Skip to main content

Know the Difference Between Death Penalty and Revenge

Some Christians who are against death penalty have a wrong interpretation of these verses as found in Matthew 5:38-39:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Now do they understand what eye for eye means? The problem is that they don't. It's easy to be mistaken that God authorized people to have their personal revenge in the Old Testament. That's not the case. If He did, He wouldn't have mentioned in Deuteronomy 32:35 saying:
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.

The same God who said eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth didn't authorize revenge while allowing people to press charges if they were ever harmed. Deuteronomy 19 also shows civil laws and the end verses shows this as Deuteronomy 19:21 says:
And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

That was the instruction given to the judges on how eye for eye should go. An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind only if people took the law into their own hands. But not following it accordingly will also make people blind since people will just injure everyone if no lawful punishment is ever done. Although the death penalty does not bring the dead back but it's certainly a tool to help prevent any more people from becoming murder victims.

Death penalty as imposed by the Bible is not personal but social. It requires proper due process and if you're a false witness, you may end up dead if you ever wanted to kill anybody by exploiting a possible loophole. Deuteronomy 19:15-20 says this about due process:
One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; and the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you. And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.

There is such a thing as diligent inquisition which means a prolonged questioning or investigation so that's why some cases may take a year or more before guilty people get punished. No, it's not about prolonging the process for the sake of prolonging it. Instead, it's all about giving proper investigation and the right to a fair trial to prevent any innocents from getting wrongfully executed. The problem of death penalty killing innocents is because of kangaroo courts and the fact that perjury isn't taken seriously. Kangaroo court judges and false accusers in court should get their just desserts depending the consequences of their crimes. The Bible demands that if any perjury was intended to kill the falsely accused then the false accuser will be the one executed in the place of the falsely accused.

The same Bible that tells you to you to turn the other cheek  also approves of self-defense. Jesus said in Luke 22:36 to buy a sword for self-defense. It doesn't mean that a rape victim should give the rapist the satisfaction or that you have no right to press charges against criminals. On the contrary, to turn the other cheek means to ignore insults or non-life threatening false accusations. But when a false accusation could have killed somebody then that false accuser who attempted murder through the legal system will be executed to discourage any act of perjury in court.

With the right to due process or diligent inquisition (no, don't confuse the word inquisition here with the Spanish Inquisition of the Roman Catholic institution), this means that no execution takes place without any proper evidence to prevent innocent people from getting executed or jailed. Self-defense killing is allowed but never murder. Vigilante killings are still murderous acts while killing someone out of self-defense isn't. The Bible encourages death penalty but it doesn't encourage vindictive killings as much as it doesn't encourage letting crime go unpunished.


See also:

Popular posts from this blog

Who Will You Believe: Pope Francis or the Bible?

Here's a cartoon of how tragic the afterlife for Roman Catholics would be when they realize that they needed a real, personal relationship with Christ to enter into Heaven. As I grew up as a Roman Catholic I didn't really care about the Bible. I even hear some Roman Catholics are told to never read the Bible for themselves because not everyone should be allowed to read it. The priest often says that reading the Bible alone will confuse you so you need their extrabiblical doctrine. Worse, they are confusing Sola Scriptura with Solo Scriptura. Born again Christians have their tradition but it's dictated by the Bible as a guiding principle to one's lifestyle. It's not that they read only the Bible but rather they have the Bible as their only principle for Christian tradition.

What is this personal relationship? As much as some pastors feel like the term personal Lord and Savior can be dangerous or "personal Savior" may suggest that Jesus is a genie than Lor…

When God Says No, He Means No

When God says no He means no! Do you know why the world is in a mess right now? It's all because Adam and Eve couldn't follow one simple rule that was to never eat of the tree of the fruit of life. I'd like to imagine it that God may have even put an "Off Limits" sign on it. But Satan himself always finds a way to convince people to break the rules.
Genesis 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
G…

What Christians Can Learn From Joshua and Caleb's Confidence in Seizing the Promised Land

Being a Christian means you can be stuck in a pickle. Today's lesson will be from Numbers 13-14 which talks about the twelve spies to the Land of Canaan. I think any Christian leader going into much trouble today may find this as both a source of vexation and encouragement at the same time. It's a source of vexation because there are so many people like the rebellious Israelites in the wilderness. It's a source of encouragement because it's a reminder that God is still in charge.

The story of Numbers 13 talks about the spying. We see one member of each of the tribes that were given a political inheritance were there. We can see their names are as follows:
Numbers 13:4-13 And these were their names: of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur. Of the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori. Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh. Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph. 8 Of the tribe of Ephraim, Oshea the son of Nun. Of the tribe of Benjamin…

Drunk Driving is Dangerous to Society

Consider this picture of a drunk driving incident. This is the car that the late Princess Diana Spencer, the late Dodi Al Fayed and the late Henri Paul (the driver) were using before their tragic demise. What was also interesting to note is that their driver had high dosages of alcohol prior to this gruesome incident. I don't want to talk about the conspiracy side of things but the whole ugly picture that drunk driving kills. But even after this incident and many similar ones before it is that many people still do it even if the consequences are clear as day.

The Bible warns that being a drunkard is one of the marks of an unsaved person:
1 Corinthians 6:9-10  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 
Those who argue that …

Modernization is Not an Excuse to Dismiss Badly Needed Old-Fashioned Revivals

I remembered reading through Jeremiah can be a chore because the events of that book continue to repeat itself. At the same time, reading through Jeremiah can be a comfort because the prophet chose to stand by God's command even if he momentarily stopped preaching (Jeremiah 20:5). One verse that is used to call for old fashioned revivals is Jeremiah 6:16 which says:
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
It's a problem you start calling for old-fashioned revivals and people will call you outdated or a neanderthal. While there's nothing wrong with modern technology but the problem is when people only care if something is modern. While modernization can be used to evangelize but it can also be used to spread the influence of sin. The same printing press that allowed the late Martin Luther to publish Bibles was also u…

The Prosperity Gospel is an Enemy of Cheerful Giving

I remembered having a lecture on the prosperity gospel. One of the worst lies of the prosperity gospel is that giving money or the tithes and offerings to their pastors will turn you into a millionaire, God will spare them from trouble and that they can have the desires of their wicked heart. That's one of the worst heresies I've heard. On the contrary the more faithful you are to God the more you should expect enemy attacks. Some people I know are faithful in giving and their tithes and offerings yet they are not living as billionaires. The motive of giving in the prosperity gospel is to gain the false promise that God wants us happy, healthy and wealthy all the time. That's not cheerful giving isn't it?

If you give money to God in exchange for material blessings then something is pretty wrong. It's a terrible misapplication of Malachi 3:9-10. Do they even know that the blessings where there isn't enough room to receive it isn't all about becoming a billio…

Politically Correct Parenting Raises Spoiled Brats

Politically correct parenting is already the norm of parenting in this fallen world. What most parents don't see is that everyone needs a healthy dose of both Vitamin Yes and Vitamin No. But like anything beneficial in excess or in scarcity too many people have either too much or too little of Vitamin Yes and Vitamin No. While it's not okay to have an overdose of Vitamin No but what's so upsetting is that many people today take the opposite extreme. They aren't giving enough Vitamin No ad are given too much Vitamin Yes. Either way both are overly misguided approaches in parenting.

Is there anything wrong with giving the child what they want? It depends on what the child wants. If a child wants something that's going to honor God (ex. They want their own copy of the Bible that they can read for themselves) then the parent should say yes if what the child wants is God honoring. But if the child only wants to be like the secular children with all their nice stuff the…