Examining Romans 2 from the Hebraic perspective

Leviticus 19: 15 "'Do not be unjust in judging - show neither partiality to the poor nor deference to the mighty, but with justice judge your neighbor. 16 "'Do not go around spreading slander among your people, but also don't stand idly by when your neighbor's life is at stake; I am ADONAI. 17 "'Do not hate your brother in your heart, but rebuke your neighbor frankly, so that you won't carry sin because of him. 18 Don't take vengeance on or bear a grudge against any of your people; rather, love your neighbor as yourself; I am ADONAI. (CJB)

Scripture commands us to warn our brethren about sinning, yet many attempt to use Romans 2 as proof that we are not to "judge one another." Unfortunately, that is a gross misunderstanding/ misinterpretation of the Bible! While it's true that YOU can't arbitrarily go around enforcing your own morals on someone, or add your own judgments to those already established in the Torah (which is what "judging" is), we are told that we MUST try to keep our fellow believers from "stepping off that cliff," or else their blood will be on OUR hands (Ezekiel 3:18-20, 33:6; etc.)

TORAH is our judge, and if you see a brother or sister who has fallen head-long into sin, you can't just stand by and watch, or attempt to "pray it away." You MUST warn that person. But, simply telling someone they're breaking ELOHIM's rules is NOT "judging"!

Let's repeat that: TORAH is our judge! It is the only guidance believers have that explains what sin is (1 John 3:4) What passages such as the below are actually saying is that, if you add your own judgments to those already established in the Torah of YHWH, then you have judged Torah as insufficient, and are not allowing it to be your judge. Please read on.

Presenting Romans 2...in context!

Romans 2: 1. There is therefore no excuse for you, O man, who judges your neighbor; for by judging your neighbor, you condemn yourself; for you that judges, do practice the same things. 2. And we know that the judgment of Elohim is in accordance with truth, in regard to those who practice these things. 3. And what thinks you, O man, who judges those who practice these things, while practicing them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of Elohim? 4. Or will you abuse the riches of his benevolence, and his long suffering, and the opportunity which he gives you? And do you not know that the benevolence of Elohim should bring you to repentance?

5. But, because of the hardness of your un-repenting heart, you are treasuring up a store of wrath against the day of wrath, and against the revelation of the righteous judgment of Elohim: 6. Who will recompense to every man, according to his deeds. 7. To them who, by perseverance in good works, seek for glory and honor and immortality, to them he will give life eternal. 8. But to them who are obstinate and obey not the truth, but obey iniquity, to them he will return with wrath and fire. 9. And tribulation and anguish (will be) to every man that does evil; to the Jews first, and also to the Arameans.

10. But glory and honor and peace to every one that does good; to the Jews first, and also to the Arameans.[1] 11. For there is no respect of persons with Elohim. 12. For those without Torah, who sin, will also perish without Torah; and those under Torah, who sin, will be judged by Torah. 13. For not the hearers of Torah are righteous before Elohim; but the doers of Torah are being made righteous.[2] 14. For if Gentiles who have not Torah will, by their nature, do the things of Torah; they, while without Torah, become a Torah to themselves.[3] (AENT)

[1] Arameans, as opposed to "Gentiles" who have no ancestral ties to Israel. Rav Shaul is extremely clear throughout this epistle to make proper distinction between these two, although the point of the message is clear that YHWH is no respecter of persons.

[2] Notice how those "under Torah" and those "doers of Torah" are put in opposition to one another; therefore, both cannot simultaneously be in error. This is clarified with the phrase "for doers of Torah will be made righteous." So, if Torah-doers are made righteous, it stands to reason Torah itself is not passing away! The fact that such deep pro-Torah statements are being sent to Gentiles in Rome speaks volumes of how mainstream Christianity is perverting Rav Shaul's teachings. "Under Torah" means to look to its rituals as a form of magic; a power that needs no purity of intent to bring about blessing, but merely fixed repetition. Torah in itself provides no authority of magic. Rather, Torah has authority because it is YHWH's instruction to man! So "under Torah" is a false teaching that has never been true according to the Tanakh: YHWH blesses man for Torah observance, which is obedience to His Commandments. Notice in Matthew 15 how Y'shua rebukes the Pharisees on this very issue, how they set aside YHWH's Torah (instructions) in favor of their traditions.

[3] Rav Shaul does not suggest that Gentiles are spontaneously Mastering Torah. The point is they should learn the written Torah without distraction from Pharisaic traditions which are not rooted in the plain understanding of Torah.

15. Additionally, they show the work of Torah as it is inscribed on their hearts; and their conscience bears testimony to them, their own reflections rebuking or vindicating one another. 16. (And that vindication is for) in the day in which Elohim will judge the secret (actions) of men, as my tidings (teaches), by Y'shua the Mashiyach. 17. But if you who are called a Jew, and rely yourself on Torah and glory in Elohim, 18. (And further that you think) that you know His good pleasure and discern obligations because you are instructed in Torah; 19. And (that Elohim) has confidence in yourself, that you are a guide to the blind, and a light to them who are in darkness, 20. And an instructor of those lacking knowledge, and a preceptor to the young; and you have the appearance of knowledge and of verity in Torah (then what do you all say to the following):

21. You therefore, who teach others, teach you not yourself? And you who teach that men must not steal, do you steal? 22. And you who say, Men must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? And you who condemn idols, do you plunder the sanctuary? 23. And you who glory in Torah, don't you, by acting contrary to Torah, insult Elohim himself?[4] 24. For, the name of Elohim, as it is written,[5] is reviled among the Gentiles on your account. 25. For circumcision profits indeed if you fulfill[6] Torah: but if you depart from Torah, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.[7] 26. And if uncircumcision should keep the precepts of Torah, would not that uncircumcision be accounted as circumcision?[8] (AENT)

[4] Torah is the standard for righteousness that Rav Shaul applies to both himself and his readers; violation of Torah, Paul states, is an insult to Elohim; therefore, Paul never teaches against Torah as modern translations suggest.

