I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man's brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man. As for you, be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it."
In the Book of Genesis. God made his position known concerning the shedding of innocent blood. Blood is the susbstance by which all of life flows. Once a person dies, the color of their blood changes from "a bright crimson" to a "black hue", signifying that the "life force" it contained has left that person in every "biological way" from the body, causing "cessation" of life here on earth. Several debates have arisen concerning the legality of Capital Punishment. There's a great number on of people on both side of this issue both pro and con. We will approach this subject from God's perspective as written in Holy Writ. We will address this controversial issue based on 3 Questions:
I. Does the Bible have a clear position on Capital Punishment?
When you read and researched this passage in Genesis (Gen 9:5- 8) God’s position on capital punishment is clear cut. Notice what God said in this passage: The blood of any species whether it is the blood of humans or the blood of animals is precious to the Lord. The reason is biologically speaking, it's the blood that carries life to the body of the animal and to humans. When that life of the annimal or human is taken away maliciously and without just cause, God clearly teaches that there is to be recompense and restitution for that unjust murderous act.
It’s not an argument or issue of whether it’s an Old Testament principle or a New Testament principle. God put this principle of life in place to sustain life and to prevent the tragic loss of life of both animal and human because of malicious and sinful behavior on the part of man or a domesticated beast and thus demands the recompense and or restitution for a loss life due to the rampage a domesticated animal under the care of the negligent owner. Simply put, God mandates a life is given in restitution for a taken life maliciously and unjustly.
II. Did Jesus accept the principle of capital punishment when he reminded Pilate that government was Divinely conferred and constructed and it was only by divine authority that life could be taken ?
Jesus in principle accepted the principles of capital punishment in John 19:10b-19, but he clarified those principles when he spoke to Pontius Pilate in verse 11. In Jesus response, he lets Pilate know emphatically that any judicial authority to take a man’s life comes from God, but along with that authority also comes a great responsibility. Jesus said there’s a great responsibility upon the one who executes this judgment and must make sure that the “life for a life” principle is justified. Jesus also said in that same to Pilate "the greater responsibility lies upon anyone who wrongly causes an innocent man to suffer a death penalty than rest upon the one or ones who are in the judicial system assigned to execute that sentence. That doesn't mean that the judicial system is exonerated from guilt or a wrongful death judgment against it. It means that a person is "innocent until proven to be guilty" by the preponderance of all evidence and beyond any reasonable doubt.
This is why in John 19:10b-19, Pilate responded so frantically to the Jewish mob about the innocence of Jesus and made an appeal to let him go free in the subsequent verses. This is why to a large extent I believe any society that fails to execute a "righteous judgment sentence" on a person who maliciously murdered another person has placed themselves already under the judgment hand of God. Anytime under normal circumstances they choose to forego the proper use of the death penalty, opting rather to commute that guilty sentence to a lesser sentence, such as life in imprisonment with or without a chance of parole, it sets the wrong presedence and sends to the public the wrong message.
It could be strongly argued that a lot of the lawlessness and cruel acts of criminal behavior we experience in public nowadays resulting in more innocent and not so innocent bloodshed may be the direct result of the commuting of the death penalty when the cases clearly warranted its use. The public's increased"vigilant" response to this growing dilema is "two-fold".
A. Public Outrage:
Belieing that "many "capital" criminals, especially murderers have gotten away with their crimes far too long", coupled with the tendency of many of the "modern court systems" to spare these “capital” criminal’s lives through “plea bargains” and "commuting “justified” death sentences" to other “non-life relinquishing” sentences, it's the public's belief that the system “de-emphasizes” the fact that somebody’s love one died at "murdering" hands, leaving the grieving families feeling the lives of their deceased love ones had been "devalued" and were not "judicially vindicated". I believe this has resulted in a "more “vigilant” attitude" on the part of the public, compelling them to taking personal defense courses, purchase guns, knives and other weapons to protect themselves, even prompting them to become “vigilantes”, taking the judicial responses to criminal matters and the “handling” of criminals into their own hands, many times resulting in more tragic situations, shootouts with criminals, and resulting in more accidental and innocent loss of life.
B. Increased Violent Criminal Behavior:
Criminals, now act with little or no fear of losing of their lives as much as they did in the past when they killed someone while committing their crimes. Many of them have become more fierce and brazen in committing other heinous crimes because they believe that in the new trend of “due process” of the Judicial Courts and crime sentencing, their lives more then likely will be spared as the courts now opt to imprison them with longer prison sentences, sparing them from the justice of a “biblically justified” death sentence.
III. Finally,will a society that refuses to carry a "rightful" death penalty stand under the judgment of God?
Look how the judicial system failed in the case of Jesus. Looking at it from the prophetic perspective we all know that God permitted this and Jesus came here to die a sinners death without having sin in him, but having our sins place upon him. But looking at this incident purely "from a juducial perspective", observe how the judicial processed was at work and how politics influenced the verdit. The way this trial and the subsequent verdit took place followed the "natural progression of "dirty politics". It was said by many scholars that investigated the legal aspect of Jesus' arrest, trial and sentencing that over 476 jurisprudence laws were violated!
In John 19, the case presented in this scripture, shows an innocent man (Jesus) had a death sentence placed upon him by a Jewish mob that didn’t have a ”real legal cause" for his arrest, let alone the death sentence placed upon his head, though they would argue differently. They were so intent on killing Jesus that they challenged the loyalty of Pilate to the Roman judicial system, making the claim that he was no friend of Caesar and threatened public outcry and rebellion if he let Jesus go free. Jesus allowed this miscarriage of justice because "it fulfilled prophetically (Isaiah 53:12, Mark 15:28) how he would suffer death, in the redemptive plan of God", while at the same time pointing out to Pilate the danger of "miscarried justice" in handling "judicial matters".
" Too often, too many Government officials in the name of politics play too much a part in the miscarriage of justice". Though statistics are sketchy and plentious at the same time they would be disputed by some factions, Truthfully: "Far too many innocent people have suffered a capital death sentence for crimes they didn’t really commit, but "for expediency sake" and "the covering up" of the "real truth" in a criminal matter by officials and by lying victims and witnesses, the innocent person was denied a stay of execution and suffered the punishment anyway".
The same turned out to be true in the Biblical account of Jesus’ trial and execution.
This should have simply been a “legal matter" that Pilate "legally" could have prevented! He said in his own words: “You have brought this man unto me as one that perverted the people: "Look, I having examined him before you find no fault in this man concerning the things you have accused him of. Not only me but neither did Herod; there is nothing he has done that is worthy of death". Pilate, fearing an inquisition and possible problems with Caesar putting his judicial seat in jeopardy caved in to the demands of the Pharisees and militant Jews and put an innocent man to death anyway.
Jesus lets us know in verse 11b that God frowns at miscarried justice and will one day call this judical system and those who pervert the system into account, just as he said would happen to those who orchestrated his death illegally. Finally, reinterating the statement I made earlier in this editorial:I believe "any society" that fails to execute a "righteous judgment sentence" on a person who maliciously murdered another person has placed themselves already under the judgment hand of God. Anytime under normal non-extinuating circumstances they choose to forego the proper use of the death penalty, opting rather to commute that guilty sentence to a lesser sentence, such as life in imprisonment with or without a chance of parole, it sets the wrong presedence and sends to the public the wrong message and one day God, the Righteous Judge will call all miscarriages of justice into accou