Death Penalty -- Right? -- Wrong?
Gen. 9:5, "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 manís brother will I require the life of man. 6 Whoso sheddeth manís blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man."
A. The Christian's Final Authority In All Matters of Faith And Practice Is Not Public Opinion, but God's Word, the Bible.
1. When the Bible speaks on a subject, it speaks Authoritatively.
2. It is not guided by a diversity of opinions from the public.
B. Notice the Problem We Have In America.
1. Despite more than 30,000 Murders In America each year, fewer than 300 killers ever receive the death penalty.
2. Convicted murderers are more likely to Die of Old Age than lethal injection.
3. Most convicted murderers will Repeat Their Crimes --- some many times over.
4. Nearly Three Out of Every Four convicted criminals are Not Incarcerated.
5. Fewer than One In Ten serious crimes results in Imprisonment.
6. Eight of Every Ten Americans can expect to be Victims of A Violent Crime during their lives.
7. Every year Five Million People are casualties of crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, and assault, while 19 Million are victims of property crimes.
8. Annual expenditure on criminal justice in the U.S. exceeds $70 Billion.
C. China executed about 3,000 people in 1997 --- more than all the rest of the world combined.
1. Japan is the only established Democracy in the world, other than the U.S., which still conducts executions.
2. Japan has the lowest per capita imprisonment rate in the world --- less than 50 people per 100,000.
3. 70% of Americans approve of the Death Penalty.
D. In V. 5, God is establishing the law that is To Protect The Life of Man --- the Death Penalty, as the Most Basic Law of the land.
1. The word "Capital" in "Capital Punishment" refers to a person's Head. In the past, people were often executed by chopping off their head.
2. There are Seven Main Methods of Execution in current use world-wide.
a. Hanging --- If properly conducted, this is a humane method. The neck is broken and death comes quickly.
b. Electric Chair --- Nobody knows how quickly a person dies from the electric shock, or what they experience.
c. Firing Squad --- The prisoner is shot through the heart bvy multiple marksmen. Death appears to be quick.
d. Gas Chamber --- Cyanide is dropped into acid producing Hydrogen Cyanide, a deadly gas. This takes many minutes of agony before a person dies.
e. Lethal Injection --- Lethal drugs are injected into the prisoner while he lays strapped down to a table. The prisoner fades quickly into unconsciousness.
f. Guillotine --- A famous French invention, not used in North America. It severs the neck. Death comes quickly.
g. Stoning --- The prisoner is pelted with rocks until they eventually die.
E. Arguments Given In Opposition To The Death Penalty:
a. Jesus is speaking to Individual Christians concerning the issue of our Personal Desire For Vengeance --- we should leave matters of the law to the authorities.
(1) Jesus is Not Denying the Power and Responsibility of the Government --- but that Individuals should Not try to Replace the power of the government.
(2) Rom. 13:1-7, teaches that human government is ordained of God and the sword supports the idea of Capital punishment --- (More About This Later)
b. Jesus Never Condemned Capital Punishment.
c. What about when Jesus stopped the Jews from stoning the woman caught in Adultery? (John 8:1-11)
(1) Jesus recognized that the Pharisees were trying to Trap Him Between The Roman Law And The Mosaic Law.
(2) Jesus could have spoken up and said, "Captial Punishment Is Wrong," but He Didn't.
d. Paul recognized the State's Authority to exact the Death Penalty.
Acts 25:11, "For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar."
Paul is saying, "If I have committed a crime deserving of the death penalty then I will not fight it."
e. There is Noting In The Teachings of Jesus nor any of the Apostles nor in the New Testament that would suggest that God Has Changed His Mind.
2. The Sixth Commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Kill".
a. The Hebrew verb used in Exo. 20:13 is best translated "Murder".
b. It is used 49 times in the Old Testament --- Always to describe Premeditated Murder.
c. It is never used of animals, God, angels, enemies in battle, or the Government.
d. Exo. 20:13 is Not Teaching That All Killing Is Wrong; it is teaching that murder is wrong.
e. God would not teach one thing in Exo. 20 and another in Exo. 21.
