What's New
Escaping the Cults
Current Trends
Bible Doctrines
Bible Explanations
 To Discern - selah
Emergent church
Latter Rain
Law Keepers
Word Faith
Popular Teachers
Pentecostal  Issues
Trinity / Deity
World  Religions
New Age  Movement
Book Reviews
Tracts for witnessing
DVD Video
Web Search
 Persecuted Church

up               to date Religious News                       What is happening throughout the World





p.2 The difference of killing and Murder

If one believes killing is one and the same as murder, then no one would be allowed to use deadly force, even in defense to save lives. The Bible prohibits murder, but not in using killing against a hostile enemy; neither is the ownership and use of weapons are not prohibited. There were times when it became necessary for Israel to fight or go into captivity. The other exception is when God decided to punish Israel for their disobedience and told them to go into captivity so they would live (such as in Babylon).

In Gen.14 Abraham rescued lot by a battle when he was forcefully taken. Israel battled against her enemies in Deut.20:1, 29:7, Joshua 11:15 the battle of Jericho, vs. 20, Joshua 12. In Numbers 35:17 it explains by having the intention to kill, murderers were to be put to death. In Deut. 16:18-19 they were commanded to cast out all their enemies. Killing is different than murder. Murder is senseless and for selfish reasons, while killing is to protect and preserve life and property. One is offensive the other is defensive.

The Israelites had to take possession of the Promised Land by conquest. They engaged themselves in continued bloody wars with the Canaanite tribes. Except in the case of Jericho and Ai, the war did not become aggressive until after the death of Joshua. Up until then the attack was always first made by the Canaanites. Israel was employed by God to sweep them away off the face of the earth. They were relentless enemies. Israel always had a regimented army, they had compulsory service, in1 Samuel 14:52, there were Captains of fifties 2 Kings 1:9; Isaiah 3:3, Captains of hundreds Numbers 31:14,48; 2 Kings 11:15; 1 Chronicles 28:1; 2 Chronicles 25:5, Commander-in-chief 1 Samuel 14:50; 2 Samuel 2:8; 8:16; 17:25; 19:13; 20:23. Generals of corps and divisions Numbers 2:3, 31; 1 Chronicles 27:1-22; 2 Chronicles 17:12-19 Captains of thousands Numbers 31:14, 48; 1 Samuel 17:18; 1 Chronicles 28:1; 2 Chronicles 25:5. It is for this reason they have survived as a people even to today.

Scripture describes God as merciful, filled with grace and God is love, but He is also a God of justice, and when necessary He was “ The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is His name” (Exod. 15:3).

The difference between Killing and Murder

God said to Noah, “from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man” (Gen 9:5-6). After the flood God created a system of capital punishment to be implemented by mankind; man was to take the life of another who needlessly sheds another man’s blood. Because God made man in His own image, murder becomes a crime against God and demands capital punishment. There is no provision in the Old Testament for Israel attempting to rehabilitate a murderer. Death was warranted for anyone who intentionally killed someone (Ex 21:12-14), God instructed capital punishment as necessary for a variety of offenses in the Mosaic Law.

God’s command not to murder is given to mankind before the law was given to Moses; it is a moral law that was to be obeyed since the beginning of time. The punishment that whoever sheds mans blood there blood will be shed. (Gen.9:6) it was held up under the Law of Moses (Exod.20:13) and in the New Testament (Rom.13:9). Murder is to be considered wrong at all times and all places for all people. All men and women were created in the image of God (Gen.1:27, 9:6), which is a moral quality which comes from God’s nature (Col.3:10; Jm.3:9). In John 8:44 Jesus tells the religious leaders the Devil is their Father and that “ He was a murderer from the beginning.” As the Devil introduced the first lie it began the progression of both spiritual and physical death to all mankind (Cain killed his brother Abel). To do senseless killing, is from a searing of our conscience that is given as the image of God to all, and violates the life that God gave each person.

Self protection is found in Ex 22:2-3. If a thief was found to be breaking into a home at night, the homeowner had the right to kill the intruder to protect his family and property. The exception was if it occurred during the day, if the homeowner could see and judge the intruder's intentions, and the intruder could see the homeowner was present was going to defend his household; then homeowner could not kill in defense of his household.

Ex.21:12-21 God, who by his providence gives and maintains life, and by His law protects it. A willful murderer was to be taken even from God’s altar. But God provided cities of refuge as an escape to protect those who had an accident occur, as it was not their fault to cause the death of another. It is a different matter when someone kills another without intent of harm. A willful murder is always to be punished with death in the Bible. To this law there is a reason added. God's image remains upon fallen man, so whoever unjustly kills a man, defaces the image of God. It is about the sanctity of life that we all share.

Jesus goes further into the matter than making one is guilty by committing the act, but by their hating another in their heart, this is where it begins. The apostle John echoes Jesus’ sermon on the mount, “ Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him ” (I John 3:15).

The Bible teaches among many sins, murder will keep one from heaven Rev. 21:8 “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

When questioned on how to receive eternal life Jesus responded by saying Luke 18:20 “You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Honor your father and your mother.”

