Judge Righteous Judgment #2

Fred R. Coulter, October 11, 2006

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Greetings brethren! As we saw, God is going to give judgment to all the saints all during the Millennium. And we also know that Jesus told the twelve apostles that they would sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. The way that it appears from the Bible is that David would be king over Israel and then all the apostles will work with King David. Quite a tremendous relationship and understanding that we need to realize

When Not to Judge

There is a time to judge; there is a time not to judge, and we'll talk about a lot of things concerning judgment because it covers an awful lot of ground. Let's understand something that is very important for us to realize:

  • Is it your business?

If it is not your business, then don't judge!

  • Is it within the realm of your authority?

If it is not in the realm of your authority then don't judge!

As we covered in part one, don't turn around and talk about it to other people, because this really causes a lot of problems. What happens is that you end up with a lot of gossip and talking, and putting a brother or sister in a bad light. Why would you want to do that?

We need to realize, as we are going to cover here where it says, 'Love covers a multitude of sins.' What does that mean? First of all, God is love Who forgives sins!

Does that not cover sins? Yes! We are to love each other as Christ has loved us. Is that not true? Yes! So, when there are sins that we are aware of, that doesn't necessarily mean that we make it our business and go to the person and have a discussion with them. The best thing you can do is to pray about it. That is showing the utmost love. Don't go talking to other people about it.

When not to judge is when it is a personal preference. What we're covering is in this booklet Judge Righteous Judgment, and I am basically following the outline that is there although I am not reading directly from it. Let's understand something concerning personal choice, personal conviction.

They had a problem in the early church that we don't have a problem with today, and that is there were a lot of people who were vegetarians because they chose to be vegetarians. There were other people who chose to be vegetarians because they didn't want to get their meat from the temples where they were slaughtered. You had this problem intermixed with the problem in Rome. Then the third problem that we find in Rom. 14 is that certain ones who ate meat would eat it on certain days.

The King James Version of the translation of Rom. 14 is completely and absolutely wrong in its basic assumptions. This does not have to do with the esteeming of one day above another day for a day of worship, but it has to do with esteeming a day on which to eat meat or not.

Let's go through Rom. 14 and we are going to get a very important principle that we need to understand.

Romans 14:1: "Receive the one who is weak in the faith, but not for divisive arguments." This is how the whole situation comes about. There are personal preferences that a person may have, which you may not agree with, which you may think are really silly, but it's not your business! If it is a personal preference before God, and God accepts them, then rejoice in it, don't start arguing.

Verse 2: "Now on the one hand, one believes he may eat all things that are lawful." The King James says, 'may eat all things.' Of course, you know we are not to eat unclean foods, so this means "…all things that are lawful."

"…but on the other hand, another one, who is weak, eats only vegetables" (v 2). There is nothing wrong with being a vegetarian. As matter of fact, those who find out that they have cancer had better get on a raw vegetable and fruit diet exclusively, immediately. You can look up any site on the Internet and find out about that. You can go to Dr. Lorraine Day's website and she'll tell you about that.

Here is what happens; people tend to look down on each other, v 3: "The one who eats meat should not despise the one who does not eat it. And the one who does not eat meat should not condemn the one who eats it, for God has received him." God has received both, so this is to eat meat or not to eat meat; it has nothing to do with a day of worship.

Verse 4: "Who are you to be judging another man's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he shall be made to stand because God is able to make him stand. Again, on the one hand, someone may prefer one day above another day for eating meat…" (vs 4-5). That's for eating meat, because that's the whole context of Rom. 14.

"…but on the other hand, another may hold every day to be alike… [eat meat on a day, or not eat meat at all on any day] …Let each one be fully convinced in his own mind" (v 5). So, this is a matter of personal choice.

Verse 6 makes it clear: "The one who regards the day in his eating is regarding it to the Lord; and the one who does not regard the day is not regarding it to the Lord. The one who eats meat is eating to the Lord because he gives thanks to God; and the one who does not eat meat is abstaining to the Lord, and is giving thanks to God." That is for the vegetables that he eats.

Verse 7: "For no one among us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we should live unto the Lord; and if we die, we should die unto the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. It is for this very purpose that Christ both died and rose and is living again, so that He might be Lord over both the dead and the living. Now then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ" (vs 7-10). Always remember that.

Verse 11: "Because it is written, '"For as I live," says the Lord, "every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.' So then, each one of us shall give account of himself to God" (vs 11-12). That's another important thing to understand. We are all going to come before the judgment seat of God and give an account to God.

Verse 13: "Therefore, we should no longer judge one another…" there are times not to judge, and if it is a personal preference, and if it is not sin, then rejoice in it, and if it personally causes you some second thoughts or something, work around it.

  • be happy
  • be friendly
  • be kind
  • be good to the person

Don't try to convince them one way or the other or try to change their mind.

Verse 13: "Therefore, we should no longer judge one another, but judge this instead: Do not put an occasion of stumbling or a cause of offense before your brother." Don't cause needless problems with self-righteous, super-hypocritical judging and condemning. Don't do that!

