Michael E. Phillips
There are various false doctrinal ideas regarding the judgment. Those who hold to the A.D. 70 theory deny any future judgment, claiming that it is already past. Some believe that only the lost will face the judgment; yet, Scripture asks, “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?” (1 Pet. 4:17). A new false theory has been introduced to this writer which claims that only God’s children will be judged, since the lost will automatically go to hell without a need for a judgment. This theory reveals a misunderstanding of the purpose of the promised judgment. The example of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) reveals that the dead know immediately after death the kind of eternal destiny they will have. Therefore, the purpose of the judgment is not to determine guilt or innocence, but to formally pass the sentence, either of eternal reward or of eternal punishment. Let us examine the Scriptures further in order to answer some more detailed questions pertaining to the promised judgment.
Who will face the judgment? The apostle Paul quoted Isaiah 45:23, saying, “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:11-12). Philippians 2:10-11 reveals, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
With emphasis on all men, Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10). God is the judge of all (Heb. 12:23). Those who die in an unprepared condition are not eliminated from the judgment. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” (2 Pet. 2:9).
When will the judgment occur? Jesus warned in John 12:48, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” At the second coming of the Lord, He will come, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thess. 1:8-9). If the judgment is said to occur “in the last day,” and those who have not obeyed the gospel will be punished at that time, then the reasonable conclusion is that they will face the judgment!
Where will the judgment take place? Matthew 25:31-32 reveals, “When 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: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.” Since Jesus will not set foot on the earth again (1 Thess. 4:17), he will judge from “the throne of his glory.”
What will be the standard for judgment? “And 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 delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works” (Rev. 20:12-13). “The books” is a reference to the Bible, the inspired standard for judgment.
The judgment is assured! “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).
The judgment is coming and every soul who ever lived will be there! “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matt. 25:46). No one knows the calendar date of the judgment day; thus, the question remains, “Are you ready for the judgment day?” -PO Box 176, Belington, WV 26250.
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