Jesus as Both Advocate and Judge - and We as Advocates

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Jesus as Both Advocate and Judge - and We as Advocates

Post by Ray DeGraw » 26 Feb 2017, 15:25

We had a wonderful lesson in our High Priests Group, and I want to share one particular insight I had near the end of the lesson:

We talk about Jesus as the Judge, but I like another title better: Advocate with the Father. I like the framing of Jesus representing us at the judgment seat of the Father - being our advocate (defender) for mercy, with the Father being the actual Judge. I like it conceptually, but I also like the practical application that hit me on Sunday.

When we take his name upon us, we are NOT assuming his post-mortal responsibilities, including that of Judge. In fact, we are told explicitly not to judge (with a result that we won't be judged ourselves). Rather, we are accepting a place in his mortal ministry. We are doing for others what he did for them during his life and through his death. We are promising to recognize their inherent value as children of God and advocate for them. We can't do that unless we refrain from judging them, strive to understand them, and look for justifications to defend them.

In our current system, the ONLY conflict is for Bishops, since they are called Judges in Israel. However, even they can start with their responsibility to be Advocates, and then, and only then, move on to acting as Judges. This approach, if understood and followed, would result in judges and judgments that are as merciful, gracious, and loving as possible - based on understanding WHY people did what they did and not just WHAT they did. If this was our default orientation (being an advocate/defender), much of the problem we have with overzealous, Pharisaical, strict exactness and our sometimes exclusive obsession with worthiness would disappear.

I still am working out my full thoughts on this epiphany, but I wanted to share the initial impression with all of you here.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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mom3
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Re: Jesus as Both Advocate and Judge - and We as Advocates

Post by mom3 » 26 Feb 2017, 19:54

Oh I am loving it. Keeping going.
We are doing for others what he did for them during his life and through his death. We are promising to recognize their inherent value as children of God and advocate for them
That is going in my quote book.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Orson
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Re: Jesus as Both Advocate and Judge - and We as Advocates

Post by Orson » 28 Feb 2017, 15:57

Yes I like it, and fitting it into my personal framework of "earth life is school" this concept could be seen as its own important course of study.

As I try to equate "final judgment" with the Father as something that comes at the end of schooling I wonder if it can be related to commencement, or more of a recognition than the traditional idea of "judgment." Of course those who do not receive a diploma (and cannot progress to a career) may feel judged.

[edit:] After putting that into words it sounds more "earn your way" than I intended.
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Re: Jesus as Both Advocate and Judge - and We as Advocates

Post by mom3 » 28 Feb 2017, 17:15

I tend to imagine the Judgement more like an overall review. Since I was a teen I had trouble with a God who allowed his children a chance to come to a foreign place, try their wings, and then judges them. I know part of that came from the fact that my mom is a convert, her parents were non-religious, though they were Christian and from my point of view they were some of the best people I'd ever met. I couldn't come to terms with a God who would dismiss or downgrade a sincere and good person's efforts. I still can't.

Somewhere along the way, probably during seminary, I came up with the review board plan. Jesus helps you set up the presentation. Guides you through it. Maybe even leans over and reminds you of things. I see God asking me questions and inquiring how or why I did such and such. I always assumed I would get to help decide what my final outcome would be.

Maybe it's a pipe dream to help me soften the blow of knowing I will never fit the ideal mold. Ray and Orson I am going to add your ideas to it. I might as well enjoy the judgment day my way as fully and as long as I can. Cause if it's the other method, I am guaranteed to be below. Just sayin'.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Re: Jesus as Both Advocate and Judge - and We as Advocates

Post by Ray DeGraw » 28 Feb 2017, 19:05

In our lesson, the consensus was that there is no traditional judgment but that we simply inherit the kingdom that best matches the condition of our soul - and I was able to mention my belief that such a "placement" will happen only after each of us has spent time and eternities in process of eternal progress (that we will inherit a kingdom only when we have finished growing in any way). I didn't make the obvious link to nearly universal exaltation, but I was happy with the strong support of the overall conclusion.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: Jesus as Both Advocate and Judge - and We as Advocates

Post by Orson » 01 Mar 2017, 08:39

I am entertaining myself here thinking of other analogies. I see a process of becoming more than "proving" our worth. Our goal is to learn and grow, if our heart is in that purpose we "win", if it isn't we are then like a dead seed.

