Judge The Living And The Dead

Hello everyone. Welcome back to Deeper Waters. I appreciate your continued prayers and it seems again that there is something else to pray for. As I write this blog, I am currently battling the flu. No. I don’t have swine flu. I have the regular flu. It’s nothing pleasant however.

Tonight, we’re going to be finishing up 2 Timothy with a passage from 2 Timothy 4. Our text will be the first verse of that chapter. Tomorrow, we shall go to the last pastoral epistle, the book of Titus.

1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:

What is noteworthy for our purposes here is how Christ is described as the one who will judge the living and the dead. He is also seen as the one that charges of the faith are made before and as everything being in his presence, which would point to his omniscience.

The idea of Christ as judge however is taking a prerogative that belonged to YHWH in the Old Testament. After all, YHWH was the one who determines our fates. He is the only one who is holy so only He has the right to judge.

We see this idea of Christ as the judge later on in verse 8:

8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Once again, righteousness is connected with judgment. Because Jesus is righteous, he can judge. Anyone who is less than pure holiness in his nature could not judge the way God judges. Now we all do have to make some judgments, but the eternal destiny of someone cannot be determined by our judgments because we’ve already fallen short as well.

This concept is also in the Old Testament. Most notably in the book of Ruth:

“The LORD bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our kinsman-redeemers.”

The concept here is of the living and the dead both being seen as blessed. What’s important is that Ruth is a chiastic book where the main point is right in the middle and if there is one point the author wanted the reader to know, it was this one.

I do realize this is something said of Boaz also, but I believe that Boaz is acting out of the covenant between God and Israel and he is not forgetting the living or the dead because of the promises of YHWH. In the same way then, Jesus is seen in that same relationship to the living and the dead as YHWH. He is the righteous judge who can determine the eternal destiny of someone. In the Old Testament, that is something that belongs to YHWH alone. That Christ has that prerogative in the NT shows the way Paul viewed it.

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