Jesus Didn’t Eliminate God’s Judgment
Jesus is the one who gave the Law to Moses, Jesus is the Word made flesh, and anyone who believes He’d ever speak contrary to the Law of Moses is a Marcionite. A Marcionite is basically anyone who would put Jesus at odds with the God of the Old Testament and the words which God spoke in the Old Testament. Marcion was a 2nd century AD heretic who taught that the God of the Old Testament and the Father of Jesus Christ are different gods (Marcion’s doctrine basically stated that the god of the Old Testament is a God of wrath, while the god of the New Testament is a god of love and mercy- Marcion basically taught that the God of the Old Testament was really the devil). Marcionism is obviously a wicked and easily refuted heresy. Yet Marcionism has crept into most churches today in several different ways. How? One key example is that if you believe that God stopped being wrathful after Jesus came, or if you believe that God became less wrathful after Jesus came, then you have been greatly influenced by Marcionism. This is a blatantly false concept, yet many sympathize with it and are influenced much by it.
Jesus’ first coming was to fulfill the promises of redemption which were made in the Hebrew Scriptures (what we know now as the Old Testament). It was those promises which the righteous people in the Old Testament looked forward to and believed in. Those promises were made based upon the fact that there is coming a day of wrath and judgment on all who are not partakers of that redemption. That day hasn’t been eliminated. Jesus Christ’s second coming actually marks that day! Through Jesus Christ’s first coming we not only have more light on God’s way of salvation and the substance of the unspeakably fearful way that was accomplished, we also have more light about God’s Judgment and severe punishment which He will bring upon His unrepentant enemies. In the Gospels Jesus talked frequently about Judgment Day and its horror; and He talked more about the eternal fire of hell for those who continue in sin and obey not His Gospel than all His servants whom He spoke through in the Old Testament combined spoke directly about the fire of hell!
We constantly see Jesus and the Apostles showing how Christ dying for our sins and rising again is a strong warning to get right with God, turn from sin, and hold onto Jesus Christ for dear life in an obedient faith (the Lord and Savior whom the Passover Lamb foreshadowed- the Passover had to be eaten in full according to detailed instructions)! Believing that, and applying that, is the total opposite of those practical Marcionites who cite Jesus and His death as a supposed means to relax regarding sin and God’s instructions in His Word, instead of fearing and trembling to utterly depart from sin and to live carefully according to God’s instructions.
Hebrews 2:7-9: “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownest him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
We have to be subject to Him in order for His death to save us. Otherwise, when He comes back and assumes the authority which rightfully belongs to Him, we will be condemned as His enemies. This implies the need to be diligent here and now to do His will and to live righteously before Him. It is the utmost folly to think that this is unnecessary. Diligent preparation with a ready mind to suffer in order to be faithful to the King, in light of Judgment Day, is an utter contrast to believing that Jesus makes you safe otherwise. Jesus and the Apostles said this much constantly. To think otherwise is to be antichrist; and to try to cite Jesus’ grace as an occasion for this thought is the epitome of Marcionism.
Matthew 24:43-51: “But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Hebrews 10:36-38: “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry (i.e. wait). Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
The context in 2 Peter 3 is a call to be be diligent to live holy and godly to prepare for the final judgment by fire as the people in Noah’s day should have lived godly and holy to survive the judgment by the water of the flood which they were headed for; and which was just a spoken word of God away from happening (like the judgment by fire now is).
2 Peter 3:11-14: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”
The chapter containing John 3:16 which people love to quote, and Jesus saying how God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved, concludes in John 3:36, with the John the Baptist saying “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not (i.e. obeys not) the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
1 Peter 1:10-25: “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”
Multitudes of other examples could be given to prove the point.
You might say “Jesus taught us to love our enemies; the Old Testament didn’t do that. That is proof Jesus took away God’s judgment and all that remains is love.”
