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Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D.Min.

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The Ten Commandments

Thou Shalt Not Kill

Exodus 20.13

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In our study of the Ten Commandments we have discovered,] 

  • [1st Commandment – The Preeminence of God - Jehovah God is preeminent because there is no other God.  He, and He alone is God.]

  • [2nd Commandment The Living God – Jehovah God is the only living God. Because there are no other god’s.  Our Heavenly Father is Jealous for our souls that we might walk with him.  Idols or false god’s will only alienate us from God and rob us of the eternal life He reserves and desires for each of us.]

  • [3rd Commandment A Worthy God – Jehovah God, as the only living God, is worthy of all my honor, and praise.  He is jealous for me that my soul and spirit might be saved and in eternal harmony with Him.]

  • [4th Commandment – A Renewing God – Keeping the Sabbath holy reminds us that our Heavenly Father desires deeply to keep our relationship with Him fresh and intimate.]

  • [5th Commandment Honor Starts At Home – Honor and respect are the foundation of all of our relationships.  Honor and value your parents and family and you will find it easy to honor the people in your life.]

[Now, we come to the sixth commandment.  While it is one of the two shortest commandments, simply stating,] 

[Exodus 20:13 13 Thou shalt not kill.]

[It is a command that is imbued with some critical building blocks for a godly and successful life.  What we learn from the basic principles of this command are some of the essential building blocks that will guide us throughout the rest of our lives.] 

In This Commandment We Discover, 

A.     The Value Of Life (Exo 21.12-15; Num 35.15-25; Deut 19.4-6; Gen 9.1-6) [- There is no doubt that life, all life is miraculous.  Mankind has endeavored through his architecture, engineering, and inventions to show God that we can be as creative as Him.  Yet everything that mankind builds or creates are merely dead machines.  Mankind has discovered many ways to manipulate existing life, but mankind has yet to build, manufacture or create a life.  When we look at life, any and all life, whether human beings, animals, plant life, and even micro-biological life we must take a step back and solemnly pronounce, its amazing.] 

[The Confusion - Which brings us to our command, Thou shalt not kill.  Many in our culture have struggled to understand this commandment.  I’m not sure why.  It seems quite clear to me.  I went on Goggle and did a search of thou shalt not kill.  I found atheists who claimed that this commandment breaks the back of Bible believing people because we quote it and continue to kill.  I found Vegans or Vegetarian groups who quote Thou shalt not kill as their anthem to convince Bible believing people that they ought not to kill animals for the sake of eating meat, but if you follow the argument to its logical end, isn’t it killing to eat vegetables, they are alive and miraculously so.  I even found a web page that pitted Catholics and Lutherans against each other because one denomination teaches that all killing is sin, while the other recognizes a distinction between Manslaughter (accidental murder) and Murder (premeditated murder). I even found one atheist that accused God of breaking His own command, after all God rendered many judgments in the Bible that cost people their lives.] 

[The Bible – Perhaps the best way to understand God’s command, and the only real way to understand God’s command is the let God Himself explain it.  Which He does!  The Word of God says,] 

[Exodus 21:12-15 12 He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death. 13 And if a man lie not in wait, but God deliver him into his hand; then I will appoint thee a place whither he shall flee. 14 But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die. 15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.]

[Numbers 35:15-25 35:15 These six cities shall be a refuge, both for the children of Israel, and for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them: that every one that killeth any person unawares may flee thither. 16 And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. 17 And if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. 18 Or if he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. 19 The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him. 20 But if he thrust him of hatred, or hurl at him by laying of wait, that he die; 21 Or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote him shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer: the revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him. 22 But if he thrust him suddenly without enmity, or have cast upon him any thing without laying of wait, 23 Or with any stone, wherewith a man may die, seeing him not, and cast it upon him, that he die, and was not his enemy, neither sought his harm: 24 Then the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the revenger of blood ccording to these judgments: 25 And the congregation shall deliver the slayer out of the hand of the revenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to the city of his refuge,[amounting to a prison of sorts, a penalty is required] whither he was fled: and he shall abide in it unto the death of the high priest, which was anointed with the holy oil. ]

 [Deuteronomy 19:4-6 19:4 And this is the case of the slayer, which shall flee thither, that he may live: Whoso killeth his neighbour ignorantly, whom he hated not in time past; 5 As when a man goeth into the wood with his neighbour to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbour, that he die; he shall flee unto one of those cities, and live: 6 Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past.]

