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God's Judgments on the World
An Overview of the Judgments
Before proceeding on this subject we need to determine what the word, "judgment", really means. The Oxford Dictionary gives two definitions for the word "judgment"
- the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.
- a misfortune or calamity viewed as a divine punishment.
God’s judgments on an unbelieving world are thought provoking. For the believer there is great joy at the prospect of spending eternity with the Triune Godhead. On the other hand, for the ungodly there remains the awful prospect of being confined to eternal life in the Lake of Fire.
The Bible teaches that there are five judgments which include both the believer and the unbeliever. They are:
1. The Judgment of Believers through Christ's death on the cross,
2.The judgment seat of Christ for believers,
3. The Great Tribulation,
4. Judgment of the Nations (Gentiles), and
5. The Great White Throne Judgment
As every person great and small is involved in at least one of the judgments, it is important that we spend a few minutes looking at each one. In doing so, we must remember that the Bible also teaches that there is life after death and the eternal destination of each person is set out in scripture. There are three parts to every person, consisting of the Spirit, Soul and Body. When death occurs, the body is buried, burned or disposed of, the spirit returns to God who gave it, (Ecclesiastes 12.7) while the soul continues to live. The Christian believes that every person who loves the Lord goes immediately into His presence upon death. It is the soul that is with God until such time as the first resurrection takes place.
The Judgment of Believers' Sins at the Cross
Some 2000 years ago, the Lord Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, was crucified on a Roman cross. We are told in God’s word, the Bible, that by doing this He was taking upon Himself the sins of all the believers in the world, in other words He became the sin bearer of every believer. (1 Peter 2:24 & Isaiah 53:6). That presents a remarkable picture for every Christian. If He bore the believer’s sins it means that the believer no longer had those sins, as they had been laid upon Jesus Christ. For this reason, God judged Jesus Christ as He hung on the cross, bearing all believers' sin.
This does not mean that the believer no longer sins. Far from it. He has been born into a world of sin and the natural man will continue to sin, BUT by confessing his sins to the Lord Jesus Christ daily, the believer’s sins are forgiven. (1 John 1:9) There will be no further judgment of sins for the believer.
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe,
Sin has left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.— Kristian Stanfill
Hallelujah, What a Saviour !!
The Judgment seat of Christ - Works (for Believers)
Service for Christ - telling others about Him and God's plan for salvation
Bible Passages associated with this subject are found in 2 Corinthians 5: 10 and 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
This judgment will take place in heaven sometime in the future.Encircling the throne will be a rainbow having the appearance of jasper in colour (some versions of scripture add carnelian), a sign of God’s grace, love, mercy and care for those people coming before Him. (Rev. 4: 3). The judgment will involve all Christians including those who died since the resurrection of Jesus Christ and those who were alive when Jesus Christ raptures His people at His second coming. Their work for the Lord while on earth will be judged, and the rewards given appropriate to their value for God, some gold, some silver, some costly stones. However, there will be those whose work and service for God was of a lesser standard, and their work will be regarded as being of wood, hay or straw. Their service will be burned up but they themselves will be saved.(1 Corinthians 3:12)
The Judgment Seat of Christ - Rewards (for Believers)
Many Christians will/have served Christ in a very significant manner and crowns will also be awarded for their service. The following headings sets out their service and the crowns that they receive.
James 1: 12 The crown of Life OR The Martyr’s Crown Revelation 2:10
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those that love Him.”
1 Peter 5:2-4 The Crown of Glory OR The Elders Crown
“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers---not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve, not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”
1 Thess.2:19-20 and Phil. 4:1 The Crown of Rejoicing OR The Soul Winners Crown
“For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed you are our glory and joy.Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord.”
2 Timothy 4:8 The Crown of Righteousness Or Those who Love His Appearing Crown
“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that day---and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.”
1 Corinthians 9:25-27 The Crown Incorruptible OR The Victor’s Crown
“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
There will be a large number of Christians who will receive one or more of these crowns. I venture to suggest to you that many, if not all, will feel so unworthy to receive the crown/s that they will lay them at the Saviour’s feet (Revelation 4:10-11). Hallelujah, what a Saviour!!!
The Great Tribulation
The Great Tribulation is a divine punishment from God.
