Capital Punishment

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Hi J______,
Thank you for your question.
You ask:
“What are your thoughts on capital punishment? Or more important what does the Bible say about this subject?”
You may already have read After The Counsel Of His Own Will which gives but a small portion of the scriptures which prove beyond doubt that God truly is sovereign over all things including all evil things:

Isa 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

Don’t allow the ‘free will’ crowd to tell you that verse should read ‘I create calamity.’ The Hebrew word translated ‘evil’ is ‘ra.’ It is the exact same Hebrew word translated evil in this verse:

Gen 2:9  And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil [ Hebrew-‘ra’].

“Good and calamity?” I don’t think so. And notice who made that tree to grow. It was “the Lord God.” And look where “the Lord God” placed that tree of the knowledge of good and evil”: in the midst of the garden!”
Why would God create man, then place a tree before him which He already knew would cause man to “know good and evil?” 
 The answer is that before God ever created Christ he knew that He intended for all things to come about exactly as they have, all for the purpose of “working all things after the counsel of His own will:”

Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

So whether it is the crime, or the victim of that crime forgiving the criminal, or the death of the criminal for committing that crime, it is all “of God.”
To answer your question directly, here is what God’s word says concerning capital punishment:

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 man’s brother will I require the life of man.
Gen 9:6  Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

“At the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.”
It is God alone who keeps this world from total anarchy. He “creates evil,” and it is He who “hedges” evil:

Job 1:10  (a) Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?
Isa 5:5  And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:

But He “hedges” evil both in and out of our lives:

Hos 2:6  Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths

So both evil and capital punishment are both ordained of God.

Isa 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Gen 9:6  Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

Where capital punishment is not practiced or is slow to be practiced this is the result:

Ecc 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.

Having pointed out all of these scriptural Truths, I must now point out the one scriptural truth which is hardest for any “in Adam” man to keep. Even though God has ordained capital punishment to deter violence in this world, we who are supposedly “in Christ” are “not of this world” and are not to partake of it’s politics or military or judiciary. We are “ambassadors for Christ.”

2Co 5:20  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

And Christ gave His life to make it clear that His kingdom is not of this world:

Joh 8:23  And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.

When Christ said “ye are from beneath” He wasn’t talking to Pagans, He was talking to “those Jew’s which believed on Him.” and just a few verses later He tells them that they are “of their father the devil:”

Joh 8:30  As he spake these words, many believed on him.
Joh 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Joh 8:45  And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

So the “seed of the serpent” is not Osama Ben Laden, as evil as he is. Rather ‘the seed of the serpent’ is those who “believe on Him” and at the same time “because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.”
So there is a world of difference between being Christ’s disciple and “continuing in His word [ and becoming] a disciple indeed.”
It is the most difficult thing “Christ in [ us]” will ever accomplish, to know that it is God who is working all things after the counsel of His own will and yet remember that His kingdom is not of this world. It is extremely difficult to remain aloof of all the evil we see around us. We are accused of being cold and uncaring, when in reality it is our refusal to get involved in the affairs of this world which proves our love for both God and man:

Joh 18:36  Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

In the meantime, in spite of Gen 9:5 and Isa. 45:7, this is the commission to all who “can receive it:”

Mat 5:39  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.

I hope this has answered your question with “what does the Bible say about this subject?” 
Mike>

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