Thomas Cosmades



The Mighty Judge, the Lawgiver, the King, Our Savior

(Isaiah 33:13-22; Revelation 11:15; 19:11-16; 20:4)

By Thomas Cosmades



Human government is a man-made institution starting from the days of the mighty hunter, Nimrod.  The numerous nations in our deficient world are all ruled by some sort of government.  No matter how the function of governing is executed each one encompasses three aspects which operate in accordance with the principle of administering, legislating, and adjudicating.  Even in the excessively dictatorial countries of our woeful world, governmental structure subscribes to these three branches of rule.  There is no alternative unless people support the cruel utopia of anarchism or the quirky aberration of sharia law  (Check on this website: “Jesus, on Nimrod’s Empire”).


In countries where these three agencies function, dissatisfaction from many quarters is common.  The cry of reflective people is worldwide: Where is the ideal government with all three components operating justly?  Everyone will agree that there is no such government in our tarnished world.  There has never been any; neither shall there be one, except… when the wise men from the East came to Jerusalem seeking the baby Jesus they asked the well-known question: “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?”  (Matthew 2:2).  Their question was consistent with the well-known prophecy: “Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land” (Jeremiah 23:5).  This clear prophecy cryptically refers to all the three branches of optimal rule. 


The mighty prophet and evangelist Isaiah (‘YAHWEH is Salvation’, ca. 700 B.C.) draws universal attention to the province above and beyond our corrupt world:  “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he himself will save us” (NEB -- 33:22; cf. vv.5, 21).  Contemporary media daily flashes before our eyes the deficient systems of our fleeting times and all the disturbing human events which are in continuous erosion and state of flux.  Every time we look at the screen we agonize, “Where are the just judges to apply proper checks and balances? Where are the equitable lawgivers?  Where are the impartial rulers who always justly execute their responsibilities?”  The rejuvenating reply emanates from Isaiah’s inspired pen.


I.  The LORD is our Judge – Shafat


History familiarizes its reviewers of worthy judges who left a favorable mark with their equitable arbitrament.  Nevertheless, not one person’s record is meticulous.  The tentacles of corruption have engulfed even the judiciary structure in many countries, choking the noble criterion of justice.  In numerous places politically-motivated legal verdicts have reduced the bench of justice to mockery.  Judicial machines acting as an arm of the political establishment cause grief and distress to vast numbers of harassed citizens.  Too many interpreters of codes set by their own lawmakers exercise their privilege according to preconceived bias or personal opinion.  Against these and many more mischievous deeds we remember what the Judge of judges says: “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known” (Matthew 10:26; cf. Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17; 12:2; Ephesians 5:13).  Misdeeds in adjudication bring into view the absence of ethical correctness among judges acting arbitrarily.  Where can the totally flawless judge be found? From the ranks of top law schools?  From among the wizards of those interpreting the law?


The capable person who can satisfy everyone is not to be found in the echelon of fallen humans.  However, our longings are not merely utopian.  While the manifestation of such a person lies ahead, it can also be enjoyed presently.  Everything is contingent on one Person who is the bounteous embodiment of all three positions. The flawless and unveiled judge is to be sought elsewhere, should anyone have the disposition to look for him. This lofty expectation awaits fulfillment.  Isaiah describes the majesty of such a supreme judge: “Then a throne will be established in steadfast love and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness” (16:5).  The qualities of this optimal leader fascinate us earthlings. He judges and seeks justice promptly and expeditiously.  He will be judge over all mankind regardless of who or where they are.  The prophet goes on to describe him more accurately.  His judging and decision-making will be entirely other (cf. Isaiah 11:3-5). 


The incongruity of the whole account is that this peerless and immaculate judge came to earth as a human. He submitted himself to a totally unjust procedure, was dragged before two impaired judges – religious and secular – as a great offender.  He was mocked, spit on and smitten by unworthies.  But ultimately, his secular judge declared him innocent. However, in a move of appeasement he complied with the wild mob’s irrational demand, agitated by the religious leaders of the day.  He sentenced Christ to an unjust death: “By oppression and judgment he was taken away” (Isaiah 53:8a).  This is recorded as history’s most inequitable sentence.  “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By his wounds you have been healed” (I Peter 2:24).  Such is the paradox of God’s securing redemption for us sinners who are judged for everlasting retribution (cf. RSV, NEB John 5:24).  The condemned judge who endured the pangs of death and rose again is the ultimate judge who

     a. will judge his believers according to the deeds done in the body, before his BEMA

          (cf. Romans 14:10; II Corinthians 5:10).

     b. will judge all the nations in equity (cf. Matthew 25:32, 33; Ezekiel 34:17, 20).

     c. will judge all rejecters of his saving grace (cf. Revelation 20:11, 12, 15).