Similar to what you're saying Ray maybe we can imagine ourselves as different types of seeds in God's garden. After given time to sprout and grow the "judgment" may be seen as the Father moving down the garden rows inspecting each plant: "yes you are a handsome stalk of corn, hello what a beautiful tomato plant, ...and here we have a hearty batch of pumpkins...

Our fruit is its own worth, what we become is who we are. The whole process glorifies God. The conditions we have been given enable our growth.


[edit:] ...and obviously God would also be an exalted vegetable plant, not a perfect analogy but illustrates a goal of growing into our potential.
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Re: Jesus as Both Advocate and Judge - and We as Advocates

Post by mom3 » 01 Mar 2017, 12:06

Amen Orson. Love the analogy.

Ray - This is so enjoyable. Thanks for starting it.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Re: Jesus as Both Advocate and Judge - and We as Advocates

Post by SilentDawning » 01 Mar 2017, 19:15

Ray DeGraw wrote:In our current system, the ONLY conflict is for Bishops, since they are called Judges in Israel. However, even they can start with their responsibility to be Advocates, and then, and only then, move on to acting as Judges. This approach, if understood and followed, would result in judges and judgments that are as merciful, gracious, and loving as possible - based on understanding WHY people did what they did and not just WHAT they did. If this was our default orientation (being an advocate/defender), much of the problem we have with overzealous, Pharisaical, strict exactness and our sometimes exclusive obsession with worthiness would disappear.
SP's are also judges in Israel, are they not? They preside over "courts" for endowed members, Melch Priesthood Holders, etcetera? And they also give counsel?

Anyway, you have addressed a criticism we level at Bishops -- that we can't trust them with our deepest thoughts, or seek meaningful counseling because they have the obligation to protect the church. They often feel that discipline is good for the sinner, even when the sinner may not even need it. I have been in situations where they feel they have to have a council even when the person is repentent.

And this is in the context of Leadership Roulette. At least Christ doesn't have imperfection to deal with...

I think it's a beautiful concept, but I see the Bishop different from Christ in that he is both counselor and judge. I don't see him as an advocate for us very much[ perhaps to the SP if a Stake disc council must be called, but if the sinner did a really bad thing, the BP may not be much of an advocate. I am not sure if he's even at the Stake disciplinary council unless asked to be there.

For me, the analogy doesn't hold. Beautiful concept for the Savior, if we are in fact deserving of advocacy. What about the times we are not, for the sake of justice, or when mercy has been extended so many times, and we have "broken" it so many times we no longer deserve it?

Sorry to be so contrapuntal but these are my thoughts.
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Re: Jesus as Both Advocate and Judge - and We as Advocates

Post by nibbler » 02 Mar 2017, 07:04

Ray DeGraw wrote:In fact, we are told explicitly not to judge (with a result that we won't be judged ourselves).
There's an interesting phenomenon that I see play out in our church lessons when those scriptures are shared. Nearly every time someone shares those scriptures someone else will point out that in the Joseph Smith translation it says:
Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged: but judge righteous judgment.
There are lots of ways to interpret that. Most of the time when someone makes that clarification I think they really mean we should discern whether something is good or evil. In other words it isn't a call to judge people, it's a call to make a determination on whether something leads us toward god.

I've also heard it used in the context of, "Well our judgement is righteous, so we've got nothing to worry about." But what really constitutes righteous judgement? Is it a measure of how sanctimonious we can be? ;)

And now I'm that guy sharing b... b... but unrighteous judgement when someone says judge not. Great. :oops:

If you want to read something fun (and I'll point out, very dated):

https://www.lds.org/ensign/1999/08/judg ... nd-judging
I hereby place an order for one cheese pizza. -nibbler

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Re: Jesus as Both Advocate and Judge - and We as Advocates

Post by Orson » 02 Mar 2017, 08:31

nibbler wrote: But what really constitutes righteous judgement? Is it a measure of how sanctimonious we can be? ;)
Righteousness is the cord upon which the law hangs. Any guesses? "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Righteousness can only come out of love. If it is not love, it is not righteous.

When someone needs help on a Sunday, and the only way to help happens to involve shopping -- what is the righteous path? Failing to help is unrighteousness, "was man made for the Sabbath?" Obviously this is only one example.

I won't say "tough love" doesn't exist, but we should always be striving to stay true to love, not some impostor. There are many, and the names may vary from piety to "self"righteousness. The "self" negates the love, which severs the tie to God and the law.

In the garden analogy Love is the water that supports the life and growth in the garden. Truth is the fertile soil.
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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