Tag Archives: judges

“Do not Judge” – Should we not judge anything at all?

_95739648_gettyimages-487787078“Do not judge others!” A common saying among the Christian Congregations of the day, a person who points out a shortcoming is often told not to judge others. But does this agree with God’s Word and the teachings of our Messiah Yeshua? Let’s look into the whole Word of God to see what the Bible teaches us about Judgement.

The commonly quoted Bible verse to show that we should not judge others, is the following

Mat 7:1,2 Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 

Enacting Righteous Judgement

But is this really what Yeshua was telling us not to do? That we should refrain from judging others so that we will also be judged leniently? Let’s read the rest of the verse as well.

Mat 7:1-5 Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

In context, Yeshua tells us here to correct ourselves first, so that we may in turn correct others. In other words, a person should strive to judge righteously. This agrees with what he says in John 7, when the Pharisees judged Him by outward appearance for healing a person on the Sabbath day.

Joh 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

The Apostle Paul says a similar thing when he advices the Corinthian Congregation to judge sin amongst the members of the church when he says the following:

1Cor 5:12-13 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Moreover, Yeshua taught us the correct way to judge such matters in saying,

Mat 18:15-18 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

What God’s Word says about Judgement

Most of these misunderstandings stem from not knowing the foundations of judgement laid in the Scriptures (Old Testament). In God’s Word, there are 3 main concepts of judgement discussed. Let’s look at these 3 ideas of judgement to get a better understanding of what Yeshua and the New Testament writings are trying to teach us.

Palal – The Hebrew word “Palal” means to pray. Wherever we see “prayer” mentioned in God’s Word, the word Palal is used. The word’s true meaning is to intervene, intercede, mediate or judge. Overtime we pray, in fact, we do engage in a sort of judgement. A judgement of self, or judgement of what we want God to help us with. This is a judgement between right and wrong, between black and white, a judgement that proclaims this is right according to His Word or not.

1Sam 2:25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge (Palal – H6419) him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them.

Eze 16:52 Thou also, which hast judged (Palal – H6419) thy sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins that thou hast committed more abominable than they: they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters.

Mishpat – The Hebrew word “Mishpat” means a judgement. It is the decision and sentence which is provided when someone breaks a law. Most of God’s Law consists of such judgements. These judgements were to be given in a court proceeding by judges who were called to that position. Without such a position, we are unable to enact such judgements in our lives and interactions with our fellow human beings.

Lev 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment(Mishpat-H4941): thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

Deu 17:9 And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment(Mishpat-H4941):

Din – The Hebrew word “Din” is the word used of the ministering of justice, meaning when a person is deemed guilty by a court or God, this pronouncing or Execution of Judgement is what this word encapsulates. We are not in a position to enact this facet of Judgement, as we are not Judges or The Righteous Judge of all the Earth – Almighty God.

Psa 9:8 And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment (Din – H1777) to the people in uprightness.

Jer 21:12 O house of David, thus saith the Lord; Execute (Din – H1777) judgment in the morning, and deliver him that is spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, lest my fury go out like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

Conclusion

While we are unable to decide a sentence (Mishpat) or minister justice by executing the said judgement (Din) in an instance where wrongdoings happen, we are clearly able to point out the wrong. This decision between right and wrong (Palal) is what Yeshua asked us to do in our daily lives. In an instance where a congregation is involved “Mishpat” and “Din” may also be enacted by the relevant authorities as mentioned by Yeshua in Mat 18:15-18 and by Paul in 1Cor 5:12-13. So the next time a person tells you not to judge, maybe you should ask which type of “judgement” he/she is speaking of.

Is there a connection between the Historical Judges and Prime Ministers of Modern Israel?

Ever stopped to think whether Scriptural accounts in the past could be repeating themselves and giving us clues to the coming of Messiah? This study will delve into the parallels of the Judges in Israel written in the Book of Judges, with the Prime Ministers of Israel who have been serving in the Land of Israel since 1948. While the study will reveal parallels you may not have seen before, I leave it upto you to make your own conclusions.

Before we start, I need to make a note of Special thanks to sister Valerie Csepe who first shared this parallel with me and led me to study it for myself.

