Friday, August 1, 2014

Christians should oppose Capital Punishment

Don't simply throw all the Old Testament passages on Capital Punishment at me, we are under the New Testament, and are no longer bound by The Law. We are under the dispensation of Grace.

People will try to gather NT support for Capital Punishment by misusing a few passages.

Romans 13, is one of the most abused passages of The Bible, constantly twisted by Evil Governments to make Christians think they should have blind loyalty to Government. This is definitely a passage that should only be read in the KJV, and I highly recommend Chuck Baldwin's sermons on it. But that's immaterial to it's relevance here.

"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."

First off this passage is about acknowledging Government, not what Christians should do if they ever wield civil authority. But bearing the sword for the purpose of maintaining law and order, and punishing evil doers, is not something limited to capital punishment. Any time a police officer or prison guard has to use a weapon that fits this verse. This really doesn't address Capital Punishment at all.

I've seen people cite Roman 1:32, about sins being "worthy of death", this is about the same thing as "the wages of sin is death".

People also cite Acts 25:11 where Paul says he is willing to be killed if he has done anything wrong. He is merely acknowledging the law of the land he lived under. And because he knew Roman law he knew he had not broken it. This was still before Roman law ever outlawed Christianity itself.

Christians should oppose Capital Punishment because of John 8

John 8:7. "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.". I really get annoyed at all the absurd conjectural arguments supposed "Christians" use to write off what the clear message of this verse is. That no one has the right kill another person for their Sin since we're all Sinners. I don't care about all your "they were trying to trap him" or "she was innocent since the guy wasn't there too", for the latter Jesus would have just said that.

Or some will argue Jesus really meant being guilty of the same specific Sin.  That is ridiculous, not only does nothing Jesus said indicate such a qualifier, but it's absurd to think this massive crowd of people contained not a single person who never committed blatant adultery.

Now people will throw out Matthew 15 where they seem to think the point is Jesus is condemning the Pharisees for not obeying the Torah's law about stoning rebellious children as evidence Jesus didn't intend to do away with such laws. The point here is He's condemning the Hypocrisy of men who obey man made traditions dogmatically and try to impose them on others, but not the actual Law. And for the example He chose a law they had a good loving reason for not enforcing.

On The Old Testament

Now, because Capital Punishment first shows up in Genesis 9, and this is before Abraham much less Moses, people say it's not eligible to be something done away with, only things unique to Israel are what the Church isn't held to.

The Problem is the number one thing fulfilled and thus done away with is the Sacrificial System. And that goes back at least to Genesis 4 (probably implied in Genesis 3). It's why Noah brought seven rather then just two of the clean animals on the Ark, so that when everything was over he could make offerings without committing genocide.

In fact, the origin of Capital Punishment in Genesis 9 is intricately linked to the concept of Blood Sacrifices.

4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
5 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.
6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

Verse 4's command against digesting Blood is repeated in Acts 15 as something Christians should still obey. But that's there for the opposite reason as the other two commands here, that's condemning something Pagans did in their perverted blood sacrifice rituals.

Verse 5 is the first clear stating of the concept given in Leviticus as "the Blood is the life" and clearly defined in Hebrews as "without the shedding of Blood there is no remission of sins".

The way verse 6 follows that kind of gives me the impression that Capital Punishment is a type of sacrifice, the one form of Human Sacrifice that the Mosaic Law was okay with. That some passages say executed people were to have their bodies burned I think adds support to that.

And indeed, the true Sacrifice that all the others were merely rehearsals for was carried out in the form of Capital Punishment. The Temple Scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls confirms that Jews of the Greco-Roman period viewed Crucifixion as fulfilling the requirement of Deuteronomy 21:22-23

"And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance."

Crucifixion unlike Hanging with a rope (which people might at first assume being meant here) fits the Genesis 9 requirement that Blood be shed.

Joshua 8:29 documented this form of execution being carried out on the King of Ai, and chapter 10 on the Five Kings allied against Israel, where there the hung victims are specified to be buried in caves with stones rolled in front of them. When The Book of Esther says Haman and his sons were "hanged", those familiar with Persian custom and the Hebrew text speculate they were Crucified. The Persians are usually credited with inventing Crucifixion, which the Greeks adopted and the Romans perfected.

Jesus was made Sin for us. Even though he was completely without Sin, God poured out his Wrath upon him as if he where just as evil as Haman or Hitler.

In Second Samuel 21 innocent people are hung on a Tree.  Seven descendants of Saul, the two by his concubine and the 5 sons of Merab.  They were killed to appease the Gibeonites and atone of Saul's sin against them.  Likewise Jesus died to atone for the Sin of Adam, because he was the Son of Adam.

Christians who are pro-Capital Punishment like to point out how God explicitly prevented Cain from being killed for his act of murder, and seemingly likewise did the same for his descendant Lamech, in Genesis 4. And suggest that because of this lack of capital punishment the Earth became filled with violence and that's why The Flood was necessary, and so God instituted capital punishment in Genesis 9.

This argument amazes me, these are "conservative" Christians and yet they're effectively arguing that God himself made a mistake not allowing Cain to be executed.

The reason for The Flood is explained in Genesis 6 not 4, it's the Nephilim activity (whatever you think that means).

Biblical History is supposed to come full circle. So if anything the fact that God was clearly against men killing other men for their sins, even murder, before he allowed it in Genesis 9, shows God is against it in principle and that it was always meant to be done away with once The Law was fulfilled.

Ezekiel 40-48 contains no references to any Capital Punishment being carried out in the Messianic Kingdom.

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