JUDGMENT--KRINO, KRISIS, KRIMA.
QUESTION. (a) In the last WATCH TOWER we note that you refer to krino as having the significance of judgment. Do you refer to its significance in Greek? I do not find it rendered "judgment" in our Common Version English Bible.
Answer. (a) Certainly, krino is a Greek word, and its significance in that language was what we sought to present. The word occurs more times than krisis and krima together: it is variously rendered in our English common version Bible,--Judge, Conclude, Condemn, Decree, Determine, Damned, Ordain, Sentence. The thought in every instance is that of judgment or trial. This is the word used by our Lord when referring to the honor to be given to the apostles, "Ye shall sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." It is the same word used by the Apostle Paul when referring to the future work of the Church, saying, "Know ye not that the saints shall judge [krino] the world? and if the world shall be judged [krino] by you,...know ye not that we shall judge [krino] angels?" --Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:30; 1 Cor. 6:2,3.
Question. (b) Do you consider the definitions of krisis, krima and krino, given from Strong's Concordance, reliable?
Answer. (b) Yes. You can convince yourself of this fact by noting the uses of these words in the New Testament. Any definition at variance with those given could not be applied to every text in which these words occur. This is the best way to test any definition, whoever gives it: test it by the Scriptural usage of the word.
We will give here Liddell and Scott's Greek Lexicon definition of these words (our comments in brackets):--
Krima. "A decision, decree, judgment"--in New Testament usage, "Condemnation, sentence." [This word seems not to contain the thought of trial, except in the past. It relates to and signifies sentence.]
Krisis. "(1) A separating, putting asunder: hence a choosing. (2) A deciding, determining, judging, judgment." [This word includes the thought of trial culminating in a decision that is final, irrevocable.
Krino. "(1) To separate, part, put asunder; hence also to order, arrange. (2) To inquire, search into, investigate." [This word is full of the thought of trial, or testing, or criticism; but it does not imply finality of decision.]
Indeed, krino is the root word from which krima and krisis are derived. (1) Krino relates to probationary trials and testings and corrections (now, and in the coming age). (2) Krisis points out a decision or a time of decision. The Jewish "harvest" was such a time of decision or krisis to Fleshly Israel: the present "harvest" is a time of decision or krisis to nominal Spiritual Israel. And the entire Millennial age will be a time of decision or krisis for mankind in general, ending the krino or probation of that age with a "harvest" time of decision or krisis. (3) Krima relates to the final and irrevocable sentence upon evil doers. Compare these definitions with the New Testament usage of these words and be fully convinced.
Question. (c) If "the Father judgeth [krino] no man, but hath committed all judgment [krisis] unto the Son, so that all may honor the Son even as they honor the Father," would it not imply that there is no judgment of any kind in progress by the Father directly during this Gospel age?
Answer. (c) Yes.
Question. (d) And if our Lord Jesus has nothing whatever to do with the judgment or correction of the Church, but must wait and begin his judgment (krisis) with the world, and the Millennial age, would it not imply that the Gospel Church is not on judgment (trial) at all during this Gospel age? And would not such a conclusion be an unreasonable one?
Answer. (d) Yes;--to both questions. The only solution to the problem, the only way to harmonize these statements of Scripture, was, we believe, offered in our last issue.
We there showed that ALL krisis or decision has been committed to the Son, but the Son does not exercise that krisis authority until the harvest, the end of this age. He then exercises krisis power in respect to the Church and the world--rewarding his faithful and [R2430 : page 39] bringing a great time of trouble upon the unfaithful of the Church and the world. We are already in this krisis time--thousands are "falling"--"Who shall be able to stand?" The humble, faithful few only, "shall never fall, but an entrance shall be ministered unto them abundantly, into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Thus says the Apostle of this class, "Love has been perfected in us that we may have boldness in the day of judgment"-- krisis.--1 John 4:17.
Altho all judgment (decision, krisis) was committed to the Son, there is only one text which even implies any exercise of krisis judgment (decision) by our Lord during this age: and that is the Apostle's statement, "Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment [krisis]." (1 Tim. 5:24.) This would seem to imply that, altho the Lord's decision respecting the majority of the Church will not be manifested until the "harvest" of this age, yet there have been exceptions to this rule; and the Apostle mentions such exceptional cases. (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-29.) But the casting of many into outer darkness now, because of unfaithfulness to the Word of the Lord or its spirit of love, is not thus exceptional; for the time of krisis has arrived;--yea, and it will mean a final sentence (krima) to some; for, as the Apostle declares, "The time is come that krima [sentence] must begin with the house of God."--1 Pet. 4:17.