In the Ten Commandments, God did not say, “You shall not kill” but, “You shall not murder” (Ex 20:13, Deut. 5:17). This specifically refers to premeditated murder and is never used of executing a criminal or slaying an enemy in battle. God would then be contradicting himself when he told them to give just punishment.

The teachings about the use of force found in the Old and New Testaments are not in opposition but each focuses on when, and how. For example, both the Old and New Covenants teach that it is proper to use force in order to restrain evil and wickedness in the world, as well as for the defense of a nation. Christ’s love being sacrificial in nature condones us to sacrifice ourselves for the benefit of others, whether that involves working to meet their basic human needs, (Mt.25:34-40) or it may come to giving up your life to prolong theirs. So defending another person, especially a family member, is not only appropriate but required when confronted with evil. So if an intruder comes in your house to bring harm to a loved one, you do not sit by quietly and pray but protect them by what God has already said.

What is the motivation of the attacker? Is he attacking you because of your faith? If so, we are not use force to defend ourselves or retaliate forcibly. However, if he is attacking you or your family because he is an evildoer, then you have the right to use every means at your disposal to defend yourself and others against him. To use force for preserving life is appropriate when necessary, we see examples of this in the Bible. I realize that we can’t have a conversation with the person as this is happening so it becomes a judgment call for the individual at the time.

However, the one area in which deadly force is not permitted, i t is for the defense of the faith. As far as our faith is concerned, we are to turn the other cheek and be willing to become martyrs if it is about Christ. Jesus told his disciples they would be killed for their faith and it is no different today. In regard to protecting ourselves from crime and our nation from foreign aggression, force is allowed by both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament (Genesis 14), when Abraham's nephew Lot was kidnapped by Chedorlaomer, the king of Elam, Abraham gathered 318 trained men of his household to rescue Lot. Ex 17:9 And Moses said to Joshua, "Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek.” 1 Samuel 17:45 Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”

The Bible does not teach pacifism; pacifists often misuse verses that apply to the defending of the faith and ignore the context, which has nothing to do with defenses against evildoers and national aggression.

Stephen did not fight back when he was stoned for his testimony of faith about Jesus Acts 6:8-7:60. Men from one of the synagogues seized Stephen and took him before the Sanhedrin, the religious court, for questioning. Stephen boldly rebuked the religious leaders, who became enraged and stoned him to death, he did not resist but became as Jesus praying that those who did it in ignorance would be forgiven. We are told by Luke, “ there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem ;” and that “ they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.” About two thousand Christians, suffered martyrdom from the “persecution that arose about Stephen.”

This is why we do not fight for Jesus - John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight.”

The New Testament does not address prosecution for those who commit murder; the focus is often upon one’s personal behavior and the motivation of their heart. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount addressed the origin in an individual’s heart and motivation that leads to acts of sin.

There are numerous examples of disobedience to save lives in the New Testament. The wise men that traveled from the east were asked by Herod to report back to him so he can know where He is and go to worship him also Mt.2:7-8, but his intentions were really to kill him. They disobeyed Herod because God warned them by a dream vs.12. In Mt.2:13 God warned Mary and Joseph to flee to Egypt to preserve Jesus’ life.

God protected Jesus a number of times by having him flee. When Jesus was alive he also did what was necessary to preserve his life so he could complete his mission. There was a time to lay His life down, Jesus knew that time was not yet. Matthew 12:14-15 The Pharisees plotted to kill Jesus, so he left the area. Jesus would remove himself from harm’s way. He taught to flee to save a life instead of fighting. John 7:1 Jesus avoided an area because the Jews there were waiting to take his life. Luke 4:4:28-30 A crowd tried to throw Jesus off a cliff, but he walked through the crowd to escape. He did not surrender to the mob and allow this to occur. John 7:30 The Jews tried to seize Jesus in the temple courts, but “ no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come.” In other words, they wanted to and tried, but were unable because He escaped.

The apostles followed his example, Paul was let down in a basket to escape those who were looking to kill him. Acts 9:23-25. In Acts 9:29-30 Saul (Paul) debated with the Grecian Jews, who then tried to kill him. When the other believers heard of this, they sent him to another area. Acts 14:5-7 there was a plot to mistreat and stone Paul and Barnabas, so they fled to another region and continued to preach the Gospel. 1 Corinthians 15:30-32 Paul says he was endangered “every hour” and he described this peril as He fought “wild beasts” in Ephesus, those who wanted to rip him apart.

2 Timothy 1:8 Paul urged Timothy to join him in suffering for the gospel… the fact is that Christians in many countries face these persecutions each day, many are unable to escape. Jesus said those who follow would be arrested and beaten for his namesake. He never instructed them to fight for his kingdom. John 16:2 Believers will be killed for their faith; those who kill them will believe they are justified in thinking they are doing God a favor by killing them. On the other hand we are told to deny our self and take up our cross; you can’t kill someone that is already considered dead!

