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The Sixth Commandment
“Thou Shalt Not Kill” – God’s Meaning and Intent

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Exodus 20:13Thou shalt not kill.” (ratsach, raw-tsakh') Actually this verse simply says murder in the Hebrew. There are eight words in the Hebrew language that translate into English as murder or kill. Yet the sixth commandment uses a word that stands above the other seven Hebrew words and is seldom used. Here the scripture is making a differentiation between what God considers lawful killing and unlawful killing.


For example, the word used for killing when it is the government exercising capitol punishment is an entirely different word. The word that is used for killing that is purely out of self defense is a different word. The word for killing in a time of war is a different word. They are all different to the word used here in the sixth commandment. All those who scream and yell that the government should never go to war or put a man to death no matter what kind of crime he has committed don’t know or understand the scriptures or the difference that the Word of God makes in these different situations in life that lead to the death of a person or many because of war. If this commandment forbids any kind of killing, war or death penalty, then God would be totally contradictory in destroying the armies of Pharaoh when Israel came out of Egyptian bondage or using His people to destroy those that were idolaters in the Promised Land when they entered the land under Joshua or God’s destroying the Old Testament cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. If we are going to understand any doctrine or scripture, then we have to see it as God sees it and to do that we have to know and understand what He is saying about an issue which begins with the proper definition and use of words as used in scripture and not as so many spin doctors today who change and mutilate the meaning of words and the Word of God to say what they want it to say and not what God is saying.


So what does “Thou shalt not kill” mean? It means that the sixth commandment is specifically directly and having to do with what we term murdering in cold blood in the first degree. It is specifically directed to a killing that is done in a passionate rage or fit of hate. The sixth commandment is specifically directed to killing with impunity, killing unjustly and playing God with another persons life, by one individual against another.


You must hear this correctly. Because that means that the sixth commandment does not apply to killing in war, there is another word for that. It means that the sixth commandment does not apply to killing in self defense; there is another word for that. It means that the sixth commandment does not apply to government putting a man to death as a capitol punishment for crimes. It does not apply to that. It does not apply to the killing of animals. There is another word for that. It does not apply to killing in times of war; there is another word for that. The sixth commandment is specifically directed at one person taking another life unjustly, without cause because taking life unlawfully and unjustly is violating God’s sovereignty because He alone gives life and has the right to determine when or for what someone dies and that is why abortion, euthanasia, infanticide and the rest have created a culture of death; a culture of unlawful death, a culture that violates God’s Word.


Can you not see the abject hypocrisy and deceitfulness of those who say it is barbaric and wrong for the government to impose the death penalty for crimes against humanity or for the government to go to war against another nation or group of people for their crimes and to defend and protect it’s citizens and then scream for the “right” of a woman to murder her unborn baby and call it a “constitutionally protected freedom” and just the terminating of a blob of tissue, when it is a living baby that they can see and look at and know is a living human, just a defenseless one that cannot fight for itself. This is a human being that has broke no laws, hurt no one, killed no one and done no evil, being totally innocent and harmless and yet they think they should be able to kill this life with impunity and without thought or punishment. This is the purest form of murder and is absolutely the breaking of the sixth commandment, whether they have made it legal by man’s laws or not, it doesn’t change God’s laws or God’s opinion on the issue. We have totally perverted God’s intention and meaning for this verse by applying it wrongly where it does not apply and not applying it where it does apply. It is calling evil good and good evil. It is good to murder an unborn child but it is evil for the government to punish someone for crimes against society or to go to war to defend the nation.


Therefore we should not be surprised when a culture of death has been created and when violence and rage takes place inside a woman’s womb, sooner or later violence will take place outside the womb. There is a great increase in violence in the streets and in the world that even news commentators looking at the situation have asked the question, “have we become a culture of thugs?” Any nation that rejects God and the commandments of God can only become a nation of thugs. Once we legalize a culture of death, there is no stopping it.


Recently the American Psychological published the following: By the time the average student graduates from elementary school they have watched 8,000 televised murders, they have watched 100,000 acts of on-screen violence. There was a saying we had when I was in the military, “GIGO” which meant “garbage in, garbage out.” You can only get out of your mind in accordance with what you put into it. What you look at, think about, meditate upon, consider and enjoy, will become a part of what you are and how you think and it will influence your views of life and that is why God tells us that we have to have our minds renewed by the Word of God. Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Colossians 3:9b-10 “… put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” Ephesians 4:23-24 “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” If we are going to call ourselves Christians and take upon ourselves the name of Christ, then we need to start learning His ways and renewing our minds to His thoughts and start walking according to them. That is not possible if we constantly fill our minds with the filth and propaganda of Hollywood and the ungodly, atheistic media today. We need to reconsider Psalm 101:3 “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” and Psalm 1:1-2 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” and Psalm 26:4-5 “I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evildoers; and will not sit with the wicked.”