Oh, that is the essence of a Marcionite! Consider that the Old Testament taught love of enemies too. And by the way, consider here that the coming judgments in the Book of Revelation are more terrifying than anything God ever did in Old Testament times! Do you think the wicked being cast into the lake of fire after the resurrection (Revelation 20:15) will be easier for them to bear than the deaths by flood in Noah’s time and the deaths by the fire which devoured Sodom and the cities around it? When Jesus taught us to love our enemies He was speaking on a personal level, not on a judicial level. He was clarifying what the Law already taught about that.
Exodus 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.”
It was always right to do good to those who hate you, bless them that curse you, and to pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you. And it was always right to bring criminals to justice, and it still is, whether they are your personal enemies or not. It was always right to defend your home and your nation from intruders. It is necessary to resist evil in that way according to your jurisdiction, in the given situation you are in, in order to be righteous. It was also never right to go and search out your enemies to retaliate on a personal level and it was never right to do anything to retaliate on a personal level (even a subtle insult or passive aggressive act of cruelty). In that way, it was never right to resist evil.
Jesus Himself told His disciples to carry swords when He was about to leave them. He also didn’t just turn the other cheek when the officer in the Temple smote Him. He reproved the officer for righteousness’ sake over his injustice in smiting Him, though He didn’t seek to harm him apart from the due process of law (which didn’t happen there, but surely will happen in God’s courtroom on Judgment Day, if it didn’t already happen through judgment in this life).
When Jesus was asked by a Mosaic lawyer how to love His neighbor as himself, Jesus pointed Him back to God’s Law (Luke 10:25-37). The point of the story He told about the Good Samaritan is that we can’t pick and choose who we want to help when we see someone in need that we have the ability to help. This lawyer thought Jews were worth his concern and potential assistance, but not gentiles, especially not Samaritans. The passage from Exodus 23, and other many Scriptures from the Hebrew Bible, proved that was not the case! The things Jesus taught were already there in the Law that they said they lived by, but the majority of Jews missed them. That is also why the Jews as a people rejected Him. He taught the righteousness in their own law which they were blind to in their carnality and pride. Remember that Jesus didn’t preach outside of Israel. He said in John 7:7: “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.”
We see in the New Testament, in Romans chapter 13:1-7, that God has still ordained human governments, (inevitably composed of men tainted by sin, by the way) to carry out His principles of justice on earth. And God has ordained the death penalty for certain crimes which He deems the best remedy for to involve the death of the perpetrator. You cannot even be a faithful Christian if you do not agree with this nor if you obstruct such justice knowingly in any way. And this is all consistent with, and even obviously a necessary component of, our duty of love towards all men, as is then evidenced by reading on through Romans 13:8-14. And in the verses leading up to Romans chapter 13, the Christians are instructed to love their enemies on a personal level (not eliminating their right to defend themselves and not saying they shouldn’t report crime to judicial authorities, as Romans 13 would go on to prove). And where does this instruction about love of enemies originate from? The Old Testament. Romans 12:17-21 contains a quote from Proverbs.
Romans 12:17-21: “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
It is an eternal principle that righteousness before the true God means recognizing the distinction between things like right judicial action/protection of the oppressed from oppressors versus personal revenge/taking the law into one’s own hands. This is why it was right for David to kill Goliath (an enemy invader to his nation) but to spare King Saul (King Saul was the authority in Israel). That is also why King Saul was wrong to not kill the Amelakites upon being deputized by God to take vengeance upon them for their wickedness (to obey is better than sacrifice in 1 Samuel 15 was said in context by Samuel to Saul as a rebuke to him over his sin and failure here); and why King Saul was also wrong to try to kill David out of jealousy shortly afterwards. This distinction is also why Moses had stonings performed under his authority of blatant malignant rebels (which God had prescribed), yet prayed for Miriam and Aaron when they spoke against his own person. This is why Jesus as a man did good to His enemies, prayed for them, and even died to make a way for them to repent and be forgiven; yet as the Judge of mankind He will still condemn His unrepentant enemies to the eternal fire of hell on Judgment Day. The context of Elijah’s ministry also made it righteous for him to call down fire from heaven on his enemies, while the context of Jesus’ ministry made this inappropriate. Jesus thus rebuked James and John for wanting to call down fire on some Samaritans who didn’t want Him preaching in their village, as that desire in that context did not stem from God’s Spirit like it did in Elijah’s case, in the context of Elijah’s ministry and the circumstances which he faced.
