Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death. (Exodus 21,12)
These words concerning the death penalty that we meat so often while reading the pages of the Old Testament are generating a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding in the minds of today’s faithful. Apart from the increasing libertinism promulgated in the world around us – which unfortunately greatly influences our way of seeing things and our relationship with Elohim – these ruthless laws seem to contradict the words of our Lord, the words of the Savior.
However, this tension and frustration is like a cry of divine alarm that resounding in the ears of all those who really seek to know יהוה and who are moving on the path of submission. Some might call it “good conscience,” but for my part, I would limit myself to the expression of Holy Spirit.
When we read in John 8: 1-11 the story of the adulterous woman, Yeshua’s words do not replace or overwrite the sentence that this woman would have deserved, which is the capital sentence by stoning. The only thing our Lord says here is: He who never sinned, throw the first stone.
It is through this Word that Yeshua declares the supreme and unique authority of the Sovereign Messiah, the absolute power of Christ. Through this Word, Yeshua HaMashiach decreed and brought into force the jurisdiction of the unique and absolute power of the High Priest which is Yeshus himself, henceforth the only one authorized to make judgments. By declaring this, Yeshua took up this legitimacy from the hands of men.
Before the Messianic era and according to the Commandments promulgated by the Father, he charged the wise men of the community to judge and assert the truth among men. However, and already at that time, it was in no way an arbitrary judgment according to the thoughts and desires of the judges, but it was a very serious ministry made in full knowledge of the Commandments of the Lord, in perfect impartially. The title of judge was granted by יהוה and implied putting aside all our convictions, all our personal and human opinions to be able, if necessary to apply and execute the deserved sentence according to the Will of the Eternal.
Just like at the time of the first two Sanctuaries, the legislative order did not change under the third. But since the Third Temple, the Body of Christ functions as a spiritual sanctuary, in which the only High Priest, the only Cohen, is Yeshua HaMashiach himself, he is now the only one having the right to judge and condemn anyone according to the Commandments of the Lord.
Even Yeshua declares in this verse that He Himself does not condemn the sinner, since as Yeshua (Savior) he has not yet returned to his position of judge when having received all powers on heaven and earth, Christ will return as the Anointed King to judge the world. Even Yeshua (Jesus) does not condemn her, since the time of clemency has not yet passed. But the day he comes back, it will be to judge the world according to the laws that יהוה gave through the Torah.
What do we have to think and do with the concept of death penalty?
Sin exists and has a huge impact on us. Only the Law is able to reveal and judge sin by the action of the Holy Spirit. Receiving Grace is also only possible after having received the verdict.
Yes, the one who is in sin is the son/daughter of death. It is through the knowledge of the commandments that the spirit of death can be perceived inside the individuals. At the same time, this spirituality is the proof of their state of death. This spirit does unfortunately have the right of life and death over the one it holds captive. We must know that if we are sinners, the Law is not only valid for us, but without judgment and without our execution, we cannot receive Grace. If I do not die as an old man, I can never be resurrected as a new creation that only Christ is able to bring back to life in me. Of course, this does not imply my physical and bodily death, but the old spirits that ruled over me must really die so that I can be born again as a new creature, a member of the Body of Christ. (However, perseverance and conscious stagnation in sins may sooner or later lead to physical death as well).
We must know according to what specific command we deserve death or some other punishment, so that knowingly, we are able to prostrate ourselves before the High Priest and plead for His Forgiveness.
Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. (Jn 12: 24)
How could we teach the Commandments and convey judgement without judging others?
I must know with whom I can be in spiritual community according to the sensitivity and the vision received from יהוה. The person carrying the spirit of death or any other sin is likely to contaminate me if I am too tolerant and humanist, saying that it is not my business, that I have nothing to do with it, that “it does not matter my dear brother”. I can and must acknowledge sin through the knowledge of the Commandments of the Lord, to be able to protect myself and those who have been entrusted to me from these unhealthy and murderous spiritualities. Nevertheless, the ministry towards others and the love of my neighbor, forbid me to judge, to condemn and damn anyone, but for my part I have the obligation of proclaiming the Law by always adding the possibility to get Grace. My door must always keep a certain openness for ministry, however I must be careful how far I allow the given person to get into my spiritual and vital space. I have to wash his feet before I let him getting in my tent, my brotherly community, but I must avoid washing his head and body, because it is the exclusive right of the High Priest to perform this ministry. (Jn 13: 4-10)
Christian Pharisaism knows the Commandments (partly) with which it attacks and judges others in the place of the Father and Christ. Commandments must be known as a whole to have a pure vision of the outside world and of our neighbor. This only vision based on the Word of יהוה is able to make me see where any ministry is to be done, what Word, what Law is to be pronounced, in what situation and before who, in order to touch and save the concerned person. But always, the proclamation of the Law and Judgment must be followed and completed by the possibility of getting repentance and grace from Christ.
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