Redrum … The 6th Word

Scripture — Exodus 20:11
Subject — Thou Shalt Not Murder
Theme — A introductory examination of what it means to not murder.

Proposition — A introductory examination of what it means to not murder will begin to give us the lay of the land on what God commands regarding life and death.

Purpose — Therefore having considered the 6th word in a introductory fashion let us be diligent in upholding God’s cause.


Thou Shalt Not Kill — 6th commandment

Horizontal move — Is connected to the Vertical by virtue of the fact that man retains the image of God.

So to attack man, in ways murderous, is to attack God, since man is God’s image.

In this section of God’s Moral law we find the definition of love to neighbor.

Jesus said the summary of the law was to love God and neighbor. In what is known as the first table of the law we have learned what love to God looks like. In the second table our love to God reveals itself in or love to neighbor.

There is a relationship between love to God and love to neighbor.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

Of course this relationship explains why love of God always expresses itself in love of neighbor. If we do not love our neighbor we cannot say we love God and if we love God we cannot but help but love our neighbor. So, even though Jesus summarizes the law by reducing it to “love God and love neighbor,” we see that those loves are inextricably linked. Distinctions are made between loving God and neighbor but one can not be done w/o the other being done.

So, what this means is that if I have murderous, hateful, envy filled thoughts towards my neighbor then I am testifying against any confession that I love God.

The 6th commandment, like the others, follows the preamble about deliverance and liberation. King Pharaoh wanted to destroy Israel by killing God’s people. God delivered his people from death, thereby making life a sign of grace for His people. To destroy life would be an attack this grace. Life originated from God, through creation and redemption (even from Egypt), and exists for the purpose of God’s praise (Ps.118: 17). Every human being is someone who declares God’s praise. To kill a human being in this sense is to rob God.

Note here that murder is defined as within the context of Biblical law. We are to have reverence for life but reverence for life in the larger context of reverence for God. The motto “reverence for life” can not be absolutized. Only God is absolute. As such when we talk about reverence for life it is always in the context of God’s Word.

I.) Murder is the unwarranted taking of life

So we observe that Murder is the unwarranted taking of life. However, if Murder is the unwarranted taking of life that implies that there are times when the taking of life may be warranted.

A.) One example that we know of where the taking of life is warranted is when the Magistrate enforces penalty against someone for taking the life of another.

Genesis 9:5-6 5 And surely your blood, the blood of your lives, will I require; At the hand of every beast will I require it. And at the hand of man, even 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.

Note first in this passage that the reason the penalty is visited upon the one who un-righteously sheds blood is because the guilty has struck at the image of God. An important point that we should not miss along the way. The sin and guilt is found first and foremost in the fact that the murderer has attacked God, before it is found in the fact that the murderer has attacked man.

The implication of this is that even if it could be proven that the death penalty, as visited upon murderers, was not a deterrent against others committing future murders that would not mean that we therefore should get rid of capital punishment for the primary reason for capital punishment is not its power of deterrence but rather the primary reason for capital punishment for murder is to communicate that God’s image, as seen in man, is not to be trifled with. The murderer has his blood spilled because he attacked God.

This teaches us that man has value only because of who he is in relation to God. If man had no objective relation to God, or if God did not exist there would be no reason to hold murder as being wrong or wicked in any kind of transcendent sense.

That observation then gives us insight into why life is cheapened and coarsened in cultures that throw off God. Without a Transcendent view of God who has come near to us in Christ human life has no consistent objective intrinsic meaning or value and so is disposable in the Gulag, the health care system, or the abortuary.

Back to the point at hand which is that not all life taking is murder,

God required this blood for blood in the context of the new beginning of human civilization with Noah. He reinforced it by requiring in the Mosaic code for murderers to be visited with capital punishment.

“Whoever kills any man shall surely be put to death…. You shall have the same law for the [foreigner] and for one from your own country; for I am the Lord your God.” Lev. 24:17-22

“But if he strikes him with an iron implement, so that he dies, he is a murderer (ratsach as in Ex.20:13); the murderer shall surely be put to death.” Num.35:16

This is why we speak of the Magistrate bearing the sword. The Magistrate has the responsibility to bring God’s justice to bear and that justice sometimes means the loss of life. In that context the loss of life as a just visitation of God’s penalty is not considered Murder and so is no violation of the 6th commandment.

Elsewhere we find in Scripture times when the taking of life is condoned by God’s law,

B.) Self-Defense

Exodus 22:2-3 2 “If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. 3 “If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed.

