Suicide – A biblical outlook
I would like to give you my biblical interpretation of suicide. I believe the word does not really tell us what it is, but we have all heard or even seen this monster in our daily lives. Maybe someone close to you was involved, or maybe you are even contemplating committing suicide yourself.
I know it is a severely sensitive subject as we all know we do not find many examples in the Bible about it. The most memorable one we get is that king Saul fell on his own sword and died, and then all the people who were with him also committed suicide.
“Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death; for Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.(1Sa 15:35) Now the LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.” (1Sa 16:1) So for those who claim a once saved always saved theology, this passage negates that view. Then to further negate that viewpoint, I suggest you read Ezekiel 18, which totally rejects that viewpoint.
“Then Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and pierce me through with it, otherwise these uncircumcised will come and pierce me through and make sport of me.” But his armor bearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it. When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died with him. Thus Saul died with his three sons, his armor bearer, and all his men on that day together. When the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley, with those who were beyond the Jordan, saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned the cities and fled; then the Philistines came and lived in them.” (1Sa 31:4-7)
Here we find that kind Saul, who was chosen by the LORD to be king over Israel, committed suicide. But it goes beyond that. The LORD tells Samuel that He regretted that He made him king over Israel, and chose David to be the next king, as the LORD already knew that Saul would commit self-murder.
I know a lot of people would not like the wording I used, but that is what suicide is. It is murder. There are a couple of differences between murdering someone else and murdering yourself. When you murder someone else, you still have a chance to repent and ask the LORD for forgiveness. But when you murder yourself, you also do away with this option, so you cannot repent and thus you cannot receive redemption from this sin. I know it sounds horrible but we have to remember that the Bible is the Word of God, and the Word of God is the final referee.
The Bible states the following: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1Co 10:13) “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?” Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb 13:5-8)
I know people will tell you that it is because of sickness and hopelessness that people do this. So they try and find a loophole to bypass these biblical truths. I know exactly what depression is, and knows how desperate you feel. Not only did I also suffer from it, but if I have to be honest with myself, I still suffer from it today. But even more than that. I have cancer, also known as a neuroendocrine tumour or NET cancer, and have had it probably since my teens. But in the last six years now I have been unable to work or provide an income for myself and my wife. She had a bilateral mastectomy nearly three years ago and also had to face this monster called cancer and depression. But we are there for each other, she as my carer and wife, and myself as her carer and husband.
We also had a time when we really had just about everything we ever wanted. We had a five-bedroomed home, swimming pool, all in one of the best suburbs in Pretoria, South Africa, with a large study where my wife could run her ministry from which entailed giving people a new perspective on life, and receive emotional healing for the past. At that time I was still in the computer industry earning a fairly handsome income, and we had two Mercedes Benz motor cars, a Mazda and an old Volkswagen Beetle. Today we do not even own the house we live in, which I know most people would not even want to live in, and we have no motor vehicles. So if we want to go to the shops, we have to walk to buy what we need. And that with both of us having one of the after-effects of cancer, which is tiredness. Not to mention all the other problems.
Our combined income is the equivalent of $233 per month, with more than half going towards medicines to keep us alive, adding just another problem to the equation.
The whole object of this article is to point out also that we have choices in what we do during our time on earth. We are not puppets. The LORD did not and does not micro-manage every action and thing that happens in the world. No, it is stated clearly in Genesis that after completing the making of all that is required for life as we know it today, he named the day the sabbath, a day of rest. “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Gen 1:26-31)Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Gen 2:1-3)
The creation is also documented in chapter 30 of the Book of the Secrets of Enoch. “On the sixth day I commanded my wisdom to create man from seven consistencies: one, his flesh from the earth; two, his blood from the dew; three, his eyes from the sun; four, his bones from stone; five, his intelligence from the swiftness of the angels and from cloud; six, his veins and his hair from the grass of the earth; seven, his soul from my breath and from the wind. And I gave him seven natures: to the flesh hearing, the eyes for sight, to the soul smell, the veins for touch, the blood for taste, the bones for endurance, to the intelligence sweetness [enjoyment]. I conceived a cunning saying to say, I created man from invisible and from visible nature, of both are his death and life and image, he knows speech like some created thing, small in greatness and again great in smallness, and I placed him on earth, a second angel, honourable, great and glorious, and I appointed him as ruler to rule on earth and to have my wisdom, and there was none like him of earth of all my existing creatures. And I appointed him a name, from the four component parts, from east, from west, from south, from north, and I appointed for him four special stars, and I called his name Adam, and showed him the two ways, the light and the darkness, and I told him: This is good, and that bad, that I should learn whether he has love towards me, or hatred, that it be clear which in his race love me. For I have seen his nature, but he has not seen his own nature, therefore through not seeing he will sin worse, and I said After sin what is there but death? And I put sleep into him and he fell asleep. And I took from him a rib, and created him a wife, that death should come to him by his wife, and I took his last word and called her name mother, that is to say, Eva.” (verses 10 to 16)