It is a well known fact that there is a cyclical nature to time, in the Scriptures. Things that happened in the past often parallel what happens in the future. The Feast Days/Appointments of God are a good example of this. Also in an earlier study, we went through the whole timeline from creation to the Exile of Judah, we also saw that there maybe a correlation between the 7 days of Creation and the 7000 years from creation to the end of the Millennial Kingdom.

The repetition of events is mentioned by King Solomon as follows:

Ecc 1:9-11 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

So let’s turn to the study in hand and see whether there is any connections between the Judges and Prime Ministers of Israel.

Historical Judges of Israel

Click for enlarged view

Click for enlarged view

The Judges who led the Children of Israel after entering the Land, span from Joshua to Samuel. Followed by King Saul and King David. The Period of Judges are mentioned in the Scriptures even though there seems to be a little vagueness to the exact number of years. The cause for this is because there were also periods of foreign oppression which could have overlapped with the terms of office of some of the judges. Generally the period of Judges is known to be 450 years(Act 13:20) excluding Joshua and Samuel. The duration of rule can be found for each of the judges other than Joshua and Samuel, for whom we will turn to the writings of Josephus Flavius. The 450 year rule of the Judges can be exactly calculated using the Book of Judges as seen in this Image (Click to Enlarge) where Scripture references are given for each of the terms of the Judges as well as the years of oppression under foreign rule.

1st Judge. Joshua – 25Years
Flavius Josephus – Antiquities of the Jews – Book V Chapter 1:29 So Joshua, when he had thus discoursed to them, died, having lived a hundred and ten years; forty of which he lived with Moses, in order to learn what might be for his advantage afterwards. He also became their commander after his death for twenty-five years

Oppressed under Chushanrishathaim – 8years
Jdg 3:8 Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years.

2nd Judge. Othniel – 40Years
Jdg 3:11 And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

Oppressed under Eglon – 18Years
Jdg 3:14 So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.

3rd Judge. Ehud – 80Years
Jdg 3:30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years.

Oppressed under Jabin – 20Years
Jdg 4:3 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.

4th Judge. Deborah – 40Years
Jdg 5:31 So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.

Oppressed under Midian – 7Years
Jdg 6:1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.

5th Judge. Gideon – 40Years
Jdg 8:28 Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.

6th Judge. Abimelech – 3Years
Jdg 9:22 When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel,

7th Judge. Tola – 23Years
Jdg 10:1,2 And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim. And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.

8th Judge. Jair – 22Years
Jdg 10:3 And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years.

Oppressed under Amorites – 18Years
Jdg 10:8 And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead.

9th Judge. Jephthah – 6Years
Jdg 12:7 And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.

10th Judge. Ibzan – 7Years
Jdg 12:8,9 And after him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. And he had thirty sons, and thirty daughters, whom he sent abroad, and took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years.

11th Judge. Elon – 10Years
Jdg 12:11 And after him Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years.

12th Judge. Abdon – 8Years
Jdg 12:13,14 And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel. And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on threescore and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years.

Oppressed under Philistines – 40Years
Jdg 13:1 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.

13th Judge. Samson – 20Years
Jdg 16:31 Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.

14th Judge. Eli – 40Years
1Sa 4:18 And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.

15th Judge. Samuel – 12Years (without 18 Years he judged with Saul)
Flavius Josephus – Antiquities of the Jews – Book VI Chapter13:5. About this time Samuel the prophet died. He was a man whom the Hebrews honored in an extraordinary degree: for that lamentation which the people made for him, and this during a long time, manifested his virtue, and the affection which the people bore for him; as also did the solemnity and concern that appeared about his funeral, and about the complete observation of all his funeral rites. They buried him in his own city of Ramah; and wept for him a very great number of days, not looking on it as a sorrow for the death of another man, but as that in which they were every one themselves concerned. He was a righteous man, and gentle in his nature; and on that account he was very dear to God. Now he governed and presided over the people alone, after the death of Eli the high priest, twelve years, and eighteen years together with Saul the king. And thus we have finished the history of Samuel.

The combined time of the Judges was known to be 450Years
Act 13:20 And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.

Saul a Benjaminite became the first King of Israel – 40Years
Act 13:21 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.