There are two cases here. In the first case, if someone breaks into your home at night, and you kill him, you are not held guilty of murder. You are not deserving of capital punishment. You do not need to flee to a city of refuge to preserve your life. The understanding is that at night, it is dark, and if someone has invaded your house, they do not announce if they are there merely to steal or if their intent is more ominous like being in your home to kidnap, to rape, or to murder. You are thus blameless if the criminal is killed in the situation where they are breaking into your home during the night. The passage does make it clear that if a man is breaking in at night with the intent of theft or worse (rape, murder, kidnapping, etc.), the defendant can righteously defend himself with lethal force to defend himself and presumably his family.

Matthew Henry comments here,

“…if it was in the day-time that the thief was killed, he that killed him must be accountable for it, unless it was in the necessary defense of his own life. … We ought to be tender of the lives even of bad men; the magistrate must afford us redress, and we must not avenge ourselves.”

So, God forbids unwarranted taking of life, but we learn that there are times when taking of life is warranted.

1.) The Magistrate
2.) Self Defense

C.) Another place where killing would be legitimate is in the defense of the innocent or the Defenseless

In Ps. 82:4 we are commanded to intervene on behalf of others: “Deliver the weak and needy; rid them out of the hand of the wicked.”

Proverbs 24:11-12 also supports this,

“If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;… shall not he render to every man according to his works?”

Here we see God weighing the heart thus communicating our accountability to God. What is likewise communicated is the eternal rather than merely the social consequences of failing to help others in need. So if you don’t aid the judicially innocent and defenseless from being slain when God has put them in your path God will remember.

The idea that we are responsible to defend especially others who are our own is also seen in Abraham’s defense of his household. Genesis 14:12f

12 They also took Lot, Abram’s nephew, and his possessions and departed, for he was living in Sodom.

13 Then a fugitive came and told Abram the Hebrew. Now he was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner, and these were allies with Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 16 He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people.

So … the prohibition of Murder we have seen is a prohibition against the unwarranted taking of life because man is God’s Image. However we have seen that there are times when the taking of life, though regrettably necessary, is warranted.

1.) Magistrate 2.) Self-Defense 3.) Defense of the judicially innocent / family

II.) Counter Examples of Christians Who Do Not Believe That Taking of Life Is Ever Warranted

We take time to note this because there are many Christians out there who insist that it is always wrong all the time to take life. Anabaptists,

The Mennonites most recent confession adopted in 1995 states clearly in Article 22 that they witness against all forms of violence including war among nations, capital punishment, abortion, hostilities among races, abuse of women and children, and domestic violence.

An example of this mindset from Amish history is Jacob Hochstetler who, during the French and Indian War, offered an example that resonates today with his many descendants. Facing an attack by Native Americans, Hochstetler forbade his boys to fire back in defense. Jacob and two sons were subsequently captured, and his wife, son, and daughter scalped.

Hochstetler chose not to retaliate in the spirit of non-resistance, as he belived it wrong to take human life. As a result Hochstetler lost his loved ones and his freedom. While modern Americans might find it hard to understand Hochstetler’s decision, Amish today take inspiration in the early Amishman’s example, seeing it as how Christ himself would have acted.

So, the Amish believe that it was Christ-like for Jacob Hochstetler to allow his family to be tortured and murdered as opposed to defending them against the wicked.

Increasingly the Church is taking this kind of pacifistic non resistance to violence approach.

I was brought face to face w/ this some years ago when, after finishing a evening sermon on the 6th commandment and capital punishment, one of the congregants approached me afterwards and gently chided me since I was advocating a position that might not allow the person who would be executed time to repent. I was told, and given literature informing me of my error, that by advocating Capital punishment I might be sending a soul to eternity who might otherwise if they had not been executed would have repented and asked Jesus into their hearts.

I tried to gently tell this person that in the Reformed understanding of Christianity it is not possible to kill the elect before they trust Christ and that because we have this confidence we can obey God’s clearly revealed law and advocate capital punishment. My pleadings were of no avail.

When we refuse to protect life by obeying God’s law we are guilty of the God’s 6th Word. Not only is it a case of breaking God’s word when we kill those we ought not to kill but it is also a breaking of God’s 6th word when we do not kill those who God says should be visited with the penalty of their blood guilt.


Preach Christ

Cities of Refuge for involuntary manslaughter
There people could go to escape the avenger of blood of the person you accidentally killed
You had to stay there in order to be safe from the blood avenger until the high priest perished

Jesus Christ is our city of Refuge

The city of Refuges is a picture of Christ’s work. Christ is our city of refuge in whom we must remain hidden in order to escape a rightful wrath. As we will look at more next week we are all guilty of murder by our thoughts and tongues but as we find safety in Christ, our refuge, there is forgiveness for our sins.