It has been suggested by some Bible commentators that, while the Christians are in heaven receiving their crowns and appearing before the judgment seat of Christ, God’s special people, the Jews, will be on earth going through what is known as “The Great Tribulation”. Details of this time of trial are set out in the Book of Revelation, chapters 5 - 19. On earth, the Devil (or Satan as we know him) will join with two other evil perpetrators known as “The Beast” and the “False Prophet” to do all in their power to hinder, harass, hate, and inflict trouble and turmoil on the Jews, causing them such misery that Jesus Christ spoke about it at His first coming. (Matthew 24: 21-22) “For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now — and never to be equalled again. If those days had not been cut short, no-one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”
It must be remembered that God allows this to happen to the people He loves (the Jews), because of their rejection of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and because they even went so far as to have Him nailed to a Roman cross. This Tribulation is a judgment or punishment upon them for their past mistakes and failures. Zechariah 13:8 reads, "In the whole land," declares the Lord, "two thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one third will be left in it. This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold." Various commentators differ on the interpretation of these verses, but I am convinced that they refer to this period of Tribulation. Whatever the period, I strongly believe that many Jews will perish at this time possibly numbering millions.
While the Tribulation will be a terrible time for all Jews, there is a remarkable period to follow . Scripture declares that the Israeli nation will be converted and return to God in a single day. (Isaiah 66:8-10) Please see my previous comments in the Millennium Hub.
Judgment of the Nations
Details of this Judgment are found in Matthew 25:31-46
This judgment is also future and will take place very soon after the Lord returns to earth after His second coming. Although the heading refers to “Nations” the Greek word used here is “ethnos” which is the same word used for “Gentiles”. I believe that the better translation is “Gentiles” as the context in the scriptures refers to gentile actions.
As already mentioned, the Jews will pass through a terrible time during the Great Tribulation, in which the Devil, the Beast and the False Prophet inflict upon them great distress. The Jews will be unable to buy, sell, or to conform with the evil trio's requirements. They will be sick, hungry, thirsty, cast into prison and live a very miserable life. There will be, however, some people of other nationalities who shall be very kind to them by giving them food, water, and clothes to wear, caring for them when sick, visiting them in prison and generally trying to look after them. I believe that this is the background behind what our Lord said in the scriptures.
The Lord in the judgment of the Gentiles will have many people before Him, and He will divide them into two categories. There will be the sheep people, the goat people, and a third group introduced being “these brothers of mine”. The sheep people are Gentiles who treated the Jews during the Tribulation with kindness. The goat people are also Gentiles, but these had a dislike for the Jews and inflicted upon them great distress during the Tribulation. The third class of people mentioned by our Lord, is “these bothers of mine” and refers to the Jew, God’s chosen people.
The outcome of the judgment will be that God tells the sheep people, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world……..to eternal life.” But to the goat people he will tell them to “go away to eternal punishment,” because of their harsh treatment of the Lord’s “brothers”.
Dear reader, what is your relationship with the Jewish people? Do you like them or do you dislike them? Have you expressed an adverse comment about them? Take care, dear friends, the Jews are still the “apple of God’s eye” (Zechariah 2:8). Think very carefully of your relationship and act wisely.
The Great White Throne Judgment
Details are set out in Revelation 20: 11-18
The scripture is clear and does not require any other comment from me. It reads, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fife is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
Did you notice that "earth and sky" fled from the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ? It would appear that the Great White Throne judgment will take place in space somewhere of which only God knows.
A challenge for you.
Dear friend, my heart is heavy as I have prepared this article. In the world there are many lovely people who have lived a life of gentleness, love and good works, but alas they have never accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. The Bible is clear. If your name is not written in the Book of Life, no matter how good your life has been, no matter what good works you have done, or of the wonderful efforts you have made to improve the welfare of your fellow man, then,on the basis of God's Holy Word, unless you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour your eternal destiny is the Lake of Fire.
I plead with you to ponder deeply where you want to spend eternity. God does not want you to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire and He is ready, willing and waiting for you to confess your sins (for we all have sinned), and then for you to tell Him that you love Him and thank Him for giving you the opportunity of accepting His Son, Jesus Christ, to be your Saviour and friend. His arms of love are extended to you, no matter how good or bad your life has been, He will forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Eternity with God will be wonderful with His blessings poured out endlessly. Please accept Him now.