If the Bible says “Thou Shalt Not Kill” Is Killing Ever Justified?

thou-shalt-not-killThere is a huge misconception out there regarding the following scripture found in Exodus 20:13 (King James Version): “Thou shalt not kill”.

The context of this scripture is in relation to Moses receiving God’s law; specifically the “10 commandments”.  For the purpose of explaining the misconception of this scripture we have elected to reference the King James Version.

The Hebrew word for “kill” is “ratsach” which means to slay or murder.  Many have mistakenly taking this word as some sort of catch all for all killings; i.e. the killing of animals, killings involved in war, self defense and capital punishment.  However, the intended meaning of the passage is to not kill in “cold blood”; to not murder or to not shed innocent blood.

Many of the other translations provide clarity of this word by using the word “murder” derived from the actual Hebrew word provided above.

Let’s consider the subject of “capital punishment”.  In further study of the scripture we do not find any indication that capital punishment is ever condemned.  For example: Genesis 9:6 – “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man” (NASB).  Also, Romans 13:3-4:  3“For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil”.

Furthermore, the sword was the most lethal weapon of the day during biblical times and would be considered the equivalent of today’s gun.  The goal of the sword was for both the punishment of crimes and as a crime deterrent.

Why Did Jesus Not Want to be Touched” After His Resurrection?

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John 20:17 (King James Version) states: “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”

To put this scripture in the proper context we will need to read the entire passage.  In summary, Christ was resurrected and Mary Magdalene was the first of his followers to see him.

The Greek word for “touch” in this passage of scripture is: “haptomai” which means “to adhere to” “fasten” or “to cling.” Speculation of the passage might suggest that Mary Magdalene was holding on to Christ or clinging to him (as suggested by many translations) as if to prevent him for leaving.  The statement “for I am not yet ascended to my Father” suggests that he wasn’t planning to leave right away to go to the Father and there may be additional opportunities for which she could see him before his final departure.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

crown-of-thornsStarting as a child all the way into adulthood I never quite got why Christ needed to die to save me.  It took some real interest and desire to see before the Holy Spirit opened my eyes

To understand the significance of Christ’s death we need to move beyond looking at things from a physical perspective to a spiritual perspective.  If one would read and study the 4 gospels it becomes abundantly clear that one of Christ’s goals was to have his followers see things spiritually.  The Bible teaches “God is a spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth(John 4:24).

Let’s consider for a moment the old testament.  From a physical perspective the Israelites followed the old testament ten commandment of “thou shalt not kill ( ratsach is the Hebrew word for kill which means murder in cold blood or slay; Deuteronomy 5:17.  In the new testament we see Christ addressing the spiritual aspect of this commandment by teaching us to nip anger and evil intentions in the bud before it leads to murder (Matthew 5:21).

Furthermore, God provided “physical prosperity” for old testament Israel for the obedience and physical suffering as a result of disobedience:  “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Joshua 1:8).  Moving into the New Testament we can see 2 Corinthians 9:8: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed“.

The old testament indicates that the shedding of blood atones for sin as we find in Leviticus 17:11.  While this is a physical action, the results are spiritual.  With that being said, the blood of bulls and goats used in sacrifices for sins was never capable of actually removing sins (Hebrews 10:4).  Instead Christ’s body was necessary as we find in verse 5.  The reason that blood and goats could not remove sin although the creatures were innocent is because these creatures have less value than man.  Only a perfect and pure being who was either equal or greater than man could atone for sin.

So Christ’s blood fulfilled the spiritual law as stated above requiring that blood is the only means through which man can find atonement for sin. Thanks to God for Christ who was both equal and greater than mankind; the only one capable of meeting this divine requirement!

Points to Remember

  • The blood of animals cannot remove sins
  • God’s spiritual law requires that blood can atone
  • Christ’s blood is spiritually superior to that of bulls and goats and is able to heal man of his sinful condition
  • Old testament sacrifices rolled sin forward until the perfect human sacrifice (Christ) came to earth

 

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit; Is It Possible Today?

despair-513529_640Many Christians who come across either Matthew 12:31-32 or Mark 3:28-30 have great concern as to whether or not they have committed some offense for which they cannot obtain forgiveness.  This concern may keep some up at night even!

To understand this unpardonable sin let’s  first take a look at Matthew 12:20-32:   20 And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 21When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.” 22The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” 23And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25“If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26“If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished! 27But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.