In this book, it actually states that the LORD also made another day, the eighth day, a day without start nor end. So we are living in the day of rest, the Sabbath. “Chapter 32 After Adam’s sin God sends him away into the earth from where he took him from, but does not wish to ruin him for all years to come said to him: Earth you are, and into the earth whence I took you, you shalt go, and I will not ruin you, but send you whence I took you. Then I can again receive you at My second presence. And I blessed all my creatures visible and invisible. And Adam was five and half hours in paradise. And I blessed the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, on which he rested from all his works. Chapter 33 God shows Enoch the age of this world, its existence of seven thousand years, and the eighth thousand is the end, neither years, nor months, nor weeks, nor days. And I appointed the eighth day also, that the eighth day should be the first-created after my work, and that the first seven revolve in the form of the seventh thousand, and that at the beginning of the eighth thousand there should be a time of not-counting, endless, with neither years nor months nor weeks nor days nor hours. And now, Enoch, all that I have told you, all that you have understood, all that you have seen of heavenly things, all that you have seen on earth, and all that I have written in books by my great wisdom, all these things I have devised and created from the uppermost foundation to the lower and to the end, and there is no counselor nor inheritor to my creations. I am self-eternal, not made with hands, and without change. My thought is my counselor, my wisdom and my word are made, and my eyes observe all things how they stand here and tremble with terror. If I turn away my face, then all things will be destroyed. And apply your mind, Enoch, and know him who is speaking to you, and take thence the books which you yourself have written.”
We have to remember that our lives consist of choices, and our outcome is based on the choices we make. I want to quote 2 passages to support my view. Genesis: “Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”– therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Gen 3:22-24) And then: “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. “But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” (Deu 30:15-20) And then just for those who would complain that I cannot use the Old Covenant. This is what Paul wrote: “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.” (1Co 10:1-6)
Then we find Jesus also saying that we can find Him if we understand the books of the law and the prophets. “”And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house– for I have five brothers–in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “But Abraham *said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'” (Luk 16:27-31) And we also find the same example in the book of Acts. “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Then immediately the brethren sent Paul out to go as far as the sea; and Silas and Timothy remained there.” (Act 17:11-14) What scriptures could they examine? Only Moses and the prophets. Luke was still living the book of Acts, and the only book about Jesus was the Gospel according to Mark, although I doubt that Mark was finished with his writings at that time.
So what qualifies me to write about the Bible and its meanings? Two things. The first one is the one that most people would like to hear, and that was that I studied for a diploma in ministry, but unfortunately, this just left me with more questions than answers. Then I had to rely on what Jesus told His disciples: “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” (Joh 16:7-15) And all this happened as a result of discovering this strange cancer that most people do not know of or do not understand, called NET cancer.
But let me come back to the original point about self-inflicted death. I have tried to explain that we cannot hide from our actions by telling people that “you don’t know” what I am going through. No, the Bible clearly says that: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1Co 10:13)
This leaves us thus with only one conclusion. And that is that we have decided that we know better than the LORD and has chosen this route, even though we understand the Bible and what it teaches about this subject. We were made in His image, and if we are in His image, we cannot inflict this self-inflicted death on ourselves.
I know that most evangelical churches might not agree with me and this view, but what I have found is that it stems from a greater difference. They do not understand the covenant that the LORD made with Abraham, which was fulfilled by Jesus Christ. If they understand this issue, they will also find that they cannot lay claim to leading scores of people to Christ, as no man can add people to His Kingdom, only He can. This is confirmed in Acts: “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Act 2:42-47)
So that is my belief about this act of suicide, or as I call it self-inflicted murder.
Before I get accused of not looking at all the implications, let me stress one major remedy for self-inflicted murder. The first one is to be open about it and to ask others for advice, prayer, and support. The second point is that there is nothing wrong with using medication to balance the chemicals in your brain also. It might be like in my own situation that you have to take the medication for the rest of your life. It is not a sin to use medication. There are even cases in the Bible where the prophets used medications, and Luke was a medical doctor. In my own case the cancer causes what is termed in the medical world as Carcinoid rage, which actually means that I do not have a fuse. So if you confront me, I will explode. But taking medication for this and to help with my own fight against depression, I have to take medication and is now a relaxed person with a passion for the Word of the LORD.
I would strongly suggest that you also read my book on some of the stumbling blocks we as Christians face every day, as it will clarify a whole number of heresies we believe in today, and also tells us how we as Christians should set an example for those who are searching for answers. The download link is here.
May God bless you on this journey and in your daily walk with the LORD.