by C. Parker Thomas

(Editor’s Note: This article with its accompanying Editor’s Note was published in the May-June 1979 issue of the Midnight Cry Messenger.)

(Editor’s Note: Since writing this article in the October-November 1972 issue of the M. C. M., capital punishment has almost ceased in the U. S. A. Most of the states have large numbers of prisoners on death row, some who have been there for several years.)

Because of the do-gooder sentiment in the country and the apathy of the public, the courts and legal process in general have been greatly intimidated. The do-gooder protestors would make us believe that the law and courts are our enemies and the criminal element is poor, misguided souls who only need to be rehabilitated.

As a result of all this the crime rate continues to soar, the prisons are overcrowded and the courts are jammed with cases they don’t know what to do with.

The criminal not only preys upon society with killing, maiming, raping and stealing but he also has to be supported at great expense by the society he robs and kills.

Since the recent ruling of the Supreme Court outlawing the death penalty there has been much debate pro and con on the issue. Although it was a close and narrow margin for abolishment of the death penalty, the verdict or ruling was that taking a person’s life for crimes committed is cruel and unusual punishment.

This ruling came as no surprise to us. In articles already in print, we went on record saying that this was the spirit and trend of the age and we expected as much. It is all part of the grand conspiracy of Anti-Christ to completely possess mankind. It is simply another divine-ordained deterrent being removed so Satan and his evil hosts can march forward in their conquest of the whole world order.

Although Congress has explicitly sanctioned the death penalty four times in the last eleven years and forty states still feel that it is a necessary and just punishment for certain crimes, the five to four decision of the Court now says they are wrong.

Certainly we all agree that no human being with one ounce of human kindness relishes the thought of taking another human being’s life. But regardless of our own human sentiment and that of Congress, the state legislatures, and the United States Supreme Court, only God holds the true answer to this controversial issue. And the Bible has to be our law book and source of information.

Strange as it may seem to this lawless, do-gooder generation, God Himself is the author of capital punishment. The ultimate purpose and objective of capital punishment is not to destroy but to save life. The Lord instituted the death penalty when he forbade Adam and Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 3:3. And although this was spiritual and physical death, it was inflicted because of the transgression of God’s law.

Later on the death penalty was incorporated into and became a part of the Mosaic law. As a part of the Mosaic law, crimes for which the death penalty was imposed were spelled out specifically. I might add that it was the influence of these laws which helped shape English law from which much of our American law structure was formed. Read Genesis 21.

The imposition of the death penalty wasn’t because God was cruel and unjust. It was actually a manifestation of his mercy to protect the innocent and the helpless. Capital punishment was not instituted just to kill or destroy vile and wicked men. It was done because vile and wicked men were killing, maiming, and preying upon the innocent.

As long as sin is in the world there must be laws to govern human society. As long as there is transgression of these laws there must be punishment to suit the crime. Even as the law, in the beginning, was added because of transgression (Galatians 3:19) the law today is just as necessary because of transgression.

As God’s law was not made for righteous men, neither is law today. I Timothy 1:9-10. “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.”

The idea that capital punishment does not serve as a deterrent to crimes demanding the death penalty is absolutely contrary to the whole principle of divine justice. The purpose of all law and subsequent punishment for the breaking of that law is to restrain. If God himself thought that the law with punishment commensurate with the crime was necessary to regulate human society, we had better believe in and respect it for today. Recently I read of a case in the paper where a man confessed that he had molested over four hundred little girls and had served several prison terms for this crime. Should we have laws to protect these little girls, or do we keep turning such human vultures loose to prey upon them? Many murders are committed by men who murdered before and were turned loose to kill again. Law and appropriate punishment does not change the hearts of men (only God’s grace can do that) but it does curb and restrain their evil activities.

Some justify their opposition to capital punishment by quoting the sixth commandment which says, “Thou shalt not kill.” Exodus 20:13. It is very evident that this scripture applies to the individual that would take matters into his hands and personally, without a just cause, take human life. The same God who said, “Thou shalt not kill” in Exodus 20:13 gives six different crimes for which men are to be put to death in the next two chapters.

I might also add that the commandment “not to kill” does not apply to war, self defense, nor a policeman who sometimes has to kill in the line of duty. In reference to the policeman and all civil authority, Paul said, “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.” Romans 13:4.

I would like to point out that this scripture is in the New Testament and it confirms the principle of law, authority, and judgment set forth in the Old Testament. Paul speaks of the sword, a symbol of authority, law, judgment, and punishment. He says such authority is the minister of God to thee for good.

Once again I would like to point out that the executer of judgment which brings wrath upon the evil doer is the minister of God to the righteous for good.

The fact that human exercise of law is sometimes abused or ignorantly misused does not eliminate the necessity for law. Law and authority, although imperfect, is better than the law of the jungle where the strong preys upon the weak.

Those today that would do away with law and order and abolish capital punishment have no true conception of the righteousness of God.

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