Christ is also the high priest whose death takes our guilt and sets us free.

Martin & McAtee On The Death Of The West

“Beginning and ending with man, there is pessimism. Why? Because man is fallen. He is in rebellion against God, refusing to bow to God and purporting to even be God. Thus, beginning and ending with man, there can only be a compounding of evil, and matters can only wax ever worse…. The bad new, however, gets worse. As a consequence of having abandoned the supernatural and, if only inadvertently, absolutizing this age, what we will witness is death on a whole sale basis as a way of so called, “life.” That is what we have witnessed during the past century. We are so immunized against death that we have come to accept it without comment though millions and millions and millions and millions and millions and millions of people have been put to death in the name of applied social science.

That leads us, ultimately, to pessimism and despair. Ah, but the Biblical Christian is highly and eternally optimistic, in the best sense of that term. Why? Because the Biblical Christian has good news.”

Dr. Glenn R. Martin
Professor of History / Political Science
Prevailing Worldviews


1.) The failures of the 20th -21st centuries are theological failures. The deaths of the million Christian Armenians at the hand of the Muslim Turks, the death of hundreds of millions of Christians by the Communist Russians, the deaths of millions of Jews, Slavs, and Gypsies by the National Socialist Germans, the deaths of hundreds of millions of Chinese under Communist Mao, the almost complete destruction of the Khmer people by the Communist in Cambodia, the untold slaughter of Cubans by Castro Communism, and the tens of millions of deaths at the hands of American Humanists in abortuaries throughout this country have all been torture, murder and death pursued because of faulty theology.

Bad theology kills people.

2.) Sound theology requires our first and last consideration to be the God of the Bible. Should we ever start with man as our first consideration then man becomes our ultimate principle and eventually man, over the course of time, will become absolutized, and so will begin to put other men to death in the name of applied social science and with the best of intentions. If you want to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.

3.) Scripture says, speaking of Wisdom (and the Lord Christ is Wisdom incarnate), “All those who hate me love death.” As Dr. Martin notes, the West has embraced death as seen in,

a.) Our dwindling birthrates — to the point we no longer are at replacement levels
b.) Our habits of abortion and euthanasia,
c.) Our immigration rates, which are working to replace us as a definitive people

Now as if this were not bad enough, the West is doing this dance with death, and as Martin notes, is calling it the very essence of life.

Isaiah 5:20 — “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

When we strike out at God (and that is what the West has been doing since the French Philosophes) the result is that we kill ourselves.

4.) The “absolutizing of this age” that Martin speaks of is key. What has happened is that this age is being driven by worldview assumptions that are not Biblical. Yet, what the Church has done, by absolutizing this age, is that it has reintepreted Biblical Christianity through the grid of this present age with the result that the tenets of Cultural Marxism (the Theology informing this age) are now identified as the tenets of Biblical Christianity. That is how “absolutizing this age” happens. The result of this is that now Christian ministers, usually quite unaware of what they are doing, are committed to “helping” their people fit into this present absolutized age when what they should be doing is aiding their people in seeing that this present absolutized age stands in defiance to and rebellion against the God of the Bible and His Biblical Christianity.

5.) Martin’s beef against “applied social science,” refers to how the West has been conquered by various strands of the humanist Social Sciences like “neo-orthodox theology,” “Boasian Cultural Anthropology,” “Marxist Economics,” “Freudian – Rogerian – Skinnerian, etc. Psychology,” “Spencerian – Durkheimian – Webberian, etc.” Sociology, the “Legal Positivism” of men like Christopher Columbus Langdell and Oliver Wendell Holmes, the “Educational Theory” of men like Dewey, Rugg, and others, The theories of Kinsey on human sexuality, and The Logical Positivism of the Vienna circle passing as Philosophy. More of the applied social sciences could be listed but you get the gist.

Martin’s problem with the applied social sciences, as exampled above, was that they all were products of differing humanist theologies that were at war with Biblical Christian theology. Martin understood that the humanist applied social sciences were killing us as a people precisely because the applied social sciences, though passing themselves as being the very definition of enlightenment, were in fact, but the dust of death. Martin understood and taught that these social sciences desperately needed reinterpreted through a Biblical grid and his reward for his brilliance was often the back of the hand from his colleagues.

