The Judgment Seat

“When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat in the Judgment Seat in the place that is called ‘Lithostrotos,’ and in Aramaic, ‘Gabbatha.’”

(John 19:13)

 

Most of our English translations refer to the place of Judgment as “The Stone Pavement” or something similar to that, but it seemed that as this is a specific location known to the people from where Pilate would pronounce judgment, its proper name in Greek might be more appropriate: “Lithostrotos.” And, as is usually translated, it referred to a pavement inlaid by mosaics from where judgments would be given. In Aramaic, it is called Gabbatha, and the name refers to a dome, or a slight elevation from which a judge would pronounce his judgment (not unlike the raised seats of judges today.

What is more significant is the idea of the judgment seat upon which Pilate sits, for there is another judgment seat that Scripture points to, and that is the judgment seat of God (Romans 14:10), which is also spoken of as the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). For though Jesus must stand before Pilate’s judgment seat, there will come a time where Pilate would stand before Jesus’ judgment seat. On one hand, Pilate judges with the wrath of Rome, but on the other hand, Jesus judges with the wrath of God. Pilate’s sentence will be death on a cross; Jesus’ sentence will be the eternal death of the fires of hell. There is no debate over which seat of judgment is more Awful.

Yet, how often it is that we focus more on the power of men than on the power of God — fearing the judgment of men over the judgment of God. Men may kill the body, but God can kill the body and eternally destroy the body in hell (Matthew 10:28). Such truth ought to make our hearts tremble and our knees weak.

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