James in his practical admonition sounds a clear warning (cf. 4:12; 5:9).  It appears easy for us finite and faulty beings to pass quick judgment arbitrarily while being aware that there is one judge who is simultaneously the lawgiver (cf. Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30, 31). How terrifying to appear before the throne of the absolutely just judge! Everyone should realize that there is a mighty judge in heaven with present as well as eschatological authority. Therefore, it is fitting that each person submits to his judicial supremacy which is as ancient as he is. 


II. The LORD is our Lawgiver – Haqaq


Again, history familiarizes us with worthy lawgivers: Hammurabi (1792-1750), Solon (639-559), B.C.; Justinian (492-566 A.D.). All left their impression at the apex of attainment and acknowledgement of their exploits.  Yet each one was a faulty mortal.  No reference is made to Moses, however, in this illustrious roster.  While he is acknowledged as an outstanding legislator, throughout the pages of the text he is seen as being under YAHWEH’s total charge and coaching: “as the LORD commanded”.  In the whole of the Pentateuch the LORD himself conveys the minutest detail of the law.  He revealed himself to Moses as, “I AM WHO I AM…I AM has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14).  To shed further light on this truth James says, “There is one lawgiver and judge” (4:12).  On Mt. Sinai and everywhere else, YAHWEH is the mighty, authoritative speaker and lawgiver.  Moses was but a mouthpiece under the LORD’s guidance.  God favored Moses uniquely by speaking to him face to face (cf. Numbers 12:6-8).  Moses conveyed the statutes and oracles of God.  As James underscores it, the lawgiver is One.  Moses was different from all celebrated legislators who put into code their own brilliant and ingenious thoughts in order to implement ways of achieving orderly living. 

The meaning of the Hebrew ‘haqaq’ is ‘to engrave’, hence ‘to make statute’.  The Arabic word is ‘hakkak’.  There are a number of Greek words in the context of charaxis from which many related terms derive.  The well-known fine craft of the ‘hakkak’ is highly admired.  The ingenious hakkak can produce wonders with his skillful fingers and engraving pen.  With the word ‘character’ the Greeks describe that attribute which makes up and distinguishes an individual.  There are also a number of English words with the same derivation.  YAHWEH engraved his impeccable character upon the Decalogue for men and women to follow his rules and be like him.  “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple… The sum of thy word is truth; and every one of thy righteous ordinances endures for ever” (Psalm 19:7; 119:160).


The Israelites strayed into idolatry, thus breaking the perfect law of YAHWEH.  There was no other option for Moses than to destroy the two plaques.  Breaking the law of the all-transcending LORD is downgrading his peerless character.  His law is consistent with his glory, which does not concede to any human caprice.  In his encounter with the glory of the thrice-holy God, Isaiah was left bare and desolate (cf. 6:5).  He realized that in his heart he was not unlike the people he was sent to censor (cf. 59:2, 3).


Ordinary transgressors who break the laws of their land can reckon with receiving their due punishment.  How will the transgressor of God’s law who has broken the impeccable divine commandment written with God’s own finger escape retribution (cf. Exodus 31:18)?  The perfect law of the Lawgiver is being universally broken.  Too many take pride in jettisoning the law which was meant to do them good.  In actuality YAHWEH’s law is our benefactor, but man is unaware of the peril of disavowing that which is meant to serve him. Instead he establishes his own laws, flaunting them against the laws of the most high God.  And to get around his misdeed he endeavors to establish his own righteousness with makeshift religious innovations. Contorting the divine dictum, sinful man is willfully opting out of the valuable in favor of makeshift substitutes. The tendency is universal.  Jeremiah pronounced heaven’s lament, “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (2:13).  His outcry would be the same today.


Fallen humans are renowned for breaking the basis of all laws, always to their own loss.  Only divine grace can extract them from this detrimental propensity, making them fully appreciative of what is morally wholesome.  The supreme Haqaq who prescribed precise laws goes on to implement their effect in the feeble heart of man through faith in his peerless Son.  He is the only one who fulfilled in his body every single requirement of the law (cf. Galatians 4:4, 5).  His offer of redemption to those under the curse of the law is absolute.  “I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33b).  The divine effect is reiterated twice by the writer to the Hebrews (cf. 8:10; 10:16, 17).  The law written upon the heart of the redeemed assures the person of an entirely new vitality (cf. John 13:34; Galatians 6:2).   


III. The LORD is our King – Melek


Human rule from royal nobility down to the precept of municipality is made of imperfect stuff, the very last one from the seed of the fallen human race.  Let your thoughts carry you back to Nimrod, the first human ruler.  Throughout the aeons all the way to our time a whole series of failed rulers, kings and potentates are before our eyes.  Their disreputable acts testify against them: wars, religious wars, invasions, putsches, dictatorships, falsehood and deception, concentration camps, gas chambers, gulags, recruitment of child soldiers, organized terrorism, destruction, mass murder, torture, slavery, exploitation, plunder, rape, oppressive rule, fraud, corruption, incapability to crush the drug menace, polluting the planet, ad infinitum.  The history of human government, with a few pages making room for honorable administration, is replete with shameful acts which are constantly accumulating. 


