The death penalty was instituted in Genesis 9 when the Lord told Noah that if a man shed another man's blood that his own blood would also be shed by man.
Ge 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
This practise was continued under the Law of Moses. The provision of the Cities of Refuge addresses the issue of true guilt for murder versus the innocence of accidental homicide and proclaims that when there is true guilt that life shall be taken for life.
De 19:3 Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and divide the coasts of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every slayer may flee thither.
4 And this is the case of the slayer, which shall flee thither, that he may live: Whoso killeth his neighbour ignorantly, whom he hated not in time past;
5 As when a man goeth into the wood with his neighbour to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbour, that he die; he shall flee unto one of those cities, and live:
6 Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past.
7 Wherefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt separate three cities for thee.
8 And if the LORD thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers;
9 If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the LORD thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, beside these three:
10 That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee.
11 But if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities:
12 Then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.
13 Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee.
14 ¶ Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.
15 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.
16 If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong;
17 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;
18 And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;
19 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.
20 And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.
21 And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
In the New Testament Jesus - of course - suffered the Ultimate Capital Punishment, when He died on the Cross for our sins under the Father's judgment as our substitute : thus fulfilling the Law.
Eze 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
The New Testament also bears out that this penalty for sin continues until now.
Ro 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
There are people who say that Jesus taught that Capital Punishment should be banned when he stated :
Mt 5:21 ¶ Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: .
However, the word Kill there is found in Strong's Concordance for those who are not Greek Scholars and has the following connotation :
[Grk. 5407] phoneuo (fon-yoo'-o)
from 5406; to be a murderer (of):--kill, do murder, slay. .
Therefore, what Jesus was talking about was the act of committing murder - NOT the act of Capital Punishment.
In the Old Testament there were the "Avengers of Blood" which would take the life of individuals guilty of murder. These could be family members of the murdered person, or persons hired by the family, or Governmental Enforcers.
In the New Testament the Government has been given this charge. Consider the following verses which make this clear.
Ro 13:1 ¶ 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.
5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
The Governmental Authorities are God's Ministers to protect the Safety of the people under their care. They are to Execute Vengeance and Wrath, Bearing a Sword, to Attend to Evil.
Those who Believe that Capital Punishment is Not supported by the Bible are Clearly Guilty of Not wanting to be Honest with the Facts. I could say more about the subject, but this should suffice to cover the issue Biblically in your term paper.
God Bless You.
Dr. Gary Hall - Pastor / New Life Baptist Church / Yorktown, Texas 78164
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