allowed them to exist and has removed them and permitted new ones to come up as it suited his purpose. (Deut. 32:8; Dan. 4:35; 5:26-31; Acts 17:26; Rom. 13:1) Some of these rulers become lawgivers to their nation, state or community. But their laws and statutes are proper only if made within the framework of and in harmony with the law of the Great Lawgiver, Jehovah God. The famous British jurist, Sir William Blackstone, said, with reference to God’s law governing natural things: “It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force, and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original.” Also, “Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation [found only in the Holy Scriptures], depend all human laws, that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these.”—Chadman’s Cyclopedia of Law, Vol. I, pp. 89-91; compare Matthew 22:21; Acts 5:29.
In the Christian congregation
Jesus’ half-brother James wrote to some Christians who were becoming proud, boastful and critical of their Christian brothers, saying: “Quit speaking against one another, brothers. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother speaks against law and judges law. Now if you judge law, you are, not a doer of law, but a judge. One there is that is lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But you, who are you to be judging your neighbor?” James goes on to speak of those who bragged what they would do in the future, as though they were independent of circumstances, instead of saying, “If Jehovah wills.” (Jas. 4:11-16) James had spoken of the “kingly law,” “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” (Jas. 2:8) These Christians, by failing to exhibit love for their neighbor, speaking against him instead, were, in effect, setting themselves up as judges of divine law, as lawgivers or lawmakers.
The apostle Paul had given similar counsel in his letter to the Romans concerning some who were judging others on the basis of such things as what they ate and drank: “Who are you to judge the house servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for Jehovah can make him stand.”—Rom. 14:4.
In the light of the foregoing, how, then, can Paul’s instructions with regard to a serious case of fornication in the congregation at Corinth be viewed? He said: “I for one, although absent in body but present in spirit, have certainly judged already, as if I were present, the man who has worked in such a way as this. . . . Do you not judge those inside, while God judges those outside? ‘Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.’” He then spoke of judging matters of this life, and of those “in the congregation that you put in as judges.”—1 Cor. 5:1-3, 12, 13; 6:3, 4; compare John 7:24.
Paul, with authority vested in him as one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, with responsibility for the cleanness and welfare of the congregations (2 Cor. 1:1; 11:28) wrote to those having authority in the congregation by appointment of the governing body. (Acts 14:23; 16:4, 5; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 5:22) They were responsible for keeping the congregation in good standing, as pure in God’s sight. These men, in sitting in judgment in the case mentioned, an open and flagrant violation of God’s law, would not be making themselves judges of the law of God, nor would they be making laws according to their will. They would not be going beyond the boundaries of God-given law. They would be acting according to the law given by the Great Statute-giver, denouncing fornication as unclean. Practicers of such uncleanness could not enter God’s kingdom, according to his law. (1 Cor. 6:9, 10) They were not fit to remain in association with the congregation of Christ. Yet even then the men responsible for the cleanness of the congregation, by expelling unclean ones, were not executing the penalty that God the Lawgiver himself would execute on those unrepentantly continuing to follow such a course, namely, death.—Rom. 1:24-27, 32.
Paul also calls to the attention of Christians that “the holy ones will judge the world,” and that “we shall judge angels.” Here he is speaking, not of the present time, but of the future, when those who reign in the kingdom with Christ will sit as heavenly judges, administering the law of God.—1 Cor. 6:1-3; Rev. 20:6; compare 1 Corinthians 4:8.
Moses’ blessing of Gad
In Moses’ blessing of the tribes of Israel just before his death, “as to Gad he said: ‘Blessed is the one widening the borders of Gad. . . . And he [Gad] will pick out the first part for himself, for there the allotment of a statute-giver is reserved.” (Deut. 33:20, 21) This use of the term “statute-giver” may have the following meaning: Most of the tribes had their inheritance assigned to them by lot, under the direction of Joshua and Eleazar the high priest. But the tribe of Gad, along with Reuben, had requested land E of the Jordan River, shortly after the defeat of the Midianites. The land was admirably adapted for the raising of livestock, of which these tribes had large numbers. Moses heard their request favorably and granted them this part of the land. (Num. 32:1-5, 20-22, 28) Hence, their portion was an “allotment of a statute-giver,” Moses, the lawgiver to Israel.
LAYING ON OF HANDS
(Lazʹa·rus) [a form of the Hebrew name Eleazar, meaning God has helped].
1. The brother of Martha and Mary; his resurrection was one of the outstanding miracles performed by Jesus Christ. (John 11:1, 2) Jesus had a deep love for this family living at Bethany, “about two miles” (c. 3 kilometers) from Jerusalem on the road to Jericho. (John 11:5, 18) He had been entertained at their home, perhaps frequently.—Luke 10:33-42.
The two sisters sent word to Jesus, who was at that time across the Jordan River, that their brother Lazarus was very sick. Doubtless they entertained the hope that Jesus would cure him. (John 11:3, 21, 32) However, instead of going to Bethany immediately, or curing Lazarus by indirect means, as in the case of the manservant of an army officer (Matt. 8:5-13), Jesus stayed where he was for two more days. Upon his arrival in the vicinity of Bethany he was met by Martha and then by Mary. Lazarus had expired and had been dead for four days.—John 11:6, 17, 20, 30-32.
When speaking to Martha, Jesus took the occasion to stress the resurrection. (John 11:23-27) He was soon to give added meaning to those words. Upon arriving at the tomb or cave where Lazarus was interred, Christ ordered that the stone sealing its entrance be taken away. Then in prayer to his heavenly Father, Jesus showed that a purpose of the forthcoming miracle was “in order that they [the crowd present] might believe that you sent me forth.” (John 11:38-42) Jesus then called the dead Lazarus out of the cave, and he emerged, undoubtedly to the astonishment and joy of those present.—John 11:43, 44.
This miracle moved many to put faith in Jesus, but also caused the chief priests and Pharisees to plot his death. The anger of the chief priests was further aroused when a great crowd of Jews came to see, not only Jesus, but also the resurrected Lazarus. Because of Lazarus many Jews were putting faith in Jesus, and so the chief priests took counsel to kill Lazarus also. (John 11:45-53; 12:1-11) However, there is no Biblical evidence to the effect that these religious foes carried out their evil plans against Lazarus.
John’s account of the resurrection of Lazarus has been assailed by some critics of the Bible. They point