David a Jew became the second King of Israel. Every King of Israel after David, would be from his lineage as per the Promise God had given him including Messiah.
Act 13:22,23 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:

Prime Ministers of Modern Israel
After the official recognition of the state of Israel in 1949, the modern state of Israel has been governed by Prime Ministers as listed below:

  • 1st Prime Minister – David Ben-Gurion (first time, 1948–53 / second time, 1955–63)
    Revered as the “Father of the Nation” he formally proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel and led Israel during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and united the various Jewish militias into the Israel Defense Forces. During the Suez Crisis, when Egypt closed the Canal and the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships, and blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba, in contravention of the Constantinople Convention of 1888, Israel invaded Egypt along with British and French forces under his leadership.
  • 2nd Prime Minister – Moshe Sharett (1953–55)
    The first foreign minister of Israel, Moshe was named David Ben-Gurion’s successor, when he temporarily retired from office. His attempts to stabilize relations with the Arab world were often criticized as some felt that he was too lenient in his response to border incursions and attacks on civilians.
  • 3rd Prime Minister – Levi Eshkol (1963–69)
    Eshkol governed Israel through and after the Six-Day War in 1967 against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. He was the first Israeli leader to be formally invited to the White House greatly improving relations between Israel and the United States.
  • 4th Prime Minister – Golda Meir (1969–74)
    An Israeli teacher, stateswoman and politician, Golda was Israel’s first and only woman to hold office, and has been described as the “Iron Lady” of Israeli politics. She successfully led Israel through the Yom-Kippur War in 1973.
  • 5th Prime Minister – Yitzhak Rabin (first time, 1974–77 / second time, 1992–95)
    A Nobel Peace Prize winner for his efforts on solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict, he was Chief of the General Staff in the Israel Military overseeing Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War. In his first term, Rabin signed the Sinai Interim Agreement with Egypt and gave the go ahead for Operation Entebbe. In his second term, he signed the Oslo Accords with the Palestinian leadership as well as a peace treaty with Jordan. He was later assassinated by an extremist who opposed the terms of the Oslo Accords.
  • 6th Prime Minister – Menachem Begin (1977–83)
    He signed the peace treaty with Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Peace. Under his supervision the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula, which was captured from Egypt in the Six-Day War. His government promoted the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Begin also authorized the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 to fight PLO strongholds there, igniting the 1982 Lebanon War.
  • 7th Prime Minister – Yitzḥak Shamir (first time, 1983–84 / second time, 1986–92)
    Serving in the Mossad Secret Service, Yitzhak was later a Knesset Member, a Knesset Speaker and a Foreign Affairs Minister.
  • 8th Prime Minister – Shimon Peres (first time, 1984–86 / second time, 1995–96)
    He prioritised disengagement from Lebanon, and deepened the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt while seeking resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict. Strengthening ties with the United States Peres became known for his efforts to work out a peaceful solution to the Palestinian problem on the West Bank.
  • 9th Prime Minister – Benjamin Netanyahu (first time, 1996–99 / second time, 2009–present)
    Becoming Israel’s youngest ever Prime Minister, Netanyahu engaged in a major reform of the Israeli economy. The current Prime Minister of Israel, he is set to become the longest-serving Prime Minister in the history of Israel.
  • 10th Prime Minister – Ehud Barak (1999–2001)
    A former Israeli special forces commando, IDF Chief of Staff and Israeli government minister, Ehud is a graduate in physics, mathematics, and economics. The Barak government resumed peace negotiations with the PLO, and also took part in the Camp David 2000 Summit which was meant finally to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict but failed.
  • 11th Prime Minister – Ariel Sharon (2001–06)
    Sharon was a commander in the Israeli Army from its creation in 1948, and was considered the greatest field commander in Israel’s history. As Prime Minister, Sharon orchestrated Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip where a total of 8,000 Jewish settlers from all 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip were evicted and dismantled.
  • 12th Prime Minister – Ehud Olmert (2006–09)
    A former mayor of Jerusalem, Olmert was given acting prime ministerial duties to after Sharon suffered a massive stroke. Following elections Olmert became Prime Minister and would later launch the second Lebanon War in response to infiltrations by Hezbollah. At the Annapolis peace conference he declared Israel’s intention to continue negotiations with the Palestinians, including the repatriation of Palestinian refugees although little headway was tangibly made for peace.