Rom.13 tells us to obey the rule of the land unless they violate our commitment to God. But we cannot fall into what others have done by using force back to those who may challenge our faith, then we become like those we are being harmed by. Acts 5:29 Peter and John refused to cease preaching the Gospel, saying to the Jewish Sanhedrin saying it is better to obey God than man. I see that the lack tolerance and free speech may soon limit our preaching, we may be hindered to give the Gospel as new laws may be instated for political correctness. God’s intention is to save peoples souls, this takes priority over any religious or political law of the land.


In Revelation 11:3-7 The two witnesses destroy anyone who tries to harm them as they minister, but there comes a time when their work is completed and they will be killed, and shortly resurrected.

In Revelation 13 we are told not to take the mark of the beast even though no one will be able to buy or sell without it. this is order from the world government and the false Christ that will be ruling. Here again we have civil disobedience with the ultimate price, for whoever takes the mark will lose their soul, they will have no second chance. Some may have to fight to get away from taking the mark.

The way I see it, there is no easy answer to this matter, it can become an individual choice for a given situation. There is no clear mandate to use force and the only area we are not to use force in is in defense of our faith. Jesus said my kingdom is not of this world, if it were they would fight. He was not addressing about the matters of this world, Jesus was addressing his spiritual kingdom to come physically on earth. In John 18:22-23 when an officer of the Sanhedrin struck Jesus and rebuked him, Jesus did not retaliate as he taught not to return evil for evil. But Christ did not literally turn the other cheek but spoke up (John 18:22-23), He said if he has spoken evil bear witness of the evil but if well, why do you strike me ?

Christianity teaches not to return evil for evil nor to convert people by force, but by love, by discussion, giving them answers, by offering the gospel as the solution. If someone is attacking you or your family as an evil person, who is a criminal, you have every right to use whatever means is at your disposal to defend yourself and the ones you love; to preserve their life. If on the other hand one is attacking you and going to do harm because of your faith you are not to defend yourself. If we are asked specifically to renounce our faith or die we have the example of the early Church. We are told to be willing to become martyrs, Rev.12:11 this we see taking place during the tribulation “they did not love their lives unto death.”

The New Testament does not make it absolutely clear in prohibiting all self-defense, or to protect others from harm. It appears to me that we are allowed to take different positions, depending on our conscience sake and the situation at the time.

Matthew 10:21-22. Jesus told his disciples, and other believers, they would be hated and killed because of the gospel, even by their own family. He didn’t specifically mention running away to protect themselves-- but he also didn't say not to. He instructed the disciples in Matthew 10:23 if you are persecuted in one place, his disciples were to flee to another. When Jesus said he did not come to bring peace but a sword, the rest of the verse reveals that it was not literal but meant a division for those who follow and those who do not.

Christians and non Christians should not disarm, allowing despots, totalitarian governments to take over and enslave millions. This becomes an issue of self defense, and not sitting by idly while others are slaughtered or enslaved, it is not an issue of faith. Certain individuals, religious groups, countries are intent on domination and abusing others. Maintaining peace is sometimes impossible without having a strong defense. A nation as a whole cannot turn the other cheek, that is an individual decision. As Romans 13 says the government does not bear the sword in vain to those who do evil. At least that is the way I see it.

Ultimately God will punish the evil done in our body here on earth in both our soul and body afterwards. Two of his parables refer to Christ destroying those who oppose him (Luke 19:11-27; 20:9-16). God is God of peace but he can be a God of war when necessary. It is Jesus Himself who comes back to destroy all the armies of the nations that oppose his return, this will happen in the valley Megiddo. Jesus will one day appear to slay all those who oppose him, it is then that evil will be eliminated, as it says “his robe was dipped in blood” Revelation 19:11-13.

Micah a contemporary of Isaiah says in 4:3 what Isaiah 2:4 also said about the Lords coming, “ He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more .” This will happen in the Millennium after Christ returns to set up his perfect kingdom, until then we will have wars between countries and inside countries.

We are in a constant battle, a spiritual war. Christians are to seek peace with all men and should do all they can to discourage (physical) war. The solution for any who want war is the gospel. We should pray for the return and reign of the earth under the Prince of Peace.

God will be just and in the resurrection for the sinners (the unjust) there will be different increments of punishments. A Hitler will not be punished like a regular sinner would. No one will get away with anything; God who is perfectly just will judge our motives and our actions. At this time we need to pray that our country will do the right thing.


Copyright (c) 2023 The material on our website can be copied and used in its original format Portions lifted from articles can be reproduced for ones personal use for witnessing or for teaching and apologetics.  Any other use, such as posting is to have the permission of Let Us Reason ministries. 

If you have trouble printing an article please copy the web page. Highlight the text first - then click copy -  then paste the article into a word program on your computer.


We would like to hear from you. Please send us  an e-mail and let us know how we can be of any help.   Our time is just as valuable as yours.  Please keep in mind, that we only have time to answer sincere inquiries. We will use discretion in answering any letters.