Verse 14: "I understand and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus that nothing is common of itself…" This is an important thing to understand, because this is an intermixture of what some of the Jews were doing. Because Jews had a classification of things that were called common, and common amounted to this: If a Gentile handled the food, or made the bread with the supervision of a Jew, it was common, but edible.

Even the clean things, such as bread, lawful meat, vegetables, and things like this, if a Gentile handled it, and a Jew was not supervising, then even that which is declared in the Word of God as clean, was counted by the Jew as unclean. This is why he is saying what he is saying. The King James says, unclean. That is a completely improper translation. It should be common.

Verse 14: "I understand and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus that nothing is common of itself, except to the one who regards anything to be common—to that one it is common…. [some of these things become a matter of personal choice] …But if, because of meat, your brother is offended… [whether to eat or not eat] …you are no longer walking according to love…. [that's the whole key to when not to judge] …With your meat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. Therefore, do not let your good be evil spoken of. For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking; rather, it is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (vs 14-17).

We see in the New Testament that that is a higher level of conduct than just the small little things and preferences that people have.

Verse 18: "Because the one who serves Christ in these things is well pleasing to God and acceptable among men. So then, we should pursue the things of peace and the things that edify one another. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of meat…." (vs 18-20)

Now remember this, the greatest work of God that He is doing is in each individual to create Christ in them. So, don't destroy that by causing problems and difficulties.

"…All things that are lawful are indeed pure…" (v 20). You can't have something that God calls unclean and make it lawful by saying that you don't believe that unclean applies today.

"…but it is an evil thing for someone to cause an occasion of stumbling through his eating. It is better…" (vs 20-21). Now you get the whole context here and you understand this: has to do with:

  • eating meat
  • eating vegetables
  • drinking wine/not drinking wine
  • choices of conscience or preference

That a person decides for him or herself, and has nothing to do with righteousness or sin, and so therefore, we should not judge them.

Verse 21: "It is better not to eat meat… that's what we're talking about] …or drink wine, or anything else by which your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak. Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But the one who doubts is condemned if he eats because his eating is not of faith…" (vs 21-23).

If someone eats and really doesn't have faith in doing so, then he is condemning himself because, here is a principle:

"…for everything that is not of faith is sin" (v 23). So, what you do, you sin against your brother!

Now let's take it one step further. Since you're in an area of not judging; What do you do when you see someone sin?

  • How do you handle that?
  • How should that be?

1-John 5—let's see a very important principle here; let's understand it because if we see somebody sinning:

  • we have to make a judgment concerning it
  • we have to make a right judgment
  • we have to make this judgment in accordance with love and mercy

If we don't do this, if we judge a person's heart, then we are judging God, and if we are judging God, then what we are doing, we are putting ourselves in the seat of God and we end up like Job. Remember what God had to say to Job? 'Who are you to disannul My judgments? Who are you to say you are more righteous than Me?'

Let's see what we have here concerning what to do if someone sins. The answer is to pray about it!

1-John 5:14: "And this is the confidence that we have toward Him: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." Is it God's will that a person understand what the sin is and be able to repent? Of course it is!

Verse 15: "And if we know that He hears us, whatever we may ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him. If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin that is not unto death…" (vs 15-16)—a forgivable sin! Here is what you're to do.

"…he shall ask…" (v 16). Go pray for that individual. So, the first thing that you do before anything else is put it in God's hands. Ask Him to intervene! If you see the sin, does not God see the sin? Of course! What are you doing? You're showing love to the individual by praying for the individual, by asking God to intervene and change the mind of that individual. After all isn't God more capable of changing the mind of an individual than any of us? Of course! What does this do then? This helps you show your love for that person by praying for that person and asking God to intervene and help him or her to overcome the sin which is not a sin unto death.

"…and He will give him life for those who do not sin unto death. There is a sin unto death; concerning that sin, I do not say that he should make any supplication to God" (v 16). If you want to know about the unpardonable sin, we have that in the book, Occult Holidays or God's Holy Days—Which?

Verse 17: "All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not unto death." So, we pray and ask God—Who knows the hearts of all men and women—'Please open the mind of this person to see what they need to do. Work out circumstances in their lives so they will come to understand what they need to do.'

Now just to give you an example of something that happened. There was a woman and her daughter and the woman is quite elderly, she is about 84 or 85, and she hasn't heard or seen from her son for three or four years, and both of them have been praying, 'Oh, God, please cause my son to call. Please have him get in touch with us.' And, lo and behold, just the other day a bolt-out-of-the-blue, guess who called? The son did! That is a perfect example of how that with persistent prayer, with patience and understanding, putting it in God's hands, God is able to deal with the situation, and to cause the circumstances to change.

When we see it occur let's realize that all of us sin and come short of the glory of God, we all want our sins forgiven, so pray for that individual to have his sins forgiven. When you have something else, then you show yourself to be merciful and when you need mercy God's going to give it to you. Remember this: If you show mercy, you're going to receive mercy. If you show no mercy, don't think you're going to get any!God judges righteous judgment. Let's keep that in mind.

So that we get our bearings and know what we are talking about, v 18: "We know that anyone who is begotten by God does not practice sin; for the one who has been begotten by God keeps himself by the power of God, and the wicked one does not touch him." That's what's important to understand and to realize in this. So, the first thing you do is pray for the individual.