[God distinctly recognizes the difference between a Murder and a Slayer or Manslaughter.  Even an accidental slaying requires a penalty, but not capital punishment.  The murder is to suffer the penalty of capital punishment.  So, God is very clear about what Thou shalt not kill means.] 

[About Animals – Now, I know that there are different levels of animal lovers here in our congregation.  Most of you who know me, know that I am not much of an animal person.  However, I also know that there are those in our midst whose animals are like family to them.  As I mentioned earlier there are those in our community who think that the command thou shalt not kill should extend beyond human beings to all animals.  I think this is more the result of our current, erroneous cultural teaching that we human beings are nothing more than highly evolved animals.  Therefore we should extend our human rights to every animal too.  I think this is utter foolishness.] 

[Concerning Meat and Animals God has said,] 

[Genesis 9:1-6 1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. 2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. 3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. 4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. 5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. 6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. ]

[Personally, I don’t have any problem with someone being a vegetarian if they wish to be one, but please don’t try to make me out as a sinner for liking a good thick steak.  I also don’t have any problem with people loving their cats, dogs, and other curious creatures, but when someone calls a cow uncle Joe, I just have to object.]

[God has clearly defined the command Thou shalt not kill.  A couple of quick things come to my mind based on what God teaches revolving around this commandment,]

1.      [The Uniqueness of Human Life (Gen 9.6) – Through this commandment and its explanation we discover the unique creation that human beings are.  Understand it clearly, HUMAN BEINGS ARE NOT ANIMALS!  In Genesis 1-2 God spoke and either created or formed everything in creation with His spoken command.  But when God formed mankind,] 

[Genesis 2:7 7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.]

[This is why God said that he would hold every creature responsible for the death of any human being (Gen 9.5).  Human life is unique life, specifically created by God, and directly protected by God.] 

2.      [The Image of Human Life – Mankind is absolutely unique because mankind was created in the image of God.  Mankind was made in the likeness of God.  But don’t think that we are currently in the likeness of God.  This creation was marred by sin and we are now a corrupted image of God.  Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden were very different than they were after their fall to sin.  In studying the effects of the fall on Adam and Eve we learn that their,] 

ˇ        [Countenance was changed by sin – They didn’t look the same anymore.  They were no longer shrouded by robes of brilliant light.]

ˇ        [Conscience was changed by sin – they didn’t think with the pure thoughts they once held.  They began to be selfish rather than selfless.]

ˇ        [Conditions were changed by sin – They were no longer living in eternity, they became mortal and corruptable.] 

[Freedom of Choice, and the ability to choose for our selves is what makes us more like God than any other Creature.  We have conscious thought, and we have creative thought.  But those very things that make us most like God, in our fallen condition are the most likely things that will separate us from God if we are not careful and conscious about God, his purposes for us, and the evil that tempts us.] 

B.     The Vestige Of Life (Matt 5.21-22; Gen 9.5-6) [– By the vestige of life I mean what is the evidence of your views about life?  What do you think about your fellow man?  According to my Thesaurus a vestige is an indication, evidence, or sign.  Hence, the vestige of life in you will be evidenced in the things you do.  There are many today who evidence, by their lives, that there are some they value and will protect in life, but there are others that they can do without and may even be willing to see taken out of this life.  Perhaps this is one of the natural affects of war.  But we must guard how we view and value all life carefully.  How you view life and the lives of those around you will be evidenced in your conduct.] 

[Our Lord Jesus Christ elevated this command when he said,] 

[Matthew 5:21-22 21 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: 22 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. ]

[Fool - μωρός mōrós (Gk) ; fem. mōrá, neut. mōrón, adj. Silly, stupid, foolish, from which the Eng. word “moron” is derived. Used of persons meaning morally worthless (Matt. 5:22). It is a more serious reproach than raká (4469), raca, which scorns a man by calling him stupid, whereas mōrós scorns him concerning his heart and character. Used of things (2 Tim. 2:23 “foolish and ignorant questionings” [a.t.]; Titus 3:9). In Matt. 5:13 and Luke 14:34, it refers to salt that has lost its flavor, become tasteless (mōraínō [3471]).[1]]  

[Our Lord raised the moral bar for us when He spoke of this sixth commandment.  In essence our Lord challenges us to think carefully, very carefully, about how we view our fellow man.  How you view and think about your fellow man will clearly impact how you live with your fellow man]  

[The Vestige (Indication) Of Our Culture – One local radio station, that I listen to occasionally, has been airing a commercial that gives a warning to all who are listening.  It essentially warns every citizen who is walking down a street, if they approach a group of teenagers or young adults to avoid that group.  Cross the street, go into a store or building, but be careful and protect yourself.  Why?  Because of the gang related robberies and murders that have been occurring in our cities in recent days.] 

