We often talk about having good judgment. We expect it from ourselves and our children. We teach our children about consequences for bad judgment, and often ‘lay down the law’ with them so they might learn good judgment. Why is it then that we view the Bible and YHVH so differently? We often hear ‘judge not lest you be judged,’ and ‘vengeance is mine, saith the LORD,’ to fortify tolerance for what is clearly not in accordance with YHVH’s law. We have a picture in our mind of the ‘Last Judgment,’ where YHVH will exact vengeance upon our enemies and put an end to evil. In the meantime, we are to take a hands-off approach to ‘judging’ others and ourselves! Is this really what judgment is all about? Is it possible that our Father gave us the means to carry out good judgment on Earth?
I recommend doing a word search on judgment. That is what I did, and I will include some of those results in this article. It is not my intention to overwhelm you with a bunch of scriptures (I really did leave a lot out!) but to illustrate my journey through the Word as I examined ‘judgment.’
What is Good Judgment?
Scripture tells us that He is the source of ‘good judgment’ and ‘knowledge.’ And, oddly enough both of these concepts are linked to His commandments. One might even swap out ‘judgment’ for ‘Torah’ and the meaning of the verse would not change! I’ve done it for you!
Psa_119:66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.
My version: “Teach me Torah, for I have believed thy commandments”
Pro_21:3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to YHVH than sacrifice.
My Version: “To follow Torah is more acceptable to YHVH than sacrifice.”
Pro_28:5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek YHVH understand all things.
My Version: “Evil men do not understand Torah; but they that seek YHVH understand all things.”
Don’t be mad at me, I’m really not changing the word. Just look at it and see if it does or doesn’t make sense. Didn’t Paul tell us that without Torah he would not know sin? Isn’t that the job of Torah: to bring us to understanding of the perfect will of our Father? Isn’t the Law of YHVH the measure He will use to judge all men? Doesn’t it follow that Torah is our guide to Good Judgment?
Psa_111:10 The fear of the YHVH is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
Psa_111:7 The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.
Psa_119:115 Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.
Not convinced yet?
I noticed a subtle difference in the translations from Old Testament to New Testament writings. One might even say that the difference between them is changing from a Hebrew mindset to a Greek one. Where have I heard that before?
In the Old Testament, the word judgment is most often from Strong’s H4941 mishpa?t? mish-pawt’ From H8199; properly a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree (human or (particularly) divine law, individual or collectively), including the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty; abstractly justice, including a particular right, or privilege (statutory or customary)…
However, there is a subtle difference in the New Testament which uses Greek to illustrate the Hebrew concepts. In the New Testament ‘judgment’ is usually Strong’s G2920 krisis kree’-sis
(Subjectively or objectively, for or against); by extension a tribunal; by implication justice (specifically divine law): – accusation, condemnation, damnation, judgment.
Since I grew up with a ‘New Testament’ mindset, I used to see the word judgment as a condemnation for wrong-doing. Never mind that our American culture is based on an ‘innocent ‘til proven guilty’ system of justice; the word ‘judgment’ always seemed like the hammer would come down and the guilty party would be hauled off to jail or worse. I had visions of Michelangelo’s painting of the Last Judgment that is found in the Sistine Chapel. Judgment was always apocalyptic, final, the wrath of God!
Is this really accurate?
First of all, I think scripture is clear that a final judgment will occur. My question is: are we ‘rightly dividing the word of truth’ when we ignore the scriptural definition of how and why that final judgment will be meted out by the Lion of Judah? Is everyone that stands before him condemned?
He has given us His instructions (Torah) from the very beginning. The Torah is the ‘tree of life’ (Proverbs 3:1, 18) and it shows up in Genesis and in Revelation! It is the beginning and the end. Just as Yeshua, the law-giver, the Alpha and Omega, the Alef and Tav, is the Walking-Talking-Torah! Yeshua and Torah are at the beginning and at the end! Scripture is always about Torah and always about Yeshua. They are the Two Witnesses of YHVH’s righteous and right rulings. In simple terms, Our Father gave us Torah because they are the rules of His house!
Gen_18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of YHVH, to do justice and judgment; that YHVH may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
That verse in Genesis says that His children will ‘do justice and judgment!’ It doesn’t say that He will exact it for us, but that We will DO. Apparently that means that His Torah (Instructions) will teach us how to do justice and how to make judgments.
It’s not a big mystery! He tells us beforehand what to do to love Him! How is that for grace? He tells us beforehand. There is no guess-work involved. We don’t have to read the stars, or consult an astrologer or any other form of divining. We don’t even have to wait for Him to tell us. He told us from the beginning how to behave! (I’m not suggesting we should not seek His guidance! I’m just saying that often that guidance may be found in His Torah.)
Isn’t Yeshua our Judge now?
There are a lot of verses about how the High Priest was to wear a breastplate of judgment so that it would be upon his heart. All the children of Israel were represented upon that breastplate, and it was worn by Aaron into the holy of holies as a memorial before YHVH. It even contained the Urim and Thummim.
All I will say is that now that Yeshua is our High Priest, He is fulfilling the following verse. [You may want to replace Aaron with Yeshua here to see what I mean.]
Exo_28:30 And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before YHVH: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before YHVH continually.
Torah establishes How to Judge
The Torah establishes laws and statutes so that men may work things out between themselves. They are all based upon absolute justice and fairness. No consideration is made between rich and poor, strong and weak, old or young. The law is the plumb-line, and it is absolute because it comes from YHVH’s heart. Justice is defined within the body with equitable weights and measures and rules and statutes to render judgments.
Lev 19:15 “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.
Lev 19:35 “You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity…
Num_27:11 And if his father have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his kinsman that is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it: and it shall be unto the children of Israel a statute of judgment, as YHVH commanded Moses.
From these verses, it is apparent that we are to make judgments. The following verses are evidence of how the Torah was written so that we could make judgments. The book of Numbers says we should ‘stand before the congregation in judgment’ (35:12), and have things ‘for a statute of judgment,’ (35:39) forever.
Deuteronomy says that judges and officer shall ‘judge the people with just judgment’ (Deu 16: 18), and that equal respect should be paid to persons whether small or great, weak or powerful, for the ‘judgment is God’s’ (Deu 1:17)
The problem seems to come in when we decide for ourselves what is ‘righteous’ judgment instead of using the Torah to guide our decisions. When we use the Torah: ‘the judgment is God’s’ because the Torah was given to us by Him!
But, the Torah was Nailed to the Cross!
Sometimes I marvel that I once agreed with that statement. However, now that I see the Torah not as a curse but as a great blessing and the demonstration of His grace to us, every part of the Scriptures takes on a different perspective.
In Deuteronomy, the book that Yeshua quoted most often, there are listed principles from Torah with regard to judgment that we would in no way wish to abandon. It describes absolute fairness with ‘respect to persons,’ prohibits the taking of ‘bribes’ and puts in place a way to make righteous judgments. The Levites and Judges were to make determinations. The caveat to that is this:
Deu_17:11 According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do:…
Weren’t the Levites the ones who taught the Torah? If they were rendering judgments by ‘the law which they [taught],’ isn’t that the whole heart of the matter? Torah is the plumb-line! Just as it has been the ‘tree of life’ from the beginning. It is only when man starts to interject his own spin on things that we begin sampling from the tree of good and evil. That is the way of death.
The scriptures say that all men should be measured by His Torah, whether they are kinsmen or stranger. But the curse of the law is this: death is the wage of sin. Chief among sin is placing our own law above the Law as established in the Torah!
Deu_32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
Deu 27:19 “‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
But, Isn’t He the Righteous Judge now?
Before Yeshua came in the flesh, Israel had King David. David is a type and shadow of Yeshua, our King and Judge. How did David establish justice?
1Ch_18:14 So David reigned over all Israel, and executed judgment and justice among all his people.
From many of the Psalms that David wrote, it is apparent that he loved YHVH and he loved Torah. Just read the descriptors of the Law in Psalm 119!
He wrote things like: how I love thy law, it is my delight, it is life, a light to my feet and a lamp to my path, righteous altogether, wondrous, the way, the truth, something to meditate on and never be ashamed of, a source of grace and strength, it enlarges his heart, gives liberty, it quickens, is a comfort, something to meditate on, his song, a source of mercy, better than gold or silver, gives hope and faith, provides help, a testimony of Thy loving-kindness, gives understanding, words sweeter than honey, is a teacher, a source of rejoicing, keeping them causes His face to shine and gives the hope of salvation! Even though David made mistakes, he always returned to Torah in repentance and devotion.
