Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

The Bible's Teaching Against Abortion

Abortion is death. The Messiah came to conquer death, and therefore abortion. "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). The final outcome of the battle for life has already been decided by the resurrection of the Messiah. It is up to us to spread that victory to every person of Israel. Not even for "religious freedom" can the killing of children be tolerated.

by HOIM Staff

The morality of abortion comes down to just one question: Is the unborn a member of the human family? If so, elective abortion is a serious moral wrong that violates biblical commands against the unjust taking of human life -- notice the following:

Exodus 23:7: "Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked."

Psalm 106:37-38: "They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood."

Proverbs 6:16-17: "These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood..."

Matthew 5:21: "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'you shall not murder,' and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment."

Elective abortion treats the unborn human being, made in the image of YEHOVAH God, as nothing more than  disposable tissue.

Genesis 1:26: "Then God said, Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion..."

Genesis 9:6: "Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man."

James 3:9: "With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God."

Conversely, if the unborn are not human, elective abortion requires no more justification than having a tooth pulled.

Scripture (we will grant) is silent on the humanity of the unborn (as it is on the humanity of whites, blacks, Asians, etc.); however, it is clear that we are not to take human life without justification. It follows that if a positive case can be made for the humanity of the unborn apart from Scripture (as, e.g., we know the French are humans apart from Scripture), we can logically conclude that biblical commands against the unjust taking of human life apply to the unborn as they do other human beings. At this point, science assists theology; that is to say, science gives us the facts we need to arrive at a theologically sound conclusion.

What the facts of science make clear is that from the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings. True, they have yet to grow and mature, but they are whole human beings nonetheless. Leading embryology textbooks affirm this conclusion. [1] An embryo Is more than human cells. Abortion advocate Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, whose work is prominently featured in the literature of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, insists, however, that we gain no theological knowledge from these facts. “The fetus is biologically human only in the sense that any part of a human body is human: every cell carries the full genetic code. A severed hand is genetically human as well but we don’t call it a person.” [2] In other words, Mollenkott would have us believe there is no difference in kind between a human embryo and each of our cells.

This is bad biology. Mollenkott is making the rather elementary mistake of confusing parts with wholes. The difference in kind between each of our cells -- and a human embryo -- is clear: an individual cell’s functions are subordinated to the survival of the larger organism of which it is merely a part. The human embryo, however, is already a whole human entity. Robert George and Patrick Lee argue that it makes no sense to say you were once a sperm or somatic cell when science clearly states that you were once a human embryo: “Somatic cells are not, and embryonic human beings are, distinct, self-integrating organisms capable of directing their own maturation as members of the human species.” [3]

Maureen Condic, assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah, points out that embryos are living human beings “precisely because they possess the single defining feature of human life that is lost in the moment of death -- the ability to function as a coordinated organism rather than merely as a group of living human cells.” Condic explains the important distinction between individual body parts and whole human embryos is overlooked by Mollenkott:

“The critical difference between a collection of cells and a living organism is the ability of an organism to act in a coordinated manner for the continued health and maintenance of the body as a whole. It is precisely this ability that breaks down at the moment of death, however death might occur. Dead bodies may have plenty of live cells, but their cells no longer function together in a coordinated manner.” [4] 

From conception forward, human embryos clearly function as organisms.

“Embryos are not merely collections of human cells, but living creatures with all the properties that define any organism as distinct from a group of cells; embryos are capable of growing, maturing, maintaining a physiologic balance between various organ systems, adapting to changing circumstances, and repairing injury. Mere groups of human cells [e.g., a severed hand] do nothing like this under any circumstances.” [5] 

The Hebrew Worldview

In the Old Testament context Biblical and cultural evidence suggests that the original audiences of the Bible were not inclined to consider abortion -- even though it was practiced in surrounding cultures. [5] Turning first to the Hebrew worldview found in the Old Testament, we find that:

• Humans have intrinsic value because they are made in the image of YEHOVAH God. The shedding of innocent blood is hence strictly forbidden (Genesis 1:26; 9:6; Exodus 23:7; Proverbs 6:16-17).

• Children are seldom seen as unwanted or as a nuisance (unless they turn wicked), but they are considered gifts from YEHOVAH God -- the greatest possible blessings:

Psalm 127:3-5: "Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is His reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;"

Psalm 113:9: "He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children. Praise the LORD!

Genesis 17:6: "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you."

Genesis 33:5: "And he lifted his eyes and saw the women and children, and said, 'Who are these with you?' And he said, 'The children whom God has graciously given your servant.'"

• Immortality is expressed through one’s descendants. YEHOVAH God promised Abraham to make of him a great nation and that promise was passed on to Isaac, Jacob, and so on. “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from Him,” wrote the psalmist (Psalm 127:3; cf. Genesis 48:16).

