except for the life of the high priest. If the high priest died the following day, the manslayer would have the lawful right to leave that same day with immunity, although he may not choose to do so depending upon the vindictiveness of his victim’s kinsman. If, however, after the death of the high priest, the blood avenger took the manslayer’s life, the blood avenger would be guilty of shedding innocent blood. On the other hand, if a person relegated to one of the cities of refuge departed prior to the death of the high priest and was subsequently put to death by the slain person’s kinsman, the blood avenger would not be guilty of murder:
Consequently, it was justifiable homicide if a blood avenger took the life of the manslayer who prematurely departed from the city of refuge in which he had initially sought asylum.
It is also justifiable homicide when someone must be killed in order to protect the life of another person or to thwart someone in the commission of a capital crime. Moses and Abraham provide biblical precedent for taking the law into one’s own hands in such instances. In Exodus 2 Moses justifiably slew the Egyptian taskmaster who was brutally assaulting another Israelite. In Genesis 14 Abraham justifiably killed others in order to rescue his nephew, Lot, from his kidnappers. Therefore, vigilantism is biblically justified when defending or rescuing another person from being victimized by a capital criminal.37
It is also justifiable homicide when a criminal is killed in order to protect your own life or the life of your family. This is first demonstrated in the statute pertaining to burglary that exonerates the person who kills a thief in the dark of the night. The same statute implies that a person who kills a daytime assailant, under any circumstances, is likewise vindicated.
Not only does Yahweh’s law provide for self-defense, Yeshua promoted the same by using self-defense to illustrate two different spiritual points:
Every Christian man should be such a homesteader, in spite of how the government, media or even certain preachers may try to vilify such a person. According to the Apostle Paul, anyone who fails to care for his family is in jeopardy of serious judgment:
After first providing for his family’s spiritual safety, a Christian needs to provide adequate protection for his family and their possessions. There is limited benefit in providing food, clothing and shelter for your family if a "welcome mat" has been laid out for thieves, rapists and murderers to come and take it from you.
Not every individual Christian is responsible for everything contained in this passage, but every Christian householder is commissioned by Yeshua and by the law of Yahweh to defend his family, his possessions and himself. Therefore every Christian man should be armed. Moreover, every Christian woman without a man to protect her should be likewise armed.
Certain acts of warfare are biblically justified. In other words, justifiable warfare is one type of justifiable homicide. Yahweh commanded, "Thou shall not kill." Nevertheless, He made provision for warfare. King Solomon, for example, made the following definitive statements about war:
There are numerous Old Testament examples where Yahweh had His people initiate war against ungodly nations. The "Song of Moses" included the following declaration about Yahweh after He destroyed the Egyptian army in the Red Sea:
Although there were occasions when Yahweh commanded Israel to initiate war, He, nevertheless, prescribed strict rules of warfare, some of which are provided to us in Deuteronomy 20:
These and other biblical rules of warfare help to determine whether a particular war is righteous or unrighteous. For example, the prohibition against destroying fruit trees is an indictment against the United States’ indiscriminate Agent Orange defoliation policy employed in Vietnam.
Historian William Blum compiled the following list of countries that the United States has bombed since World War II:
From 1945 to the present, the United States has bombed nineteen different countries under the guise of defending America’s sovereignty and for the alleged purpose of promoting democracy. And yet none of these countries have become democracies as a result of America’s unethical aggression. Something is amiss. Wars fought for political gain or financial profit, such as the last two World Wars and all of the smaller subsequent conflicts that America has engaged herself in cannot be classified as righteous wars. Therefore, Christians should be cautious about sending their sons or daughters to fight in America’s future military conflicts. Not only might their sons or daughters be sacrificed for an unrighteous cause, they might also be considered murderers or accomplices to murder in the sight of Yahweh.
If, however, it is a righteous conflict legitimately waged in defense of our homeland, or if it is an offensive war such as Yahweh ordained against the Canaanites, then that warfare is justified and even godly. In fact, Yahweh’s law mandates that every able Israelite man twenty years old and older be mustered and enrolled for armed service:
This statute further demonstrates that Yahweh expects every law-abiding Israelite man to be armed and prepared to defend his nation, community and family just like the men in Switzerland are to this day. By extension it becomes a transgression of Yahweh’s law for any Christian man who is able-bodied and able-minded to be unarmed and thus unprepared for war or defense.
Certain people consider the judgment for Sixth Commandment transgression in Leviticus 24:17 conflicting. However, that is because they refuse to distinguish between intentional murder and justifiable homicide. According to the Bible capital punishment for capital crimes, such as First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Commandment transgressions, is clearly justifiable homicide.40
Leviticus 24:17 and numerous other passages dictate that the judgment for intentional, premeditated murder is death. According to Yahweh, human life is so sacred that whether it is a man or an animal that maliciously takes a person’s life, the perpetrator is to be put to death. Death penalty opponents find this incongruent. They believe that life is so valuable that life must not be forfeited for any reason. They further claim that capital punishment cheapens human life. Quite the contrary, it is the platform of the anti-capital punishment community, not the pro-capital punishment community, that cheapens life. If a murderer is given twenty years in prison, for example, instead of being put to death, the life of the person murdered has thus been given a value of only twenty years.
Except in some cases of death resulting from negligence, murder is the one crime for which there is no clemency from the death penalty:
In 1 Kings 1:50-53 King Solomon spared Adonijah’s life for his crime of conspiracy when Adonijah took hold of the horns of the altar in the tabernacle, but in 1 Kings 2:28-34 Solomon would not spare Joab’s life for his sins of murder when Joab took the same desperate measure.
The no-clemency clause attached only to the judgment for murderers demonstrates just how serious transgression of the Sixth Commandment is to Yahweh. Perhaps only violations of the First and Second Commandments are ranked more seriously. The blood of murdered innocents continues to cry out from the ground for justice. The same blood cries out for Yahweh’s people to return to Him and His laws, specifically the implementation of the Sixth Commandment and its respective statutes and judgements.