But respecting the judgment, criticism or inspection represented by the word krino: it does not wait for the "harvest," but has been in progress throughout this entire age, in the Church. It is practically the only kind of judgment that has thus been in operation. It was respecting this judgment that our Lord Jesus declared, "The Father judgeth [krino] no man." (John 5:22.) Who, then, exercises this krino judgment? We answer that the krino or trial or probationary judgment, as well as the krisis or decision, is committed of the Father to the Son. Yea, all power in heaven and in earth, as it may relate to mankind, has been committed to the Son--the Father rests the entire matter in his hands.--Heb. 4:10; John 5:17.
The Lord gives us his Word, his teaching, as representing himself, saying, "Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory." (Luke 9:26.) The teaching of the great Teacher and of his chosen twelve apostles is to be the kriterion or rule of judgment (krino) to his followers, who by their faithfulness or unfaithfulness to those teachings may be said to judge (krino) themselves. The Apostle thus uses the word krino to some whom he addressed, saying, "Seeing ye judge [krino] yourselves unworthy of eternal life." (Acts 13:46.) Again, to the Church the Apostle says, "For if we would judge [dia-krino-- thoroughly examine, criticise, judge] ourselves, we should not be judged [krino]; but being judged [krino] by the Lord, we are chastened that we should not be condemned with [kata-krino--on trial with] the world." (1 Cor. 11:31,32.) Does the Apostle here refer to the Heavenly Father under the name Lord, or to our Lord Jesus? To the latter unquestionably; for his words must be in accord with the words of our Lord Jesus, "The Father judgeth [krino] NO MAN." This teaches us that in addition to his Word our Lord gives a personal supervision or correction or disciplining to those who at heart are seeking to walk in his footsteps.
Moreover, the Apostle exercised this kind of judgment (krino) in the Church as an Apostle, as a special representative of our Lord Jesus, and in his name. We read, "I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged [krino] already, as tho I were present, concerning him that hath done this deed." (1 Cor. 5:3-5.) He reproves the Church for not judging and reproving such persons of their number as were known to be living in sin: and he most positively enjoins such judgment and that those thus found guilty be no longer associated with as "brethren." Then, answering a misunderstanding of his previous message--that they were to withdraw from evil doers not professing Christ, he says (we paraphrase his words),--It is not my business to judge (krino) those who are outside the Church and name of Christ. My complaint of you is that you neglect to judge (krino) those who are within the pale of Christian brotherhood. Those outside the Church God will judge (krino--in his own time and manner --Acts 17:31). Expel from your midst evil doers.-- See 1 Cor. 5:9-13.
This thought that the Church is in duty bound to look after the outward conduct of those it recognizes as "brethren," and to (krino, judge) settle points of misunderstanding amongst themselves, is clearly set forth by the Apostle in his discourse following the above reproof. (1 Cor. 6:1-6.) He points out that the Lord's people should not think of going to law before the courts of the world to settle differences between "brethren." Here he uses the word krino (judge, examine) and asks if there is not in their midst a single person in whose wisdom they could rely, and ironically suggests that if they have lost confidence in the leaders whom the Lord has "set" in the Church for such like purposes, they should at least choose as judges the least esteemed in the Church as preferable to a court of unbelievers. Thus would he shame them and urge that if they had no confidence in each other, they at least do not manifest more confidence in outsiders, but preferably suffer wrong and injustice, rather than dishonor [R2431 : page 40] the Church and her Head, the Lord. But all this only proved that they had not been careful to judge (krino) and to disfellowship the outwardly impure and unrighteous.
This judging by the Church of its own faithful is by virtue of the spirit of the Lord in the Church, as the Apostle declared (1 Cor. 5:4); the thought is that our Lord is in a church of even two or three met in his name, to direct such as seek his guidance. Hence we read, "And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, ...pastors and teachers and evangelists,...for the edifying of the body of Christ"--in these chosen members of his "body," the Church, the qualities of the "Head" were represented. Thus, representatively, as well as by his Word, our Lord Jesus has been judging, correcting, guiding his Church throughout this Gospel age. Take his own statement of this his work of judging his body, in his messages to the seven stages of his Church, recorded in Rev. 2and 3. We read,--
"Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent,...else I will come upon thee quickly and remove thy candlestick." "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." "I have a few things against thee;...repent, or else I will come unto thee quickly and will fight against thee with the sword of my mouth." "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna." "I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel....I gave her space to repent. ...I will cast her...into great tribulation,... and I will kill her children with death; and all the Churches shall know that I am he that searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works....He that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations." "I have not found thy works perfect before God....He that overcometh,... I will not blot out his name out of the book of life." "These things saith he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth." "Behold I will make them of the synagogue of Satan...to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world." "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God." "Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth." "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich....As many as I love I rebuke and chasten: be zealous, therefore, and repent."
Here we have our Lord's own word for it, that he is supervising and correcting his Church now, and that as a culmination of this trial (krino) time will come final decision (krisis)--rewards and punishments.