• Sterility and barrenness are a curse, a source of great shame and sorrow. Peninnah therefore harshly ridiculed Hannah, the prophet Samuel’s mother, because of the latter’s initial barrenness:

1 Samuel 1:6: "And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb."

Genesis 20:17-18: "So Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his maidservants. Then they bore children; for the LORD had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife."

Genesis 30:1, 22-23: "Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, 'Give me children, or else I die!'...Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. And she conceived and bore a son, and said, 'God has taken away my reproach,'"

As theologian Germain Grisez points out, among a people who saw children as a gift and barrenness as a curse, it was unthinkable that an Israelite woman should desire an abortion. In such a context, the Old Testament’s apparent silence on abortion suggests that prohibitions against it were largely unnecessary and NOT that the practice was tacitly approved.

The New Testament Context

In the New Testament context abortion was a foreign thought in the New Testament as well. Professor Michael J. Gorman writes that the first Christians were largely Judean, with an essentially Judean morality. [6] If a Judean consensus against abortion existed at the time, the early Christians most certainly would have shared that consensus. As Gorman points out, first-century Judaism was, in fact, quite firmly opposed to abortion. Judean documents from the period condemn the practice unequivocally -- demonstrating a clear antiabortion consensus among Judeans:

The Sentences of Pseudo-Phocylides (written between 50 B.C. and A.D. 50) says, “A woman should not destroy the unborn babe in her belly, nor after its birth throw it before the dogs and vultures.”

The Sibyline Oracles includes among the wicked those who “produce abortions and unlawfully cast their offspring away.” Also condemned are sorcerers who dispense abortifacients (an abortion-inducing substance or device).

• First Enoch (a first or second century B.C. document) says an evil angel taught humans how to “smash the embryo in the womb.” Josephus (a first-century Jewish historian) stated, “The law orders all the offspring be brought up, and forbids women either to cause abortion or to make away with the fetus.” A woman who did so was considered to have committed infanticide because she destroyed a “soul” and hence diminished the race. [7] These texts, writes Gorman, “bear witness to the general Jewish and Jewish-Christian attitude of the first and second centuries, thus confirming that the earliest Christians shared the anti-abortion position of their Jewish forebears.” [8]

We should also remember that the theology of the New Testament epistles is primarily “task” theology written to address specific issues in specific churches. Paul, for example, is largely silent on the historical career of the Messiah (he mentions it only in passing while underscoring the importance of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15), but this does not mean that he questioned the facts of the Messiah’s earthly ministry. A discussion of those facts simply never became necessary. New Testament scholar George Eldon Ladd stated,

“We may say that we owe whatever understanding we have of Paul’s thought to the ‘accidents of history’ which required him to deal with various problems, doctrinal and practical, in the life of the churches.” [9]

The best explanation, then, for the New Testament’s silence on abortion is not that its authors condoned the practice, but that a discussion of the issue was unnecessary. As Gorman points out, there was no deviation from the norm inherited from Judaism. Unlike the surrounding pagan cultures, the early Christians to whom the New Testament was written were simply not inclined to kill their children before or after birth.

The Biblical Facts

Going now to YEHOVAH God's Word, the Bible, we find that it clearly teaches that abortion is wrong. This teaching comes across in many ways -- and for many reasons. Some people point out that the word "abortion" is not in the Bible, and that is true. Nevertheless, the teaching about abortion is there. This is the case with many teachings. In any case, a person who wants to deny the teaching about abortion would deny it even if the word were there.  Let's look at some of the Biblical reasons why abortion -- the deliberate destruction of a child in the womb -- is very wrong.  

1. The Bible teaches that human life is different from other types of life, because human beings are made in the very image of YEHOVAH God  

The accounts of the creation of man and woman in Genesis (Genesis 1:26-31; 2:4-25) tell us this: "God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27).

The word "create" is used three times here, emphasizing a special crowning moment in the whole process of YEHOVAH God's making the world and everything in it. The man and woman are given "dominion" over everything else in the visible world.

Not even the original sin takes away the image of YEHOVAH God in human beings. The apostle James refers to this image and says that because of it we should not even speak ill of one another. "With [the tongue] we bless the LORD and Father, and with it we curse human beings who are made in the image of God...This ought not be so, brothers" (James 3:9-10).

The image of YEHOVAH God! This is what it means to be human! We are not just a bunch of cells randomly thrown together by some impersonal forces. Rather, we really reflect an eternal God who knew us from before we were made, and purposely called us into being.