6.) We should on the optimistic note that Martin ended on. The Biblical Christian can remain optimistic because he knows that God is Sovereign and he has good news for those who desire to be delivered from the humanist applied social science house of death. The Biblical Christian, armed with God’s truth, can stand against the humanist social sciences that are killing us, as a people, and can say “this is the way of the abundant life, walk ye in it.” The Biblical Christian, armed with God’s truth, can say to those weary of the culture of death as built by the practitioners of the applied social sciences, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

J. Gresham Machen On The Need For Christian Artists, Christian Musicians, Christian Novelists, etc.

“For Christians to influence the world with the truth of God’s Word requires the recovery of the great Reformation doctrine of vocation. Christians are called to God’s service not only in church professions but also in every secular calling. The task of restoring truth to the culture depends largely on our laypeople. To bring back truth, on a practical level, the church must encourage Christians to be not merely consumers of culture but makers of culture. The church needs to cultivate Christian artists, musicians, novelists, filmmakers, journalists, attorneys, teachers, scientists, business executives, and the like, teaching its laypeople the sense in which every secular vocation-including, above all, the callings of husband, wife, and parent–is a sphere of Christian ministry, a way of serving God and neighbor that is grounded in God’s truth. Christian laypeople must be encouraged to be leaders in their fields, rather than eager-to-please followers, working from the assumptions of their biblical worldview, not the vapid clichés of pop culture.”

― J. Gresham Machen
Christianity & Liberalism

Further Observations On RJR & Libertarianism

I don’t have a problem with RJR quoting the Libertarians or even with him making common cause with them as co-belligerents on certain issues. I acknowledge that RJR often was in bed with the Libertarians. I will even say that I can see RJR supporting a Ron Paul candidacy for President. (Does anyone know if RJR said anything regarding the Paul Libertarian Presidential Candidacy in 1988?)

However, what I object to, as coming from American Vision, is that they want to thump that Libertarian side of RJR completely and then turn around and disavow all the Kinist quotes from RJR as if that side of RJR never existed. The Kinist side of RJR is the balance and tension that is needed for all his Libertarian statements. It is true that RJR was a Libertarian as that concept finds meaning in the context of God’s Law word, but it is equally true that RJR was a Kinist as that concept finds meaning in the context of God’s law word. The fact that RJR would have embraced both Libertarian strains and Kinist strains fits perfectly with his understanding of, “The One and The Many,” and the fact that organizations invoking the name of RJR finds problems with either of these necessary strains is telling. Is it possible to be loyal to RJR and recognize his Libertarian strains while denouncing those who also recognize his Kinist strains or would such lopsidedness communicate that such a organization is leaning to far in a non God’s law word conditioned Libertarianism?

But AV doesn’t want the kinist RJR. They only want the Libertarian RJR. Meanwhile the Daniel Richies, Stephen Hallbrooks, and John Loftons don’t want either the Libertarian nor the Kinist RJR. The Theonomy of those people is highly suspect.

Rush was no Libertarian in the Rothbard or Rand sense of the word but He was smart enough to use them to advance His agenda, which had a libertarian side as that Libertarianism was conditioned by a Christian Theonomic Reconstructionist worldview.

I think what we might be seeing now is the unraveling of the coalition that RJR built. RJR was able to bring together a coalitiion of Libertarians, Kinists, soft covenanters, agrarians, and southern sympathizers but it seems that coalition is becoming undone.

Ode To Hot Water

When Hunger brays, at end of day there is always ample fodder
But oh to play, in the massaging spray, of glorious Hot Water
The aches and pains accumulate from working hour after hour
But they become negated, as I’m saturated in a simmering hot shower

Oh sing the praises of heated drops
That insures that I don’t falter
And removes assorted weary stops
All hail to heated water

When cold nips, or freezing wind rips, a fireplace is the cure
But repeated sips, of heated drips, of water clean and pure
Can warm me from the inside out as fine tea melts beneath hot water
And is served to me, to relieve my chill, by compassionate wife or daughter

Oh lift your voice and give thanks
For the invention of heated coiling
And lift your glass to vast storage tanks
That can deliver our water boiling

When its time to clean, in places unseen, it is a thankless task
But cleanliness next to Godliness is a virtue for which to ask
So, thanking God, we turn again to the civilizing hot tap
And hot water aids in our cleaning parade, filling heaven’s gap

Oh tip your hat, and raise a glass
to God’s invention of the Hot Spring
Inspiring men to bring hot water en mass
To homes that men might sing

Hot water, Hot water, Hot water, may we never miss your blessing
You bathe our children, and clean our clothes so that in finery we’re dressing
Hot water, Hot water, Hot water, may we never forget the time
When men spent their days, in stinky ways, forever covered in grime