Ekklesia – The Judicial Branch

Continued from last blog post;

The Judicial Branch

Working in harmony with the legislative branch, the main purpose of the judicial branch is to release the judgments of God. This can take the form of decrees over families, congregations, cities, states, regions and nations. As part of the judicial branch, Moses sat to judge civil cases between individuals. When the load became too great, he chose men to help. In the New Testament, we see Paul fulfilling the function of the judicial branch—disciplining a congregation in 1 Corinthians 6.

Judging and judgments are referenced throughout the Bible, not just regarding people unwilling to repent, but toward the domain of darkness, evil spirits, and spiritual forces in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).

Finally, we see judgment as a prophetic act, such as when Joshua marched the children of Israel around the walls of Jericho and then blew the shofar. The walls tumbled down under the judgment of God.

However, there is a pervasive misunderstanding in the Body of Christ today concerning judgment, as evidenced by the many times we are taught never to judge. Indeed, the blanket avoidance of judgment has actually perverted our outlook and stunted our discernment, growing into an inferiority complex where people preface every observation they make with “I’m not judging, but…”

Certainly, judgment is a touchy subject, but it doesn’t need to be. While nobody likes to be judged, the simple fact is that we do it every day, all day long. We make necessary judgments about what to wear, what to eat, what we put in our coffee in the morning, about people, the weather, what is true and what is not. You name it, we judge it. Judging is part of our nature, and it should be no surprise that it is also part of God’s nature. He is the Great Judge, and there will be a Day of Judgment at the end of this age. The Bible refers to a courtroom setting with God as Judge, Jesus as a lawyer-advocate, and all mankind standing before Him for judgment (Revelation 20:11-15, 1 John 2:1). If that is not enough, we also have an entire book of the Bible called “Judges,” and no, these people are not going to hell because they judged. God placed judges over Israel for His justice to be released and righteousness to prevail.

The problem is that we equate judgment with wrath and punishment, but this is not a fair association. While judgment often has a negative context, it can also be a positive experience. When a judge makes a judgment in the courtroom, it is negative for one party but positive for the other. You see, judging is not the problem; judging with evil motives is the problem. Jesus never condemned judgment; He only condemned hypocritical judgment (Matthew 7:1-5). While we are told not to judge unbelievers, the Bible makes it very clear that we are to judge believers.

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.                                                                                                                                                           1 Corinthians 5:12-13

Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? 1 Corinthians 6:1-6

In light of these and other scriptures, we cannot deny that judging is biblical—an essential part of our identity and purpose as the ekklesia. There are cases that need and should be resolved within the ekklesia. Further, there are times when we need to be involved in the world’s justice system, as there are many cases that cannot be handled within the ekklesia at this time. This is why we are to pray for the earthly rulers over us.

In Matthew 18, Jesus refers to the ekklesia judging a legal matter.

“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church [ekklesia]; and if he refuses to listen even to the church [ekklesia], let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”                                                                                                                       Matthew 18:15-20

Here, Jesus gives the ekklesia a process for dealing with a brother (or sister) in sin. We see a brother who has sinned, and we are told the role the ekklesia is to play in his restoration. Jesus gives general directions for dealing with sin in the assembly, and explains when a judgment must be made. If it were true that we are not to judge, then we could not obey this teaching from the Lord Himself.. Even to confront our sinful brother, it is necessary that we make a judgment.

Of course, judging should always be done in a spirit of gentleness with humility for the purpose of redemption and restoration, never for revenge, anger, or self-righteousness. To judge righteously, the ekklesia must possess a Christ-like character. Love is the law of the Kingdom of God and should always be our motivation for all that we do, especially when it comes to judging. James 2:13 says that mercy triumphs over judgment. However, when there is no response to mercy, judgment must be made. Judgment is essential to the proper function of the ekklesia.

Joe Nicola

My book can be purchased here: Ekklesia; The Government of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth 

Ekklesia – The Legislative Branch

Jesus said He would build His Ekklesia, not a church. The word church is not a Biblical word. This word did not exist in any language until the fourth century, three hundred years after Jesus ascended to Heaven. This is an excerpt from my book; Ekklesia; the Government of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.

As the government of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, the ekklesia has three distinct branches: • the judicial branch • the legislative branch • the executive branch

The prophet Isaiah illustrated the same in his description of the Lord.

For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; He will save us.                                                                                                                                                                           Isaiah 33:22

Notice the parallels: • the judicial branch—our judge  • the legislative branch—our lawgiver  • the executive branch—our king

The government of the United States of America is also formed from this biblical pattern. However, instead of an elected President, the executive branch of the ekklesia is occupied by Jesus. And in place of Congress and the Supreme Court, the legislative and judicial branches of the ekklesia are occupied by the people of God. (That would be us.)

These three branches of the ekklesia also relate to the Trinity. The Father is the Great Judge, the Son Jesus is the King, and the Holy Spirit is the Lawgiver, or in other words, the One who delivers/speaks the will of God to us so that we can speak and act on it. Also known as our Helper, the Holy Spirit helps us to legislate and judge according to the will of God.

The Legislative Branch

Legislation is the process of writing and passing laws. Legislation also means the actual law itself. We have already discussed the legislative branch of the ekklesia throughout this book, though not in these terms. The responsibility of the legislative branch is to hear from God, then speak and act for God, thereby releasing His will on Earth. God gave man authority over the Earth. For His will to be accomplished, we must hear accurately from Him so that we can implement His will. Of course, we are not there yet, because God’s will is not always accomplished. We can easily see that by what is going on in the world today. Although God is in ultimate control, we are the ambassadors He uses to carry out His will on Earth (2 Corinthians 5:20). If God’s will is not accomplished, we need look no further than ourselves—His ekklesia.

Even as I write this, I realize that some Christians get nervous when speaking of government, politics and especially law in relation to God. Please understand that I am not referring to Old Testament law versus New Testament law, or debating whether we are under law or not. Instead, I am using God’s “will” and His “law” interchangeably. In the Kingdom of Heaven, God’s will—His law— will always be accomplished. He is the King and the overarching law of the Kingdom, on Earth and in Heaven, is love. Romans 13:10 says that love is the fulfillment of the law. 1 John 4:16 says God is love, therefore His will (or law) is always motivated by love and is always for the benefit of people. Even in judgment, love is the motivation, and righteousness and justice are the results. So it is up to us to hear from the Lord, then to speak and to act according to His will. This is the process of legislating the will or the law of God on the Earth. This is how the ekklesia is to operate.

The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the Earth He has given to the sons of men.                                                                                                                                                                         Psalm 115:16

Joe Nicola

My book can be purchased here: Ekklesia; The Government of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth