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Is the Day of Judgment something to look forward to? …or to dread!?

 

When we read the prophets in the Old Testament we notice that their prophecies were primarily for the nation of Israel, whether to the Northern kingdom of Israel, to the Southern kingdom of Judah, or to both.  Occasionally, the prophets and their messages were for other nations, (Jonah and his prophecy of the destruction of Nineveh) or they were to a combination of nations in addition to Israel and/or Judah (Isaiah, for example.).

Often the message that God conveyed through the prophets was one of judgment.  This judgment was because of the recipient’s misbehavior towards God or to His people.  In the case of Israel, this misbehavior took many forms: idolatry, harlotry, pride, unbelief, etc.  In the case of other nations, it was: conquest, capture, destruction, etc., all behaviors against Israel.

Though the reaction to the message by the recipients varied, they understood the prophecies to be literal to them, and the words to have a fulfillment they would receive.  There was no doubt in their minds that the judgment was pronounced against them.  Sometimes, the prophecy was heeded and repentance took place.  Usually the message went unheeded and the recipients paid attention to the messenger and mistreated, imprisoned, or threatened them.

This judgment was to be executed swiftly and surely in their day, it was to be their day of judgment.

But the immediate punishment upon nations or peoples is not what the scriptures solely refer to when speaking of judgment.  There are deeper and far more encompassing aspects to the Day of Judgment.

 

What is the Day of Judgment?

What did the Prophets understand?

What affect should it have on us?

I. What is the Day of Judgment?

Acts 17:30-31.

Act 17:30-31  “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,  (31)  because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

Isa. 13:9-11.

Isa 13:9-11  Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it.  (10)  For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises And the moon will not shed its light.  (11)  Thus I will punish the world for its evil And the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless.

Here we have a dilemma.  How do we harmonize these two apparently conflicting verses?  Acts 17 says God will judge the world through Christ in righteousness while Isa. 13 says the day of the Lord is cruel with fury and burning anger.

The easiest harmonization is to say that Acts (speaking about the day of judgment) and Isaiah (speaking about the day of the Lord) are speaking about two different things and not the same time at all.  But a comparison of the usage of the phrase “day of the Lord” with verses using “day” and “judgment” indicates that they are, indeed, the same.

Let’s turn to another set of verses…

Plowshares into Swords

Joel 3:9-16  Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare a war; rouse the mighty men! Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up!  (10)  Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, “I am a mighty man.”  (11)  Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, And gather yourselves there. Bring down, O LORD, Your mighty ones.  (12)  Let the nations be aroused And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge All the surrounding nations.

(16)  The LORD roars from Zion And utters His voice from Jerusalem, And the heavens and the earth tremble. But the LORD is a refuge for His people And a stronghold to the sons of Israel.

Swords into Plowshares

Isa 2:2-4  Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.  (3)  And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  (4)  And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.

Notice the contrast.  Isaiah speaks of a time when weapons will be converted into tools but Joel speaks of a time when tools will be converted to weapons of warfare.

Are they even speaking about the same time?

Yes they are and no they are not!  As we already saw with the first set of two scriptures they are speaking about the same general period of time, the Day of Judgment, but not the same time frames within that day.

What else do the scriptures teach about this period of time?  We are going to examine seven points the scriptures teach about the Day of Judgment.

1. The Day of Judgment is comprised of two parts.

Harmonization of the apparent discrepancies is through the realization that the Day of Judgment is divided into two parts: First, a time of trouble during which the nations will be subdued, the time when they will convert their tools into weapons.  This is the period which Joel is speaking of.  The second time period of the Day of Judgment is a time of restoration, a time when the Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in his wings.  Mal. 4:2

When you are reading in the prophets about this subject, be careful to correctly place references to “the day of the Lord”, “in that day” “the day of wrath”, “the day of vengeance” and other similar terms, to the appropriate time period.  For as we will see, if we continue in Isaiah chapter 2, Isaiah also speaks of the destruction which precedes the restoration.

Isa 2:12, 17  For the LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning against everyone who is proud and lofty And against everyone who is lifted up, That he may be abased. (17)  The pride of man will be humbled And the loftiness of men will be abased; And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,

2. God’s judgment is righteous.

We are told in

Psa 9:7-8  But the LORD abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment,  (8)  And He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity.