Even though it is hard to match up the judges of Israel with the Prime Ministers of Modern Israel, the 4th judge was Deborah – a lady as well as the 4th Prime Minister, Golda Meir who was a lady. The years of office seems a lot shorter in many cases, but if the parallels hold true; we may have only a few more Prime Ministers to be appointed to office till the 2nd Coming of Christ!

Connections between King Saul & David to the Antichrist and the returning Christ
There have been 15 Judges in Ancient Israel and 12 Prime Ministers (some who have been appointed multiple times) in Modern Israel. After the 15th Judge who was Samuel, there was an interim period where Samuel acted as Judge alongside King Saul roughly for about 18 years after which King Saul reigned supreme for 22 years. It must be mentioned that King Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin, while Rulership was prophesied to go to Judah.

Gen 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

In the above verse Jacob prophesies over his sons, where he specifically says that the Sceptre will not depart from Judah until Shiloh(Messiah) comes, who Himself is prophesied to be from the lineage of Judah and the House of David.

So why did God choose Saul before David? Could there be some connection to the future with these events? In the future we know that an AntiChrist figure will rise who will deceive many, before the appearance of Christ.

Christ is synonymous with King David known as the Son of David in many instances
Mat 12:23
And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?
Mat 21:9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
Luk 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
Act 2:30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
Rev 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Could Saul be an archetype for the AntiChrist Figure who would rise up in the future?
1.The people asked for a human king similar to other nations, thereby rejecting God who was King over them. God gives them Saul as King – a king that they deserve.
1Sa 8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
1Sa 8:19-22 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.

2.Saul was from the Tribe of Benjamin which was never destined to be the Tribe of Kingship
1Sa 9:21 And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?

3.Saul disobeyed God’s direct Command and acted in rebellion
1Sa 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

4.Saul was influenced by an Evil Spirit
1Sa 16:15 And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.
1Sa 18:10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.
1Sa 19:9 And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.

5.Saul murdered the 85 Priests of God showing know respect to God
1Sa 22:21 And Abiathar shewed David that Saul had slain the LORD’S priests.

6.Saul enquires after Spirits
1Sa 28:8 And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.

7.Saul committed suicide
1Sa 31:4 Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

Saul was in no way a good king and a type of king that God wanted over His people. The word Christ/Messiah which means annointed (Christos in Greek and Mashiach in Hebrew) is the opposite of AntiChrist. In this way Saul seems to be the perfect opposite of David – the true King.

Could it be that these events are parallels of each other?
________________________________________________________________________________________________
Historical Judges of Israel  = Prime Ministers of Modern State of Israel
King Saul  =  AntiChrist figure
King David  =  Christ at His 2nd Coming
________________________________________________________________________________________________
Judges
followed by King Saul followed by King David
=
Prime Ministers
followed by Antichrist followed by Christ as King
—————————————————————————————————————————

As I said in the start of this study, this is by no means presented as obvious fact, but is laid before you so you can draw your own conclusions. Could it be all a coincidence? I leave it upto you to study further into these parallels if you choose to do so. Let me know what you think. What you learn. As always, Be a blessing to everyone around you! Shalom!

Should we stone sinners, if we obey God’s Law?

It is part of God’s Law – So, should we? As a means of showing the impracticality of God’s Law, many pose the question, “if we are keeping God’s Law, why don’t we stone adulterers and other sinners specified by the Law?”. A recent comment I received from a dear brother read “If we cannot pick and choose which ceremonial law applies to us, then when keeping the OT law after being saved, we should be sure to stone adulterers.” He went on to ask why Christ forgave the woman who was accused of adultery. And to reiterate the point by commenting that “We should stone. Stone, stone, stone.” While I completely understand the point of view, and the hint of frustration in this brother’s words, I believe this common view among Christians is quite a misinformed one at best. The “issue of stoning” is taken as one of the easiest argument against keeping God’s Law – in a haphazard way, with little to no understanding of how the Law functions.

StoneBut is it a pointless question to ask? Absolutely not. In fact, understanding this subject could bring any Christian who can look at theology in a critical fashion, a bit closer to God’s Word. While this post will focus on the “issue of stoning”, if you would like to read into God’s Law a bit further – please go here.

