It is important to understand that true Christians are called out of this present evil world–its governments, administrations, laws and philosophies–in order to be different. They are set aside for the holy purpose of living a righteous life in this world, and preparing for the soon-coming Kingdom of God, which will be established on this earth when Jesus Christ returns. True Christians are to live under the law of God and His government, to which they must have their first allegiance.
As a consequence, they do not vote in governmental elections or seek governmental offices, nor do they participate in jury duty. They are not fighting in the wars of this world, even if their country orders them to enlist, and they may be labeled as unpatriotic or “cowards,” when they refuse to fight. And, they do not hold a position or a job which would require them to take human life.
Even though God allows man to establish their own form of governments and enact their own rules of conduct–including those which are in direct opposition to His commands–this does not mean that He desires His true children–His very sons and daughters–to participate in activities which violate His perfect and timeless Law. And even though He allows the governments of this world to execute a convicted criminal or to fight in war (compare Romans 13:1-4), He makes it also very clear that His true children are not to engage in such conduct (compare Matthew 26:51-52; Revelation 13:10).
True Christians must not participate in any of the following activities, even though many of these activities are accepted by the standards of this world: Mercy killing or euthanasia; assisting someone to commit suicide; fighting and killing in war; having an abortion or helping someone to have an abortion; condemning someone to death in the legal systems of this world; or executing a convicted felon (who may or may not be guilty of the deed for which fallible men convicted him). The reason being–in one way or another, all these aforementioned activities terminate, or cause the termination of, the life of a human being. True Christians, however, who obey the Law of God, understand that it is not their right, prerogative or even responsibility to end the life of a human being, including their own. David fought and killed in war, but this was not right. God punished him for that, by not allowing him to build Him a temple (compare 1 Chronicles 28:3). Still, David refused to kill King Saul, leaving it to God to end his life. He stated in 1 Samuel 26:10: “As the LORD lives, the LORD shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish.”
Euthanasia, in particular, can be defined as an easy or painless death which brings to an end a lingering, hopeless, painful disease or condition. To engage in such conduct is not in obedience to God. The Bible clearly tells us that it is God’s prerogative–as the One who created human life–to let a person die, or to prolong his life, when He sees fit. It is GOD who gives us life (Ecclesiastes 5:18; 8:15); and it is GOD who takes it away from us (Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:6). Of course, no one can kill a human being without God allowing this to happen; but the fact that He does allow it does not mean that He wants all this world’s killing to continue. This is NOT God’s world–but this world is ruled by Satan the devil (John 14:30)–the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2)– the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:3). God allows Satan to rule over this present evil age at this time–but only until Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, will return to this earth to displace and banish Satan and to begin to RULE this earth righteously.
There is no support in Scripture for humans ending prematurely the life of a sick person. The Church of God has taught this for a very long time. However, it has also taught correctly for a very long time that there IS a difference between cutting short a human life and artificially prolonging it. While euthanasia is not a practice in which a true Christian should engage, it is an altogether different matter to decide NOT to prolong the “life” of a clinically dead or comatose person through machines and other equipment, thereby keeping the comatose person “alive” artificially. The Worldwide Church of God explained in an old letter (L 185):
“… the idea that heroic measures must be taken to keep a terminally ill person alive as long as possible is not biblical either. There is no sense prolonging a person’s dying. Many righteous people in the Bible knew when they were dying, got their affairs in order… and simply died. It is not wrong to ask God in His mercy to allow a suffering person to peacefully die.”
The same would be true if a terminally ill person was facing the possibility of a serious and risky operation which might temporarily prolong his life–and its accompanying painful condition. In such a case, it would certainly not be wrong if the person decided against such an operation. It would also not be wrong for a person to set forth in writing, ahead of time, his or her wish as to how doctors or relatives should proceed in case he or she falls into a coma.
Of course, in all these different scenarios, we are to ask God for His mercy to HEAL us from pain and suffering. But if God should choose not to do so in a particular circumstance, we are still not to engage in “mercy killing” or other practices which would terminate human life.
For more information on this vitally important subject, please read our free booklets, “Should You Fight in War?” and “Sickness and Healing–What the Bible Tells Us.” You might also want to read chapter 2 of our free booklet, “Are You Predestined to Be Saved?”
Lead Writer: Norbert Link