Why Murderers Must Die


Townhall.com By Dennis Prager

July 21, 2005

One should not confuse Jews or Christians with Judeo-Christian values. Many Jews and many Christians, including many sincerely religious ones, take certain positions that are contrary to Judeo-Christian values (which I have defined at length: In a nutshell, they are Old Testament values as mediated by Christians, especially American Christians).

One clear example is the death penalty for murderers. Many Jews and Christians believe that all murderers should be kept alive, that it is not only wrong to take the life of any murderer; it is actually un-Jewish or un-Christian.

Jews opposed to capital punishment cite the Talmud (the second most important religious text to Jews), which is largely opposed to capital punishment; Christians opponents cite Jesus on loving one's enemies, for example; and Catholic abolitionists cite the late Pope {means 'Papa'} "Call no man your father upon the earth" Mat 23:9  John Paul II {Karol Józef Wojtyła] and the many cardinals and bishops who, though not denying all of the Church's teachings on the permissibility of the state to take the life a murderer, largely oppose capital punishment.

Yet, the notion that a murderer must give up his life is one of the central values in the Old Testament. {Not at the hands of humans] Indeed, taking the life of a murderer is the only law that is found in all Five Books of Moses (the Torah). That is particularly remarkable considering how few laws there are at all in the first Book, Genesis.

Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses {There is another death that now reigns} Jhn 12:31 Eph 2:2 Rev 21:8

When God creates the world, He declares a fundamental value and law to maintain civilization: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God He created him." And the law is repeated in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

Deu 14:2 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

Lev 24:16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall {key word] surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him {with the Word of God]: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the LORD, shall be put to death.

Jer 51:39 In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the LORD. {second death]

Jer 51:57 they shall {key word] sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.  {The angels don't make the judgments - they carry out the punishments. Surely the judges and the lawyers of this world understand the process?

1Cr 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? {This is why we are ALL commanded to speak the Truth - by Words that came from God and not from any of us - because the Scriptures were given long before any of us were born, also knowing - that ALL have sinned and ALL fall short of the Glory of God.

Mat 21:42 Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Ecc 3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; {a time for the resurrection of the righteous - and a time for the resurrection of the damned] a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing. {It is 'ok' to get angry - so long as the anger has a righteous cause} Mat 5:22  If God is angry - then you better be also! - and for the same reasons

Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour:

Hbr 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Tts 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. {Zealous of the Word of God - thereby piecing the Scriptures together - as was Commanded} 2Ti 2:15

Hbr 1:7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire:

Hbr 1:13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?

Hbr 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

2Ki 4:18 And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers.

Mat 13:39 the reapers are the angels.

Mat 13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels [not humans] shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just.

Ecc 3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together. {The righteous are resurrected first]

Jhn 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

Jhn 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Mat 19:18 Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder

Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Isa 1:2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.

Isa 13:13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.

When all murderers are allowed to keep their lives, murder is rendered less serious and human life is therefore cheapened. That is not only the Judeo-Christian biblical view. It is common sense. The punishment for a crime is what informs society how bad that crime is. A society that allows all murderers to live deems murder less awful than one that takes away the life of a murderer.

Num 35:19 The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him.

Mat 13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels [not humans] shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just.

Num 35:31 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. {Eternal Death

Deu 32:39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.

Deu 32:35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.

Hbr 10:30 We know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

Rev 11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast {end time kingdom] that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

Rev 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: {at the Judgment] for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Mar 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Mar 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.

As for going after a tyrant who is brutalizing a people - {That is the whole world's responsibility....because the command is...love thy neighbor as thyself.

Jhn 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

There are many mass graves that do testify and are testifying - against this world.

Words have power.  And yet - this world refuses to use powerful words to shame those who slaughter ruthlessly with no compassion.

If the Islamic world gains Palestine - a name that their god never even mentioned - what good will it do them at the Judgment?

Isa 14:31 Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved: for there shall come from the north a smoke, and none shall be alone in his appointed times.

There are those who argue that precisely because they so value human life, they oppose the taking of a murderer's life. They argue that you cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing. But that is the same as arguing that you can't teach that stealing is wrong by taking away a thief's money or that you can't teach that kidnapping is wrong by kidnapping (i.e., imprisoning) kidnappers.

To the Torah, the first source of Judeo-Christian values, murder is the great sin; the immoral shedding of human blood (as opposed to the moral shedding of human blood in self-defense or in a just war) pollutes the world. That is why the Torah legislated that even an animal that killed a human should be put to death. The purpose was not to punish the animal -- animals do not have free choice, hence cannot be morally culpable. And it was hardly to teach other animals not to kill. It was because a human life is so valuable, it cannot be taken without the taker losing its life.

A beast is a kingdom.

Gen 2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof

'Three' on earth:

Dan 7:5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

But, some will object, the Torah decrees the death penalty for many infractions, yet we don't put to death people who practice witchcraft, commit adultery or other capital infractions -- why those who murder?

The Jewish leaders of the days of Jesus while here on earth understood perfectly - that they were not aloud to put humans to death:

Jhn 18:31 Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.

There are two answers.

First, the only capital crime mentioned before there were any Jews or Israel (in Genesis when God creates the world) is murder. Other death penalties applied specifically to the people of Israel when they entered the Land of Israel {We don't enter the real land of Israel [because we on earth are only an image of the real] until we rise from our graves} Eze 37:12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. -- a special code of behavior for a special time in a special place. And virtually none of those were carried out. The primary purpose of declaring a sin worthy of capital punishment was not actually to execute the sinner, but to declare how serious the infraction was when a society was establishing itself as the first based on ethical monotheism. Capital punishment for murder, on the other hand, was obviously intended for all time and for all people -- it is independent of the existence of Jews and declared to be fundamental to the existence of a humane order.

Second, all the other death penalties are laws. The death penalty for murder is not only a law; it is a value. Laws may be time bound. Values are eternal. Thus, the Christians who believe in the divinity of the Torah are not bound to the Torah's dietary laws (such as not eating pork and shellfish); but they are bound to the value of taking the life of murderers.

1Jo 2:27 The anointing [Word of God] which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you:

Jhn 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things

Isa 34:16 Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail

Psa 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

Finally, the Old Testament is preoccupied with justice. And allowing one who has unjustly deprived another person of life to keep his own is the ultimate injustice. {Yes, it is.

There are many good reasons to be wary of taking the lives of murderers -- such as insufficient evidence, corrupted witnesses, distinguishing between premeditated murder and a crime of passion -- but love of life or a commitment to biblically based values are not among them.

Jhn 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Jhn 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Isa 62:2 The Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.

Rev 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Isa 66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.

Rev 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem {with a new name], which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Isa 34:16 Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail

Jhn 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

Mat 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

1Jo 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works {Scriptures rightly divided], and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

2Cr 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

These are the teachings that sow peace. They protect ALL of mankind - both physically and spiritually. But this is a world that won't hear. Nevertheless - the command is:

Zec 8:16 These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:

Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.