First of all, I must explain that I, myself as a Christian who was taught that God’s Law was done away in Christ, had the same opinion as the brother whom I mentioned earlier. I had little understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures, even though I had read parts of it – And was ready to defend my faith against who I believed to be “Judaizers” with comments such as “We don’t need to keep God’s Law. If we do, then we need to stone people”. So enough about me – on to the question in hand!

Capital Punishment
When God led the Children of Israel out of Egypt and gave them His Law, many commandments were set forth. There were commandments for land owners, men, women, soldiers, fathers, levites, aaronic priests, judges, witnesses, etc. – much like the laws that govern us in our own respective countries. Many countries have laws, that if broken can lead to capital punishment. This was the case with God’s Law. There were certain acts which were punishable by death – according to God’s Law. And it involved stoning as an act of putting fear in the Godless.

Can anyone stone a sinner?
Imagine a land which is run on a law that specifies that anyone can give the lethal injection to a person accused of murder or adultery. No trial? No judge? No witnesses? Immediate punishment! What sort of land would that be? But this is exactly how Christianity views the Land of Israel under God’s Law in the time before Christ. Barbaric. It is such a pity that we have been taught to view God’s Law which was called liberty by David(Psa 119:45) & James(Jas 1:25), in such a way. The critical question which needs to be asked is “can anyone stone a sinner?”. And as we will see below, similar to the Law of the secular world, God’s Law (when it came to public matters) was to be put to effect through a system of Law.

The making of a ‘system of Law’
When God led His people out of Egypt, at the helm was Moses. He was the only judge at that time, and did his duties from morning to evening (Exo 18:13). It was his duty to enact fair judgement according to God’s Law and statutes (Exo 18:16). Heeding the advice of his father-in-law, Moses chose God-fearing men of truth, and appointed them rulers of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens – teaching them God’s ordinances and Laws (Exo 18:19-21). These rulers were to judge the people under them, and bring any case which was hard for them to resolve, unto Moses (Exo 18:22). Moses in turn would bring any matter he was unsure about before God for resolution(Exo 18:23, Lev 24:12). This was the system of Law at the time – the god fearing rulers/judges would try the easy cases while bringing hard ones to Moses – the head judge, who in turn went to God, when he was unsure of a matter(Exo 18:26). God was supreme ruler and judge of the children of Israel at the time.

After Moses, the mantle of judge passed onto Joshua (Deut 31:14,23) and then to the judges mentioned in the book of judges(Judg 2:16-18) until the time of Samuel, when God gave the people a king at their request. From Saul onward, the kings acted as the head judge – to whom all hard cases were brought to(1King 3:16-28). This system established at the time of Moses was to continue(Deut 16:18) with the help of the priests according to God’s own command (Deut 17:8-12), and was even in effect after the return from the Babylonian exile(Ezr 7:25, 10:14).

The office of the judge
In the book of Deuteronomy, we see Moses recollecting the event where the judges were selected(Exo 18:13-26) with some more detail. In it, he makes an important statement (highlighted in bold with underlining for emphasis)

Deu 1:12-18 How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife? Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you. And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do. So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes. And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it. And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do.

Moses clearly states that the judges should judge righteously, for the judgement would come from God, if they acted/judged according to God’s Word/Law. This same idea is echoed again in 2Chr 19:6. The fact is that judges were to dispense the Law, when it came to public cases. We see this abundantly in the Scriptures – a few examples follow:

Exo 21:22  If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
Exo 22:8 If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto the judges, to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods.
Exo 22:9 For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing, which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbour.
Deu 19:17,18 Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;

The judge who dispenses sentences according to God’s Law needs to be a properly appointed God fearing, righteous person with a thorough knowledge of the Law. Every person could not act as a judge, as it was a position of authority presented to a person, similar to the appointment of a King.

The calling of Witnesses
A judge could not simply put someone to death without hearing a case against him/her. There had to be witnesses called forth, especially in the case of capital punishment. NO ONE COULD BE PUT TO DEATH WITHOUT HEARING 2 TO 3 WITNESSES.