And this distinction between righteous judicial vengeance versus sinful, personal retaliation is why you might meet someone who is thirsty and have a duty to give him drink, but yet have an obligation to play a part in condemning the same person to death someday if you should ever be a jury member, a judge, or an executioner as the same person, through due process of law, is proven guilty of a crime that warrants the death penalty. And this distinction also might mean that you would have an obligation to say that a certain person, who hates you, is innocent and should be let go, if you were to ever be a juror at their trial where the prosecution failed to provide overwhelming evidence of their guilt in the crime which they are accused of. And those who don’t recognize, understand well, and honor this distinction are virtually guaranteed to be promoters of unrighteousness somehow, in some way. This is truly a big deal. Look at those who use Jesus’ command to love your enemies as a pretext for fighting against the death penalty and for promoting illegal immigration. These are just as bad as those who don’t follow Jesus’ words about loving your enemies where it is proper to apply them.
You might, in yet trying to defend Marcionite concepts, say something like “Jesus told the woman caught in adultery that He didn’t condemn her; and He told those who wanted to stone her that they shouldn’t cast a stone at her unless they were without sin.”
And what is your point there?
When Jesus said (in John 8:7) “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”, He would have been speaking against the Law of Moses if He had meant that its verdict about stoning was wrong or at least impossible to carry out. Saying such a thing would have actually provided an occasion for His enemies to accuse Him (like they were looking for) if that is what He meant. But obviously He meant that those who were without sin in this matter should be the ones to cast the first stones at her. That was speaking in accordance with the Law of Moses and clearing Himself of any wrongdoing before both the Jews and the Romans. If these witnesses were so zealous to carry out the Law of Moses’ verdict about stoning adulterers (which they were pretending to be, but weren’t) they should risk the wrath of the Romans in doing so. And if they are partial (and hence false) witnesses (like they were indeed), then they would be violating the Law of Moses by carrying out the stoning.
Deuteronomy 19:16-21 lesson: Those found to be false witnesses were to receive the same punishment which those they testified against would have got. Where is the man here in this trial (in John chapter 8)? He was supposed to die too according to the Law of Moses. God often rebuked Israel for respect of persons and partiality in the law. Such bias inherently makes a person a false witness (consider: “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”). Leviticus 19:15 (in the Law): “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor.” Reference also Deuteronomy 16:18-20 and Malachi 2:1-9. Exodus 20:16: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
Were these men accusing the woman caught in adultery not telling the truth? No, they were not telling the truth! Otherwise, they would have told the whole story- one that involved the man, the set-up, and their ultimate intent to destroy Jesus (which was their only real goal in this trial of the woman, as is proven by John 8:6). Thus they had sin, not just sin in the past nor sin in a vague, general sense. They had sin in this matter here and now. And by how Jesus handled this they were convicted of their sin in this matter and awakened to the potential danger that they would be in were they to proceed, and which they might even be in already, with both the Roman and the Jewish authorities (the latter were probably more corrupt than the Romans really, but even these feared the people enough that they had to at least feign being just). These men thus abandoned their plot and went away.
Jesus, who had been stooped down and writing, is left alone with the woman. He inquires where her accusers are and asks whether any man had condemned her, obviously knowing that no man had done so, yet for some reason wanting her to acknowledge this. She tells Him that no man has condemned her; and He then tells her “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (in John 8:11) Obviously in context, meaning that no man had stoned her and that He was not going to stone her now either. He surely knew that this had been a set-up. He did not witness the adulterous act either. He yet made sure to tell her to “go, and sin no more.” I think that people now are more likely to assume that verse 11 says “I will never condemn thee; go, and sin some more.” That’s not what Jesus said though! And we all know what “sin no more” means. And though many need better instruction about the true nature of sin and about the boundaries of sin, when I talk to someone, I know that they know what I mean by the general principle of “sin no more.”
