Biblical Support for Capital Punishment
Jesus and Scripture were very severe in advocating punishment for crimes far less terrible than murder. And the verdict was much more harsh, not just the loss of earthly life, but eternal life.
Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
... woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.
Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. ...
Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God.
Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves.
For rulers are not a cause of fear to good conduct, but to evil. Do you wish to have no fear of authority? Then do what is good and you will receive approval from it, for it is a servant of God for your good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword without purpose; it is the servant of God to inflict wrath on the evildoer.
When God saw how corrupt the earth had become, since all mortals led depraved lives on earth, he said to Noah: "I have decided to put an end to all mortals on earth; the earth is full of lawlessness because of them. So I will destroy them and all life on earth.
Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image.
... Then the angels said to Lot: "We are about to destroy this place, for the outcry reaching the LORD against those in the city is so great that he has sent us to destroy it."
….the LORD rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah… .He overthrew those cities and the whole Plain, together with the inhabitants of the cities and the produce of the soil.
Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. … Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
... the blood will mark the houses where you are. Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thus, when I strike the land of Egypt, no destructive blow will come upon you.
At midnight the LORD slew every first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh on the throne to the first-born of the prisoner in the dungeon ...
(In commeration of the Passover, Jesus celebrated the Passover meal before his death)
Then the LORD told Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may flow back upon the Egyptians …” . As the water flowed back, it covered the chariots and the charioteers of Pharaoh's whole army which had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not a single one of them escaped.
Romans 13:4 - Saint Paul
The magistrate does not bear the sword in vain; for he is the servant of God to execute His wrath on the wrongdoer.
Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.
For God said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and 'Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. (Far from advocating pacifism, as is this passage often misused, Jesus here
tells Peter that using the sword will get Peter executed and Jesus needed Peter to carry on His work.)
So Pilate said to him, "Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?" Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it
had not been given to you from above" (If no crime deserves the death penalty, then it is hard to see why it was fitting that Christ be put to death for our
(One of the criminals being crucified with Jesus)
"... And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal."
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
(Had Jesus disagreed with the criminal's statement that he had justly been condemned to death, responding to it with the promise of eternal salvation was incomprehensible.)
Anyone destined for captivity goes into captivity. Anyone destined to be slain by the sword shall be slain by the sword. Such is the faithful endurance of the saints.
Acts 25:11 - Saint Paul
If I have committed a crime or done anything deserving death, I do not seek to escape the death penalty; but if there is no substance to the charges they are bringing against me, then no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar." (Paul both affirms capital statutes and accepts them as binding on him if he has broken one.)
Anyone who rejects the law of Moses is put to death without pity on the testimony of two or three witnesses.