  • How long should you pray for the individual?
  • How long do you think it may take?

Well, let me give you another example, which I may have covered before, but this is well worth bringing out. I remember when I first started pastoring in Boise, Idaho, in 1965, a man came up to me real serious and he said, 'I don't think I ought to take the Passover.' I said, 'Well, why is that?' And he said, 'Well, I haven't quit smoking, yet.' And I said, 'That's the very reason you need to take the Passover so you can have the strength from God's Holy Spirit to overcome.'

So, the next year a little before Passover, he came up to me again, and he said, 'I don't think  I should take the Passover.' And I said, 'Well, why? Have you quit smoking yet?' And he said, 'Well, I've cut down, but I haven't quit.' And I said, 'Well, you take the Passover again this year and let's see how you do.'

So, he came up to me the third Passover and he said, 'I have quit.' That took well over two years, so you see, let's not bring in the vanity-filled, self-centered immediately solve every problem all at once, because that's the modern way of thinking. Let's have God's way of thinking.

  • Does God give time?
  • Does God give space?
  • Does God give repentance?
  • Yes, He does!

Isn't that what God is interested in? Yes!

While you're praying for someone you have seen sin a sin not unto death, that they repent, also ask God to forgive you your sins. And who knows, maybe someone is praying for you because they may have seen you sin a sin not unto death, and they are praying for you. That's how love covers a multitude of sins, and that's how you are not to judge and when not to judge.

Now let's take this one step further and see what we need to do if that doesn't work. Remember this: just think how backbiting and divisive that the whole Church would become if we all ended up:

  • correcting each other
  • backbiting each other
  • talking about each other

and that's a great sin in the greater Churches of God!

There are some things based on false doctrine that we need to be aware of. That's a different story; let's understand that. Many of the things that people get all upset about are really small, little problems, and I liken it to a fly on the wall. The most destructive way to kill a fly on the wall is that you get a 105-Howitzer and you aim perfectly and you kill the fly. You do, but you blow up the whole house! And many times a wagging fiery tongue going through the congregation does that! So, we don't want to do that.

John 7:24, Jesus said: "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment."

When it gets to a point where it is a personal problem, when it gets to a point that it is really a difficult situation, then Christ gives us the steps on what we should do. We have prayed about it first, we put it in God's hands, we asked God to work it out, and if it continues to persist then you may need to go to the brother or sister privately.

Matt. 18—God wants this done as rescuing, because He gives the parable of the man who has a hundred sheep and one has gone astray, and he goes out to find it until he recovers it and brings it back and rejoices over it. God doesn't want to lose anyone. So, when it comes down to Matt. 18, I've seen this worked in a right way, and I've seen it worked in a very self-righteous way to get at people and to exercise power over them.

Matt. 18 is one of these things that you only do when it's a really difficult problem. Let's see what Jesus said. I know a lot of people cannot resist the temptation of talking to other people about it first, and a lot of people have used another Scripture to talk about it first with another person, by saying, '…in a multitude of counsel there is wisdom.'

Well, if it is a personal problem between you and the individual, do not involve anybody else! and do not spread it abroad! And even in this, ask God for the proper opportunity so that you can bring it up to the individual.

Now let's see what Jesus said, Matthew 18:15: "So then, if your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault between you and him alone…. [that's how to do it] …If he is willing to hear you, you have gained your brother." That's what it is.

It doesn't tell us that we're only to do this once and say, 'All right! I've come to you once, now I'm coming back with two more, and we are going to nail your hide to the wall!' NO! God doesn't want us operating that way. You may have to go to him several times. Maybe he or she doesn't see the fault right away. Maybe it's one of those things that they're completely unaware of, and some times when you first bring it up, maybe they will even bristle a little bit, so you need to be prepared for that, too. If you go to your brother or sister because of a fault, you go alone, but you pray about it first.

Now then, after you have done that maybe two or three times, maybe four times who knows how many times it will take?

Verse 16: "But if he will not listen, take with you one or two others, so that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established." This is a very serious matter; it's only serious matters that come to this level.

The two or three of you should also work with the individual privately, quietly, patiently more than once, how many ever times it takes. God doesn't limit the number of times to go. I've had people say, 'Well, I've taken two or three others, now I'm going to take it to the Church' and writes a letter to the whole mailing list!

  • Is that love?
  • Is that covering sin?
  • Is that trying to work it out?

No!

  • that's creating strife
  • that's creating division
  • that's creating unrighteous judgment

If it's a very serious problem, you may have to take the same two or three with you, and

  • still keep it private
  • still keep it confidential
  • still keep it between you and the individual and the one or two others that go with you

Now then, when it comes to that point, and I have learned that the proper way to disfellowship a person is to let them, him or her, disfellowship themselves by seeing the problem and if they are unwilling to change, say, 'I'm going to step aside for a while.' And you know what? That works the best because in every case God wants the door to be left open upon repentance!

Verse 17: "And if he fails to listen to them, tell it to the Church…." That means the local congregation. If it's a big congregation then the whole congregation doesn't have to get involved. The Church may be able to appoint those to sit on a committee to go over it, and select the right ones to make a judgment. Then you tell it to the Church and the Church makes a decision.