Exo. 21:12, "He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death." --- V. 15-17, "And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. 16 And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death. 17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death." --- V. 22-23, "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the womanís husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,"
f. No one should ever take another person's life Without The Authority And Backing of The Government.
(1) If a Police Officer goes out to make an arrest and they start shooting at him and in the line of duty he kills the person --- That Is Not Murder.
(2) If a Soldier goes to war and kills people (even innocent women and children) --- That Is Not Murder.
(3) If a drunken, drug deranged person come into your house and is in the process of rapeing your daughter and You take a gun and kill him --- That Is Not Murder.
(4) All of the above are carried out with the Authority And Backing of The Government.
g. There is no law in the Bible or Society against killing in Self-Defense.
h. Our law specifically Justify The Use of Capital Force by police, military, and private citizens in cases when "Defense of Life" is an issue.
i. Jesus fulfilled but did Not Do Away With The Moral Law.
Matt. 5:17, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
3. Capital Punishment Is Not A Deterrent To Crime!
a. A Christian's Belief should be Based Upon The Word of God and Not on a Pragmatic Assessment by some Human.
b. Hyman Barshay put it this way:
" the death penalty is a warning, just like a Lighthouse throwing its beams out to sea. we hear about shipwrecks, but we do not hear about the ships the lighthouse guides safely on their way. we do not have proof of the number of ships it saves, but we do not tear the lighthouse down. "
c. Statistical analysis by Dr. Isaac Ehrlich at the University of Chicago suggests that if the death penalty is used in a consistent way,a it may deter as many as eight murders for every execution carried out.
d. J. Edger Hoover said, "The professional law enforcement officer is convinced from experience that the hardened criminal has been and is deterred from killing based on the prospect of the death penalty."
e. In the June 6, 1972, "Wall Street Journal" Felix Kessier said, "There has been a sharp rise in armed robberies and violent crime through Great Britain since 1965, when the death penalty was dropped, and more criminals seem to carry guns now."
f. Do you believe that the following people should not receive the death penalty?
(1) Ed Gein --- Investigators determined that 15 women met their death at his hands --- arrested 11/57.
(2) Albert DeSalvo --- "< b>The Boston Strangler" murdered 14 women --- arrested 1964.
(3) Charles Manson --- Claims to have murdered 35 people --- arrested 1969.
(4) David Berkowitz --- "The Son of Sam" convicted of seven murders --- arrested 8/77.
(5) Ted Bundy --- More than Eleven murders --- arrested 1975.
(6) Angeli Buono & Kenneth Bianchi --- "The Hillside Strangler" convicted of 14 murders --- arrested 1/79.
(7) John Wayne Gacy --- Confessed to torture and murder of over 30 victims --- arrested 12/78.
(8) Richard Ramirez --- "The Night Stalker" More than Fourteen murders --- arrested 1985.
(9) Adolfo De Jesus Constanzo --- "< b>El Padrion" More than Fifteen murders --- killed in gun battle with police in 1989.
(10) Jeffery Dahmer --- Seventeen murders of males --- arrested 7/91.
(11) What about John William King --- Jasper, Texas .....
(12) What about the ........
(13) What about Timothy McVeigh who bombed the Murrah Federal Building and murdered 168 people --- April 19, 1995.
(14) When another Florida Tourist is murdered by teenage thugs, and we learn that they all have a record of twenty and thirty previous arrests, we know there is something seriously wrong with our criminal justice system.
g. The Object of Capital Punishment Is Never To Rehabilitate The Offender But To Administer Justice, And To Protect The Innocent.
h. No Penalty Is A Deterrent If It Is Never or Only Infrequently Used.
(1) In 1967, a study by Thorsten Sellin compared the homicide rates between neighboring states in which some had the death penalty, and others did not. Sellin also compared murder rates before and after states either abolished or reinstated the death penalty.He found no statistically valid difference in rates in both cases. These results were summarized in a book by J. Q. Wilson.
(2) However, what they failed to tell you is that the Number of Executions, At The Time, Had Dropped To Near Zero in the U.S., so that even those states with death penalty laws on the books were Not Exercising Them Fully.
i. Eccl. 8:11, "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil."
i. At the Root of the Opposition To Capital Punishment there is the same Antagonism toward Authority and Moral Absolutes that motivates the Evolutionist Debates.
