are some things in the Bible which we may not understand; but there are many
things which are too plain to be misunderstood.
And one among others is the fact that “God hath appointed a day, in
the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath
ordained.” (Acts 17: 31).
As to just how or the circumstances under which this judgment is to
take place, however, there is a diversity of opinion, and may be room for
For many years I thought of heaven as one great auditorium, with a
platform on one side, while just before the door was a stand.
At the judgment I thought Christ would sit in the door, while upon this
platform would be gathered all nations and peoples; an angel would call the
roll, beginning with the first man that ever lived, and continuing throughout
Adam’s race; each one as his name would be called taking his place upon the
stand, and, bowing his knee, would give an account of his life to God; the
Judge setting the one on His right hand and the other on His left, according
to his works. Then would He say
to those on His right hand, “Come,” and to those on the left,
“Depart.” I had this idea of
the judgment, not because my heart was not open to the truth, but because to
me the truth had never been presented; and I was unable from a mere study of
the Word, to get hold of the facts in the case.
Later I saw the light, and I found that these ideas of the judgment are
erroneous. While I may not have
given above your exact ideas of the judgment, yet the majority of people do
think of it just about as I did. In
this chapter we wish to give you a Biblical presentation of the judgment.
May the Lord grant us wisdom to receive the truth.
An erroneous idea of the judgment arises from the fact that many
misunderstand the purpose of the resurrection and translation of the saints.
The resurrection and translation of the church do not precede nor
introduce the judgment of the church, but they are a part of the judgment of
the church; or, better still, they are a result of the judgment already past.
“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. “It
is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and
dead.”—Acts 10: 42. “The
Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and
his kingdom.”—2 Tim. 4: 1. This
Scripture, taken as it is, throws much light upon the subject of the judgment.
If words have any meaning, “quick” can not mean dead, neither can
“dead” mean quick. The word
“quick” means alive. It does
not refer to souls separate from the body.
The word “dead” does not refer to souls in the body, neither before
death nor after resurrection. Christ
is ready to judge the “quick” as quick, that is, men in the body; He
is ready also to judge the “dead” as dead, that is, men who are out of the
body. If, as some teach, at the
close of this age all the dead are to be resurrected and brought,
together with all the quick, upon one common platform to judgment, then Christ
is the Judge of the quick and not of the dead; and if, as others teach, all
the quick are to be “struck dead” and brought, together with all the dead,
upon one common platform to judgment, then He is the Judge of the dead, and
not of the quick; and so this Scripture, which we have woven into our creeds
for centuries, and upon which we base our hope, falls to pieces.
But God’s Word must stand; in the face of opposition, contrary to
ideas and theories of men, “One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from
the law, till all be fulfilled.”— Matt. 5: 18.
So let us lay down all erroneous ideas and
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
and with an open heart ask God to help us to harmonize and understand the
Scriptures concerning the judgment.
The fact is, the judgment sets in before Jesus comes to catch away His
Bride. In the twenty‑fourth
chapter of Matthew we learn the circumstances under which the resurrection
and translation of the Bride will take place.
“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the
other left. Two women shall be
grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”—Matt.
24: 40, 41. Luke says, “In that
night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other
shall be left.”—Luke 17: 34. At
one time I thought that one of the two in the field, one of the two in the
bed, and one of the two at the mill was a sinner, and the other a Christian.
Now I am persuaded that they are both Christians.
They are associated together. They
work together. Like the wise and
the foolish virgins, outwardly they appear to be the same.
They are both occupied alike; but the one is taken, and the other left.
The one who is caught away, however, is caught away, not to be judged,
but to receive the rewards of the judgment already past.
The catching away of the one and the leaving of the other is the making
of a discrimination between the two. How
could there be a discrimination without a judgment?
God is no respecter of persons.
Here we see that the dividing line has already been drawn—the
judgment of these two, or at least of one of them, has already taken place;
and as a result of this judgment, the one is taken, and the other is left.
The judgment day is not a day of twenty‑four hours, as we tried
to make clear in our last chapter. We
learned there that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand
years as one day. The judgment
day begins before the resurrection and translation of the Bride, and it
continues for more than a thousand years.
Judgment begins at the house of God.
The highest order of saints are judged first.
God will never give a saint his full reward until that saint has been
judged; neither will God fix the final doom of any sinner until
sinner has been judged. Of
course, our walk in this world determines our final dwelling place; yet, no
one will ever reach his everlasting abode until he has been judged. Neither
a reward nor a punishment without a judgment preceding could be exact.
The highest order of saints receive their reward first, hence they are
the first judged. Their reward is
given to them subsequent to their judgment.