Let us look into the sermon on the mount


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.” Those who would say, I’m off the hook because I have not violated the sixth commandment, Jesus plugged that by saying that it is not just the act of murder but the spirit of murder, the anger that leads to murder and it is the same before God. What Jesus is saying is that no one can get off the hook without He who paid the wages for our sins. We can’t and won’t get into heaven by trying to keep the commandments because we can’t keep the spirit of the commandment, much less the letter of them all and to break any one at any point is to become a lawbreaker deserving of God’s punishment. The only hope that any of us have is the forgiveness of sins by the one who was sinless and kept all God’s commandments perfectly. Most everyone at some time in their life have gotten so angry at someone that they wished they were dead or if not for the laws would have done so if they thought they could get by with it. Jesus plugged all the loopholes in Matthew chapter 5 so that you only chance is through His shed blood.


Jesus was saying that anger is a form of murder that may not kill the body, but can kill the soul and spirit of another person. Hatred towards somebody can cause just as much damage to their soul as a gun could in killing the body. We all heard the silly rhyme as children, “sticks and stones may break by bones but words can never hurt me.” That is as false as falsehood can be. Why? Because words can cause as much damage to the spirit and soul as the physical things can to the body. Jesus is saying that anger is a fruit of the same tree, anger and hatred and revengefulness is the root system of the tree. Fruit doesn’t just show up on a tree that has no roots. Every tree that bears fruit has roots. Only dead trees bear no fruit. As long as we are alive, we are bearing fruit of one sort or another, the fruit of the flesh or the fruit of the spirit and of faith in God. We bear either the fruit of love and selflessness or the fruit of selfishness and self-centeredness. We bear either good fruit or bad fruit but God told us that no man, as no tree can bear both good and bad fruit at the same time. Luke 6:43-45 “For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” The problem with many who call themselves “Christian” is that they are not bearing the right fruit and they have not understood the scriptures. Jeremiah 2:21 “Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?” Isaiah 5:4 “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?” Luke 3:9 “And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” Luke 13:6-9 “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” This is a spiritual principle in God’s kingdom.


Hebrews 12:15 “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” The Lord is telling us that we must deal with the root and then the fruit will take care of itself. Only God and sometimes you can see the root, though sometimes we can’t even see the root. But unless you take care of the root, eventually the fruit will show up. That is why the scripture speaks of the root of bitterness springing up and defiling you. It is not the fruit of bitterness but the root of bitterness, that which is hidden underground and can’t been seen, they are beneath the surface and you can walk around saying, “I’m fine” and no one else can see it and then all of a sudden one day, you blow up and do something tragic and no one expected it. You know what is in your heart to some degree. Jesus said take care of the root before the tree begins to bear fruit. Take care of the root and you will never have to worry about the fruit.


There are basically three forms of anger or rage. Some have more than three but the average person has one or two of these and some have all three. First there is the repressed anger or rage held within, then there us resentful rage and lastly the revengeful rage.


What is repressed rage? It is like Job. Job kept receiving bad new and as he did so he never once looked up to God saying, “God what are you doing, what is going on?” No he didn’t. He just said, “The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” Wow, what a pillar of strength and everyone admired him. But then came Job’s comforters (called friends? You know, the kind that if you have you don’t need enemies). And they start pounding Job with accusations, “you must have done something wrong. These things don’t just happen to a man without a reason, you must have sinned a great sin against God.” Finally his repressed anger rose up and instead of asking God why, he falsely accused God.
Then there is the resentful anger. These are the people who never get over their anger. This type of anger causes all kinds of problems. Remember the prodigal son and the other son in Luke 15 who stayed home and did all the right things and seemed fine, but he had a repressed resentful anger towards his rebellious brother that after his brother repented and confessed his sin, he wouldn’t even go inside the house where his brother was. He could not forgive and wanted nothing to do with his brother and could not be happy that his brother had come back. He wanted him to be rejected and cast out, left without forgiveness or being restored.


Then there is the revengeful rage. Those are the folks who want to get even at any cost. In fact their motto in life is, “I don’t get mad, I get even.” It should be, I don’t just get mad, but I get even. In fact the more bad that comes to the one who is the object of their hate, the happier they are. One man said this about this type of rage, “Of the seven deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun, to lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor the last taste of toothful morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back. In many ways it is a feast fit for kings. The main drawback is what you are woofing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.” We need to remember the warning of Romans 12:19 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” We need to apply Ephesians 4:31-32 to our situation. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”
Now that I have identified the problem I’d like to move away from the problems into the solutions, to move to the answers to the problem. Like most men I am somewhat of a problem solver and sometimes I am thinking of the answer before the problem is finished being given to me. Of course sometimes there is a danger of getting ahead while still missing some piece of important information. In jumping the gun so to speak, we can end up with the incorrect answer because the problem has not yet been fully enough defined and identified. But most men are made to think creatively about solving problems. So why don’t we think creatively about eternal matters. It reminds me of the story about the 80 year old man that went in for a physical and the doctor said, “man you are in incredible shape for an 80 year old man, what is your secret.” He replied, “well about 50 years ago my wife and I made an agreement, if I got angry at her she would just be silent and if she got angry with me I would go for a run. Well, I’ve been running ever since.”


Let me give you some simple solutions to the anger problem, the A B C’s that are more than a theory for dealing with this problem of anger. A, admit your anger. B, brainstorm your response in light of the Word of God. And C, control your anger God’s way.