"…But if he also fails to listen to the Church, let him be to you as the heathen and the tax collector" (v 17).

You need to understand that the power of judgment given here is exactly the same power of judgment that God gave to the judges of ancient Israel, and we will cover a little bit later the qualifications for a judge and so forth.

Verse 18: "Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on the earth will have already been bound in heaven; and whatever you shall loose on the earth will have already been loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, that if two of you on earth shall agree concerning any matter that they wish to request, it shall be done for them by My Father, Who is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there, I am in the midst of them" (vs 18-20).

In other words, Christ is there helping solve the problem. And when you make a decision, it is binding and will be upheld in heaven, but it has to be based on:

  • the Word of God
  • the laws of God
  • the commandments of God
    • with love
    • with concern
    • with understanding
    • with repentance

The whole key in every one of these things is repentance and change.

{note sermon: Are you God's Policeman?}Too many people, rather than focusing on their own problems…because it brings us back to Matt. 7…

First, you are to get the beam out of your own eye so you can see to get the sliver out of your brother's eye. We are not to make it our business to go around judging the brethren! It causes strife and division.

I've only had two occurrences in all the years in Christian Biblical Church of God where it came to the third step. In both cases, because of the situation, the individuals involved disfellowshipped themselves. Now, there may come a time of forceful disfellowshipment, but the whole purpose in everything is repentance.

Verse 21: "Then Peter came to Him and said, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Until seven times?'" You know, keep a little notebook, that's once, that's two, that's three, that's four up to seven. All right, I have forgiven you seven times, that's it!

  • Do you have a long-term problem that you have been working on?
  • Do you have a weakness that keeps coming back upon you?
    • Every one of us do!
    • I do!
    • You do!
    • Everyone else does!
  • What do we do? We go to God and ask Him to forgive us!
  • Do we believe that He has forgiven us? Of course, we do!

Jesus didn't want Peter to get away with just seven.

Verse 22: "Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you until seven times, but until seventy times seven'"—490 times! That's an awful lot. If it's once a day every day, that's a year and a quarter.

  • Is that merciful?
  • Is that longsuffering?
  • Is that kind?
  • Yes, indeed!

Then He gives the parable, which is very important in judgment. I'll let you read it in the booklet; the one who was thrown in jail for just a few pence after he was forgiven: if you want God to forgive you for your sins, you must forgive others for their sins!

What are we dealing with? We are dealing with the New Testament judgment from God! Now let's get the sum of this:

Verse 32: "Then his lord called him and said to him, 'You wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt, because you implored me.'"

We all want our sins forgiven, but we just don't want to forgive this person his or her little sin. We become all self-righteous and super-critical. Notice what He says in v 33. Very important! This is a New Testament judgment given by Jesus Christ to help us understand how to judge righteous judgment in love and mercy and understanding.

Verse 33: "'Were you not also obligated to have compassion on your fellow servant, even as I had compassion on you?' And in anger, his lord delivered him up to the tormentors, until he should pay all that he owed to him" (vs 33-34).

This is also another very important thing in judging, that if you do not forgive when they have repented, God is not going to forgive you! And He is going to take all your forgiven sins and put them back on you. Because that's what he did here with this one servant who wouldn't forgive. "…And in anger, his lord delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that he owed to him."

Verse 35: "Likewise shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother's offenses from the heart" That's an important part of judgment. When there is repentance, there is mercy and forgiveness.

Let's see another situation that was really difficult and Paul had to make the judgment, because the brethren didn't make the judgment. You know this was the case of the man who was committing incest with his step-mother and when they came to the Church they were all saying, 'Oh my, we are all broad-minded, you know, we'll accept this.' And Paul said, 'No! When you're gathered together…'—notice because they didn't make the judgment:

1 Corinthians 5: 2: "You are puffed up and did not grieve instead, so that he who did this deed might be taken out of your midst." There is a time of enforced disfellowshipment because of grievous sin and no repentance. As we know, this is all done to help that person repent. We find in 2-Cor. that he did.
Here's what Paul said, v 3: "For I indeed, being absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged concerning him… [because he knew what needed to be done] …who has so shamelessly committed this evil deed as if I were present: In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit, together with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ" (vs 3-4).

That sounds exactly like Matt. 18. When you make a decision, Christ is there in the midst of it. Paul was making a decision of judgment because the congregation did not do it properly.

Verse 5: "To deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." Even disfellowshipment is to bring a person to repentance so that they can be saved.

Now let's understand something about disfellowshipment, the wrong use of it. Many times it's used because a minister does not like the person, does not like the questioning, does not like the things that someone is doing. Also, you have political disfellowshipment. I was a victim of that when I left one of the major Churches of God, and all of those are wrong disfellowshipments, but here it shows the right disfellowshipment, and what to do.

Then Paul starts talking about why it was so important for them to make this judgment. So, he asked them, since they didn't do this and it was a congregational thing that they should have followed in following Matt. 18.

