2 Timothy 4:1
4 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:
As much as I wanted to include the 4 verses that follow this one, I felt it prudent to pause. One reason is because what follows is a bit popular and admittedly I could get caught up in it and skip the importance of what Paul says here. Of course, I wouldn’t want you to miss it either J
Just before this part of the letter, Paul talked about being convinced of who God is, the role of Jesus, and how it applies to Timothy’s life. Here, we see a reflection of Paul’s beliefs. We already knew what Paul believes since we have read this letter and his previous letters. Let’s take a closer look though.
He mentions God and Jesus Christ as two separate entities. This is a reflection of part of what is referred to as the Holy Trinity or the Triune God. The thought of God being more than one person and one person (or entity) at the same time doesn’t make sense in human terms. Even if we come up with ways to describe it, we cannot explain how God is one and three simultaneously. I try to keep in mind that if He really is God, however, then it is certainly something He would be able to do. The next part is interesting.
Now, I certainly am not a Greek scholar, especially of ancient Greek and I’d be more than inclined to listen to anyone who has more knowledge than myself in this subject. But as we read it here in English, we see that the second half of the verse refers to one entity, not two (or three, for that matter). So then, whom does the second half of the sentence refer to? The short answer is: yes. Paul refers to both because they are one in the same. If we read it as we have been taught, then we would say Paul is specifically talking about Jesus, not God. But if Jesus is God, then would he not be talking about both? So then why is he using the singular? Because they are one in the same.
In picturing the separate entities, we can explain that God will judge the world and bring His kingdom through Jesus. That could be a way to make sense of it in human terms, much like a king would charge his second in command to carry out similar orders. If we take a glimpse at the book of Revelation, we see however that Jesus is the one who carries out the judgment of the earth. But if Jesus is carrying out the judgment of God, then who is the judge, Jesus the son or God the father? To make it more interesting, John’s Revelation was not written until about 24 years after this letter was written to Timothy; it all goes back to what Jesus proclaimed when He was on earth.
John 12:44-50 “ 44 And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. 46 I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.47 If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50 I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”
Jesus proclaimed that our denial of Him is the same as denying God, since they are one in the same. It is God and Jesus who judges us because they are one in the same. Jesus is the physical representation to us of God so that we can be reunited with Him (would you want a relationship with someone you could never see?)