Murder is not a joke. Humans may produce movies, games, and music which portray murder as something spectacular, even entertaining. They might depict murder as a humorous activity. Know this: God is not laughing when men do not value human life.

The Lord recognizes a distinction between murder and accidental killings. He made that clear in the instructions He gave Israel concerning cities of refuge. Jehovah told His people, “Whoever kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the testimony of witnesses” (Numbers 35:30). In that same context, God said the six cities of refuge were established for the Israelites so that “anyone who kills a person accidentally may flee there” (Numbers 35:15). By God’s own words, some killing of human life is counted as murder, but other killings are not murder because they are accidental.

What does “murder” mean? It is the deliberate killing of an innocent human by another human. Murder involves humans, not mosquitoes or mice. It is not simply harming, but putting to death. It is not an accidental act, but rather an intentional one. Paul acknowledged that some actions are “deserving of death” (Acts 25:11) – death in such instances is not “murder.” For “murder” to take place, it must be the killing of an innocent person.

God hates hands that shed innocent blood. The Bible says so (Proverbs 6:16,17). He always has hated murder and has given legislation against it throughout mankind’s history. After Cain killed Abel, the blood of Abel cried out to God (Genesis 4:10). God later instructed Noah and his family (meaning all survivors of the flood – all mankind) about murder, indicating it is wrong to shed a human’s blood because God made man in His image (Genesis 9:6).

When Jehovah made a covenant with the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai, part of His instruction to them was, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). Under the new covenant of the Christ, murder is condemned as a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19,21). Murderers are not granted entrance into God’s city or access to the tree of life (Revelation 22:14,15). Thus, (1) under God’s law prior to the law of Moses, then (2) under the law of Moses, and also (3) under the law of Jesus, God has forbidden murder.

Like other matters, one knowing the truth about murder does not guarantee that he will refrain from it. Knowing what is right and practicing what is right are two different things. King Manasseh, a child of the living God who know God’s will, chose to be a ruthless murderer: “Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another . . .” (2 Kings 21:16).

Humans whose heart is filled with hatred and an unquenched desire to murder someone will find a way to make it happen. Their instrument of cruelty may be their own hands, a knife, a vehicle, a rope, a piece of iron, poison, a gun, or a sinking boat. Murder is produced by an evil heart. The Christ said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders” (Mark 7:21).

When people think about historical instances of murder, they normally think about the killing of humans who are outside of the womb, that is, killing humans who already have been born. What about the slaying of innocent humans who still are inside the womb of their mother?

After Jesus was born, outside the womb He was called a “babe,” from the Greek word “brephos” (Luke 2:12). The Holy Spirit described John the Baptizer as a babe – same Greek word “brephos,” when he still was inside his mother’s womb (Luke 1:41). In God’s sight, the babe/brephos is a human, regardless of his location. To kill the innocent babe Jesus outside the womb would have been murder. To kill the innocent John inside the womb also would have been murder. In modern times, abortion is a common activity. Though it is a popular choice for many, abortion is murder. Why? Because it is the intentional killing on an innocent human being.

Murder is evil, but it is a forgivable offense. “That is not fair!” Let us not be hasty with our words. The apostle Peter told those who murdered God’s Son that they could have their sins remitted/forgiven if they would repent and be baptized (Acts 2:36-38). Believe it, friend, because the Bible says it.

— Roger D. Campbell