Num 35:30  Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.
Deu 17:6  At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
Deu 19:15  One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

Not only was a judge to hear the case with adequate evidence before putting someone to death, the witnesses had to cast the first stone, when it came to punishment.

Deu 17:7  The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.

Following proper procedure
Each case was to be judged according to God’s Law – and proper procedure was to be followed for each case. For example, in the case of adultery, both the man and woman had to be punished (Deut 22:22, Lev 20:10) – the case would be heard with 2 to 3 witnesses present, and if found guilty by the judge, both of them would be stoned. If the man had forced himself on the woman, the man would be stoned, while the woman was set free. If the woman was not betrothed or married to another, the man would have to marry her and not be permitted to divorce her till his death. (Deut 22:23-29). Without adequate witnesses or following of proper procedure, the Judge would not be able to give a proper sentence.

The verdict
With the above information in hand, we can see that stoning or any other punishment could not have been dispensed without the use of the proper authorities. According to God’s Law, the common man could not take any action against a sinner without the judge and proper witnesses. Two to three witnesses needed to provide testimony for a judge to dispense proper justice. Anything outside these boundaries would have been “vigilantism”, which was not approved by God. No person could take the Law unto his/her own hand, much like the law of the secular world today. Just like we cannot give a ticket to a drunk driver or put a murderer on the electric chair, God’s Law did not allow everyone to judge & punish the guilty.

Why did Christ let the woman accused of adultery go free?
Many Christians believe that Yeshua(real name of Jesus) reinterpreted or changed God’s Law against adultery, when he let the woman accused of adultery go free. Let us review the words in John 8:2-11.

And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

A few important facts to point out:
1. The pharisees say that the woman was taken in the act of adultery – but the man with whom the act of adultery was committed is not present (both man and woman should be produced before the judge for proper sentencing – Deut 22:22/Lev 20:10)
2. They point to God’s Law given through Moses, and the connected punishment of death by stoning, as part of punishment for adultery – even though without a proper hearing it cannot be determined what action should be taken (the woman would be stoned if it was consensual along with the man/ the woman would be set free, while the man was stoned if she was forced upon / the woman would be given in marriage to the man with no ability of divorce if she is not betrothed to anyone – Deut 22:23-29)
3. Yeshua asked the one without sin to cast the first stone (the one who is familiar with God’s Law would have known that the person to cast the first stone needed to be the witnesses – Deut 17:7) – in light of this, whether any real witnesses were present would have been questionable, and even if they were present, the fact that they were sinful as much as the woman, made it impossible for them to judge anyone.
4. Yeshua asks whether no one passed sentence on the woman, and tells her that neither will He – to go and sin no more (The fact is that Yeshua was not an appointed judge who could carry out a death sentence, let alone punish anyone. He even denies to being any kind of judge in Luk 12:14. This was not the court, the partner who should be accused alongside the woman was missing and whether there were any real witnesses is questionable. It is important to highlight that the Pharisees and Scribes could not put anyone to death under Roman rule anyway, as it was prohibited by Roman Law(Joh 18:31) – this would have been why this situation was used as a way of finding fault with Christ. If Yeshua said “no”, He would have gone against God’s Law. If He said “yes”, He would have gone against Roman Law. Just as with the case of “paying taxes to Rome”, in this situation He showcased God’s Wisdom, in unraveling the plot and silencing the hecklers while putting them to shame by their own acts.

Conclusion
Stoning the guilty, much like the rest of God’s Law, is misunderstood by most. While this specific part is used to make God’s Law look ancient, impractical and even barbaric – it must be noted that dispensing of God’s Law when it came to a public matter, was not open for everyone. People could not stone each other haphazardly for every accusation. There was a system in place for this purpose with witnesses providing testimony and judges determining the verdict – all done according to specifics pointed out in God’s Law. If we stoned someone outside these instructions, our actions would go against God’s Law. For example, Stephen was stoned against God’s Law, as they produced false witnesses(Acts 6:11-14) against him and stoned him without a proper trial or verdict (Acts Chapter 7). While there were many such instances of kangaroo courts, mob attacks & vigilantism – none of it is in accordance to God’s Law, which systematically produces righteous judgement and unbiased punishment. Let us be thankful that Christ has taken on Himself the punishment for sins, which we should be stoned for, and have granted us to live a life full of Grace through walking in His ways/Words/Laws.

