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frankzappa

SCRIPTURE PROHIBITS CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

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Old Testament Law clearly calls for capital punishment. So those who believe Scripture prohibits capital punishment argue that the developments of the New Testament era supersede the Old Testament Law.

ARGUMENT 1
Israel was a theocracy, a nation ruled directly by God. Therefore, its Law was unique. Executing false teachers and those who sacrificed to false gods are examples of provisions that sprang from Israel's unique position as a nation of God called to be holy. When Israel ceased to exist as a nation, its Law was nullified.Even the execution of murderers stemmed, in part, from God's special relationship to Israel. Numbers 35:33 says that the blood of a murder victim "pollutes the land," a pollution that must be cleansed by the death of the murderer. If the murderer could not be found, an animal was to be sacrificed to God to purge the community of guilt (Deut. 21).

ARGUMENT 2
Christ's death on the cross ended the requirement for blood recompense and blood sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God, replaced the sacrifice of animals. His death also made it unnecessary to execute murderers to maintain human dignity and value because the crucifixion forever established human value. Hebrews 9:14 says, "How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!"

ARGUMENT 3
Christ's teaching emphasizes forgiveness and willingness to suffer evil rather than resist it by force. This may not be definitive on the issue of the state's authority to execute, but it does demonstrate a different approach to responding to evil than that established on Mt. Sinai. Christ's example in not demanding death for the adulteress supports this argument (John 8).

prisonfellowship.org

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