The sovereign, flawless creator most certainly did not make or intend to assign such rulers.  Man is affected by sin. This abhorrent blemish tarnished his capability to amicably govern his fellow humans. The heavens have shuddered at the countless misdeeds of governmental establishments all over the world throughout history. Human leadership and government have precious little to their credit.  From the pages of the Pentateuch God makes it very clear that he is reserving an entirely blissful administration under one king, whom he anointed as Messiah over Israel and every other nation.  From the time of our earthly ancestors, men and women live with the yen for a just Sovereign.  The sad fact is that the majority of mankind knows almost nothing about him, neither do they seek nor expect his coming to take over the helm of God’s own rule. 


This person is real.  His first appearance constituted the apex of all world events, altered the times and left behind a series of extraordinary accomplishments.  His second appearance in God’s predestined time will usher in the ultimate transformation of human life on earth.  The whole of humanity throughout the ages has longed for the ideal ruler.  Almighty God answers man’s yearning categorically.  “Your eyes will see the king in his beauty; they will behold a land that stretches afar…Then the moon will be confounded, and the sun ashamed; for the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before his elders he will manifest his glory…Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.  And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust for ever” (Isaiah 33:17; 24:23; 32:16, 17).  One of the most beautiful appellations used for the Father as well as the Son is Pantocrator, All Powerful Ruler:  (cf. II Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7, 14; 19:6, 15). (Check the article, ‘Pantocrator – Cosmocrators’ in this website.)


The eternal Christ of God Almighty has come, and will come with the qualities that no human ruler has ever possessed.  The Koheleth in a predisposition of pessimism cries out in deep agony: “I looked again and saw all the oppression that goes on in the world; there were the oppressed in tears, with no one to redress their wrongs—tyrants in power, and the oppressed in tears, with no one to redress their wrongs!” (Moffatt, Ecclesiastes 4:1). God in appointing Moses as leader of his people said, “I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them” (Exodus 3:9b).  The God of love and comfort sees the oppression today, as then, endured by men, women and children throughout the world where repressive rule is the norm.  In astonishing ways he made a perfect provision to rescue Israel from their daily torment in Egypt.  Likewise, he will provide the way of escape, particularly for those who trust in his Son Jesus Christ, who are eagerly anticipating his appearance (cf. I Corinthians 10:13). 


Too many infamous chieftains have appeared on the scene, assuming their undeserved rule, to the dismay and bewilderment of multitudes.  There were some who applauded the taking over of the state machine by such demagogues as the notorious Hitler, only to have their hopes dashed.  World leaders throughout history have inflamed and then squelched their adherents.  However, God’s Messiah is in a totally different category: “For our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel” (Psalm 89:18). The prophet Zechariah joyfully celebrates the fulfillment of God’s infallible plan for the whole universe: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!  Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!  Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he” (9:9a).The Pantocrator reassured his followers: “Truly, I say to you, in the ‘palingenesia’ (recreated order), when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28).


IV. He Will Save Us


The initial prophecy concerning the coming of the Savior was given by YAHWEH himself, who declared to Satan the advent of the Redeemer and his crushing the head of this merciless enemy.  “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). The divine annunciation is known in theology as ‘Protevangelium’.   All the prophets whom God sent spoke about the appearance of the Savior, who would save not only Israel but all of humanity – those who would acknowledge and accept him as Savior.  Isaiah, known as the ‘evangelist of the Old Testament,’ spoke with complete authority concerning the One who would save men and women from sin (cf. 7:14; 9:6). In God’s accurate timetable the Savior of mankind came, was crucified and rose again.  From the hour the Protevangelium was declared – before his incarnation – up until this time, Christ has been redeeming sinners, against intensifying hate and hostility throughout the planet. His message is maligned worldwide. 


While there have been famous judges, lawgivers and rulers, not one of these bore the name ‘Savior’.  This glorious appellation belongs exclusively to Christ, God’s only Son appointed by him to save sinners.  The natural question is directed also to you: Has Christ saved you from your sin?  Have you trusted in him as Savior and Lord?  If you have taken this vital step, rejoice forevermore and live to please him daily.  If you have not joined the company of his believers, do so this very moment, by faith in his infinite grace and absolute sufficiency to forgive you.  Once he becomes your Savior, you will find him to be Savior in every sense:  He will save mankind from unjust judges, uncharitable lawmakers and selfish executives.  He will save us from the dominion of Satan, from future judgment, from death and every other destructive element of this transient life.  You, too, can jubilate with John the Revelator, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15b). 


Thomas Cosmades -- 2009









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