Sermon – “Is Capital Punishment Christian?” – Delivered by Garner Ted Armstrong July 15, 1995

The Sixth Commandment says “Thou shalt not kill”. This translation is inaccurate in that it does not convey the whole of the meaning of the Hebrew term from which “kill” is translated. The Hebrew word is “ratsach” and means from it’s root word (according to Strong’s Concordance) -” to dash in pieces, i.e. kill (a human being), especially to murder:-put to death, kill, man-(slay)(-er), murder(-er).”

It is evident that the principal intent of the verbiage and the Commandment is “Thou shalt do no murder”. The translated word “kill” is really a generic word and would include accidental killing as well as intentional unlawful killing which is “murder”.

But what about in war? God commanded Israel to kill every man, woman and child of the heathen as they proceeded to conquer the Promised Land. Was God ordering a breach of His own Law. God gave commandment to Moses that included capital punishment for what God considered capital crimes, including murder. (For manslaughter or accidental killing God provided cities of refuge to which offenders could flee).

Who was this God of the Old Testament? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Moses. John 1 tells us that the God of the Old Testament was none other than the One who became Jesus Christ, the One who wrote the Ten Commandments. Hebrews 1 the same and many other New Testament scriptures.

Would the Jesus Christ of the New Testament then uphold the death penalty for Capital crime such as murder? The New Testament plainly states He would. But few professing Christians understand that nor would they accept it if they did. Most would be far more righteous than God.

Ted Armstrong thoroughly covers this topic.

A free CD or DVD copy of the sermon can be obtained by writing to GTAEA, PO Box 173, Botany, NSW 1455 Australia or in the USA, GTAEA, PO Box 747, Flint, Texas, 75760-0747 or by calling 1300 885 066 (Australia) and (903) 561 7070 (USA).
Visit Main website:
In Australia: