Posts Tagged ‘New Testament’

The Bible says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matt. 7:1-2)

But is judging the same as condemning? Judging is used in more than one sense in the New Testament writings. The Greek word ‘krinō’ (or a form of it) is used for judge and judgment.

The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthian church said: “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. (1 Cor. 5:1-3)

The Apostle concluded by telling them that they had to ‘judge’ this man by the word of God and then act on it! “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you.” (v.12-13)

“For judgment, (krima- condemnation of wrong) I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” (John 9:39)

Jesus said, “As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not ‘judge’ (krinō) him, for I did not come to ‘judge’ the world, but to save it. (John 12:47)

It seems that Jesus contradicts himself until we see how John uses two different Greek words for the word ‘judge’ and examine the context in which they are used.  The judgment in John 9:39 speak of final judgment. In John 12:47 the judgment Jesus said that he came to bring is krinō; i.e.; making a distinction between right and wrong. As in John 7:24: “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” And Luke 12:57: “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?”

What kind of judging does God not forbid?

God does not forbid the judgments of the civil courts, (Rom. 13:1-7) or the judgment of the church upon disorderly members. (1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Thes. 3:6)

Matt. 7:6 tells us: “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”  So we must be able to recognize, (make a judgment) who the dogs and pigs are so we will know who not to give that which is sacred to.

And in Matt. 7:15-20 Jesus tells us to: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.”  But how can we fulfill this command if we are not able to judge who is a false teacher and who is not?

James exhort us to help restore those who have wandered from the truth and have been led into sin: Jas. 5:19-20- “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” But unless we can determine (through an examination of the word of God) that a person is in sin (thus making a judgment), we cannot not turn him from the error of his way.

What is the wrong kind of judging?

  • Any judging that is neither positive nor conclusive or anything that is from insufficient evidence or from ill will is prohibited.

Romans 14:1 – “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.” Jas. 4:11-12: “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.”

Sadly, I have experienced this more in group prayers than anywhere else. When asked who needs prayer someone will say something like, “Please pray for ‘Joe Christian’ because he is no longer walking with God and is using drugs again. He has also been seen with underage girls.” This is nothing more than ‘prayer gossip’ and is slander against someone who is not present to defend themselves.

  • Judging others while doing the same thing yourself.

Romans 2:1 –“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

Matt. 7:1-5 – “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

According to Matt. 7:1-5 we have the responsibility to remove the plank out of our own eye first so we will be able to see (judge) clearly another who needs our help to remove the splinter out of his eye. And sometimes it is a matter of perspective. It is easy to see others’ flaws at a distance; for example, a small speck of dirt in someone’s eye. But place that same speck close to our own eye and it becomes a plank; blocking our view. God did not commission us to be speck inspectors!

Judgment is forbidden when it is harsh, unfounded, hypercritical, malicious, slanderous, or ill-natured because its aim is to hurt, defame, and damage, rather than to encourage and build up. Judgment is only encouraged to settle matters in civil courts, to correct and restore a believer who has wandered from the truth, and to identify false teachers and evil people.

We must remember that forbidden judgment will almost always result in hurt, but godly judgment will almost always result in building up and restoration.

We would do well to live by the words of the Apostle Paul who said, “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Romans 13:10-14)

Chanukah commemorates events that took place around 168-165 B.C. The Jewish people were under Syrian domination and ruled by the Syrian king Antiochus. The Jews were forced to abandon their culture and religion. He made sure the Jewish people could not use the Temple to worship God. He erected pagan idols in the holy place and worst of all; he sacrificed a pig on the altar!

The Jewish people were utterly defeated and demoralized—until a small band of guerilla soldiers known as the Maccabees rekindled their hope. Within three years, these warriors miraculously recaptured Jerusalem and the Temple.

Note that Chanukah (which means dedication) was not named for the brave warriors. The real victory was being able to freely worship the God of Israel once again. The Temple was rededicated on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, in the year 165 BC. What is not commonly realized is that this holiday is found within the pages of the New Testament Writings. Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated Chanukah as recorded in John 10:22-30:

Now it was the Feast of Dedication (Chanukah) in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. Then the Jews surrounded him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

It was on Chanukah that Messiah publicly revealed his Messianic identity by proclaiming to them, “I and the Father are one.”(v.30)

Another aspect of Chanukah is that Yeshua mirrors that of the Servant Candle (Shamash). He taught his disciples to serve others as he did. He came to serve and not to be served. The Servant Candle is a picture of the Suffering Servant Messiah as prophesied in Isaiah 53:5.

But aside from the Messianic tones, the primary message of Chanukah is that we should reject pagan influences and follow what is written for us in the Scriptures.

How do we celebrate Chanukah? The Chanukah menorah is placed in a window to publicize this great miracle. The candles are placed in the menorah from left to right and the candles are kindled from right to left. The center candle is called the Shamash. (Servant / helper) The Shamash is removed, lit, and used to kindle the other candles then returned to its holder.

The blessings are said with the Shamash already lit, but immediately prior to lighting the Chanukah candles: 1.)”Blessed are You, Lord God, King of the universe, who sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.” 2.)” Blessed are You, Lord God, King of the universe, who made miracles for our forefathers, in those days at this season.” The following paragraph is said each night, after the first light has been kindled:

“We kindle these lights for the miracles and wonders, for the redemption and the battles which You performed for our forefathers in those days at this season through Your holy priests. During all eight days of Chanukah these lights are sacred and we are not permitted to make ordinary use of them, but only look at them in order to express thanks and praise to Your great name, and for Your miracles, and Your wonders, and Your salvation.”

After lighting the Chanukah menorah, we enjoy sitting in the glow and read from the Hallel over the course of Chanukah week. The Hallel is a sequence of praise and gratitude-themed Psalms found in Psalms 113-118. We occasionally sing songs and recall the miracles of yesterday and today.

A number of other customs have developed, including: Eating “oily” foods like fried potato latkes (pancakes) and jelly donuts in commemoration of the miracle of the oil, giving Chanukah gelt (chocolate coins) to children, and spinning the dreidel, a four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side.

In times of the Syrian persecution when Torah study was forbidden, Jewish children would learn by using a dreidel and pretend to be playing a game to fool soldiers. Today’s version of dreidel is where players use pennies, nuts, raisins, or chocolate coins as tokens or chips. Each player puts an equal share into the “pot” and the players take turns spinning the dreidel. The letters on the dreidel are nun, gimmel, hey, shin ― the first letters of Nes Gadol Haya Sham – “A Great Miracle Happened There.”   Click here for instructions on how to play Dreidel.

Chanukah demonstrates the Jewishness of Yeshua. The scriptures clearly show that the Messiah Yeshua was born of a Jewish mother, he is a descendant of King David, and belongs to the Tribe of Judah. His coming was foretold by the Jewish Prophets. All of these things confirm His Jewishness. However, the “clincher” for us is his observance of the Feast of Dedication (Chanukah) as related in John 10:22-23. The fact that he traveled, in the middle of winter, from Galilee to Jerusalem, tells me that Yeshua was serious about His Jewishness.

As we kindle our Chanukah candles, let us remember this shining Son of Israel, who loved his people and lived out the message of the Servant Candle of Chanukah.