Is the Judgment something we should still be concerned about today? And if so when does it take place? We will explore those questions and more in today’s post.
Podcast Transcript. To listen to the audio version click HERE
Have you ever had to stand before a judge because you were accused of committing a crime and breaking the law?
I know I have.
When I was in college I got arrested for possession of Marijuana. Several weeks after my arrest, my day in court finally arrived. There were other cases in front of me, so I had to wait and listen as each person came up and received their judgment. Depending on the circumstances of the crime some received more severe sentences than others, but the judgments were all mixed with mercy because everyone was admitting guilt.
Finally it was my turn to stand before the judge. The judge repeated before the court the crime I had been charged with and then asked me if I understood I was giving up my right to defend myself. I acknowledged I was waving my rights and publicly admitted I had indeed committed the crime and was guilty of breaking the law. After a brief admonishment, the judge then told me my punishment would be 6 months probation, and if I satisfactorily met all the terms of the probation my record would be cleared. In the courts eyes it would be like I never committed the crime to begin with.
I happily accepted the terms and 6 months later my record was cleared.
As I reflect on my experience it causes me to wonder what it will be like to stand before the ultimate judge himself?
Have you ever thought it? I mean will this really happen?
Well just think about it.
The only reason there is need of a judgment here on earth is because we have laws. Now when those laws are broken there has to be a consequence for breaking them or else no one would respect them.
Thus, judgment is essential for maintaining the integrity of the law.
Without judgment the law has no power. It would be as if the law didn’t exist at all.
However it is interesting that so many in the world today, while acknowledging human laws, teach or believe that God’s law has somehow been done away with?
They teach that all Ten Commandments are no longer binding on Christians or anyone else for that matter
Now to a reasoning person this makes absolutely no sense, but in the Christian world, many have heard statements about the law being done away with, for so long, that they don’t connect the dots to what that is really saying about God.
Is God a God of order or a god of chaos and anarchy?
If Jesus came to set up the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth, then what kingdom is there that doesn’t have government and law?
And if God doesn’t have a law then what is sin and why did Jesus have to die to pay for it?
And if God doesn’t have a law then why does Jesus and the Bible repeatedly talk about a judgment?
Are we really to believe that there is not going to be a day we are going to have to answer for how we lived out lives?
It is interesting because in the book of Daniel the Bible describes another judgment scene taking place that is different from the Great White Throne Judgment in Revelation 20 (we discussed in Episodes 8-10). This one is taking place in heaven before the Millennium, while the Great White Throne Judgment happens on earth after the Millennium.
We can read about in Daniel 7:
““I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire; A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened. (Daniel 7:9–10 NKJV)
Notice – this judgment involves all of heaven.
The Father is seated – the Angels are crowded around the courtroom.
The books are opened
Thus all humanity is represented as being there not in person but through the written record of their lives.
thoughts, motives, and actions are there before all to see.
Yet one person seems to be missing. Let’s keep reading.
““I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13–14 NKJV)
Of course the Son of Man is none other than Jesus himself!
As the court is seated – Jesus comes in to defend the righteous. To defend those who have put their trust in him and his blood for their sins.
This is the judgment that determines the final number that will make up the kingdom of heaven from the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve.
Every name written in the book of life must be examined.
However Jesus is there – not as a disinterested trial lawyer – just looking for evidence to bring before before the judge to keep people out of heaven – rather this is a passionate lover and friend defending those who he gave his life to save.
Those he defends are those he knows. He is not defending strangers. He is defending those who have made it their habit to abide in him.
Revelation 3 describes more detail.
“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” (Revelation 3:5 NKJV)
As you can see, this judgment is all about Jesus confessing before the Father and all the heavenly hosts those who he knows and denying those he knows not.
Thus, you or I can says I know Jesus, but that is not what matters in this judgment. This judgment is all about Jesus knowing us.
I cant imagine a worse thing the world, then believing I know Jesus when in fact I don’t
So who can we know that we know him?