4. For Society To Execute A Murderer Makes Society No Better Than The Murderer.
a. This Is Pure Nonsense --- If It Were True, It Would Also Be True:
(1) For society to lock someone up in a cell against his will and not let him out, Makes Society A Kidnapper.
(2) For society to fine (take money from) someone against his will, without even giving him any tangible goods in return, Makes Society A Thief.
(3) In other words, for society To Impose Any Punishment on a criminal, against his will, would be Immoral.
b. How Decent would society be if we routinely Freed Convicted Murderers and allowed them to Murder Again And Again, as counless murderers have, in fact, done?
c. How would you Explain To The Families of the future victims that Freeing The Criminal Was The Humane Thing To Do?
d. Abolitionists always seem to Feel The Pain of Criminals but Not the pain of their Victims or Their Families.
e. Crime always demands a Suitable Punishment and to fail to punish crime is to Degrade and Disrespect the Rights of Every Other Citizen.
(1) Crime without punishment is Anarchy.
(2) Laws Without Just And Appropriate Penalties for violators are merely Pious Pronouncements.
f. The ACLU says that capital punishment brutalizes society and acts as an Anti-Deterrent because it actually Increases the homicide rate.
(1) In other words, this No-Punishment Position would Decrease the crime rate.
(2) The criminals would be so Overcome With Joy that they would Automatically Become Upstanding And Productive Citizens.
(3) If you believe this, I have a Bridge In Brooklyn, N.Y. that I would like to Sell You.
g. I Believe That:
(1) When one person Violates Another's Rights, he Forfeits some of his own Rights.
(2) If You Steal from your neighbor, it is "Justice" that some of Your Property should be taken from you as punishment and deterrent.
(3) If You Kidnap your neighbor, it is "Justice" for you to lose some of Your Freedom.
(4) If You Kill your neighbor, it is "Justice" for you to lose Your Life.
5. Capital Punishment Unfairly Singles Out Blacks And Other Minorities Since Blacks (Collectively 13% of The Population) Are Implicated In 45% of All Violent Crimes.
a. Reality Check --- Most violetn crime tends to be Black On Black --- In 1990, 83.9% of black victims of violent crimes and 93% of black murder victims werer Assaulted By Other Blacks.
b. Despite the numbers, Black Murderers Have Received The Death Penalty Less Often Than White Murderers Convicted of The Same Crimes.
c. Alice Wolf, State Representative, states, "In Georgia, a landmark 1986 study survey found that, overall, Those Convicted of Killing Whites Were Four Times More Likely To Be Sentenced To Death Than Convicted Killers of Non-Whites.
What she did Not Explain was that Most of The Murders of Whites Were Done By Whites --- thus, it was whites that were sentenced to death for killing whites.
d. Even if a higher percentage of a particular Ethnic Group does receive the death penalty, that, in and of itself, does Not Constitute Discrimination.
e. A high percentage of Whites playing Professional Ice Hockey or a high percentage of Blacks playing Professional Basketball does not necessarily mean that discrimination has taken place.
f. Even if we find evidence for discrimination in the criminal justice system, that is not really an argument against capital punishment, but rather a Compelling Argument For Reform of The Criminal Justice System.
g. The U.S. Solicitor General, in his amicus brief for the case "Gregg vs. Georgia", argued that sophisticated sociological studies demonstrated that Capital Punishment Showed No Evidence of Racial Discrimination.
h. Even the fact that Ignorance and Injustice does exist in the Judicial System is Not An Excuse For Abandoning God's Commandment.
(1) No One Was Subject To More Injustice Than Jesus Christ in His trial and crucifixion.
(a) Indicted on false charges,
(2) Miscarriages of Justice Do Not Warrant Abandoning The Pursuite of Justice.
6. Keep The Murders Alive And Maybe They Will Get "Saved" --- "Born Again".
a. Jesus Wants To Save Every Soul On Death Row.
b. Every person on death row Should Have An Opportunity to make peace iwth God before the execution.
c. None of this, however, means that the execution should not be carried out.
d. Karla Fay Tucker --- Feb. 3, 1998 .....