1-Corinthians 6:1: "Does anyone among you who has a matter against another dare to go to a court of law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?" Here we have a situation that they were running off getting lawyers, going to court, judgment and all of this sort of thing.

I can tell you this, if there is one thing we have learned in the Churches of God in the experiences that we have been through, if we go to court, brother against brother, sister against sister, church against church, we are a stench in God's nostrils; because God wants us to make the right and proper judgment and settle the matter between ourselves!

(Part 2)

Let's learn something very important, which we have already touched on.

1-Corinthians 6:1: "Does anyone among you who has a matter against another dare to go to a court of law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?"

In either case, you can get a bad judgment if the saints have not prepared themselves and equipped themselves to make righteous judgment, because we are going to see what it takes to make righteous judgment.

Here is the reason, v 2: "Don't you know that the saints shall judge the world?…." Isn't that what we saw back in Rev. 20, that thrones were put down, those who were in the first resurrection and judgment was given to them. Now notice this question; this is a profound question:

"…And if the world is to be judged by you, are you unworthy of the most trivial of judgments? Don't you know that we shall judge angels?…." (vs 2-3). Doesn't that really tell us the responsibility that God is going to give us? And why it's so important that we do judge righteous judgment?

  • that we understand what it is
  • that we understand how to develop it
  • that we understand the very basis for it

"…How much more then the things of this life? So then, if you have judgments concerning the things of this life, why do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the Church?" (vs 3-4).

You put someone up there so that you know it isn't going to work. It sounds like the judges we have today in America. They put judges up there in most cases so they know that it isn't going to work.

Now Paul says, v 5, "Now I say this to your shame. Is it because there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who is able to decide between his brothers? Instead, brother goes to a court of law with brother, and this before unbelievers" (vs 5-6). I cannot help thinking of that when I have seen the Church have a full-time legal staff and we are ending up suing people. Amazing!

Verse 7: "Now therefore, there is altogether an utter fault among you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? Instead, you are doing wrong and defrauding, and you are doing these things to your brethren" (vs 7-8).

Then he gives a warning, v 9: "Don't you know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God?"—because they can't make righteous judgment.

"…Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor abusers of themselves as women, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God" (vs 9-10).

We're all a collection of people needing forgiveness, needing mercy and kindness from God, and then to get our heads screwed on right so we can make righteous judgment.
Verse 11: "And such were some of you; but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." We need to realize how important this righteous judgment is.

Since judging righteous judgment is so important, let's see how we are to do this. Let's learn some things from the Bible, because remember Jesus said, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment." We're going to see how to develop righteous judgment.

We need to understand the term. As exercised according to the principles of God's Word, we can define it this way: A judgment is a decision or conclusion based upon the spiritual intent of God's laws, statutes, and judgments where the will of God may or may not be specifically stated! When official judgments are required, the one who is making such judgment must be qualified according to the standards that God has set forth to clarify, to decide, and to resolve a controversy. Judgments can have far-reaching and lasting consequences! That's why Jesus said, 'Judge righteous judgment.'

The first basis of righteous Godly judgment is the love of God! The Bible says God is love. It also says that God is Judge, and we will all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Righteous judgment can only be based on love for God and love for neighbor. It's impossible—let's understand this—to have love without judgment, or to have judgment without love! You can have judgment without love, but that's not righteous judgment. This is the basic fundamental foundation for judging righteous judgment.

Let's see the system of judges under the Old Covenant. As we go through and study this, let's look at whatever country you are in, and let's compare the judicial system of that country with the judicial system that God set forth for Israel with judges.

All the judgments that the judges make in the land, especially if it comes to the top court of the land or as it's called in the United States, the Supreme Court, their judgments have lasting effects. Let's just take one: the judgment that abortion is legal had a lasting effect of killing, just in America, over 47-million innocent children; worse than the Holocaust against the Jews.

Yet, it is inconceivable that many of those people who scream about the Holocaust, advocate abortion. Many of those who 'boohoo' about the Holocaust never consider all of the incendiary white phosphorus bombing that was done by the Allies against the Germans, which killed German people. They do not consider, they scream bloody murder over 6-million who were supposedly killed in the incinerator camps, but they forget all of the numbers of American troops that were sacrificed, all the wounded with them. They forget all of the Russians that were killed. War is a terrible judgment of God, and when God metes out His judgment with war, it impacts everybody.

When you have that system of judges—back to the thing concerning abortion—it affects everybody with long-lasting ramifications. Then if you saw the statistics, nearly one billion innocent babies have been killed in the womb because of the judgment that abortion is legal.

Let's see the system of judges under the Old Covenant. Let's see God's instructions, how it should be done and the way it should be done. Let's first of all understand that once God gives the judgment, we need to understand where we came from and what we need to do, and not take a high, exalted, self-righteous opinion because God has called us.

Deuteronomy 7:6 "For you are a Holy people to the LORD your God…" As we read these things, I want you to put a New Testament emphasis upon it, because Deut. has a lot of New Testament principles and laws in it because Deuteronomy means the second giving of the Law.