Further Reading:
Could anyone in Old Testament times, take “an eye for an eye”?
Is God’s Law a curse?
Defining the terms Sin, Law & Grace

Could anyone in Old Testament times, take “an Eye for an Eye”?

One of the well known teachings done by Christ at the “Sermon on the Mount”, is the comparison of “Eye for an Eye” and “Turning the other cheek”(Mat 5:38-42). It is a known fact that the “Eye for an Eye” teaching comes from the Old Testament Scriptures. Some believe that Christ was abolishing Old Testament teachings while showing the New Testament way of Love, when He compared these 2 contradictory thoughts, or ways of living. Others see this as an example of how the 2 Covenants are different from each other. The question that is often asked is “Why did God command to take an eye for an eye in the Old Testament, whereas Christ changed it to turning ones cheek in the New Testament”? Is there a contradiction here? Could anyone take “An eye for an eye” in the Old Testament?

Mat 5:38-42  Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

In the following study, we will find out that a little understanding and context behind the Scriptures would help anyone see that the “Eye for an Eye, Tooth for a tooth” phrase was not a commandment for everyone, but a “measurement” used for punishment by “Judges”, appointed in the Old Testament. In other words, no Israelite could take the Law onto his/her own hand and “take an eye for an eye” – it was solely upto the Judges to make just judgement – “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. Solomon JudgesA person who was wronged had to appear before a Judge (Such as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Solomon, etc.) with at least two witnesses, so that their case was heard. The Judge would then give the judgement according to the loss (An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, etc.) as per the legal system constituted by Moses according to the Word of God. Furthermore, we will see that “Turning ones cheek” which means “Refusing to take revenge” has also been a central theme of the Old Testament, which Yeshua(Jesus’s true name) clearly taught to everyone, through the “Word of God or Scripture“.

1. Why were these 2 ideas compared? The Context.
Much of the misunderstanding behind the phrase “Eye for eye” exists because of the comparison made by Yeshua. Because of this comparison, most Christians believe that anyone in the Old Testament was taught to take “An eye for an eye” while Christ changed it to “Turn the other cheek”. To really understand the reason why Christ compared these ideas, we only need to look at the context of the said passage. The “you have heard” – “but I say to you” teachings of Messiah start off at Mat 5:21. One needs to read only a few verses before, to understand the context of His teaching.

Mat 5:17-20  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

So what is the context of His teaching, of “you have heard” – “but I say to you”? Notice the “Scribes and the Pharisees” mentioned just before His teaching. Notice how He says that whoever breaks the least of the Commandments or “teach” men to break them will be least in God’s Kingdom. Yeshua was talking about the Scribes & Pharisees of His day, who had taught a perverted version of God’s Word/Scripture (Old Testament). We have studied all about the teachings of the Pharisees in depth, in a previous post. But it is sufficient to say that the Pharisees were going against God’s Word by their own “Traditions” also known as the “Oral Law”. Yeshua was teaching the crowds that had gathered around at His feet, that “they had heard” (from the teachers of their time – who were the Scribes and Pharisees) it being said “An eye for an eye”, but that the correct way was to “turn ones cheek” or in other words, “keep judgement unto God and God alone”.

2. Eye for an Eye – A measurement for the Judges – Not a commandment for people
Under the Law given by God through Moses, any and all Israelites who were wronged had to come before a judge to plead their case. No one could take the Law into their own hands, and “dish out” justice (Deut 1:16-18, 16:18,19, 25:1-3). Now let’s take a look at the verse in concern “Eye for an eye”, and check what the Old Testament writings say about it.

Exo 21:22-25  If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

Deu 19:15-21  One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you. And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you. And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

In the above verses, we can clearly see that the person charged with some wrongdoing had to appear before the Judges, who made him/her pay as “Determined by the judges” after a trial. This was the legal system which was instituted by God, through Moses. Judges were instituted by God to judge His people (Exo 18:21, 1Chr 17:10), and they were supposed to be impartial(2Chr 19:5-7). One of the criteria that the judges had to adhere, which came straight from God’s mouth was “Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth”(Lev 24:20). In other words, the Judges had to judge righteously – nothing more, nothing less.

