The Bible and Capital Punishment

The Bible and the Death Penalty

The question of Capital Punishment has been raised; a question the answer to of which is more important to Christian doctrine than some might think.

Capital punishment?  From God or man?

Capital punishment? From God or man?

The Roman Catholic Pope, Francis, issued a recent decree changing the doctrine of his church regarding the issue, and creating something of a firestorm of controversy within the Catholic church. According to Francis, the death penalty is unacceptable and immoral and constitutes “an attack” on human dignity. These views aren’t exactly noteworthy, as he had written articles in years past stating much the same. What is somewhat startling is the claim made by Catholic officials that this doctrinal stance is in harmony with both historical Catholic teaching and the Bible.

We’ll leave the historical argument to others with more vested interest in Catholicism. What we are most interested in is what the Bible actually teaches on the matter.

Biblically, the validity of the death penalty, when enacted by government authorities, is about as uncontested a doctrine as one can find. When Noah first stepped off the ark, God established the following principle: “Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man.” (Genesis 9:5-6; NKJV)

Pointedly, we might observe the death penalty was enacted by God as a safeguard against the violation of “human dignity.” To enact it therefore is to uphold human dignity, and to ignore it is to lessen human worth.

In the books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible and the cornerstone of the Old Testament, the death penalty is mentioned in every book as valid. Three of the crimes for which it was deemed appropriate by God were murder, kidnapping and rape. Again, all crimes against “human dignity.” Each man is special, made in God’s image, and we should treat each other accordingly. When we fail to do so, God insists there be consequences.

In the New Testament, Jesus had no problems with the death penalty. Even when on trial for His life, he plainly told Pilate that He agreed Pilate had authority to put Him to death. Jesus’ main quibble was that He believed the authority came from God, not man. (cf. John 19:10-11) This same attitude was later echoed by the apostle Paul, when he stood before Festus, stating, “If I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying.” (cf. Acts 25:11)

Sometime before this, Paul had written to the Roman church concerning government authority, and stated, as an inspired prophet of God, “[the government authority] does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” (Romans 13:4b; NKJV) The “sword” Paul mentions was the means by which Rome executed its own citizens.

The biblical authority for the death penalty is well established from beginning to end of the Bible. One must seriously question the validity or understanding of those who, claiming to be speaking on behalf of God, claim otherwise. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and His opinion on such things is not subject to change; nor will His word change. (cf. Hebrews 1:10-12; 1 Peter 1:22-25) Bluntly, Catholics must ask themselves, do they believe God’s Word or do they believe their Pope?

Further, one of the things God is trying to teach us in the Bible is the principle of consequences. God has always tried to teach men that certain actions have certain consequences. Men obviously don’t always apply these consequences as they should, but God does so unfailingly. Men might miscarry justice; God never does.

This principle of consequences is important to get right because it affects our understanding of sin in general. All sin creates immediate consequences in this life. But sin also brings eternal consequences. Thus, God has taught men, “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23a). In this case spiritual death; also called hell. Murder may be an attack against human dignity, but sin is an attack against God’s dignity, and the consequences are much more severe. It is the reality of these consequences that God wants us to understand, because only in accepting that will we accept the gift of God, in Christ Jesus: eternal life. (cf. Romans 6:23b)


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Do your children really love Jesus?

Do your children really love Jesus?

Notice what I did not ask. I did NOT ask:
1. Do your children attend worship services?
2. Do your children go to Bible study?
3. Do your children act kindly toward others?
4. Do your children go on youth retreats?
5. Do your children like to sing the new devo songs?
6. Do your children use good language?
7. Do your children hang out with nice kids?
8. Do your children participate in service projects?
9. Do your children make good media choices?
10. Do your children limit worldly influences?

What I asked was: “Do your children really love Jesus?” Friends, you can have children that do all of the things above, check off every “box,” dot every “i” and cross every “t”—and yet, they will still walk away from Jesus. There’s a massive difference in a child converted to “the church” versus a child who is converted to Christ and wants to spend the rest of his/her life following after Him.

What is the relationship between your children and God?

What is the relationship between your children and God?

In traveling all across the United States, one of the things I’ve observed missing from many of our youth groups is a true love for Jesus Christ. If our children truly loved Jesus then we wouldn’t have to continually discuss things like modesty, fornication, worldliness, pornography, lying, etc. John 14:23-24 records, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.’” Maybe the reason we have to keep discussing modesty and fornication is because our children are not really converted to Christ in the first place.

Parents, take a few minutes and really talk to your children about their hopes and dreams. Listen to their answers about what they are really passionate about. If during that discussion you discover they don’t love Jesus first and foremost, then you should strongly consider spending a few months reminding your children of their sin and what their life was like before contacting His cleansing blood. Spend some time studying hell and why we refer to Jesus as our Savior. Spend some time discussing heaven and how Jesus makes it possible.

