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STUDY 8: THE DAY OF JUDGMENT

 

Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

 

“HE hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom

he hath ordained” – “Jesus Christ the righteous.” “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath

committed all judgment unto the Son” (Acts 17: 31) (1 John 2: 1) (John 5: 22).

 

The view generally accepted in regard to the day of judgment is that Christ will come back to

earth seated upon a great white throne. He will gather both saints and sinners before Himself to

be judged, amidst earthquakes, opening graves, rending rocks and falling mountains. The sinners

brought back from a fiery hell will hear their sins rehearsed, and then return to their merciless

doom. The saints will be brought from heaven to witness the misery and despair of the

condemned, to hear their own favorable judgment and then return to heaven. According to this

theory, all receive their sentence and reward at death, but this is by contrast called the general

judgment, which is merely a repetition of their first judgment. This work of judging billions is

supposed to take a literal twenty-four-hour day.

 

This picture is out of harmony with God’s inspired Word, and is drawn from a too literal

interpretation of our Lord’s parable of the sheep and goats (Matthew 25: 31-46). A parable,

however, is never an exact statement, but merely an illustration of a truth by something which is

in many respects like it. If this parable was literal, it would apply to a judgment of literal sheep

and goats, and not to mankind.

 

The Scriptural View of the Judgment Day

 

Let us look at a more Scriptural and reasonable view of the work and result of the Judgment

Day. The term judgment signifies more than the rendering of a verdict, but includes the idea of a

trial, as well as the decision based upon that trial.

 

The word day, in both Scriptures and common usage, although usually referring to a period of

twelve or twenty-four hours, really signifies any definite or special period of time. For instance,

we speak of Noah’s day or Lincoln’s day. In fact, the entire time of creation in the Bible is called

a day, where we read of “the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens”

(Genesis 2: 4) – a long, definite period. We also read of the “day of Christ,” the “day of

judgment” and “his day” – terms applicable to the Millennial Age, in which Messiah will reign

over, rule and judge the world in righteousness, granting a trial as well as rendering sentence

(Acts 17: 31) (1 Timothy 6: 15).

 

Besides the great judgment or trial day for the world, yet future, the Scriptures teach that there

have been other judgment days. The first one was in Eden, when the whole human race,

represented in Adam, its head, stood trial before God. The verdict of that trial was Guilty – the

penalty was death (Genesis 2: 17) – and the decision of the Judge has ever since been enforced.

 

But God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world, not that He considers His

decision in the first judgment unjust, but that He has provided a redemption from the penalty of

the first judgment. That way He may grant another judgment (trial) under more favorable

circumstances to the entire race – all then having had experience with sin and its results. The

world at that time will be under the New Covenant (Romans 14: 9) (Hebrews 10: 16)

(Jeremiah 31: 31).

 

Christ to be the Judge

 

God has appointed Christ to be the Judge when He gives the world its trial. The fact that Jesus

who so loved the world as to give His life as its ransom-sacrifice, guarantees that the judgment

will be just and merciful. He will take into consideration the infirmities of all, until the willing

and obedient are brought back to the original perfection lost in Eden.

 

The coming judgment will be based on the same principles as the first: with the law of

obedience, and its reward of life and its penalty of death. Though unlike the first trial, in the

second every individual will stand the test for himself alone. Under the reign of Christ, mankind

will be gradually educated, trained and disciplined until they reach perfection. And when they

have reached perfection, perfect harmony with God will be required, and any who fall short of

perfect obedience will be judged unworthy of life. None will be permitted to have everlasting

life who then in the slightest degree fall short of perfection.

 

All will be granted at least a hundred years of trial, but those who refuse to make any progress

during that time will be cut off and go into the second death (Isaiah 65: 20).

 

The conclusion of the world’s coming judgment is shown in the parable of the sheep and goats

(Matthew 25: 31-46). At its close the two classes will have been completely separated – the

obedient, who will enter into everlasting life, and the disobedient, who will be remanded to

death, extinction, the “second death.”

 

Two Special Classes – God’s Honored Instruments

 

During the six thousand years between the world’s first and second judgment days, God has been

selecting two special classes from among men, specially trying, disciplining and training them to

be His honored instruments during the period of the world’s judgment. These two classes are

designated as the house of sons and the house of servants (Hebrews 3: 5, 6). The former class is

composed of those faithful overcomers during the Christian dispensation, and the latter of the

faithful overcomers who preceded the Christian dispensation. Those found worthy of being in

either of these two classes will not come into judgment with the world, but will receive their

reward when the world is coming into judgment.

 

The individuals of these specially selected classes first became justified by faith in God’s

promises, and those who fulfilled the conditions of their respective callings, will be highly

exalted to stations of honor and authority in God’s coming Kingdom. They will be God’s agents

in the blessing of the world – giving men the instruction and training necessary for their final

testing and judgment.

 

The trial of both these classes has been much more severe than the trial of the world will be.

These have had to withstand Satan, whereas in the world’s judgment day, Satan will be bound.

These have suffered persecution for righteousness’ sake, while then men will be rewarded for

righteousness, and punished for unrighteousness. But though the trial of these two special

companies has been much more severe than the trial of the world will be, the rewards will be

correspondingly greater.

 

Because of Satan’s deceptions many fear and dread the Judgment Day, having no idea of the

blessings in store for the world under the glorious reign of Christ. But how differently have the

prophets and apostles regarded that promised day of judgment! Note the blessed utterances of

1 Chronicles 16: 31-34 and Romans 8: 21, 22. That will indeed be a glorious and desirable day,

when the great Judge will deliver and bless the world.

 

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