Admit your anger. Job had to come to the point of openly confessing his anger and until he came to that point his healing didn’t begin. In Job 7:11 he said, “Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.” Atta boy Job, deal with the problem before God, get it out to God, not to people. God said, “Let your moderation be known unto all men” and your needs know to God. “Most reverse this principle and tell all their needs to men and their moderation to God. Job let his anger confess to God. It is hard to deal with a problem if you don’t admit it to God. Not only does God already know the problem, the difficulty, and your heart, but he wants you to articulate it and admit and confess it to Him. Why? Because He is the only one who can empower you to overcome your anger problem. Someone said, “If you don’t talk it out with the Lord, you will take it out on people.” That is a great way to put it and surely true. This is important, anger is not the problem. I am not saying you won’t or can keep from ever getting angry. Only dead people don’t ever get angry. But the problem is not anger. You have to understand that anger very often is legitimate and a natural expression of our emotions. That is why we were told in Ephesians 4:26 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” He didn’t say don’t ever get angry or it is always sin to get angry, but when you do get angry, don’t let it cause you to sin. Watch your anger, what your motivation for anger, watch your response to anger.

Second or B, brainstorm your response in the light of the Word of God. If you give yourself time to think through the cause of anger, in the light of the Word of God you will respond to anger in a godly way. The old advice of count to ten before you say anything just doesn’t work. It’s like the little boy who came home with a black eye and his mother said, didn’t I tell you to count to 100 before you get into a fight. He replied, I did, but the other boys mother only told him to count to 50.


If you allow the Word of God to put your mind in gear before you release the brakes of your mouth you will find yourself respond to anger in constructive ways rather than in destructive ways. James 1:19 said “let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath (or to get angry).” He didn’t say don’t or you won’t ever get angry, but be slow to anger, keep it under control. It is when you let your anger get out of control that you get into trouble.

C, control your anger God’s way. The best way to control my anger God’s way is to force myself, yes force because it does not come naturally, but force yourself to pray for the person that is the object of your anger. Pray for that person who made you angry. It is not easy. I know that. But when you pray and ask God to not only deliver you from the anger but to enable you to pray for that person, He will enable you to do that and then you will find freedom and deliverance from that anger. A good verse to apply is “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord” (Psalm 19:14.) Then go one step further and say, let the words of my lips and the meditation of my mind be controlled by your spirit and when you are in control of the words of my mouth and my heart and the seat of my will then my thoughts will be acceptable to you. It will work if you try it. Admit your anger to God. Brainstorm the Word of God and control your anger God’s way. I know, I had to apply this just recently and yes, it works.


And no, I don’t want to leave out the reality that scripturally there is a righteous anger and an unrighteous anger. Moses had a right and there was reason for him to be angry at what the people did in turning to a golden calf and dancing naked around it while he was on the mount with God, as he was angry at their unbelief and disobedience more than once, but what He did in response, in his anger to the people on one occasion cost him the right to go into the promised land and see it after having led the people out of Egypt and wandering with them for 40 years in the desert. He let his anger get the best of him one time and in anger he smote the rock the second time for God to give water to the people and he was told to only smite the rock once, as the rock represented Jesus and He would only be smitten once. Your anger can and will cost you if your do not respond to that anger correctly. When you get angry and you keep that anger in your heart against that person then you are violating the Word of God. We cannot keep and harbor anger even if at the moment it is justified as when Jesus cleansed the temple. You can’t keep or hold grudges or be bitter or want to get even or do others wrong because of their wrong. Jesus did none of those things; He only honored His Father and stopped their dishonor of Him in His house.


I have decided, by an act of my own will, not to let anger get the best of me and as soon as possible, as I see it building up or attempting to build up inside my spirit and take over, to humble myself and call upon the Lord for deliverance and victory. It is the only way. The spirit of anger as many other spirits are stronger than we are, some are more easily influenced by one than another but we are all susceptible to and a prey to one evil spirit or another and the enemy knows your weakness because he has been testing you all your life and knows your weak spots and where he can the most easily get at you to take your peace and rob your joy and ruin your spirit and your day. You have to decide that you will not give place to the devil. After We were given Ephesians 4:26 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” we were given V.27 “Neither give place to the devil.”


It is like James 1:15 “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” It is a principle and a progression. It works the same with anger or any other perverse spirit from hell. You can put any other sin in that principle. “Then when anger hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Do you see this? Why is this so? Because any evil spirit, any sin we give into to and sin is spiritual and stronger than we are, and if we give into it, it will overtake us and if we allow it to continue, it will eventually destroy us, first causing spiritual death, while we live, then eternal spiritual death, separation from God. Anger, if allowed to fester will lead to a spirit of bitterness, resentment, revenge, hatred or many other fruits of this tree, even murder in our hearts or physical murder. Ultimately, anger and the following unforgiveness leads to spiritual death. So we must deal with it, we must nip it in the bud, before it grows and blossoms into full fledged fruit and sin by admitting our anger and need to God, remembering and applying His Word and humbling ourselves before the Lord and asking God’s help and strength to keep our anger under control and give us victory over it.

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