Whose Life is Important?

Sanctity of Life Lesson

                                                    January 18, 2008

                                    Exodus 20:13, 21:22-25, 22:21-24

                                           Deuteronomy 24:17-22

                                                Matthew 5:21-26

                                                  Luke 20:45-47









A.  Exodus 20:13 – “Thou shalt not kill”


















1.  “Life Before Birth”, Life Magazine – April 30, 1965, p. 13

2.  Carlson, B., Human Embryology & Developmental Biology, Toronto: 

      Mosby Publication; 3rd Edition, 2004,  a: p.97, b: 292, 308, c:  483-484,

      d:  305, e:  88-92.

3.  Moore, K. and Persaud, T., The Developing Human, Clinically Oriented

     Embryology, 6th Edition, Philadelphia:  W. B. Sanders, 1998, a: pp. 435-437,

     b:  236-243, c:  408-411, d:  502, e:  409-414.

4.  O’Rahilly, R. and Mueller, F., Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd Edition,

     New York:  John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 2001, a:  p. 183, b: 235-236, c:  346-348,

     d:  238, e:  428.

5.  Tsiaras, A. and Werth, B., From Conception to Birth, a Life Unfolds, New York:

     Doubleday, 2002, a:  pp. 102, 114, 118, b:  140, c:  178, 183, 185, d:  206

6.  Valman, H. and Pearson, J., “What the Foetus Feels”, British Medical Journal,

      January 26, 1980




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Not only are murder and violence prohibited by this commandment

but on the authority of Jesus Christ, even provoking words and

angry thoughts – Matthew 5:21-26 – (a part of this lesson)


Life is God’s great gift to mankind and it God’s only to take it

away, either by His express command, or by His own judgment!


This is a law for nations as well as individuals.


God values every human life – every human being bears His image –

Genesis 1:26 – To devalue human life is to show disrespect for God

Himself – compare I Thessalonians 4:8a – back to square one –

apparently all sin is sympathetic to other sins – in dissing God in

sexual matters it is but a short step to murder as evidenced by

40 million babies being aborted.


Exodus 21:22-24 – pregnant women and unborn babies are

given special protection by God.


If no injury of a permanent nature was incurred, there was to

be a fine but if the life of the mother or child was lost, then it

was considered murder, and the penalty for murder was applied,

“life for life”.


“He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to

death” – Exodus 21:12


vs. 23-24 – “…..life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand

                        for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning,

                        wound for wound, stripe for stripe”


Proportional justice was intended rather than exact literal

injuries on perpetrators.  “Let the punishment fit the crime” –

this would put a stop to family or clan vendettas when violence

escalated out of all proportion.


It would be almost impossible for the public executioner to

inflict a burn, wound, or blow exactly similar to the burn,

wound or blow given by the criminal.  These difficulties led to the

substitution of monetary compensation in place of revenge for injury.


This discouraged taking the law into ones own hands in revenge –

matters of justice were to be referred to impartial judges.


B.  Exodus 22:21-24 – God is righteous and His anger is against

            sinful behavior of those who exploit defenseless and

            powerless members of society like orphans and widows

            (much more the unborn, the chief of the defenseless).


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Jeremiah 22:3-5


“neither shed innocent blood in this place”

“I swear by myself, saith the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation”


Read Malachi 3:5



“I will be a swift witness” – God’s judgments fall swiftly and unexpectantly!


How terrible when God is both WITNESS and JUDGE!


“and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts” – this the root of all the evil!


C.  Matthew 5:21 – Jesus reiterates “thou shalt not kill”!


The traditional interpretation confined the application of the commandment

to the actual crime of murder.  The Lord shows that it extends to sinful anger!

In the sight of Him who searcheth the hearts, the evil thought willfully harbored

and brooded on, the wicked wish, the unjust, wrathful word, is as guilty as the

wicked deed.  “I say unto you” – the Lord speaks with authority.  He gave the

Law at first on Mount Sinai, He interprets it now on the mount of Beatitudes.


“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear”


“in danger of the judgment” – we are all on our way to the judgment; we must

appear before the Judge.  Therefore we must seek forgiveness from those that

we have offended, and we must forgive those who have offended us while we

are on our way during the journey of life.  We pray, “Forgive, as we forgive”

He does not forgive the unforgiving, the unloving.  For such there remains

the prison. 


Can we ever pay the “uttermost farthling”?  We cannot pay the smallest

fraction of it except through the grace of God by whose grace we are saved!


Matthew 5:22



Matthew 5:26


Offences against man are represented in their true character as offences

against God, who is therefore depicted as the adversary in a lawsuit.


“farthling” – the smallest Roman coin


D.  Deuteronomy 24:17-22 – strangers, aliens, widows and the fatherless

                                           are important to God and He expects us

                                           to help our fellow man.


As our quarterly has already noted, we can get so wrapped up in the

struggle against abortion that we neglect other aspects of protecting

human life.  Both the Old Testament and Jesus taught that God’s people

are to show concern for at-risk members of society.  Each of these persons

also are made in the image of God and are to be protected.


The requirements of God in the social relations of life are righteousness,

justice, mercy, love and good will to all.


Oppression is doubly disgraceful when those guilty of it are persons

who have themselves tasted its bitterness, or who themselves have

been mercifully dealt with.  (also in light of doctors who perform

abortion – Representatives or Senators in their anti-life legislation,

Women’s Rights activists, etc.)


Matthew 18:23-35

“thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt


Remembrance of our own redemption is a mighty motive

for all good deeds.  “the love of Christ contraineth us” – II Cor. 5:14


Not only was no injustice to be done to the poor, but out of the

abundance of those in better estate, were they to be helped.


All the injunctions in this section are adapted to preserve relations

of brotherliness and love among the people of the Lord.


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Mark 14:6-8 – “ye have the poor with you always and whensoever

                        ye will ye may do them good……….She hath done

                        what she could”


Were it not for the existence of the poor, there would be no outlet

for generosity in a practical and material form.  Thankful ought

we to be that the poor shall not cease out of the land.  The fatherless

and the widow come to us as the sent of God, to loosen the sluices

of our generosity, and to do us good.  We are almoners of God’s

royal bounty.


God has emptied His treasury of blessings so as to enrich us,

and the end for which He has enriched us is that we may

enrich others!


vs. 18, 22 - “therefore I command thee to do this thing”