Exodus 20:13, “Thou shalt not kill.”
Most will generally agree that killing is wrong. However, these same ones will also look for loop holes such as “self” defense or killing associated with war. Jesus would later come and condemn all forms of killing by combining this commandment into the two great commandments (canon of love, 1 Jn 3:23-24, 1 Jn 4:9-11, 21): Matthew 22:39, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
One man asked Jesus who his neighbor was, and Christ answered with the story of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:29-37). The Jews hated and despised Samaritans and it turns out that they represented the neighbors (fellow man) that this man should love. Now mankind will always justify hatred for their enemies (Lk 6:35). Christ elaborated on the intent of the second commandment: Matthew 5:43-45, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Notice how some tried to bypass (find loophole in) the second commandment through the use of the term “enemy.” Jesus said you are to “love” enemies if you want to be a child of God; and couldn’t have been more specific and clear (Prov 25:21-22, Rm 12:20). As an example: Romans 12:20, “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”
Can you see how these acts of love are the sacrificing self for the benefit of another (no pride, which is self-exaltation, involved here)? Your act of love diffuses another’s act of hate (which is sacrificing others for the benefit of self – the devil’s nature). If you return retribution, then hate has overcome love (Mt 5:39)! What Jesus is telling us is that we cannot allow the hate of others to overcome our love and also transform (conform) us to have the nature of hate. Luke 6:35-36, “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” We must walk in the Lord’s nature – If we become as the evil then we are evil! We must walk in God’s nature and not that of Satan. Leviticus 19:17 , “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.”
A profession of Christ does not allow you to walk contrary to Him. This may seem hard because the wicked are aggressive and just “take.” We must die to self and entrust our lives to God. It may seem like you are the loser and the wicked are triumphing over you, but this is strictly a fleshly perspective. You are the victor because you have not yielded your righteousness and allowed the wicked to change and transform you (to corrupt) into that which dishonors God. One who stands for righteousness at the expense of self brings honor to God (consider Job).
Our perspective must be godly and eternal and not fleshly and temporal. We praise God even in our own demise – this is surrender. If we keep Jesus’ Word, we know we are in Him (1 Jn 2:5). Luke 6:27-28, 32-33, “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise (the second commandment). For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same (also Rm 12:14 ).” Whenever you talk to someone about enemies and justification for hating them, it always boils down to loving those who love you. What shall we say of our enemies? Job 31:15, “Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?” Therefore, those who “what if” Christ’s clear commandments on this subject or justify alternatives are simply not willing to obey the Lord. This is just the honest truth! These simply “feel” or “reason” that their thoughts on the subject are more valid and this is how they live.
Consider the case of the American Civil War. Brother hated brother in a brutal war. 1 John 4:21, “And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” The religious men on both sides were sure that their side’s cause was right and God was on their side. Both sides held religious services and prayed for their troops, yet their very endorsement of such things (the war), violated Christ’s commandment (which they knew) – did that matter? Recompense no man evil for evil (Rm 12:17 ). Modern day Christians “voluntarily” send their sons and daughters off to war to fight for their country (always assuming the other guy’s kid will do the actual fighting and dying).
Jesus said, if you love me (the first commandment), then keep the second commandment – does this matter? What do your actions say? Shall we all hate one another – who will show love (put into practice Christ’s commands)? Would it not be better to suffer the evil (1 Cor 6:7, die)? Shall the whole world be filled with hate and violence? Religious man, you err greatly in furthering such thought. The dying should be to self and the fleshly reluctance (or refusal) to obey the Lord. If you do not keep Christ’s Words then He is not in you and there is no relationship (1 Jn 2:5). 1 John 2:9, 11, “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.”
Many will say: “But we are defending our nation or ourselves.” Go back and ponder the verses you just read – you’re seeking your way and are blinded by your own darkness. My “sentiment (opinions mixed with strong feelings)” will rise above the most High. God’s way is not nullified with what seems reasonable and justifiable to the flesh (make the Word of God of none effect, Mk 7:13 ). God’s kingdom will not operate in hate and neither will its citizens. No one goes off to war without having hatred and unforgiveness in their heart. How could you kill otherwise? Who kills without emotion – the heartless? 1 John 3:10, 15, “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother (we are all brothers going back to Noah and ultimately back to Adam, family of man, brotherly love). Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” To be a murderer is to have the nature of your father the devil (Jn 8:44 ). Those who follow Christ must love and overcome evil with good (Rm 12:20-21). We must bless those who persecute and curse not (Rm 12:14). Jesus said we cannot seek revenge either (Mt 5:38-42, Prov 24:29, Rm 12:17, 1 Pt 3:9).
