Tonight's entry is again by Doug White, a college friend from Harding University and now a pharmacist in Louisiana. Doug is a Biblical scholar and edits a great bulletin for his congregation. Prayers for me in Vietnam.
Judges are legal officials who preside over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a panel of judges.
The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open court. The judge hears all the witnesses and any other evidence presented by the lawyers of the case, assesses the credibility and arguments of the parties, and then issues a ruling on the matter at hand based on his or her interpretation of the law and his or her own personal judgment.
If the defendant in the case is found innocent, or not guilty, then he/she are released by the court and they are free to go.
However, if the defendant is found guilty then the judge will
sentence the defendant to some sort of punishment. When the judge sentences the defendant to a punishment of his choosing, such as life in prison, 20 years in prison, or the death penalty, for example, this act is called condemning.
The judge has condemned the person to life in prison, 20 years in prison, etc.
The condemnation/sentencing is done After the person has commited the crimes and been tried and found guilty of said crimes.
That's why I think that the term Judgment Day, as we often use it is church circles, is a mistranslation of the original word.
In the example above and also the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, it is very apparent to me that when we die, we have already been found guilty or innocent. The rest will just be a formality.
The final day, as we know it, should more correctly be called Sentencing Day, as opposed to Judgement Day. (Minor point I know, but just a free observation of mine :))
I would say that if any person, Christian or no, can recite just one Scripture, it would be Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that you may not be judged.
This is particularly true of one caught in a sin and he/she are confronted about it. What are you going to do about it? How can we help you with this problem? You know it's wrong. Can we pray with you about this, etc. etc.
And, especially when the individual's are still being led by Satan and are defiant and non-repentant, they'll shout out the only Scripture they know. "You're not suppose to judge!" "Who are You to judge me?"
I've, more than once, heard life long Christians discuss this in Bible class and they'll say, "Well, we're not supposed to judge."
Well, pardon me, but Yes We Are supposed to judge others.
Really? Come again, Sir?
In this same chapter of Matthew 7, where Jesus says 'Do not judge,' just a few verses later He tells us, 15 Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. you shall know them by their fruits.
OK, We will know them by their fruits.
Q. How can we know someone by the fruit in their lives unless we make a judgment as to whether they are good or bad?
A. We can't. We must make a judgment.
Paul told us in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from every appearance of evil.
OK, I'm good with that as well.
Q. How can we Abstain from every appearance of evil unless we make a Judgment on whether something is good or evil?
A. We can't. We must make a judgment. This is good, this is evil, etc.
The key to all of this is in the translation of the original Greek word. The particular word that is translated 'judge' in Matthew 7:1 is used over a hundred times in the NT.
We have to study our Bible passages in context to be able to 'rightly divide' the Word.
In Matthew 7:1 Jesus is not telling us to never Judge people as being right or wrong, bearing good fruit or bad fruit, deciding if they are false teachers or not, etc.
'Judge' is a poor English translation of the original Greek in that verse. It should more correctly read, "Condemn not, lest ye be condemned."
Are we to 'condemn' others, as in the judge condemning people to life in prison? No!
Are we to 'judge' others (make a determination) as to their fruits, whether they speak truth or fiction in Bible teaching, or whether they are a gossip or a slanderer, etc.? Absolutely.
So, study your Bibles in context. And when some translator from who knows where puts the English word out there as "Judge," then you must decide if, in that particular passage, it means 'to condemn,' or does it mean 'to make a determination.'
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