It is hard to imagine a more passionate love for the Torah than what is found in Psalm 119.
Torah was Law and Now we have Spirit, right?
The Torah was given so that man would know how to please YHVH. It gave the Patriarchs the means to Walk in His Way. Yeshua and the apostles also walked according to the Torah. Why or how did that change?
Yeshua came to return the people back to the pure word of YHVH. He came to re-establish the Torah, not to abolish it! He called himself the Way, the Truth and the Life. Look at how David describes the Torah! He uses the same words! I could even suggest you read 119 and use Yeshua’s name in place of the Law. It will amaze.
In Psalm 119 David defines the Torah (and Yeshua)! I can never again look at one without the other! We are to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. Everyone wants to embrace that Yeshua came to fulfill the Law, but there is a huge disconnect when we think he came to walk out Torah, teach Torah, and satisfy the requirements of Torah, just to toss it into the trash can in the name of ‘fulfillment.’
In the words of Inigo Montoya, “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”
Most believers will embrace the need to walk out the Ten Commandments, yet balk at the notion that the 4th commandment is a statute forever. It is either the word of YHVH and true forever, or we have nothing to base our faith upon. If He changes His mind, re-writes his statutes and laws, and abolishes any portion of His Word, then he cannot be relied upon to carry out the promise of our salvation. If he treats people with different rules then He is breaking His own Torah!
In the words of Mr. Spock, “That’s illogical.”
What is the spirit of the Law? Isn’t it that we should do what it says to do? If not, then it is only words written on a page (or stone). The spirit is what is not written. If His words are not taken to heart, if you don’t believe them, then there is no spirit.
It is like getting a love letter from an ex-boyfriend that you don’t trust. He asks you to meet him to mend fences, and you toss the letter in the trash because you no longer trust his words. Why would we do that to YHVH’s Word when He loved us enough to send His Son to die for our sins? Has He let us down? Do you believe He will be faithful to His promises?
We Can Learn Righteous Judgment
Why did we receive the Torah if not to teach us His righteousness? We will have upright hearts when we learn!
Psa 119:7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
Psa 119:30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.
2Ch_19:6 And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for YHVH, who is with you in the judgment.
How do we judge? We judge ‘for YHVH’ based upon His rules, statutes and precepts. Torah!
When I say we are to judge, am I trying to elevate man above YHVH? No way! I just recognize that the Law (Torah) that we have been taught is ‘irrelevant’ is never obsolete! How horrible it would be if the One who judges us would use a different list of laws than that which He gave us from the beginning! It would be arbitrary! It would be unfair! It would be out of character for our eternal Father who is just and righteous!
When will we understand that His Torah was given to us for our good? It was given so that His will would be done on Earth as it is in Heaven! Once we come to terms with that, it is a no-brainer to see that we have been given the tools to make Good Judgments!
Yeshua told us that we would be judged by His Law. The prophets tell us that the Law will go forth from Zion! We will be going up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in the millennial kingdom! How is it we can twist the scriptures to say that He established the law, just to abolish it, and then re-establish it later?
I do not serve a capricious God. He is orderly. He is righteous. All of His statutes are righteous! What a blessing that we can know by what measuring stick we will be judged!
But, Yeshua said Judge Not!
Did he say that? Here is the context:
Mat 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
He didn’t say don’t ever judge another; he said don’t be a hypocrite! He said identify your own ‘log’ before you try to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. And then He concluded with the conditions for handling this situation. He says to ‘first take the log out of your own eye!’ THEN you will see clearly to correct your brother!
How do we get the log out of our eye? Learn to Walk as He walked. Torah shows us how to demonstrate His love for others by following His commandments. In fact, he says he loves it!
Psa 33:5 He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of YHVH.
Psa 106:3 Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!
How in the world can we ‘do’ righteousness, if we don’t have the instructions given to us by the hand of the Almighty? We are blessed when we observe justice.
He is our Judge
Yes, we will all stand before Him to receive the judgment. And it will be upright and just!
Psa_9:7 But YHVH shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.
Psa_9:8 And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.
Prepare! Learn His Ways. He says we must ‘do’ righteousness! What is our life for if not to understand how we are to love and worship our Creator? How can we ‘do righteousness’ if we pretend that his instructions in righteousness are no longer binding?
Psa 37:28 For YHVH loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. 29 The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.
Ecc_12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.