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DOCTRINE QUESTION 43
"An eye for and eye" is often quoted for capital punishment. Is this right?
The phrase "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" would hardly apply to capital punishment, since there is no loss of life.
The law of "capital punishment" is clearly stated before the law of Moses. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man." Genesis 9:6. In Genesis 9, God is reestablishing creation's order that had been so corrupted before the Flood. This command has never been revoked, and is further verified in this verse. "For he (civil ruler) 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." Romans 13:4. The sword is an instrument of death. According to Holy Scripture, capital punishment for murder is right. God knows what a menace to society it would be, if murderers are allowed to live. One murderer put to death is better than having him kill other people. From a practical point of view, it is right. It is a deterrent to others not to murder. "Since sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily; therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." Ecclesiastes 8:11. There is a definite increase in murders today. This is prophesied in Revelation 9:21 as being one of four sins that will characterize the last days. Murder heads the list, with sorceries, the occult, drugs, fornication, sex outside of wedlock (adultery), and thefts. Many States are bringing back the death penalty, because they realize it is a deterrent to crime.
There is forgiveness for the murders and all sinner in the Lord Jesus Christ. Read 1 John 1:7 and Acts 16:30-31.
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated July 2009, by Shelly Allen