Lesson 8: February 18-24

‘Thou shalt not kill’


MEMORY VERSE: ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ Exodus 20:13. 

STUDY HELP: My Life Today, page 278.

LESSON AIM: To consider the scope of the Sixth Commandment.




‘All acts of injustice that tend to shorten life; the spirit of hatred and revenge, or the indulgence of any passion that leads to injurious acts toward others, or causes us even to wish them harm (for “whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer”); a selfish neglect of caring for the needy or suffering; all self-indulgence or unnecessary deprivation or excessive labour that tends to injure health, all these are, to a greater or less degree, violations of the sixth commandment.’ Patriarchs & Prophets, page 308.


‘Thou shalt not kill’


1. What is the sixth of the Ten Commandments? Exodus 20:13.

NOTE: This commandment forbids murder, the unlawful killing of another human being.

‘There are those who say that nothing, not even insects, should be killed. God has not entrusted any such message to His people. It is possible to stretch the command “Thou shalt not kill” to any limit; but it is not according to sound reasoning to do this. Those who do it have not learned in the school of Christ. This earth has been cursed because of sin, and in these last days vermin of every kind will multiply. These pests must be killed, or they will annoy and torment and even kill us, and destroy the work of our hands and the fruit of our land. In places there are ants [white ants, i.e. termites] which entirely destroy the woodwork of houses. Should not these be destroyed? Fruit trees must be sprayed, that the insects which would spoil the fruit may be killed. God has given us a part to act, and this part we must act with faithfulness. Then we can leave the rest with the Lord. God has given no man the message, Kill not ant or flea or moth. Troublesome and harmful insects and reptiles we must guard against and destroy, to preserve ourselves and our possessions from harm. And even if we do our best to exterminate these pests, they will still multiply.’ Selected Messages, book 3, page 329.


2. Who was the first to break this commandment? Genesis 4:8-11.

NOTE: ‘Take the case of the first murder ever committed. We have the secret of it given in 1 John 3:11, 12. “This is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.” You know the story. Cain and Abel each brought an offering to the Lord; Abel was accepted, Cain was rejected. What evil quality is it that is aroused when one finds another preferred before him? It is jealousy. Cain killed Abel because he was jealous of him. Every jealous feeling is the seed of a murder. Nay, more than this; as with anger, so with jealousy, it not simply leads to murder, but it is murder. Everyone who feels hurt because somebody else is honoured and he is passed by; everyone who feels sour or morose because he has not been treated with the consideration that he thinks is his due, has violated the commandment which says, “Thou shalt not kill.” This plainly appears from the text last quoted, taken in connection with the discussion of love. “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour.” “Love seeketh not its own.” Love prefers another in honour; but where love is not, there is murder. Read again the verses quoted from 1 John: the commandment is that we love one another, not as Cain, who slew his brother. Here we are told, not what love is, but what it is not. Love is the opposite of the spirit that Cain manifested. Whoever does not obey the law of love, is classed with Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother.’ E. J. Waggoner: Present Truth, May 23, 1901.

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