The Sixth Commandment

"Thou shalt not kill."
(Exodus 20:13)




        The Hebrew word used for "kill" is "rawtsach," which means "murder." Actually, the command should read,

        "Thou shalt do no murder"!

        At the giving of the Decalogue on Mount Sinai, God was dealing with the physical nation of Israel; carnal-minded, sinning human beings who were selected for His chosen nation for a great purpose they were to fulfill. He continually spoke of how they were stiff-necked and hard-hearted, rebellious, and refusing to obey His laws!

        Some of the tasks God set before Israel were most unpleasant! Because of the bloody sins of the degenerate races inhabiting the lands of Palestine and its environs, God gave ancient Israel charge to utterly exterminate various of the tribal groups inhabiting these countries, such as the Hivites, Jebusites, Perizzites, the Philistines and others.


        Because these degenerate, evil people were guilty of human sacrifice, perversion of every kind, idolatry, and were the carriers of terrible and dreaded scourges and diseases. Blindness, deafness, dumbness, venereal disease, leprosy - every hideous disease imaginable - was rampant among them as a result of their utter disregard for the simplest principles of cleanliness, chastity or obedience to the laws of God.

        Some have wondered whether there was not a contradiction between the Sixth Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," and God's command to Israel to utterly destroy these evil peoples.

        No contradiction whatever!

        In most countries, it is against the law to murder: However, it is not against the law for young men and women to volunteer for service in one of the military organizations, to don a military uniform and, if called upon, to kill the enemies of the nation.

        Killing, when done by constituted authority as a result of an act of Congress, is most definitely not "murder."

        By the same token, God was not prohibiting the taking of human life under certain circumstances.

        As a part of the book of the law, Almighty God instituted death by stoning as the penalty for breaking any one of the Ten Commandments! Therefore, constituted authority of the nation could put to death lawbreakers - and, while this was most certainly "killing," it was not "murder"!

        The meaning of the command is clear. It is a prohibition against the taking of human life among the citizens of a physical, carnal nation, except by constituted authority.

        However, notice how Jesus Christ of Nazareth makes the "letter of the law" obsolete, and defines the spiritual intent of the heart, making this commandment of God infinitely more binding!

        Jesus said, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, thou shalt not kill [murder]; and whosoever shall kill [murder] 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 [you vain, mindless person!] shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, thou fool, shall be in danger of Gehenna fire" (Matthew 5:21,22).

        On another occasion, speaking of the Pharisees' charge against the disciples that they ate with "ceremonially defiled hands," Jesus explained it was not the honest "peck of dirt" one may ingest in his lifetime which "defiles the man," but the inward thoughts of the heart.

        He said, "Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?

        "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

        "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

        "These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man" (Matthew 15:17-20).

        Notice how many of the Ten Commandments Jesus listed!

        Yet, Jesus is explaining that the sin is committed when the thought forms in the mind, long before the actual deed!

        Out of hatred toward a fellow human being can proceed the final act of murder!

      However, both the hatred of the human heart and the terrible deed of murder break the commandment of God.

        Today, murder - that ultimate, irreversiblle and horrifying crime of all crimes - is being committed at record-breaking, imagination-defying rates.

        The statistics on murder and attempted murder are simply mind-boggling!

        And, as mentioned previously, it is doubly horrifying to see that much of the bloody toll of murder in our nations occurs within the family!

       Horrifying, unbelievable examples are cited to you in your newspapers and over television news every single day!

       God's indictments against our sin-sick, rebellious, kill-crazy world are a scathing, blisteringly accurate portrayal of life exactly as it is being lived in the '80s!

        God says, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

        "For men shall be lovers of their ownselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof, from such turn away"! (II Timothy 3:1-5).

        Those "perilous times" are here, now!

        Violence is part and parcel of our daily way of life.

        Millions of people live in constant fear of crime! Decorative iron grillwork, blazing outdoor lights, peepholes, special door locks, computerized light systems to turn lights on and off while a person is away on vacation, sirens, tear gas, cans of mace, handguns - the list is seemingly endless.