Religious men greatly honor their veterans and have “prayer for the troops” – a mockery of true love. Matthew 26:52, “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Some perish in the war, some perish “according to their deeds” at judgment. Does God answer prayers that violate His declared will (Second Commandment)? Does God just understand your violations religious man (bow to your sentiment)? Oh religious man, go and pull out all of your biblical arguments to “justify” your “way.” Continue to justify the hate of war rather than the love of God; you’re only moving away from a truly loving God (Is 41:21). Try and justify your hatred before a God whose Magnificence (splendor, glory, radiance, majesty, brilliance) you cannot even comprehend in your limited human reasoning – a God who does not have hate in His nature (God is love – but will show Himself froward or unsavory to the froward and wicked, Ps 18:26, 2 Sam 22:27).
Try and explain to God why one with a heart of hate should dwell with Him eternally – no doubt many have. Make sure that you understand the difference between killing and judgment, and understand that you do not have such capacity, knowledge or authority to know such things. Sons and daughters should be counseled not to go to war! – These are pivotal (fundamental) concerns that are ignored. There is a time and a season for everything a purpose under heaven. From this day until the coming of the Lord, we have been COMMANDED to abide in Christ’s covenant of “love (Mt 22:37-38, Mk 12:30-31, Lk 10:27, 1 Jn 3:23-24, 4:9-11, 21).” If a man love me (Jesus), he will KEEP my commandments (Jn 14:23). This is the gospel!!! Will you disregard? John 15:12, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you (also Jn 12:34-35, 15:17, Rm 12:10, 13:8, Gal 5:13, Eph 4:2, 1 Thess 3:12, 4:9, Heb 10:24, 1 Pt 1:22, 3:8, 1 Jn 3:11, 23, 4:7, 11-12, 2 Jn 1:5).”
Many a religious man will profess, “I love God” while waving their flags and endorsing America’s violent actions around the world. Perhaps they turn on their television and listen to man’s reasoning of why they should hate a certain people. Man is very good at justifying all his evils – his heart is desperately wicked (Jer 17:9). Those in the flesh will find consolation with the world. Consider: 1 John 4:20-21, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” Perhaps your reasoning is a bit self centered: John 12:43 , “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” Many religious men will justify many things because they do not want to suffer reproach for Christ (reproach goes against the flesh). Every country that enters into war considers God to be on their side. Man (in the flesh) sees those who go off to war to fight for their nation as heroes. God sees those who refuse to go as heroes. These lay their lives down (and incur the wrath of society, loss of reputation) for another (those who will not perish as a result of them not supporting or participating in the war and its hate). 1 John 3:16, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” This verse is the counterpart to John 3:16. Love is giving and sacrifice for another.
Love denies the flesh (even the strong desire for self preservation) to fulfill God’s purposes. Your hate will reveal your heart. Proverbs 16:7, “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” In conclusion: 1 John 3:23-24, “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” Jesus commands that we love one another! Will you rise above the most High in your hatred? OR Will you keep Christ’s commandments and be found in Him?
Jesus (as a man) never fought in wars nor endorsed them. Will you abide in Christ and walk as He walked (1 Jn 2:6) or will you walk your “own way?” Love your enemies and do good, and great shall be your reward (Lk 6:35 ) – forgive and ye shall be forgiven (Lk 6:37). Consider Christ’s desire that will be implemented: Isaiah 2:4, “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (also Micah 4:3).” Do you desire to be rebuked by the Lord Almighty? Live peaceably with all men and overcome evil with good (Rm 12:18, 21). 1 John 4:21, “And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” Dear reader, if you only knew how the Lord changed the author’s heart on this issue. The Lord absolutely showed and the author yielded – My God hath triumphed over me. Will God’s love triumph over you?
Most understand the physical act of killing someone, but killing is more inclusive than just that. Jesus said: Matthew 5:21-22, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
You must attempt to reconcile with those you have hard feelings against (Mt 5:23-24). To hate or wish harm to others in your heart is the same as committing a physical act against them. 1 John 3:15 , “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” Christ would have us submitting one to another in love. Killing stems from the roots of bitternesses, hatred, and unforgiveness. You cannot harbor such feelings against others.
God has forgiven those who are sincere toward Him of much and we are expected to do the same to others who have transgressed us. Matthew 6:14-15, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Your forgiveness from God depends upon your forgiving of others (Mk 11:25-26). We are to be as our Father who art in heaven and not set limits on how many times we are willing to forgive (Mt 18:21-22). Consider the parable Jesus told (read Mt 18:23-35). Murder, hatred and bitterness are the devil’s nature and that of his children (Jn 8:44 ). Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (also Rm 1:25-32).”
excerpt from, chapter 3 of “Following God Into the Wilderness,” by David Neal.
Luke 3:14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.