Q. Does God kill?
A. The Hebrew word for “kill” used in the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” really means murder — or to kill unlawfully and with wicked intent. Jesus quoted it in this way in Matthew 19:18: “You shall not murder.” God never murders. (Revelation 22:15 says that murderers will be cast into the lake of fire!)
However, the Bible includes many instances in which it was necessary for God to justly end a life. At times, He also condoned His people killing other people, especially to defend themselves from enemies that were bent on destroying them. That is not murder.
God is not only full of mercy, He is also perfectly just. We can trust Him to deal rightly with every person.
Of course, we find a lot of other killing in the Old Testament. This does not mean that God endorsed every instance. Rather, what we read in the Bible is simply an honest historical account of what happened after sin entered this world.
When God created man and woman, He made them happy, good, and perfect. He had plans for the earth to be a place of eternal peace and harmony. Unfortunately, Satan introduced the deadly cancer of sin after enticing Adam and Eve to disobey God’s Word. Because they followed Satan’s ideas instead of God’s, death came into our world. Since that time, there has been a lot of killing, death, and sadness.
Yet we also know that Jesus came to save life, not to destroy it. “The Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” (Luke 9:56 NKJV). It is sin that really brings death. (Read James 1:15.) The good news is that in the new earth, there will be no more death, sorrow, or crying. Read Revelation 21:4 for that wonderful promise!