God requires us to obey His sixth commandment, "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17). This commandment falls second in a series of six that determines a person's responsibility to his neighbor. God hereby protects a person's most precious physical possession, his life, from being cut short by another human being.
Of all the commandments, this one is the most noticeable and the least tolerated by society when broken. Virtually all human cultures prohibit the taking of human life. The spiritual principle behind this commandment is that God has created all of mankind in His image, and no one else has the authority or right to end a human life unless He specifically commands it.
1. What curse did God pronounce on Cain for murdering Abel? Genesis 4:8-15. Did God confirm the penalty for murder in the Noahic covenant? Genesis 9:5-6.
Comment: Murder was sin from the beginning. God reaffirmed the sacredness of human life to Noah. Whatever sheds man's blood, whether man or beast, must be put to death.
2. Does it make a difference whether a person is killed intentionally or accidentally? Exodus 21:12-14; Numbers 35:9-32.
Comment: Under the original letter of the law, it was intentional killing (murder) that was forbidden. Accidental killing was not regarded as murder. Nevertheless, manslaughter is a horrible crime, and the culprit had to remain in a city of refuge until the high priest died.
3. How many witnesses were required to initiate the death penalty? Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:6-7.
Comment: Under the Old Covenant, God commanded Israel to kill or execute those guilty of major crimes (Exodus 21:12-17).
4. What is murder's effect on the land? Numbers 35:33-34; Psalm 106:38; Hosea 4:1-3.
Comment: Murder is shown to be a source of defilement, bringing on curses such as famine, drought, disease, crop failure, etc.
5. Are euthanasia and suicide permissible? Who has the right to take life? Deuteronomy 32:35, 39; Leviticus 19:18.
Comment: God, the giver of life (Genesis 2:7), has the right to end any life if and when He chooses (Job 1:21), but man does not unless God grants it to him (I Samuel 15:1-3). No biblical example shows any godly person taking the life of another or his own with God's approval in an act of euthanasia or suicide. Neither does God say that we must give our loved ones drugs or use machines to force them, contrary to nature, to live as long as possible, even when they are in great pain or totally unconscious. The life God has given to us is not ours to take.
6. Is abortion murder? Exodus 23:7; Deuteronomy 27:25. What was the penalty for causing a miscarriage? Exodus 21:22-24. Do unborn children possess intelligence? Genesis 25:21-26; Luke 1:41-44. Does God care about the unborn? Job 10:8-12; Psalm 139:13-16; 127:3; Matthew 18:10, 14; Jeremiah 1:5.
Comment: Statistically, in the United States the most dangerous place for anyone to be is in the mother's womb! The unborn baby is a living human being who dies a painful death when aborted. By the seventh week of gestation, the fetus has measurable brain waves, a legal criterion to determine whether a person is alive or dead. God—not the state, not the individual, not the parent—is the Lord of life (Psalm 100:3; Isaiah 44:24; I Corinthians 6:19).
7. Who has the right of vengeance? Romans 12:19. How should we treat our enemies? Romans 12:20-21; Matthew 5:43-44. Should Christians kill or go to war in the name of God? John 18:36.
Comment: God alone has the wisdom and power and the right to take vengeance. Regarding war, Exodus 14:14 says, "The LORD will fight for you." War has never solved man's problems, and God promises that those who live by violence will die by it (Matthew 26:52). Christians must treat others with kindness, gentleness and love (Luke 6:31; Galatians 5:14-15).
8. Does anger without a cause toward another human being break the sixth commandment? Matthew 5:21-24. How do the apostles summarize the commandments in the New Testament? Romans 13:9; I John 2:8-11.
Comment: The source of murder comes from the heart (mind, the core of an individual's character) where hate and anger are festered by Satan. If we have these evil traits in our hearts, we are fostering the spirit of murder. Thought precedes action and hatred precedes murder. If we hate someone, we break the sixth commandment.
9. Where does the attitude of murder come from? Ezekiel 28:14-16; John 8:44; I John 3:11-12; James 4:1-2; Matthew 5:21-22. Can a murderer receive eternal life? Galatians 5:21; I John 3:15; Matthew 15:18-19.
Comment: Satan was the first one with the attitude of murder, and he has promoted it ever since. A murderer is a child of Satan with the same arrogant pride. Such a person will not enter God's Kingdom.