Thankfully the Bible tells us:
“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:3–4 NKJV)
It just makes sense doesn’t it?
If we know him we will keep the law not out of fear, but out of love.
He died to take away our sin. Sin is the transgression of the law. Not part of the law but all of it.
“For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.” (James 2:10–12 NKJV)
Thus another way of saying it would be he died so that we might be free to keep the law. James here calls it the law of liberty. And since the law is simply a reflection of his character – he died to bring us into harmony with him.
He died so that we could become one with him as he is one with the Father – that we may all be one together.
The judgment here is just confirming the process. Those who have become one with Christ through his blood now become one with God forever.
Thus Judgement is made in favor of the saints!
But when does this happen?
We have already seen that this judgment is different than the Great White Throne Judgment were the guilty from all ages stand before God before being throne into the lake of fire and dying the 2nd and final death.
Think about it.
Before Jesus comes, doesn’t he already know who will be saved and who will be lost? In we dont have to guess. Revelation 22 tells us:
“He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”(Revelation 22:11–12 NKJV)
Can you see it now?
This pronouncement is made prior to Jesus coming.
At this point the judgement in heaven is over. The kingdom of heaven has been determined. Christ has received that which he gave his life to save. His purchased possession now justly belongs to him and he is coming to get his bride!
However there is one caveat we haven’t discussed yet.
If judgment begins before Jesus comes again it has to take place while there are people still alive on earth.
Both the young, old, rich and poor, and every nation, tribe, tongue and people are going to face judgment at the same time.
Do you think that is something most people would want to know?
I mean, How many people really believe in afterlife judgment much less one that could be taking place at anytime now?
Now God is no stranger to judgments.
In Genesis God predetermined he was going to destroy the world by a flood 120 years before hand. But it didn’t just happen one day without warning.
He sent a messenger (Noah) to preach and a means by which anyone could be saved (an ark) so that no one who was lost had any excuse.
So in the last days God sends a message through the prophets. We are told at the time of the end book of Daniel would be unsealed and its prophecies understood.
Once such prophecy pronounced:
“And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”” (Daniel 8:14 NKJV)
The cleansing here refers to judgment.
There would be a definite time when judgment would begin – and just as in Noah’s day the world needed to be made aware.
So how were they to be told?
Well the book of Revelation tells us exactly what this message this message will be through the messages provided by three succeeding angels. Often these messages are refereed to as the Thee Angels Message.
We can read the first angel’s message in Revelation 14:6-7
“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”” (Revelation 14:6–7 NKJV)
Notice the message is not just for a church, a nation or even a continent. The message is for the entire world! This message is for you.
The gospel of the last days is preached the same as it always has, but now now the context has changed. The time has changed. The clock is starting to run out of time.
And just as in sports as it is with life, when we are aware of our limited time we make better and more decisive choices in how we spend it.
The angel doesn’t say the judgment is past or future. The first angel tells us the judgment is present. It is present truth that we need to consider.
God wants you to be ready for the judgment so that you can be ready for Jesus when he comes in the clouds of glory surrounded by all the heavenly host.
He doesn’t want you to be afraid, and if you know Him there is no need to be.
IF you don’t know him through there is still hope for you as well! Christ accepts you just as you are! Nothing you can do will make him love you more or less.
But his love cannot – will not – force you to confess and turn away from your sins. That is a choice only you can make.
However knowing the time, Can you really afford to put off making a decision to give your life fully to him any longer
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Romans 13:11–14 NKJV)
Suppose I’m sleeping and wake up in the early morning hours. What is one of the first things I will do?
Look at my phone, of course! Why?
Well, if its 2:00 am, I’ll role over and go back to sleep. But if it says 6:00 am, I know it is time to get up and get ready for work or I might be late.
Knowing the time makes all the difference in the world!
Friend, God’s door of mercy is still open today. Jesus says
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” (John 6:37 NKJV)
Won’t you come to Jesus today? won’t you ask him right now to write your name in the book of life?