        Thousands of home and apartment complexes have sprung up featuring armed guards at lighted security gates, and even moats, where residents can live in retirement communities with a somewhat greater feeling of security. All of this shows what perilous times these are.

        Surveys have proven our peoples have a seemingly insatiable desire to fantasize about murder. Can any TV series, motion picture or novel be truly "successful" in sales unless it includes plenty of sex and violent, grisly, blood-spattered murder?

        The first toy millions of parents provide their children is a toy gun.

        Today, children may be equipped with camouflage uniforms, realistic-looking helmets and other military paraphernalia, and plastic submachine guns and rifles which appear so realistic some of them have been successfully used by bank robbers in the conduct of a crime!

        Not only is traffic in real weapons at an all-time high, millions of children continue to be brought up with the notion that the ultimate solution to one's problems is to simply "blow them away" in a hail of gunfire!

        Whole books could be written about this tidal wave of crime and violence, and the direct cause and effect relationship between violence on television, in the motion pictures and other forms of entertainment, and real violence on the streets!

         In describing the time of "great tribulation" which is even now developing among nations, Jesus said, "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for My name's sake.

        "And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another"! (Matthew 24:9, 10).

        In direct and flagrant defiance of Jesus Christ and His powerful Sermon on the Mount, countless numbers of professing, churchgoing "Christians" possess hatred in their hearts toward others!

       The pitiful spectacle of Northern Ireland is a brutal, bloody case in point. Here, the professing "Christian" religions of Catholicism and Protestantism battle it out with arson, riotous demonstrations, screams of profanity and blasphemy, guns, knives and bombs.

        The heartrending spectacle of dazed and bleeding survivors groping their way out of pubs and shops and the mangled, torn and blood-spattered bodies lying amidst the twisted rubble and broken glass are grotesque testimony to the unbridled ferocity with which so-called "Christians" can HATE!

        Jesus knew no one could hate quite like a self-righteous, posturing Pharisee.

        Read His scathing indictment of their self-righteous religion in Matthew 23! He called them murderers (verses 34, 35) and showed that their true attitude of heart made them hypocrites!

        The apostle John was the closest of the disciples to Jesus. He was called that disciple "whom Jesus loved."

        John is shown as the one closest to Jesus Christ during the famous last supper, and it was for John to give us some of the greatest biblical instruction about love.

        The theme of his letters (particularly I John) is love.

        Notice: "For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

        "Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous" (I John 3:11, 12).

        John shows the motive for the world's first murder was resentment ,jealousy and hatred. Cain actually hated himself, just as most murderers do! Yet, because of his impossible guilt feelings in the light of the righteousness of his own brother, Cain rose up and killed his brother to rid himself of the constant reminder of Cain's own evil.

        Notice! "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

        "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him" (I John 3:14, 15).

        Is the command against murder "done away"?

        Obviously not!

        Every government on the earth, including primitive and savage tribes, acknowledge that murder, within the community, is a sin!

        Not only is the letter of the law alive and active today, but the far more binding spiritual application of the command against killing is binding!

        Believe it or not, if you hate any other human being in your heart, you are a murderer!

        Shockingly, the label "murderer" applies to many Christ-professing so-called "Christian" people!

        And what would the world be like if even one nation KEPT this commandment?

        Almost unimaginable pence would settle over such a nation!

        If there were no such thing as hatred, there would only be love!

        In any society where people genuinely loved one another, there simply could BE no crime!

        Workers could not make unsafe machinery, there could be no divorce, no wife beating, no desertions, abandonments, child abuse, no burglary, arson, robbery or murder!

        Remember, the Sixth Commandment is a thundering command from God against the emotion of hatred toward any other human being!

        What a marvelous, utopian world it would be if hatred were eradicated! What if everyone loved everyone?

        Eventually, in the Kingdom of God, they will!