At the heart of the abortion tragedy is the question raised in the Psalms: "LORD, what is man that you care for him, mortal man that you keep him in mind?...With glory and honor you crowned him, giving him power over the works of your hands" (Psalm 8:5-7).

There is the key. Not only did YEHOVAH God make us, but He values us. The Bible tells us of a God who loves us so much that He provided the Messiah to be a sacrifice for us and who died for us while we were still offending YEHOVAH God (see Romans 5:6-8). In the face of all this, can we say that human beings are disposable, like a car that is more trouble than it's worth? "God doesn't make junk." If you believe the Bible, you have to believe that human life is sacred -- more sacred than we have ever imagined!

2. The Bible teaches that children are a blessing

YEHOVAH God commanded our first parents to "Be fertile and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). Why? YEHOVAH God Himself is fertile. Love always overflows into life. When the first mother brought forth the first child, she exclaimed, "I have brought forth a man with the help of the LORD" (Genesis 4:1). The help of YEHOVAH God is essential, for He has dominion over human life and is its origin. Parents cooperate with YEHOVAH God in bringing forth life. Because this whole process is under YEHOVAH's dominion, it is sinful to interrupt it. The prophet Amos condemns the Ammonites "because they ripped open expectant mothers in Gilead" (Amos 1:13).

"Truly children are a gift from the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward" (Psalm 127:3).

3. The Bible teaches that the child in the womb is truly a human child, who even has a relationship with YEHOVAH God

The phrase "conceived and bore" is used repeatedly (see Genesis 4:1, 17) and the individual has the same identity before as after birth. "In sin my mother conceived me," the repentant psalmist says in Psalm 51:7. The same word is used for the child before and after birth. (Brephos, that is, "babe" or "infant," is used in Luke 1:41 and Luke 18:15.)

Luke 1:41: "And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe [brephos] leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the holy spirit."

Luke 18:15: "Then they also brought infants [brephos] to him that he might touch them..."

YEHOVAH God knows the preborn child. "You knit me in my mother's womb...nor was my frame unknown to you when I was made in secret" (Psalm 139:13,15). YEHOVAH also helps and calls the preborn child. "You have been my guide since I was first formed...from my mother's womb you are my God" (Psalm 22:11-12). "God...from my mother's womb had set me apart and called me through his grace" (Paul to the Galatians 1:15).

4. Scripture repeatedly condemns the killing of the innocent

This flows from everything that has been seen so far. YEHOVAH's own finger writes in stone the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17) and the Messiah reaffirms it (Matthew 19:18 -- notice that he mentions this commandment first). The Book of Revelation affirms that murderers cannot enter the kingdom of heaven (Revelation 22:15).

The killing of children is especially condemned by YEHOVAH God through the prophets. In the land YEHOVAH God gave His people Israel to occupy, foreign nations had the custom of sacrificing some of their children in fire. YEHOVAH told His people that they were not to share in this sin. They did, however; as Psalm 106 relates: "They mingled with the nations and learned their works...They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and their daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood" (Psalm 106:35, 37-38).

This sin of child-sacrifice, in fact, is mentioned as one of the major reasons that the Kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians and the people taken into exile. "They mutilated their sons and daughters by fire...till the LORD, in his great anger against Israel, put them away out of his sight" (2 Kings 17:17-18). 

Not even for "religious freedom" can the killing of children be tolerated.

5. The Bible teaches that the Messiah (through YEHOVAH God) is our justice

An act of justice is an act of intervention for the helpless, an act of defense for those who are too weak to defend themselves. In foretelling the Messiah, Psalm 72 says, "Justice shall flower in his days...for he shall rescue the poor man when he cries out and the afflicted when he has no one to help him" (Psalms 72:7, 12). The Messiah is our justice (1 Corinthians 1:30) because he rescued us from sin and death when we had none to help.

Romans 5:6: "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."

Ephesians 2:4-5: "But God, Who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)."

If the Messiah does justice for YEHOVAH's people Israel, he expects his brethren to do justice for one another. "Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful" (Luke 6:36). "Go and do likewise" (Luke 10:37). "Do unto others as you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12). "Love one another" (John 15:17).

Abortion is the opposite of these teachings. It is a reversal of justice. It is a destruction of the helpless rather than a rescue of them. If Christian-Israelites do not intervene to save those whose lives are attacked, then they are not pleasing to or worshiping YEHOVAH God.

YEHOVAH says through Isaiah, "Trample my courts no more! Bring no more worthless offerings...Your festivals I detest...When you spread out your hands, I close my eyes to you; though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood! Wash yourselves clean...learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow" (Isaiah 1:13-17).

Indeed, Christian-Israelites who worship YEHOVAH God but support abortion are falling into the same contradiction as YEHOVAH's people of old, and need to hear the same message.