1 John 4:19 says, “We love Him because He first loved us.” Set aside the topical books and spend some time with your children getting to know Jesus. Help them to fall in love with Him and His way.

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Este libro ha sido el objetivo numero uno de los críticos de la Biblia para desacreditar a la misma. ¿Como es posible que quien ha muerto pueda narrar su propia muerte?¿Acaso el estaba vivo al momento de describir en detalle la culminación de su vida en capitulo 34? Estas y otras interrogantes más rodean a lo que es considerado por otros como la pieza maestra de Moisés, Deuteronomio. 

Moisés ha sido tradicionalmente reconocido como el autor de Deuteronomio.

Moisés ha sido tradicionalmente reconocido como el autor de Deuteronomio.

EVIDENCIA INTERNA. Moisés ha sido tradicionalmente reconocido como el autor de Deuteronomio, debido a que el libro mismo testifica que Moisés lo escribió (1.1, 5; 31.9, 22, 24). Tanto el AT (1 R 2.3; 8.53; 2 R 14.6; 18.12)  esto es de importante relevancia ya que los libros semejantes a este que reclaman inspiración han podido ser puestos a prueba comprobando la inspiración verbal de Dios. Las profecías se han cumplido al pie de la letra a travez de la historia y esa es una de las evidencias mas fuertes y más tangibles para nosotros hoy. De igual relevancia es el hecho de que el Nuevo Testamento afirma la autoría de Moises en pasajes tales como (Hch 3.22, 23; Ro 10.19) apoyan la afirmación de que Moisés lo escribió. Mientras que Deuteronomio 32.48— 34.12 fue añadido después de la muerte de Moisés (probablemente por Josué), el resto del libro vino de la mano de Moisés poco antes de su muerte en el 1405 A.C. La mayoría del libro está constituido por discursos de despedida que Moisés, quien tenía ciento veinte años de edad, quien les dio a Israel comenzando en el primer día del mes once del año 40 después del éxodo de Egipto (1.3). Estos discursos pueden ser fechados entre enero y febrero de 1405 A.C. En las últimas semanas de la vida de Moisés, él escribió estos discursos y se los dio a los sacerdotes y ancianos para las generaciones venideras de Israel (31.9, 24– 26).
La evidencia geográfica que contiene este libro al ser analizada en detalle es imperativo concluir que las menciones a todos los lugares y zonas señaladas son absolutamente precisas como para que hayan surgido al lazar por medio de la tradición humana. El relato de los viajes en los primeros 3 capítulos es totalmente realista y, dudosamente seria añadida a una colección de leyes viejas. 
Para el crítico Radical Normal Habel Deuteronomio no fue escrito por Moisés ya que el estilo del mismo es diferente al del resto del Pentateuco y por lo tanto el autor debe de ser diferente. Sin embargo las diferencias entre los libros del Pentateuco son obra de las varias perspectivas en las que se desarrolla cada uno. El estilo  de Moisés es diferente en cada uno de los libros y este estilo narrativo del quinto libro del pentateuco ya lo habíamos visto en los primeros capítulos  de Génesis por lo tanto tales criticas quedan infundadas.
EVIDENCIA EXTERNA.  Hay mucho material en Génesis, Exodo y Deuteronomio que tienen un trasfondo Egipcio Obvio. Lo cual sería completamente natural si Moisés fuera el autor de los mismos ya que él fue criado en la sabiduría de los egipcios. Pero sería difícil de explicar, si la afirmación de los que sostienen la hipótesis documentaría de que este libro haya sido escrito 400 años después del Exodo fue real. Esta influencia externa Egipcia se manifiesta en al menos 3 áreas diferentes; 1) Geografía, 2) Dicción, 3) Nombres de los reyes Egipcios. Existen también otras evidencias arqueológicas para probar la autoría de Moisés tales como: La literatura Hebrea temprana, Paralelos tempranos en leyes del pentateuco  entre otras. 
En Conclusión la evidencia interna como externa es basta y amplia para entender que el dador de la ley por excelencia; Moisés es quien escribe este bello libro de Deuteronomio al igual que el resto del Pentateuco. Es trascendental que Moisés sea el autor ya que el tipifica a la figura de Cristo. DEUTERONOMIO HABLA DIRECTAMENTE acerca de la venida de un nuevo profeta similar a Moisés: «Profeta de en medio de ti, de tus hermanos, como yo, te levantará Jehová tu Dios; a él oiréis» (18.15). Se interpreta a este profeta como el Mesías o Cristo tanto en el AT como en el NT (34.10; Hch 3.22, 23; 7.37). Moisés ilustra a un tipo de Cristo en diversos aspectos: (1) ambos salvaron sus vidas siendo bebés (Éx 2; Mt 2.13– 23); (2) ambos actuaron como sacerdote, profeta y líder de Israel (Éx 32.31– 35; He 2.17; 34.10– 12; Hch 7.52; Mt 27.11), entre otras. ¡Moisés es el autor de Deuteronomio, de eso no hay dudas!
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