[5] Rav Shaul here also shows that he expects the name of Elohim to be a singular, fixed "sacred" vessel. He is quoting (as it is written) from Ezekiel 36:20 and alluding to the next verse after it, viz: "But when they came to those nations, they caused My Set Apart Name to be profaned in that it was said of them: These are the people of YHWH, but they had to leave His land. Therefore, I am concerned for My Set Apart Name which the House of Israel have caused to be profaned among the nations." One way to profane the Name is by substituting the Name of YHWH for Pagan names that YHWH Himself has not ordained. This, of course, was done at the hand of many translators and theologians who imposed their own ideas into the text. Another common way of profaning The Name is to proclaim His Name, but not do the things He commands.

[6] Fulfill means to properly understand and manifest that understanding of Torah through accurate practice.

[7] If someone is circumcised because of their culture but not taught that it is a sign of the covenant with Awraham and to walk in that covenant, then his circumcision is irrelevant for purposes of the Malchut (Kingdom of) Elohim. A person must enter into Covenant with YHWH to claim any legitimacy (or credit) for his circumcision.

[8] Yes, because the action of keeping the precepts of Torah, the obedience and the knowledge of YHWH must first precede the act of circumcision. Awraham was counted righteous before he was circumcised because he had Faith to observe all that YHWH commanded.

27. And the uncircumcision, which from its nature fulfills Torah, will judge you; who, with the Scripture and with circumcision, transgresses against Torah.[9] 28. For he is not a Jew who is so in what is external (alone): nor is that (only physical) circumcision, which is visible in the flesh.[10] 29. But he is a Jew who is so in what is hidden: and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not from men, but from Elohim. (AENT)

[9] Those who are not as yet circumcised in the flesh but who fulfill and observe Torah, will judge those who are circumcised and know the scriptures well, but who transgress against Torah. Torah has equal weight; no one can observe some precepts and ignore others, yet hold themselves to be qualified enough to judge others.

[10] Because a person could be physically circumcised and be a thief, liar, murderer, etc.

Here's an example of what "judging" is and is not:

When a long-married pastor at a "mega-church" was discovered to have had an ongoing homosexual affair with a male prostitute, some members of his congregation immediately jumped to his defense by proclaiming: "You shouldn't judge him! You don't know his heart. He just made a mistake," etc. This is a total misinterpretation of the passages about "judging"!

First of all, a "mistake" is accidentally doing or miscalculating something. A "mistake" is doing or saying something you didn't realize might end up affecting you or someone else in a negative way. Having an ongoing homosexual affair when you KNOW what Scripture says - well, that is NOT a "mistake"! The pastor not only defied YHWH by doing something He considers "an abomination"; but he also committed adultery against his wife - which is another sin YHWH frowns upon.

The truth is, Believers MUST keep each other in line, so to speak. If we see a fellow believer deliberately sinning, we cannot simply "turn a blind eye"; we are obligated to help him/her back onto God's path. At the same time, we cannot add to what Torah says....

James 4: 11. Speak not against each other, my Brothers; for he that speaks against his brother, or judges his brother speaks against Torah and judges Torah. And if you judge Torah, you are not a doer of Torah, but its judge1. 12. There is one Torah-giver2 and Judge who can make alive and (can) destroy: but who are you that you judge your neighbor? (Aramaic English NT)


(1) If you add your own judgments to those already established in the Torah of YHWH, then you have judged Torah as insufficient, and are not allowing it to be your judge.

(2) One Torah Giver who gives One Torah. The halacha (way to observe Torah) is revealed by the Ruach haKodesh, and demonstrated in Mashiyach. The concept of "two torahs" one oral and one written is the basis of authority on which the Rabbinate operates. "The Rabbis" wrote their own "oral Torah" and give themselves the authority to interpret it; unfortunately, their oral Torah often speaks against both the Written Torah and haMashiyach. On the other hand, Christian theologians have made up their own "New Testament" based on their own non-Torah cultural value systems which makes void Torah and diminishes the true goal of Mashiyach.

We would be "judging" this pastor if we were to slander him by suggesting, for instance, "Well, he probably had lots of affairs before this and he'll never change, because that's just how he's wired. He's homosexual, through and though and God will NEVER forgive that!"....WE do not have the right to make those types of statements! We don't know for sure that the pastor "won't change." Knowing what people will or won't or are likely to do is YHWH's job; not yours!

It wouldn't be "judging" to tell this pastor biblically how and why he sinned; or telling him with conviction that he needs to repent and totally turn from that sin, or else his soul will be in jeopardy! There's nothing wrong with showing him the scriptures that reveal there is no sin sacrifice for continued, deliberate sinning. Once you know what you've done is a SIN, you must stop! YHWH/God knows our hearts; He knows who is serious about doing HIS will, and who is being "lukewarm." And He and only He is able to determine where we each get to spend eternity.

If you have done your job and tried to help a brother or sister back onto YHWH's Path, but they refuse to repent and turn from their ways, then all you can do is "turn them over to God" and shake the dust from your sandals. Do not hang out with, or condone the sin, or else you will be guilty of aiding a sinner. As the old adage goes, "Don't give a drunk a drink. Don't give a Heroin addict money to buy more drugs." We can add to that, "Don't help an adulterer commit adultery by 'playing nice' and refusing to get involved"....GET involved, and if it looks like they aren't going to listen to scriptural advice, stay away from them. Scripture commands us to stay away from evil.