F. Arguments Given In Favor of The Death Penalty:
1. Refer Back To Answer To The Arguments Against The Death Penalty.
2. Capital Punishment Is God's Idea And Clearly Mandated By Him --- Because Life Is The Greatest Possession A Man Has.
a. Willful Murder ought to always be Punished By Death --- The punishment should Match The Crime --- the Death Penalty is the Only Suitable Punishment for Murder.
b. This is a sin which God would Not Pardon Even In A Prince --- which therefore, a Prince Should Not Pardon in another.
2 Kings 24:3-4, "Surely at the commandment of the LORD came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did; 4 And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon."
c. Man's Value --- He is made in the very Image of God --- to kill a person is to remove that image of God from upon the earth.
(1) Genesis 9:6, " whoso sheddeth maní s blood, by man shall his blood be shed:for in the image of God made he man."
(2) Capital Punishment establishes the Nobility of Human Life --- created in the Image of God.
(3) Murder also Assaults and shows Contempt For God as well as for one's fellow man.
(4) The principle of A Life For A Life is tied to the Creation Order --- due to the Sanctity of Life.
(5) Taking Animal or Vegetable life is in No Way Comparable to taking Human life.
(6) Only Man Was Created In God's Image.
(7) Nothing else in God's creation was Given Life By God's Own Breath. (Gen. 2:7)
d. Man's Purpose --- To repopulate the earth.
e. Exodus 21:12, "He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death."
f. Leviticus 24:17, " and he that killeth any man< b>shall surely be put to death."
g. Numbers 35:16, " and if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, heis a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death." --- V. 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."
3. The Death Penalty Was Required For A Number of Offenses:
a. Adultery --- Lev. 20:10
b. Incest & Sexual Perversion --- Lev. 20:11-14
c. Premarital Sex --- Deut. 22:21
d. Rape --- Deut. 22:25-26
e. Bestiality --- Lev. 20:15-16
f. Kidnapping --- Exo. 21:16
g. Cursing / Hitting One's Parents --- Exo. 21:15-17
h. Witchcraft, Occult, Sorcery --- Exo. 22:18, Lev. 20, Deut. 18-19)
i. False Doctrines / Prophesyhing --- Deut. 13:1-10, 18:20
j. Blasphemy --- Lev. 24:16
k. Sabbath Violations --- Exo. 35:2
l. Murder --- (Exo. 21)
m. Worship of other gods / goddesses / Idolatry --- Exo. 22:20, Deut, 17:5
n. Sodomy (Homosexuality / Lesbianism) --- Lev. 20:13
4. God, Himself, Was Either Directly or Indirectly Involved In The Death Penalty:
a. The Flood of Noah --- (Gen. 6-8)
b. Sodom and Gomorrah --- (Gen. 18-19)
c. Egyptians' First Born Sons --- (Exo. 11)
d. Egyptian Army in the Red Sea --- (Exo. 14)
e. Kadesh-Barnea --- (Num. 13-14)
f. Rebellion of Korah --- (Num. 16:31-34)
g. Nabal --- (1 Sam. 25:38)
h. Uzzah --- (2 Sam. 6:7)
i. 185,000 Assyrians --- (2 Kings 19:35)
j. Jews in the Wilderness --- (Num. 14:27-30)
k. Lots Wife ---
l. Aanias & Sapphira --- (Acts 5:1-11)
m. King Kerod --- (Acts 12:23)
n. Corinthian Church --- (1 Cor. 11:27-30)
5. The Matter of Determining Life And Death Is Given To Man Only In An Official or Governmental Capacity.
a. Rom. 13:1-4, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; 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."
The Sword is a Symbol of the Governments power to use Capital Punishment.
b. Man, As An Individual, Is Never To Pass Judgment Upon Another Man.
Matt. 7:1, "Judge not, that ye be not judged."
Rom. 2:1, "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things."
G. We Are All Under A Death Penalty.
H. Jesus Has Already Faced The Death Penalty For Us.
When The Time For Your Death Penalty
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