Question

Does God sit or stand to judge? Isaiah 3:13 and Joel 3:12

Answer

Isaiah 3:13 The Lord takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people.

Joel 3:12 Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, 
for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side.

God really does not have a posture as he is a spirit (John 4:24). However, the Bible often uses anthropomorphic language (e.g., God has a face, hands, feet) to assist us in understanding what God is saying, doing, etc. Moreover, although God stands in one passage and sits in the other, they each deal with an entirely different set of circumstances. He may be sitting to hear and evaluate evidence in one passage and standing to execute judgment in the other. But considering the type of language being used, the one does not necessarily preclude the other. The message in both passages is that God is sovereign, he is on his throne, he is the judge, and his judgment is both just and the final word on any topic.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).