"…you are a Holy people to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a special people to Himself above all people that are upon the face of the earth" (v 6). Now today:

  • to train us to love God
  • to serve God
  • to learn righteous judgment
  • to walk in His paths
  • to walk in His laws

Verse 7: "The LORD did not set His love upon you nor choose you because you were more in number than any people, for you were the fewest of all people" Look at the Church today, scattered everywhere, and yet, God is training us for these tremendous positions. Think about that!

Verse 8: "But because the LORD loved you and because He would keep the oath, which He had sworn to your fathers… [Abraham, Isaac and Jacob] …the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you out of the house of bondage from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Therefore, know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God Who keeps covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations" (vs 8-9).

Loving God is the first principle of judgment! God also does the repaying too, v 10: "And he repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slow to repay him who hates Him. He will repay him to his face. You shall, therefore, keep the commandments and the statutes and the judgments which I command you today to do them" (vs 10-11). Now let's see how we are to go ahead with this; we're to do them.

Verse 12: "And it shall come to pass, if…" there's that word again; the condition is always given to us. God needs no condition because He is righteous, true, Holy, eternal and cannot lie! If He says it, it is so! If He proclaims it, He will do it. This is why it is with us.

"…if you hearken to these judgments… [of God] …to keep and practice them, then the LORD your God shall keep with you the covenant and the mercy, which He swore to your fathers. And He will love you…" (vs 12-13)—because God loves righteous judgments.

"…and bless you and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb, and the fruit of your land, your grain, and your wine, and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the flocks of your sheep, in the land, which He swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all people. There shall not be male or female barren among you or among your livestock" (13-14).

So, God gave all of these things if they would love Him, keep His commandments, and keep His judgments.

Exo. 18 is really quite a misunderstood thing because a lot of people go back here—ministers who believe in a hierarchical government—and say that this gives the structure that God wants with the Church. No, this has nothing to do with church government or hierarchical government. This sets the standard for judges! Here is the problem that is the basis for this.

Exodus 18:13: "And on the next day it came to pass that Moses sat to judge the people. And the people stood by Moses from the morning to the evening."

Guess what would happen if you were at the end of the line and you have two contending parties. Just kind of bring in some of these things in the judging shows that they have on TV, and here are two people back in the line talking, and they've got a long way to go, and saying, 'Now who is this Moses? I am standing in line and I want to get a judgment out of this!' Sometimes you need to take the advice of other people; so this is what Moses did.

Moses' father-in-law, who also by the way was a descendant of Midian, and Midian was one of the sons of Abraham through Keturah. They understood the Law of God at that time. This is before the Midianites went off, all of them, into their paganism. At least Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, was righteous.

Verse 14: "And when Moses' father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, 'What is this thing which you do for the people? Why do you sit alone by yourself, and all the people stand by you from morning to evening?' And Moses said to his father-in-law, 'Because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a matter… [a dispute] … they come to me. And I judge between one and another, and I make known the statutes of God and His laws'" (vs 14-16). Well now, that's fine, but for 1.8-million people?

Verse 17: And Moses' father-in-law said to him, 'The thing that you do is not good. You will surely wear away, both you and this people that are with you, for this thing is too burdensome for you. You are not able to perform it alone. Hearken now to my voice. I will give you counsel, and God will be with you. You be for the people toward God that you may bring the causes to God. And you shall teach them ordinances and laws…'" (vs 17-20).

This is exactly what we have said that we are trying to do with the Church. We don't want to run your lives for you. We want to teach you how to run your own lives. We want to teach you

  • the Word of God
  • the laws of God
  • the commandments of God
  • the statues of God
  • the Old Testament
  • the New Testament

so you can run your lives, and so that you can walk in faith, believe in hope, and live in love, and you will be able to make right decisions in your own life.

Sometimes you'll make decisions that are not right. What does that do when you find out they're wrong? It gives you a chance to repent, a chance to change, a chance to make it right. So even in that sense that's good—isn't it?

So here Jethro is telling Moses, v 20: "And you shall teach them ordinances and laws, and shall make them know the way in which they must walk, and the work that they must do." Number one principle in judging: You can't live anyone else's lives for them! That's why when we started out, God 'set before us, life and death, blessing and cursing,' and we are to choose. So, here we have this based upon that principle.

Verse 21: "And you shall choose out of all the people able men…" for judging! Not as hierarchical authority.

This is very similar to what we have in any system of judging in any country. You have local judge. Yes, generally called Superior Court in America.  Then you have county judges, county courts. Then you have various state judges and state courts. Then you have the state Supreme Court.

Likewise with the United States government, you have different courts under the jurisdiction of the eleven regions of the United States, and then it goes up from there. Then you have the district courts, and then the Supreme Court. We have the same principle here.

This is for judging, not for ruling, there's a difference. The system of judging is not the system of administering the law, that's for the ones who are elected to run whatever part of the government they are to run.

"…able men, such as fear God, men of truth…" (v 21). They want truth, seek truth, nothing but the truth and so forth.

"…hating covetousness…. [so they won't be able to be bribed] …And place them over the people to be leaders of thousands… [rulers, as judges] …and leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, and leaders of tens. And let them judge for the people at all times" (vs 21-22). So, the system of judges as rulers was not a hierarchical church government, their rule came because of judgments.