After the judgment of the house of God, the judgment passes on to the
world. Some men are judged while
they are living; others, while they are dead.
“If judgment first begin at the house of God, what shall the end be
of them that obey not the gospel of God?”
From this we see that the judgment passes from the house of God to them
who obey not the gospel of God. “If
the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?’
This does not mean that a righteous man will have difficulty in getting
into heaven. The thought rather
is that judgment is brought to the house of God, and in the face of the
judgment a number of the righteous will fail.
The judgment of God means, not just the passing of a sentence, but a
trial. God judges His house by
presenting Himself to His people for a closer union with them.
The sentence of God depends in a great measure upon the attitude of the
believer toward God’s work and blessings.
If a believer will accept God’s highest will concerning him at all
times, God will judge him worthy of the greatest reward, and he will be among
the first to be judged. Those who
refuse to accept God’s highest will concerning them may have mercy continued
to them for a while, and may have one opportunity of receiving God’s best
after another; but the time will come when the fatal die will be cast, and the
eternal destiny fixed. Many of
God’s children refuse to go with the Lord all the way, and a number of them
fall altogether. If scarcely all
the righteous are saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?
God’s judgment of the ungodly and sinner begins in mercy.
God puts them on trial. His
judgment of any class of the quick begins with the offer of mercy.
Sentence is passed
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
to acceptance or refusal of His offers of mercy. God is merciful.
He is long‑suffering. He
cuts down no man without first sufficiently warning him.
He bears long. Hence, the judgment day continues for more than a
Just when the judgment of the house of God begins we may not be able to
determine. The Pentecostal
movement is, in some sense, judgment come to the house of God.
Whether it be the final judgment set in, I do not know.
One thing we know to be true, it is clearly drawing a line among the
saints. The movement must be a
kind of judgment, because it demands that all the house of God either
receive or reject it. At least
every saint must come face to face with the movement.
Those who see the light, but wilfully resist it, will likely apostatize.
God holds us to a strict account for all the light given us.
Many, however, who fail to get in the Bridehood, will reach the shores
of everlasting bliss in other companies.
But judgment must begin at us, and then be extended to all the world.
When the final judgment day begins I do not know.
after the Bride is gone The Great Tribulation will set in, which is itself one
phase of the judgment. During The
Tribulation many of the “left ones” seem to be judged, and go up by
companies to join the band already in the air. (Rev. 6: 9; 7 :9‑17; 14:
1, 13‑16). Another company is called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
just before the close of The Great Tribulation. (Rev. 19: 9).
Then Jesus comes down from the Supper, lays hold on the devil, binds
him, casts him into the bottomless pit, shuts him up, and sets a seal upon him
for a thousand years. He then
sets up His throne at Jerusalem, and reigns on earth a thousand years,
during which time He and His saints are engaged in judging the nations then
living on the earth. The parable
of the talents in Matt. 25: 14‑30 gives us a picture of the Millennial
judgment. Thus the Millennium
itself is only another phase of the judgment. “And when the thousand years
are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison.”
After going out and deceiving many Gentiles
have been saved during the Millennium, and getting them to believe if they
will follow and obey him they can capture the King and take the world for
their own, Satan compasses the camp of the saints about and the beloved city:
then fire comes down from God out of heaven, and devours him and all his
crowd. Then the devil that
deceived them is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, and shall be
tormented day and night forever and ever.
All these things are part of the judgment.
From the time of the sounding of the trump of God (1 Thes. 4: 16) till
now the saints have been gathering on the right hand of the Judge (Matt. 25:
last part of the 25th chapter of Matthew undoubtedly refers to the judgment
day as a whole, but with special reference to the latter part of that day.
the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then
shall He sit upon the throne of His glory.”
“The throne of His glory” may refer to either the throne set in the
air at the catching away of the Bride (Rev. 4: 2), or to the Millennial throne
(Rev. 20: 4), or to the great white throne after the Millennium (Rev. 20: 11),
or it may refer to all of them; and I am of the opinion that it refers to all.
The catching up of the Bride is the first gathering of the sheep to
God’s right hand. During The
Great Tribulation the sheep keep gathering to God’s right hand, and thus the
separation of the sheep and goats goes on.
The judgment during the Millennium will continue to separate the sheep
from the goats. By the close of
the Millennium all the sheep will be gathered to the right hand in company
with the Bride. Then comes the
great white throne judgment of Rev. 20: 11, in which judgment all the wicked
are placed on the left hand, and in which John says, “I saw the dead, small
and great, stand before God; 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.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to
their works. And death and hell
were cast into the lake of fire. This
is the second death. And
whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of
fire.”—Rev. 20: 12‑15.
we have given you a brief Bible picture of the judgment day.