6. The Messiah paid special attention to the poor, the despised, and those whom the rest of society considered insignificant

The Messiah broke down the false barriers that people set up among themselves, and instead acknowledged the equal human dignity of every individual Israelite, despite what common opinion might say. Hence we see him reach out to children despite the efforts of the apostles to keep them away (Matthew 19:13-15); to tax collectors and sinners despite the objections of the Scribes (Mark 2:16); to the blind despite the warnings of the crowd (Matthew 20:29-34); to a foreign woman despite the utter surprise of the disciples and of the woman herself (John 4:9, 27); to those of the House of Israel despite the anger of the Judeans (Matthew 21:41-46); and to the lepers, despite their isolation from the rest of society (Luke 17:11-19).

When it comes to human dignity, the Messiah erases distinctions. The apostle Paul declares, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave or free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). We can likewise say, "There is neither born nor unborn."

Using the distinction of "born" and "unborn" as a basis for the value of life or the protection one deserves is meaningless and offensive to all that Scripture teaches. The unborn are the segment of our society which is most neglected and discriminated against. The Messiah himself surely has a special love for them.

7. Scripture teaches us to love

The apostle John says, "This is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another, unlike Cain who belonged to the evil one and slaughtered his brother" (1 John 3:11-12). Love is directly contrasted with slaughter. To take the life of another is to break the command of love. To fail to help those in need and danger is also to fail to love.  

The Messiah teaches this clearly in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), and in many other places. 

No group of people is in more serious danger than the boys and girls in the womb. "If someone...sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in Him?" (1 John 3:17). 

8. Life is victorious over death 

This is one of Scripture's most basic themes. The victory of life is foretold in the promise that the head of the serpent, through whom death entered the world, would be crushed (see Genesis 3:15).

Isaiah promised, "He will destroy death forever" (Isaiah 25:8). At the scene of the first murder, the soil "opened its mouth" to swallow Abel's blood. At the scene of the final victory of life, it is death itself that "will be swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?...Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).

Abortion is death. The Messiah came to conquer death, and therefore abortion. "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). The final outcome of the battle for life has already been decided by the resurrection of the Messiah. It is up to us to spread that victory to every person of Israel. The pro-life movement is moving from the victory the Messiah won to the fullness of that victory on the last day. "There shall be no more death" (Revelation 21:4). "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20).

The Overwhelming Conclusion

In YEHOVAH’s eyes, life -- especially human life -- is sacred. (Genesis 9:6; Psalm 36:9) This principle applies to a baby growing in the womb, a place designed by YEHOVAH God to be a safe haven for a developing child. “You kept me screened off in my mother’s womb,” said a Bible writer. He added: “Your eyes even saw me as an embryo; all its parts were written in your book regarding the days when they were formed” (Psalm 139:13, 16).

YEHOVAH’s view of the life of an unborn child is also reflected in his Law to the nation of Israel and in the Christian-Israelite's God-given conscience. YEHOVAH’s Law stated that a person who assaulted a pregnant woman and killed her unborn child was subject to the death penalty -- the killer paying with his own life for the life he took. (Exodus 21:22, 23) Of course, the judges had to take into account motives and circumstances (Numbers 35:22-24, 31).

Christian-Israelites are endowed with a conscience. When a woman heeds her conscience, or inner voice, by respecting the life of her unborn child, her conscience rewards her. If she violates her conscience, it may trouble her or even condemn her. (Romans 2:14, 15) Indeed, studies indicate that women who have an abortion also have an increased risk of anxiety and depression. What, though, if the prospect of rearing a child seems daunting, especially when the pregnancy is not planned? Note YEHOVAH’s reassuring promise to those who loyally live by his standards: “With someone loyal you act in loyalty; with the blameless man [or woman] you deal blamelessly.” (Psalm 18:25) We also read: “For the LORD loves justice, and does not forsake His saints” (Psalm 37:28).


[1] See T. W. Sadler, Langman's Medical Embryology, 5th ed.

[2] Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, "Respecting the Moral Agency of Women," Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

[3] Robert George and Patrick Lee, "Reason, Science, and Stem Cells," National Review Online, July 20, 2001.

[4] Maureen L. Condic, "Life: Defining the Beginning By the End," First Things 133 (May 2003): 50-54.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Michael J. Gorman, "Why is the New Testament Silent About Abortion?" Christianity Today, January 11, 1993.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974), 377-78.


Hope of Israel Ministries -- Correcting the Errors of Modern "Christianity"!

Hope of Israel Ministries
P.O. Box 853
Azusa, CA 91702, U.S.A.

Scan with your
Smartphone for
more information