So when Jesus said earlier in the chapter in John 8:7 “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”, He would have been speaking against the Law of Moses if He had meant that its verdict about stoning was wrong or at least impossible to carry out. Saying such a thing would have actually provided an occasion for His enemies to accuse Him (like they were looking for) if that is what He meant. But obviously He meant that those who were without sin in this matter should be the ones to cast the first stones at her.
God delights in showing mercy, but He doesn’t offer mercy unconditionally. The need to surrender yourself to God through His Son the Lord Jesus, while totally breaking off from the pleasures and perceived securities which sin brings, is the strict condition of obtaining God’s mercy through Jesus Christ. It always has been and it always will be! And one aspect of this is even agreeing to support the death penalty for those sentenced to death in a manner consistent with God’s Law- even if they are your own relatives or friends. There is no other way to avoid partiality in God’s Law and being a respecter of persons (see Deuteronomy 13:6-11, Matthew 10:34-39, Luke 14:25-33, etc).
Remember that Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” People often want to forget about this and misinterpret the passage about the woman caught in adultery so as to pit Jesus against Jesus, as people twist many passages of Scripture to pit Scripture against Scripture (as if that were possible- remember that Jesus is the Word made flesh, so this is ridiculous). A key reason we are studying this passage is that those who deny this narrow way of salvation in Christ will twist this passage (in John chapter 8) to promote Pacifism, Universalism, easy-believism, cheap grace, unconditional eternal security, and many other anti-christ doctrines (which all at their roots stem from Marcionism and/or highly compatible with Marcionism). Many just plain want to minimize God’s wrath overall and have an overall light view of God, as if He really ought not to be feared much. This passage in John chapter 8 actually teaches that we should not be partial in God’s Law, not act contrary to it, not use it to falsely accuse Jesus, and that any attempt which man may make to twist the Law of God to make Jesus sound inconsistent, or to seem in any way at enmity with the Law, will be cast down and proven foolish.
It is true that this woman who got caught in adultery got a reprieve, as well as a wake up call. If she did not eventually obey and stick to Jesus’ admonition to go and sin no more, then she also eventually went to hell, despite this reprieve. All the patience and long-suffering of God with sinners is given with the intent that we come to our senses and be obedient to this admonition (reference Romans 2:3-11). Don’t believe the lie, stemming from the influence of Marcionism, that Jesus isn’t the God of the Old Testament nor think that He changed and has become softer on sin now. You can be sure then that no one who continues in adultery, or in any deed contrary to the Law of God and the glorious Gospel of Christ (which are in perfect agreement), will have any part in Christ’s kingdom. The hammer of God’s wrath, which the just stonings in the Bible carried out in accordance with God’s Law previewed, will surely come down on the unrepentant- and they will be sent to the fire of hell with no remedy and no hope of escape. And that is why we call people to turn from sin and to seek God with their whole hearts before the Great Day of His wrath comes. No passage in the Bible, when rightly divided and understood, provides anyone with any discharge from siding with God in His great conflict with man and from following Jesus Christ faithfully according to the Word of God. Continuing in sin and opposition to the truth of God’s Word still leads to wrath and eternal damnation!
Isaiah 55:6-7: “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
Mark 9:43-44: “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”
Ephesians 5:5-6: “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”
Hear Jesus incarnate, in His public ministry in the Gospels, uphold the Law given through Moses (along with its historicity).
Matthew 5:17-18: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 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.”
Matthew 7:12: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
Mark 7:5-13: “Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honor thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”
Mark 6:11-12: “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city. And they went out, and preached that men should repent.”
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