Time or Eternity? ™

The Judgement

In Judgement on April 11, 2012 at 8:00 am

For nearly six thousand years of sin this world has stood as a dark blot in the universe of God. And yet through it all the light of His mercy has shone clear and bright, and the work of redemption has gone steadily forward. And when this work shall be finished, there will have been gathered from the dwellers of all the ages a host of those who have been true to God, who shall people this earth according to the original plan of the Creator.

When the warfare between good and evil is ended, the sharpest line of demarkation will be drawn “between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.” This will be a clean world, with the stains of sin and the blot of sinners forever removed.( Mal. 3:18)  It is therefore evident that a time must come when the cases of all who have lived shall come in review, and their future destiny be finally settled. This is the time of judgment so many times mentioned in the word of God. Paul says that “we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Rom. 14:10)  This judgment will not be arbitrary. The God  of heaven knows the character of  every human being.

God’s righteousness has been called in question by Satan. It must be revealed in the closing up of  this world’s history. Throughout the ages of eternity God’s justice and mercy, as manifested in His dealings with Satan and sinners, must stand vindicated, hence the final judgment will be very real, and in its scenes hosts of heavenly angels and the redeemed of earth will participate.  Of this great day we read that God “hath appointed a day [time or period] in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained [Jesus Christ]; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.”( Acts 17:31)  The judgment cannot, therefore, take place at the death of each individual, as some suppose, for a “day,” or set time, has been fixed when this work shall be undertaken. And Paul, in his powerfid argument before Felix, “reasoned of righteousness, temperance, wrath, and judgment to come.” (Acts 24:25) Hence in the days of Paul the judgment had not taken place, nor was it then in session.

The Books of Heaven.

In order that the investigations of the judgment may be unquestioned and complete, the lives of all men are written in the books of heaven. From the records found in these books will the future of all who have lived on this earth be decided.  Concerning the books of record and the throngs that take part in this great assize, we read, ” Thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” (Dan. 7: 10) Of the fate of the millions who have lived and died John writes, “And the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Rev. 20:12)
The Book of Life.

In the foregoing text reference is made to “the book of life.” This to the Christian is the most important volume in all the universe of God. It is the roster of all the faithful of all the ages. In it are written the names of all who have undertaken the service of God. No other names are entered upon its pages.  Day by day the guardian angel bears to heaven the record of those whose names are written in the book. Their sins are recorded upon the debit side.  As sins are confessed and wrongs made right, “pardon” is written opposite the transgression.  And so the life record grows. Happy is the mortal whose debits of sin are balanced by the “pardons” of forgiveness. Awful is the fate of him who starts in the service of God, but falters in his course. For him the record on the “book of life” will not be clear. The debit side will not be balanced by the “pardons” of the credit side. The names of such will be blotted out of the book of life in God’s great judgment day.  Although our names may be once written in the book of life, they may, in the day of judgment, be stricken from its pages. Of the one who does not continue in well doing John writes, “God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Rev. 22 : 19.  Only those whose names are retained in the book of life can enter the gates of the New Jerusalem. “There shall in no wise enter into it [the New Jerusalem] any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Rev. 21 :27)  The names of all the overcomers will be retained in this wonderful book. “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.” (Rev. 3:5) From the foregoing it will be seen that the judgment for which the book of life is the basis has to do only with those who have undertaken the service of God. This investigative judgment must take place before Jesus comes, for at His coming He brings the reward for the overcomers, and fulfills all the promises made to them. Hence their cases must then have been decided.

COUNTED WITH SINNERS.

The righteous may turn from their service of God, lose the reward for all the service they have rendered, and at last be numbered among the sinners. Right doing is our normal service. No balancing up between right and wrong will be made, and no general average will be struck. A godly life will give us a home in heaven. A failure to overcome will bring punishment for every sin committed.  The foregoing conclusion is evident from the statement in Ezek. 3 : 20: ‘When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, … he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered.’‘ In the judgment the names of such will be stricken from the book of life, and they will be called upon to answer for their sins with the rest of the wicked.  Of the great final reward our Lord has sent us word through the prophet John: “Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”( Rev. 22:12)  The righteous receive their reward when Jesus comes, and their judgment takes place first, while that of the wicked takes place at a later period. Hence Peter, in prophetic view of the consummation of the Christian’s hope, exclaims, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:17, 18)  John, viewing this same scene, writes, “And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great.” (Rev. 11:18)  The foregoing texts have to do with the judgment and reward of the saints. It takes place during the last days of anger, strife, and commotion among the nations of earth. It is the investigative judgment of all the dead who have ever started in the service of God, and will determine who have been overcomers in the warfare with sin and Satan.  The cases of the living righteous will come up for review as probation ceases. And when completed, the fiat will go forth, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” (Rev. 22:11) The days of repentance are past, the righteous are sealed for the kingdom of God, and the judgment of the wicked will follow to determine what their punishment shall be.  The next event is the coming of the Lord from heaven. The text proceeds, “And, behold, I come quickly.” Vs. 12. The cases of all the righteous have been settled. Jesus comes to earth, the righteous dead are raised, the living who are tried and true are changed, and all are caught up in the clouds in the air and wing their way to the New Jerusalem in the home of God. The apostle Paul loved to dwell upon these scenes of the triumph of the saints. He writes, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thess. 4:16, 17)  There will be two resurrections. The first is of the righteous when Christ comes, of which John writes, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power.” (Rev. 20: 6)  The second resurrection is of all the wicked of all the ages. “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” Rev. 20: 5. This positively implies that at the end of the thousand years the wicked will be raised.

Judgment of the Wicked

During this thousand years the righteous will be in the courts of heaven engaged with the Father, the Son, and the myriads of holy angels, in the judgment of wicked men and fallen angels. We read, “And I saw thrones, and they [the saints] sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: . . . and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (Rev. 20:4) This thousand years of judgment covers the period between the two resurrections—that of the righteous and that of the wicked.  The saints have a prominent part to act in the judgment of the wicked. In Daniel’s vision of the future of God’s people, he saw the time when “judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” (Dan. 7:22)  And Paul, in reproving those of the Corinthian church who went to law against the brethren, writes, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? [the angels who sinned and were driven out of heaven] how much more things that pertain to this life?” (1 Cor. 6: 2, 3) The Executive Judgment.  In the end of the thousand years, at the conclusion of the judgment of the wicked, the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven (Rev. 21:2), to become the capital city of the new earth.  Then the wicked dead are raised and come up around the city. And then from His throne, high and lifted up, the great Judge, the Son of God, to whom the Father has committed all judgment (John 5:22), announces the decisions of the heavenly court.  First addressing those upon His right hand, the position of favor, that is, inside the city, He says, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matt. 25: 34) Then turning to those outside the city, He utters the fearful sentence, “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matt. 25: 41)  Then follows the execution of the sentence. Filled with madness, the wicked array themselves against the city as though to take it by force. The prophetic record of the scene, as presented to John in vision, says, “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” (Rev. 20:9) This is the second death spoken of in Rev. 20: 6.  But of the righteous it is written, “When the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.” (Ps. 37: 34) “Unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Mal. 4:2,3)

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