Now look at it in America, we are ruled by judges. Who has to submit to the rule of the judges? Everybody! That's important for us to understand. This in Exo. 18 is an important thing for us to realize.

Verse 22: "And let them judge for the people at all times. And it shall be, every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they shall judge. And make it easier for yourself, and they shall bear the burden with you. If you will do this thing, and God command you so… [which God did] … then you shall be able to endure… [you're not going to kill yourself] …and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.' And Moses hearkened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. And Moses chose able men out of all Israel…" (vs 22-25).

Verse 26: "And they judged for the people at all times…." So there we have it, an important principle: break it all down to the smallest matters. That's the same thing we have in the Church, you judge your life, if there is something between you and someone that you need to resolve, you resolve it yourself. So, we have the same principle involved here.

Let's see some commands concerning instructions given to those who are judges. And he explains why he set up the system of judges.

Deuteronomy 1:9: "And I spoke to you at that time, saying, 'I am not able to bear you by myself. The LORD your God has multiplied you, and behold, today you are as the stars of heaven for multitude'" (vs 9-10).

Then he says what he did, that in order to make the judgment he passed on to them what they needed to do:

Verse 13: "Choose wise and understanding men, and those known to your tribes, and I will appoint them leaders over you." That's how they selected them out. It was an arbitrary decision to appoint them.

Verse 14: "And you answered me and said, "The thing which you have spoken is good to do." And I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and made them leaders over you, leaders over thousands, and leaders over hundreds, and leaders over fifties, and leaders over tens, and officers among your tribes. And I commanded your judge at that time saying…" (vs 14-16). This was rulership by judging; not rulership by hierarchy.

"…'Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother, and the stranger with him. You shall not respect persons in judgment. You shall hear the small as well as the great. You shall not be afraid of the face of man, for the judgment is God's.…'" (vs 16-17).

When they came before the judge, they were literally coming before God because the judge was to make the judgment, render the decision based on the laws and commandments of God, the statutes of God and so forth.

"…'And the cause that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.' And I commanded you at that time all the things which you should do" (vs 17-18)—and so they did.

Let's see that even Israel had a supreme court, and with exactly the same rule of law with teeth of enforcement that was put into it. Now let's see what it was that they were to do.

Deuteronomy 17:8: "If a matter is too hard for you in judgment, between blood and blood…" I want to tell you, the absolute worst conflicts come up when you get all the relatives involved and there are umpteen dozen different positions, and everyone is hostile, angry, carnal, greedy and wanting it; especially when someone dies and leaves a big estate. They just fight over it, and I've seen too many family estates withered away to nothing because of the cost of lawyers and judges. When it is finally settled, there is virtually nothing to give to anyone.

"…between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of strife within your gates, then you shall arise and go up to the place which the LORD your God shall choose. And you shall come to the priests, the Levites, and to the judge that shall be in those days and ask…." (vs 8-9).

If you want to know how this worked, you read through the book of Judges, then also read about Samuel, because Samuel was a prophet, a priest and a judge.

"…And they shall declare to you the sentence of judgment. And you shall do according to the sentence…." (vs 9-10). They were to do it according to the laws, commandments, judgments and statutes of God.

"…which they declare to you from that place which the LORD shall choose. And you shall be careful to do according to all that they tell you. According to the sentence of the law…" (vs 10-11)—not opinion, but judgment based on law.

"…which they shall teach you and according to the judgment which they shall tell you, you shall do. You shall not turn aside from the sentence which they shall show you, to the right hand or the left" (v 11).

Notice the ultimate enforcement. In the New Testament we saw the ultimate enforcement, which was disfellowshipment. Under the Old Covenant they had the ultimate enforcement that was the death sentence.

Verse 12: "The man that acts presumptuously and will not hearken to the priest who stands to minister there before the LORD your God, or to the judge…" It was a dual thing: the high priest and the judge.

If you won't do it, "…even that man shall die. And you shall put away the evil from Israel. And all the people shall hear and fear, and do no more presumptuously" (vs 12-13). So, this gives us some good guidelines on the commands and the instructions for judges and what was to be done.

What you need to do is study these things that we have done here and look at Matt. 18 and see how that the basic steps were followed right along. Start with the least, one to one; then go to the next, two or three; then go to the next, to the local congregation. If that doesn't solve it, then you bring it up if there is someone else, if there is another minister who is able to handle it, then bring it to him for an impartial judgment.

We see the same thing here; so you see that God's way is the same—Old Testament and New Testament—how to carry out the penalty of it. It's important to understand that the Church does not exercise the death penalty. The reason is that the Church is in many sovereign nations and God has made all the nations sovereign and those civil and judicial authorities within the land. They judge the land, and they exercise the sword of death. It's up to them to make that decision.

The Church can only exercise the authority of disfellowshipment, and the reason being is because God will only deal with one sovereignty within a nation! You cannot have two sovereignties within a nation, because you split it and you divide it.

God never gave it to the Church! And besides, think what would happen in a nation where there was a church that executed the death penalty. They would be going contrary to the laws of the land. And God is the One Who set them up as the ministers to carry out the civil judgments. That's why the Church only has disfellowshipment as the highest form of punishment that the church can do.

