About Jesus the Judge of all people

Sam Shamoun

Bassam Zawadi has produced what he feels to be a Bible contradiction (here).

It seems that Zawadi has basically plagiarized one of the many so-called contradictions of Mohamed Ghounem from his article on John (*), which we have already refuted on this page.

Since this article seems to be nothing more than a rehashing of Ghounem’s argument with some slight modifications we will post a modified version of our response to Ghounem. Zawadi writes:

John 12:47-49

47"As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. 48There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. 49For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.

compared with 

John 5:22

Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,

1 Peter 1:17

Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.

So as we see John 12 contradicts John 5 because John 12 says that Jesus does not judge certain people. However, John 5 says that all judgment is entrusted to Jesus. John 5 contradicts with 1 Peter because John 5 says that the Father judges no one but in 1 Peter we see that the Father does judge man's work.


First, here once again is John 12:47-48 in context so we can truly understand the point Jesus was making:

"I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If any one hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me." John 12:46-50

Jesus’ words regarding coming to save the world helps clarify the point he was seeking to make. Christ in his first coming didn’t come to bring judgment and wrath, but salvation and restoration. It is only at his second coming that Christ will judge the world:

"And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him." Hebrews 9:27-28

For those who rejected Christ in his first coming, the word that Jesus spoke will stand as a witness against them in the day that Christ comes to bring in God’s wrath. In other words, Jesus is saying that even though he didn’t come to judge individuals in his first coming, nevertheless the words that he spoke will stand as a witness against all those who rejected his message when he returns to judge the living and the dead. He basically said the same thing early on in his ministry:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." John 3:16-18

Although Christ came to save, not condemn, the world, an individual’s rejection of Jesus in his first coming is a sign that such a person stands condemned on the day in which Christ will come to judge everyone. This is where John 5:22 comes in.

Jesus in John 5:22 is not denying that the Father judges anyone, but is denying that he does so directly. The Father will judge the world indirectly through the agency of his Son when he returns to resurrect the dead and judge the world:

"The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment." John 5:22-29

More on the concept of agency shortly.

Furthermore, 1 Peter 1:17 does not necessarily refer to the Day of Judgment. Rather, 1 Peter refers to God’s impartiality in that God does not show favoritism but looks upon all with justice:

"Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear." 1 Peter 1:17

This echoes Peter’s words to Cornelius in the book of Acts:

"Then Peter began to speak: 'I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.’" Acts 10:34-35

Since John 5:22 (cf. 5:27-29) is referring to the Day of Judgment there is no contradiction between what this text says and what Peter wrote. They are speaking of two different contexts.

Moreover, assuming that 1 Peter is referring to the Day of Judgement there still wouldn’t be any contradiction since nothing stated by Peter denies that God will judge individuals through an agent that he has chosen. In the biblical understanding a person could act and speak through his agent as his representative, with the actions and words of the agent being attributed to the person he or she represented. Note the following examples:

"He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me." Matthew 10:40

"He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me." Luke 10:16

"And Jesus cried out and said, ‘He who believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And he who sees me sees him who sent me.’" John 12:44-45

"I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me." John 13:20

"If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.’ Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, "Show us the Father"? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me DOES HIS WORKS. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.’" John 14:7-11

To accept the disciples is the same as accepting Jesus, and to see Jesus is the same as seeing God.

Now note the following verses where individuals act through their agents:

"After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, AND BAPTIZED. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.) An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan-the one you testified about-well, HE IS BAPTIZING, and everyone is going to him.’" John 3:22-26

"The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although in fact IT WAS NOT JESUS WHO BAPTIZED, but his disciples." John 4:1-2

The people could say that Jesus baptized individuals even though it was really his Apostles who performed the baptism. Again:

"I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me." Romans 15:15

"I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord." Romans 16:22

Paul takes credit for writing Romans despite the fact that it was his scribe that did so. Finally:

"The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. YOU KILLED the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this." Acts 3:13-15

Peter could say that the Jews killed Jesus while also saying within the same context that the Jews handed Christ over to Pilate to be killed. In other words, the Jews killed Christ by instigating his death at the hands of the Romans.

So yes, God does judge the world but does so through his representative, his agent, the Lord Jesus. As the Apostle Paul wonderfully put it:

"In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when HE WILL JUDGE THE WORLD with justice BY THE MAN he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." Acts 17:30-31

In other words, God judges the world through the man Christ Jesus, his beloved Son. It is therefore not an either/or situation, but a both/and scenario.

In fact, not only will God judge the world through Christ, but Christ will also judge the nations through his Church. Since the Church is made up of individuals who have been united to Christ to become his spiritual body, believers will therefore judge others as Christ's representatives in the same way that Christ judges on behalf of his Father:

"Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life! ... Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, ‘The two shall become one flesh.’ But he who is united to the Lord BECOMES ONE SPIRIT WITH HIM." 1 Corinthians 6:2-3, 15-17

"Then I saw THRONES, and seated on them were THOSE TO WHOM JUDGMENT WAS COMMITTED. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they shall reign with him a thousand years. Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat upon it; from his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; and if any one's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15

Thus, God judges the world through his beloved Son who will then judge individuals by the agency of the members of his spiritual body, the Church!

As it stands there are no contradictions whatsoever. It is merely Zawadi’s ignorance of biblical theology that leads him to think that there are.

Let us now return the favor and turn the tables on Zawadi. According to the Quran, Allah takes a person’s soul at death:

"It is God that takes the souls (of men) at death; and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep: those on whom He has passed the decree of death, He keeps back (from returning to life), but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed verily in this are Signs for those who reflect. S. 39:42 Y. Ali

Yet in another place it is the angel of death that does:

"Say: THE Angel of Death, put in charge over you, will (duly) take your souls. Then shall ye be brought back to your Lord" S. 32:11

But the Quran says somewhere that angels take the soul at death:

"But how (will it be) when THE angels take their souls at death?" S. 47:27

So now which is it? Does Allah take one’s soul at death, or do the angels do so? Or is it one specific angel that does, namely the angel of death? More importantly, will Zawadi now resort to the concept of agency to account for these contradictions, i.e. that the acts of the angels are attributed to Allah because they are his agents? And if he does use this argument then why didn’t he apply the same hermeneutic for the Holy Bible in order to see how these alleged Bible discrepancies could be easily resolved? The answer as to why he didn’t do so is too obvious for us to even bother mentioning.

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