[Most of us are aware of the gang related beating death of an honor student in the Chicago area in recent days.  I may be mistaken but I think I recall that eight youth and young adults have been arrested and charged with the beating death of this young man.  We take a step back and wonder, How could this happen?  How could these young men do this kind of thing?] 

[It is the result of a lost understanding about human life and the value of life.  Our public schools and colleges have worked very hard to convince all of us that we are nothing more than highly evolved animals.  In the eyes of many animal rights activists in our day, many people have fewer rights than a cow or pig on a farm.  It matters how you think about human life.  It will change how you treat the people around you. It will even change how you work with and toward your enemies.] 

[The Vestige (Indication) Of Your Care – I want you to think for a moment about what has been shaping the way you think about people.  What are the sources of the entertainment you enjoy?  What do you watch on television?  What movies do you watch?  What video games do you play?  What do you look at on your computer?  What music do you listen to?  Do the things that are influencing you heighten or lessen the way you think about people.] 

[Be reminded my friends,] 

[Genesis 9:5-6 5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. 6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.]

[Do you view human life the way God views human life?  Is every person’s life valuable to you?  If not then you need to change the way you think about the people God loves.] 

C.     The Victory Of Life (1 Tim 2.3-6; Heb 9.27; John 3.18) [– Why does God put up with sinful mankind?  Why does God put up with young men like those who brutally murdered that young man in Chicago?  Why?] 

[1 Timothy 2:3-6 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. ]

[God puts up with wicked people because,] 

1.      [Human Life is Enduring Life – Christians often talk about eternal life, and seem to imply that only saved people have eternal life.  However, the truth is that everyone has eternal life.  Every human being has an enduring soul, a soul that will live on into eternity.  Hence, the Bible says,] 

[Hebrews 9:27 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: ]

[Every human soul is enduring in nature.  When this mortal life ends the human soul steps into eternity.  For those who step into eternity without the Lord Jesus Christ, they step into eternal condemnation.

[John 3:18 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. ]

[If you are here today, and you have been living a sinful wicked life.  Don’t think in yourself that you are okay.  Don’t think in yourself,  “Well, God hasn’t judged me yet.  Why, I’m not even sure if God is watching me.”  They only reason God hasn’t judged you yet is because He wants you to have another chance to receive the Lord Jesus Christ and get your life right.  Why?  Because God wants you to be saved!  God wants you to repent and get your life right with Him!  Why?  Because your soul is eternal and God wants to save you!] 

[Now, Christian, how do you think about the sinners all around you?  How do you think about the enemies our country is at war with?  Now, I’m not saying God is against war.  God expects a country and people to defend themselves.  But how do you think and feel about those enemies.  Do you value their eternal soul as God does?] 

[If you valued your fellow man the way God values them then you would do something to reach out to them.  You would try to win them to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Why does God allow wicked people to continue to live?  Because God wants to save their eternal soul.  Why does God leave born again Christians in this world?  To win the lost to Jesus!  So if you are thinking what God is thinking then you will win them to the Lord Jesus Christ.] 

2.      [Human Life is Eternal Life (John 3.16) – The ultimate victory in life, and God’s goal in life is that all men, women and children might be eternally saved. 

[John 3:16 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.]

[Our Heavenly Father, who saved us through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, wants every living soul to be born again.  This is the whole purpose of this sixth commandment.  Thou shalt not kill is ultimately about the eternal value of every human being.  It is about you and I recognizing the divine value of every life and being sure that we think rightly about life.]

[So, ask yourself, How do you think about life?]


[1]Zodhiates, Spiros: The Complete Word Study Dictionary : New Testament. electronic ed. Chattanooga, TN : AMG Publishers, 2000, c1992, c1993, S. G3474


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