Anyone who says that “in Old Testament times, people took an eye for an eye” believe in an erroneous doctrine. The judgement of “Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth” could never be put to power without the ruling of the judges, after due inquisition. It is the same today, with most of the justice systems in the world, where the common man cannot take action against wrongdoing. He/she has to come before a judge and plead his/her case, where the judge will give his judgement according to the Law of that country.

3. Evidence of the same justice system in force even in New Testament times
Even though the justice system put in to effect by Moses survived through to the time of the New Testament, the ruling sect such as the Pharisees broke this system frequently. The following instances are but a few places where we see that no one could be punished outside the Law of God, even in the time of the New Testament.

A. When the Pharisees were accusing Yeshua without a formal hearing, we see that Nicodemus (who was a pharisee himself) challenging the other Pharisees saying “Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?“(Joh 7:51). This proves that no one could be punished before being judged, and being formally heard.

B. In a similar fashion, we see Paul challenging the Council which had brought him to be  judged, for hitting him for no reason saying “for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?”(Act 23:3). This shows that the person brought before the judges could not be punished in any way before proven guilty. In other words, It was contrary to the Law to punish someone without him/her being found guilty.

4. Turning the other cheek
Through this teaching (which challenged and rectified the teaching of the Pharisees) Yeshua taught the crowds that no one should retaliate or avenge oneself, when somebody wrongs them. God alone stands for Justice, and taking it upon oneself to enact justice has never been approved by God. In fact, God had communicated the same idea in the Old Testament as we see below.

Lev 19:18  Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
Pro 20:22  Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.
Pro 24:29  Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.
Job 31:29,30  If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him: Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul.
Pro 25:21  If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:
Exo 23:4,5  If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.

5. Righteous Judgement belongs to God Almighty
Righteous judgement can only be provided by Our Heavenly Father. This is why He said not to avenge anyone as vengeance is His alone. These are the same words quoted by Paul, in his letter to the Romans, as well as by the author of the Book of Hebrews.

Deu 32:35  To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
Rom 12:19  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Heb 10:30  For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

We see that throughout the Old Testament Scriptures, people referred to God as the Judge, and kept off judgement to Him alone.

Jdg 11:27  Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me: the LORD the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon.
Job 5:8 
I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:
Gen 18:25 
That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
Psa 75:7  But God is the judge:
he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

King David has shown the same characteristic of “Turning the other cheek” on several occasions, where he refused to take vengeance, even though it was rightfully his. He knew that God was the ultimate judge, who judges between people to deliver true justice.

1Sa 24:12  The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.
1Sa 26:23  The LORD render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: for the LORD delivered thee into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the LORD’S anointed.
2Sa 16:11b,12 let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.

Additionally, even Joseph showed the same characteristic, when his brothers begged him for forgiveness for selling him into slavery. His words to them were “Fear not: for am I in the place of God?”(Gen 50:19),  Even though Joseph was wronged by his brothers, he did not avenge his brothers for their wrong, knowing that God is the judge of all creation.

6. Conclusion
The words of Yeshua recorded in Mat 5:38-42 are inherently connected to “Loving your Neighbor”(Mat 5:43). Even though the subject of “Loving the Neighbor and Hating the enemy” has been discussed in a previous post, it is important to note that “turning the other cheek” is part and parcel of “The Love thy Neighbor” commandment(Lev 19:18). In retrospect, whoever compares the Old Testament to the idea of “An eye for an eye” is utterly mistaken, as Yeshua’s message was directed at rectifying the wrong doctrines taught by the teachers of His day, such as the “Scribes & Pharisees”.

A person with a simple knowledge of the Old Testament would know that no one could take the Law on to their own hand, under the Mosaic Covenant. Anyone who was wronged by another, had to bring the case before the Judges who listened to both sides and judged with the measure of “Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth”. What Yeshua addressed was the wrong doctrine of applying “An eye for an eye”(which was a standard/measure given to the judges), to say that any person can avenge him/herself for whatever wrong caused against them. “Judgement”, just like in the Old Testament times, still belongs to God. We must trust Him and bring our petitions to Him, without trying to avenge anyone for the hurt they have caused us. This was the simple teaching that our Messiah brought us, not that it was from Himself, but it was God’s Word all along.