We repeat that the proper thing to do is to harmonize these various statements--some of which refer to the Heavenly Father as the "Judge of all" and corrector of the Church, while others declare that the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son. Nor is it difficult to harmonize these: the Scriptures themselves indicate how both are true, pointing out that the Son is the representative and honored agent of the Father in the judging (krino) or probationary trials of this age and will be also his agent and representative in giving (krisis) decisions --rewards and tribulations--in the end of this age. And with his glorified Church he will give similar judgment (krino and krisis) to the world in the Millennial age--the world's day of judgment.--Acts 17:31.
So far from this being peculiar or exceptional, it is the general rule of Scripture in matters respecting the Father and the Son. In the matter of creation, for instance, the Heavenly Father is always named as the Creator, and yet we are assured that the Only Begotten was both the beginning and the ending of the Father's direct, personal creation; and that "all things were made by him [the Only Begotten] and without him was not one thing made that was made." (John 1:3.) The matter is explained by the Apostle, saying, All things are of the Father, and all things are by the Son.--1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:15-17.
Take another illustration. In the familiar 23 Psalm we read in the original, "Jehovah is my shepherd, I shall not want," etc. But do not all realize that the Great Shepherd's great Son is our Shepherd also? It is the Shepherd-Son that the Apostle Peter declares to be "The shepherd and bishop of our souls." (1 Pet. 2:25; Heb. 13:20.) It is our Lord himself that declares, "I am the Good Shepherd." (John 10:11.) Not only so, but our word, "pastor," signifies shepherd, as does also the Greek word rendered "bishop" in our common version New Testament: and God, the Great Shepherd, "set" these in the Church, says the Apostle. Again he says that the Good Shepherd, Jesus, gave these gifts to his Church. Is there conflict between these statements? By no means; they are all true and all consistent when viewed from the right standpoint: the Head of the under-shepherds is Christ, the Good Shepherd, and the Head of the Good Shepherd is the Great Shepherd, and the flock is one. The key is in the oneness of purpose and of work between the Father and the Son--"I and my Father are one." But this statement can only be apprehended by becoming one with the Father and the Son, in harmony with our Lord's prayer.--John 17:21-23.
Question. (e) You point out the Apostle's injunction [R2431 : page 41] that we should judge, krino; but does not our Lord use this same word in Matt. 7:1, saying, "Judge [krino] not, that ye be not judged [krino]; for with what judgment [krima, sentence] ye judge [krino] ye shall be judged [krino]?" How shall we harmonize these commands of the Lord and the Apostle?
Answer. (e) The two are in accord: the Apostle speaks of the duty of the Church as a Church to judge its members on common moralities. In the above expression the Lord discountenances criticisms and accusations and sentences of one another as individuals.
Elsewhere the Apostle also discountenanced individual judging, accusations, back-bitings, etc., saying, "Why dost thou judge [krino] thy brother?...Let us not therefore judge [krino] one another any more: but judge [krino] this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way." --Rom. 14:10,13.
And our Lord not only approved of judging on the part of the Church, but gave explicit directions to all its individuals respecting how to avoid judging one another and how to submit themselves to the judgment of the Church as the body of Christ.
(1) They were to avoid judging a brother or sister guilty of wilful wrong-doing and were to attempt to reason the matter out privately, that the one or the other might see his error.
(2) If this proved unavailing, the one feeling himself aggrieved (yet still not judging his brother wilfully guilty) is to call in two or three brethren to hear both sides of the controversy. (As the Apostle suggests, those called in should be "wise"--1 Cor. 6:5; --such as both the accuser and the accused would recognize, and whose judgment they would respect and follow.)
(3) If these brethren, called on to act as judges, and his own choice of "wise" brethren, give their verdict against the accuser, that should settle the matter: the accuser should recognize his error. Not to do so would imply that he was not seeking to ascertain the truth, but that he had judged his brother personally, the very thing that both the Lord and the Apostle warn us against. If the accuser be not able to see matters fully in the same light as his "brethren," he should nevertheless accept their decision and trust and pray to the Lord that he would be guided into clearer views. But should the brethren, called in to judge, agree with the accuser, the accused of course should yield,--especially if he had acknowledged the judges to be "wise." The violator of the judgment of such "wise" brethren (if the matter were considered of sufficient importance) was to be charged and the cause heard before the Church--whose decision was to be final; and disregard of its decision implied excommunication. --Matt. 18:15-35.
We have examined this question somewhat in detail, because fearful that something in our last issue might have seemed to sanction personal judging. The Lord, however, does recognize his Church and does promise to act through it and to give his judgment thus to those who seek it, promising in this very connection that, Where two or three are gathered in his name, he is in their midst. The great difficulty with many is their lack of faith; they do not believe the Lord's Word, nor trust to his providences, but want to take matters into their own hands. And this is particularly the case with those who are in the wrong.