Revd. C. Ewing, U.S.A.
Sword of Justice
ONE of the most clisheartening things which we have read in the newspapers lately is the emotional and sentimental attitude of many church groups who are in complete opposition to capital punishment. One of their arguments is, that since God alone can give life, society does not have the moral right to take life; and
execution as a means of punishment is outmoded Mosaic legislation. Let me go on record right here as saying that Moses never legislated anything. He codified what God gave him and gave it to the nation for its well being. No nation has ever been able to set aside the national statutes as contained in the Law of the Lord and prosper.
Our condition today is parallel to what it was in Noah's day. Christ told us such would be the case before His second coming Matthew 24:37. Crime so increased in Noah's day that the account states,
"The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence."
That corrupt civilisation was destroyed and a new order established with laws to check crime. God gave a statute authorising the state to take the life of the murderer,
"Whosoever sheddeth man's blood; by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God made He man."
This law is fundamental to any righteous civilisation.
Later at Mount Sinai, God gave Israel the laws for the individual, contained in the Ten Commandments. For every Commandment there was a corresponding
national statute, making it mandatory for the nation to punish the violator of that Commandment. The sixth Commandment given to the individual was,
"Thou shalt not kill" - Deuteronomy 5:17 and Exodus 20:13.
What shall be done with those people who have violated this Commandment? It is axiomatic that a law without a penalty is simply advice to be accepted or rejected, according to the will and whims of people.
Incidentally in the Hebrew language there are more than half a dozen verbs which convey the thought of killing, but the word employed in the Ten Commandmerits
is a special word which means to "Murder". The wilful and deliberate murderer shall be put to death. The original Statute given in the days of Noah, was later
enlarged upon in Numbers 35:24-33,
"Moreover, ye shall take no satisfaction (ransom) for the life of a murderer, who (is) guilty of death" (that is, not to substitute life imprisonment) v. 31. It goes on to state,
"The land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it." v. 33. This is the law of God which justifies nations in taking the life of the murderer.
Opponents of capital punishment contend that the person who executes the criminal is also guilty of murder. God's judgment on this question is rendered in Numbers
"And the avenger of blood (the executioner) kill the slayer; he shall not be guilty of blood."
There are those who contend that capital punishment does not deter crime. Let us read God's Word on this point, Deuteronomy 19:19-21,
"So shalt thou put the evil away from among you. And those who remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you".
Confirming the Old Testament, we have a statement made by Jesus to Peter,
"All they that take the sword shall perish by the sword," - Matthew 26:52.
Here we have the aggressor being put down by the sword of a representative of organised government. It makes no difference whether that representative is a policeman or a soldier, the principle is the same. Paul's great chapter on civil govemment, when speaking of rulers, adds these words,
"He does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to (execute) His wrath on the wrongdoer, " - Romans 13:4.
Courtesy.. Thy Kingdom Come
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