Jesus as the Judge of All the Earth

Additional Evidence from the New Testament for the Deity of Christ

Sam Shamoun

According to the Hebrews Scriptures Yahweh is the Judge of all the earth:

"Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?" Genesis 18:25

"The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the power of his anointed." 1 Samuel 2:10

"O LORD, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, shine forth! Rise up, O judge of the earth; repay to the proud what they deserve!" Psalm 94:1-2

The Old Testament further teaches that Yahweh has appointed a day when he will come and gather all the peoples before him in order to judge them in righteousness:

"Arise, O LORD, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies; awake for me; you have appointed a judgment. Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you; over it return on high. The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me." Psalm 7:6-8

"But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness." Psalm 9:7-8

"I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work." Ecclesiastes 3:17

"For behold, the LORD will come in fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire will the LORD enter into judgment, and by his sword, with all flesh; and those slain by the LORD shall be many." Isaiah 66:15-16

This Day of Judgment is known as the Day of the LORD or of Yahweh:

"For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land… Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, and gather yourselves there. Bring down your warriors, O LORD. Let the nations stir themselves up and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the winepress is full. The vats overflow, for their evil is great. Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. The LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it." Joel 3:1-2, 11-17

"Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near; the LORD has prepared a sacrifice and consecrated his guests. And on the day of the LORD's sacrifice-- ‘I will punish the officials and the king's sons and all who array themselves in foreign attire. On that day I will punish everyone who leaps over the threshold, and those who fill their master's house with violence and fraud… The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter; the mighty man cries aloud there. A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements." Zephaniah 1:7-9, 14-16

And on this day when Yahweh arrives to judge he will rescue his elect, his flock, and distinguish the peoples as a shepherd distinguishes between the sheep, goats and rams:

"For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver; the LORD is our king; he will save us." Isaiah 33:22

"Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;" Isaiah 35:3-6

"For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats. Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet? Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad, I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken." Ezekiel 34:11-24

Moreover, since Yahweh doesn’t forget and has perfect knowledge of all things he alone is able and qualified to render perfect judgment and repay a person according to everything s/he has exactly done:

"I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds." Jeremiah 17:10; cf. 11:20, 29:23

Finally, one of the many reasons given in Scriptures to worship Yahweh alone is the fact that he is the Judge of all:

"Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.’ Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness." Psalm 96:7-13

"Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD! Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity." Psalm 98:4-9

With the foregoing in perspective we can now turn our attention to the NT teaching to see what it has to say about Christ being the Judge.

If the NT writers believed that Jesus is God we should not be surprised to find them ascribing these very Divine functions to the risen Lord. However, if the NT doesn’t teach the full Deity of Jesus then we should not expect them to attribute to Christ the Divine prerogative of judgment since this would be idolatry on the grounds that this would be ascribing to a creature the incommunicable or exclusive characteristics of God. After all, only One who is both omniscient and omnipotent can ever be able to render perfect justice to every creature that has ever lived and will live.

Let us see what the NT books teach regarding this issue.

1. Jesus is the Judge of All.

"And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead." Acts 10:42

"The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead." Acts 17:30-31

"in that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus." Romans 2:16

"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:" 2 Timothy 4:1

2. Jesus comes to gather his flock and to separate the peoples as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’… Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’… And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Matthew 25:31-34, 41, 46

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." Luke 19:10

It is interesting to see the way the following passages describe Jesus’ appearance when he comes to execute judgment:

"This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering-- since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed." 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10

"Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords." Revelation 19:11-16

Jesus will appear in flaming fire and with a sword in his mouth that he uses to strike the nations, which is similar to the way Isaiah 66:15-16 describes Yahweh’s appearance when he comes to judge!

3. Jesus is omniscient and omnipotent and can therefore render perfect judgment and repay a person according to everything s/he has exactly done.

"For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done." Matthew 16:27

"Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God." 1 Corinthians 4:5

According to Paul, the Lord who is coming to expose the secret purposes of the heart of men is the Lord Jesus:

"so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 1:7-8

"I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you." 1 Corinthians 16:21-23

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil." 2 Corinthians 5:10

Fully agreeing with the Apostle Paul is John the Evangelist since this is what he wrote in his Apocalypse:

"And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first… And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.’" Revelation 2:18-19, 23

"‘Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done… He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen." Revelation 22:12, 20-21

4. God assigned Jesus the role of Judge specifically so that all the peoples would worship him.

In the first section we quoted two specific Psalms where the Psalter exhorted the people to worship Yahweh since he was coming to judge the nations. This presupposes that one of the many reasons why God is worthy of worship is because he is the Judge of all creation.

In a similar manner, the Lord Jesus claims that the reason why God entrusted all judgment to him is so that everyone may worship the Son as they worship the Father:

"The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him… And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man." John 5:22-23

Christ doesn’t say that the people are to honor him in the same way they would honor a prophet, messenger, rabbi, parents etc. Rather, Jesus emphatically states that everyone must give him the same honor that they give to God! Jesus is basically demanding to be worshiped as God since this is the kind of honor that the Father receives. Anyone who fails to worship Christ will be judged and condemned by him.

Moreover, Jesus says that another reason why he judges is because he is the Son of Man:

"And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man." John 5:27

Lest a person is familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures, specifically the book of Daniel, s/he may fail to see the connection between Jesus being the Son of Man and his judging the people. Here is the OT key which unravels this puzzle:

"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." Daniel 7:13-14

Daniel foresaw a Son of Man whom God appointed to rule over the peoples of the earth forever and whom all the nations had to worship and serve. Jesus was basically saying that he is that Son of Man whom Daniel saw, the very One who rules forever over the entire creation of God and who shall be worshiped by everyone.

To put it simply, the reason why Jesus judges all the nations is because he is none other than that very same Son of Man of Daniel’s vision who reigns forever and whom the nations must serve and worship.

5. The NT writers call the judgment day the Day of the Lord Jesus, the Day of Christ.

The NT authors do something which would be quite shocking to their fellow Jews. Instead of referring to the judgment day as the Day of Yahweh the inspired authors of the NT actually call it the Day of the Lord Jesus or the Day of Christ!

"just as you did partially acknowledge us, that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you." 2 Corinthians 1:14

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ… so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ," Philippians 1:6, 10

"holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain." Philippians 2:16

The only way for monotheistic Jews (as the NT writers were, with the exception of Luke who was a Gentile) could ever think of identifying the judgment day as the Day of the Lord Jesus is if they had been convinced that Jesus is Yahweh God. Otherwise, they would be guilty of assigning to a creature the very Day which the OT says belongs to Yahweh God Almighty.

The foregoing data makes it abundantly clear that the NT writers were fully convinced that Jesus Christ wasn’t merely a human being, but that he was Yahweh God Almighty who had become man for the salvation of the world. This is why these inspired authors had no difficulty with ascribing to Christ the very functions and titles which the OT Scriptures apply to Yahweh.

Articles by Sam Shamoun
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