Now let's look at some additional instructions for the judges. Here is another very important thing to do. If you are asked to make any judgment, you must focus on the circumstances and the situation. You are to remove yourself and your feelings from the problem at hand.

Deuteronomy 16:18: "You shall appoint judges and officers for yourself in all your gates… [every one of your cities] …which the LORD your God gives you, tribe by tribe. And they shall judge the people with righteous judgment." exactly the same as Jesus said, 'Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.'

Verse 19: "You shall not pervert judgment; you shall not respect persons, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. You shall follow that which is altogether just… [or righteous] …so that you may live and inherit the land which the LORD your God gives you" (vs 19-20).

Now let's stop here for just a moment: What happens to any nation that has unjust judges? They soon create a society of lawlessness, and that's what's happening in America. And what we are going to see happen in America, and I need to make this very clear, is we are moving from common law, constitutional law, to canon law, after the European pattern! Because we have five Supreme Court justices that are Catholic, you are going to see more judgments come down bringing out the basis of canon law rather than common law. The most infamous one in the summer of 2006 was what, 'the no-knock' in issuing a search warrant; just bust your door down and come in. Everyone says, 'Oh well, if we can't allow evidence in because these are evil and wicked people and let them go free, we shouldn't do that.'

But then on the other hand, what is it going to be when the true Christians are declared to be enemies of the state? Stop and think a minute: How did they arrest all of those destined for the extermination camps? The judges made judgment that they could come and arrest them with no search warrant, just a sentence from the judge to arrest them and send them off; no due process.

Gradually in the United States because of the lawlessness that is being developed here, those kinds of laws are going to be coming down and gradually more and more control, which is the opposite of what God wants. God wants the people to be taught how to live their lives the way that God wants them to live them, and to make them responsible for their lives to do what is good to keep the commandments of God.

So, you see what happens when they get rid of God, and throw away His judgments, statutes and commandments. You start getting in expediency and you start getting in harsh laws because they don't teach the people to control themselves and the state must control them, and that is the complete opposite of righteous judgment!

You need to realize that and grasp that! Watch and see how that certainly is going to be happening more and more in the future!

Deut. 25 says—and there are other Scriptures that you could add to this and I want you to, by all means, take this booklet—Judge Righteous Judgment—and:

  • read it
  • study it
  • make notes in it
  • educate yourself

so you can be thinking in terms of righteous judgment according to the love, mercy and kindness of God, and according to the righteousness of His commandments, and statutes and so forth.

Deuteronomy 25:1: "If there is a controversy between men, and they come to judgment, and they have been judged, and the righteous one is declared righteous, and the wrongdoer declared guilty, then it shall be, if the wrongdoer is worthy to be beaten, the judge shall cause him to lie down. And one shall strike him in his presence, enough for his wrong, by a certain number. He may give him forty stripes, no more, lest he should exceed and beat him above that number with many more stripes, then your brother be degraded in your sight" (vs 1-3).

That was a punishment that they had, but it was to be administered by the court before the eyes of the judge that even that would be done justly and not as some inquisition that has been executed by religious leaders down through time.

Let's see a little bit more of the things that the judges were instructed to do; Leviticus 19:15: "You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment. You shall not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty, but you shall judge your neighbor in righteousness." And that's what God wants it to be. That's the true basis of judge righteous judgment, which comes from God.

John 7:24, Jesus says, "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment." That's how it is to be done. We're going to learn how to judge now by training ourselves. So, think of yourself as this: you are in training like an attorney or a judge is attending law school so that when they are trained properly they will be able to go out and be attorneys and be judges and things like this.

God is going to give us the judgment of the Kingdom of God! We are going to judge the world; we are going to judge angels. Look at part of the things that you are to be training for in this life. You are in law school, greater than the secular law school.

You are in school being taught by God, day by day on how to become the spiritual sons and daughters of God so that when you enter into the Kingdom, God is going to give judgment to each one of us!

We will have written in our heart and our mind and in our character

  • the love of God
  • the Truth of God
  • the mercy of God
  • the laws of God
  • the commandments of God
  • the discernment of God
  • to know what is right
  • to know what is wrong
  • to make judgments

All of this starts everyday with the choices that you make! That's why Jesus said, 'Judge righteous judgment!"

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scriptural References:

  • Romans 14:1-23
  • 1-John 5:14-18
  • John 7:24
  • Matthew 18:15-22, 32-35
  • 1 Corinthians 5:2-5
  • 1 Corinthians 6:1-11
  • Deuteronomy 7:6-14
  • Exodus 18:13-26
  • Deuteronomy 1:9-10, 13-18
  • Deuteronomy 17:8-13
  • Deuteronomy 16:18-20
  • Deuteronomy 25:1-3
  • Leviticus 19:15
  • John 7:24

Scripture referenced, not quoted: Rev. 20

Also referenced:

  • Booklet: Judge Righteous Judgment by Fred R. Coulter
  • Book: Occult Holidays or God's Holy Days—Which? by Fred R. Coulter
  • Sermon: Are you God's Policeman?

FRC:bo
Transcribed: 12-18-15

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