Isaiah 1:11-13, 21
Killing animals is murder of the innocent, which we believe is exactly
what the Lord is telling us.
This is also what led us into today’s discussion.
Last week we took a look at Psalm 112:1, which said:
1. Praise the LORD!
How blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
Who greatly delights in His commandments.
When we see the term “fear the Lord,” keep in mind that a better
understanding of this phrase would be to have a strong respect and reverence
for the Lord.
This respect and reverence should be so strong that we would never even think of going against the heavenly will of God.
Even if we believe that God commanded sacrifice, which He didn’t, killing animals is murder of the innocent; because if we have such a strong respect and reverence for the Lord, we would never do the things that would require such a sacrifice.
However as we will see, God never commanded sacrifice, and our respect and reverence for the Lord and His heavenly will would automatically tell us that killing animals is murder of the innocent, because there is no death in heaven.
This also applies to the way we look at the concept of delighting in His commandments.
When we read this passage about delighting in God’s commandments, we had a question about which commandments, so we responded in last week’s sermon:
“There are some things in the Bible that appear to be commandments, but they are cruel and ungodly. We need to follow the commandments confirmed by Jesus and some of the prophets that lead us into living in the heavenly will of God, where there is no suffering or mourning or death. These are the commandments that we are to delight in.”
Following the verses we discussed in Matthew last week are these verses from Matthew 5:17-20, which at first glance seem to be contradicting what we said.
17. "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.
Notice carefully, that Jesus includes what the prophets said about the Law and the way we should live, with what He said about the Law; He didn’t exclude one from the other.
18. "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.
In verse 17, Jesus said that He came to fulfill the Law, and here in verse
18, He says until the Law is accomplished, it shall not pass away.
This is clearly telling us that at least some of the Laws of the early Old Testament are in fact being accomplished and fulfilled, and we will discuss a few of them.
So, when Jesus says…
19. "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so
teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever
keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20. "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.
This is actually saying that the scribes and Pharisees may not be entering
the kingdom of heaven, and they supposedly followed the “letter of the Law.”
There is a lot more to this.
Let’s begin by looking at a few of the revenge “laws” about eye for eye, tooth for tooth, etc.
One of these is found in Exodus 21:22-25.
22. "And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide.
Note the sexism in this verse.
23. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty
life for life,
24. eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
25. burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
Now let’s look at what we are told in Leviticus 24:17-23.
17. 'And if a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put
18. 'And the one who takes the life of an animal shall make it good, life for life.
19. 'And if a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him:
20. fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him.
21. 'Thus the one who kills an animal shall make it good, but the one who kills a man shall be put to death.
22. 'There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the LORD your God.' "
When we read these things we get angry, because we know that they are not in the heavenly will of God.
23. Then Moses spoke to the sons of Israel, and they brought the one who had
cursed outside the camp and stoned him with stones. Thus the sons of Israel
did, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.
Just for cursing, they stoned the man to death.
Is this really what God told Moses?
Let’s go on and see.
In Deuteronomy 19:21, we find the following hard of heart way of living:
21. Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for
tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
Now, let’s take a look at what Jesus says…
38. "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a
39. "But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40. "And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
41. "And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two.
42. "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
Where is the confirmation of the revenge in the “Law”?
It’s no longer here.
Did Jesus change the letter of the law?
Did He annul or abolish the law against His own teaching as we read in Matthew 5:17?
No! He didn’t.
He either fulfilled the law according to God’s heavenly will, or He’s confirming that God never told Moses to take revenge as we have seen.
This is why we always need to look at the Old Testament Biblical laws in the light of Jesus’ and the prophets’ teachings.
43. "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.'
This “hate your enemy” comment is referring to the Ammonites or Moabites in a Deuteronomy 23:3-6 passage supposedly cited by Moses, but there is evidence that this may have been written by later writers, which could be the reason why Jesus is telling us something different.
44. "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute
45. in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46. "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same?
47. "And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48. "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Verse 48 sure sounds like a commandment to us. It doesn’t say to try to be
perfect; it says we ARE to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.
Let’s go on and look at something else which reflects on our subject that killing animals is murder of the innocent.
The Old Testament is filled with rituals involving animal sacrifices, which are part of the “Law”, but Hosea disagrees in 6:6-9, that these are really part of the Law and according to the heavenly will of God.
6. For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice,
And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
7. But like Adam they have transgressed the covenant;
There they have dealt treacherously against Me.
8. Gilead is a city of wrongdoers,
Tracked with bloody footprints.
These bloody footprints are from the shed blood of innocent animals, which is furthering transgressions against God.
9. And as raiders wait for a man,
So a band of priests murder on the way to Shechem;
Surely they have committed crime.
Hosea is clearly saying that killing animals is murder of the innocent,
which is exactly what these priests are doing.
They are murdering innocent animals in their scapegoating attempts to appear to be godly.
And we need to remember that Jesus said that what the prophets say is true; thus, animal sacrifice and the rituals surrounding it must not have come from God, any more than the Old Testament “eye for eye” teaching came from God.
Jesus confirms this in Matthew 9:13…
13. "But go and learn what this means, 'I desire compassion, and not
sacrifice, 'for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Again in Matthew 12:7 Jesus confirms that sacrifice isn’t from God.
7. "But if you had known what this means, 'I desire compassion, and not a
sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent.”
The innocent are the animals that they condemned to death in a vain attempt
to appease God, instead of just living righteously as the Lord calls us to
Now let’s take a look at what Isaiah says in 1:11-13:
11. "What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?"
Says the LORD.
"I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams,
And the fat of fed cattle.
And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs, or goats.
12. "When you come to appear before Me,
Who requires of you this trampling of My courts?
13. "Bring your worthless offerings no longer,
Incense is an abomination to Me.
New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies-
I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.
Now let’s look at Isaiah 1:21…
21. How the faithful city has become a harlot,
She who was full of justice!
Righteousness once lodged in her,
But now murderers.
Notice the way Isaiah is saying essentially the same thing that Hosea is
saying: that killing animals is murder of the innocent and an abomination to
We could go on and on with similar examples, but instead, let us resolve in our hearts and souls to live compassionately in the heavenly will of the Lord, as peacemaking children of God.