28“Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

For the sake of keeping this blog short we will not post the entire text which starts back at verse 1 of Matthew 12, so I encourage you to read the entire chapter.  To summarize what happened leading up to Matthew 12:20, Jesus demonstrated his authority over nature through healings and his authority over the spiritual world through the casting out of demons.

In verse 22 we find the Scribes accusing Christ of casting out demons by the power of Satan.  This is after they witnessed all that he could do, which no one else had done since the beginning.  In other words, it doesn’t get any better than having the Son of God on earth performing miracles for all to see.

While rejection of Christ would certainly lead to eternal damnation it is not rejecting him that is being referenced here.  It is the act of attributing the true manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s power to Satan.  The only way this sin could be possible was during 2 occasions:

  • During Christ’s 3-year mission on earth (30-33 AD)
  • During the Age of the apostles (approximately 33-100 AD)

While God is capable of performing miracles today, the miraculous age of supernatural power being demonstrated for the purpose of kick-starting the Church (God’s Kingdom on earth) has ceased and died out with the Apostolic Age (see I Corinthians 13:8-13).

We also see the reason why Jesus said that the sin was unpardonable in verse 30 of Matthew 12: “because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”  Because we are not actually capable of seeing Christ perform these miracles in the context of Matthew 12, we must conclude that this is not a sin that is committable today.

Should I Recite “The Lord’s Prayer” When I pray?

praying-hands“The Lord’s Prayer”, which is referenced in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke is, often recited by many people who consider themselves to be spiritually minded.  Let’s reference Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB) for this discussion:

9 “Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.

10  Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

11  Give us this day our daily bread.

12  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13  And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]”

Once again, as we’ve attempted to do in other blogs, we will use the very passage of scripture being referenced for proper context.  Verse 9 offers direction here.  The statement: “Pray, then, in this way” is another way of saying “here is an example”, or “here are things to consider when you pray.”  If we use Christ as an example throughout the gospels we realize that he only referenced what we know as “The Lord’s Prayer” on one occasion which was a teaching moment.

Just examining the structure of Christ’s example we see that we should always acknowledge and praise God first and foremost, who is the provider of our sustenance (verses 9 & 10); make our petition or request known (11-13) and ask for forgiveness (verse 12) not expecting it if we aren’t willing to extend forgiveness to others.

 

 

 

 

 

Baptism By Fire is What I Want; Right?

fire-baptismWhile there is a plethora of misinterpreted and misapplied scriptures, Matthew 3:11 is one that is frequently used by various denominations.

We are not here to pick on any particular denomination.  However, we must correct error.

The scripture states: “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

The true context of this scripture can be found in verse 12: “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Those that have been baptized with the Holy Spirit are the same as those who will be gathered into the barn as wheat.  While those who are baptized with fire are the chaff that he will burn with unquenchable fire.

To answer the question presented in the heading of this blog, the answer is an emphatic “NO”!

If I’m Healed “By His Stripes” Why Am I Still Sick?

Cat O Nine Tails

The prophetic messianic scripture taken from Isaiah 53:5 states: “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed” (NASB).

Unfortunately, this scripture has been taken out of context by many in the denominational world who assert that faith-healers still exist today as they did during the time of Christ and the apostles.  We will try to convey the truth of this passage to you in simple layman’s terms using the proper context found within the text.

It says that he endured punishment in the form of being pierced through for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities and chastened for our well-being. The question that should one should ask is are these things spiritual matters or physical?  The answer is simple: “spiritual”.

In the final statement it says: “by His scourging we are healed”. As we have concluded from the early part of the verse that the benefits are spiritual.  Therefore the healing that is provided through Christ’s suffering is spiritual healing.  The term “healing” can also mean “curative”.  In other words, Christ cures us of our broken sinful condition through his suffering.

In our referencing of God’s Word (a.k.a. The Scriptures) we must always use proper context.  While there are many scholars out there the average person who would be willing to take a little time and study (not just read) the scriptures can gain understanding.  Admittedly, there are some areas of scripture that are more difficult than others.  However, this is not a license to throw in the towel and leave all teaching to someone who is designated as a church leader even if the leader appears to have good intentions.

We need to reject all instances where God’s word is taken out of context as commanded in 2 Timothy 2:15. It would be tragic to lose one’s soul by taking another’s word concerning the scriptures.