Psa 96:11-13  Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; Let the sea roar, and all it contains;  (12)  Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy  (13)  Before the LORD, for He is coming, For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness And the peoples in His faithfulness.

Psa 98:1-9  A Psalm. O sing to the LORD a new song, For He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.  (2)  The LORD has made known His salvation; He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.  (3)  He has remembered His loving kindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

(9)  Before the LORD, for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness And the peoples with equity.

Rev 16:7  And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”

3. Christ is doing the judging.

In Rom. 3:5-6 Paul says that God judges.

Rom 3:5-6  But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.)  (6)  May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world?

Just prior to this Paul says in Rom. 2:16 that God will judge through Christ

Rom 2:16  on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

The Lord Jesus himself tells us in Jn. 5 that God gave him authority to execute judgment because he is the Son of Man.

Joh 5:21-23  “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.  (22)  “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,  (23)  so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

Joh 5:26-29  “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;  (27)  and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.  (28)  “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice,  (29)  and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

How do we harmonize who is doing the judging; is it God or is it Christ?  Some scriptures say the Heavenly Father is the “Judge of all” and corrector of the Church, while others declare that the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.

The Scriptures themselves indicate how both are true, pointing out that the Son is the representative and honored agent of the Father in the judging (krino) or probationary trials of this age and will also be his agent and representative in giving (krisis) decisions –rewards and tribulations–in the end of this age.  And with his glorified Church he will give similar judgment (krino and krisis) to the world in the Millennial age–the world’s day of judgment.  And that is what Acts 17:31 tells us.

Act 17:31  because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

If you would like to look further into this, look into the usage of the words krima, krino,

and krisis, all Greek words translated judge or judgment.

4. The Day of Judgment is a one thousand (1,000) year period, not a literal twenty-four hour day.

Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 15:22-26 that Christ reigns until he has abolished all rule, authority and power.

1Co 15:22-26  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.  (23)  But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,  (24)  then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.  (25)  For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  (26)  The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

Speaking of this time, Peter tells us in 2 Pet. 3:7-8 that this time is a period of a thousand years.

2Pe 3:7-8  But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.  (8)  But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.

John the Revelator tells us that the church reigns with Christ for a thousand year period during which Satan is bound.

Rev 20:2-7.   (2)  And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;  (3)  and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. (6)  Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.  (7)  When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,

This day is more than a time when the righteous are rewarded and the wicked are punished.  It is a probationary period when all people will have an opportunity, based upon full knowledge, to choose between obedience by serving the Lord in righteousness or disobedience through unrighteous behavior.

This is what Malachi tells us in

Mal 4:1-2  “For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.”  (2)  “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.

5. The Day of Judgment is for all men.

While there is not a verse, that I know of, that specifically states that the day of judgment is for all men, when we reason on it, it is both a logical and a scripturally supported conclusion.

God desires all of mankind to be saved:

1Ti 2:3-4  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,  (4)  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

The ransom was for all.

1Ti 2:5-6  For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,  (6)  who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

The Lord Jesus tells us that all that are in the condition of death will come forth into life.

John 5:27-29  “and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.  (28)  “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice,  (29)  and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

Paul confirms this when he tells us that as comprehensive as death was, so will the resurrection be also:

1Co 15:21-23  For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.  (22)  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.  (23)  But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,

Regarding the resurrection, Lazarus’s sister, Martha, stated regarding Lazarus, in John 11:24, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”  The time of resurrection is the “last day”, the day of Christ’s reign and judgment.  It is the time for redemption and restoration of the human race from sin and death.

Lastly, the prophet Jeremiah, speaking as the oracle of God, tells us that if you die then, it will be because of your own sin, and not because of inherited Adamic sin.

Jer 31:29-30  “In those days they will not say again, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.’  (30)  “But everyone will die for his own iniquity; each man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge.

6. Jesus’ faithful followers share in this work.

The judgment day is an entire age; the same thousand years during which Christ will reign over earth as both Judge and King.  The faithful followers of Jesus, as joint-heirs, will also share with him in the work of judging the world.

Rom 8:16-17  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,  (17)  and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Jesus had just encountered the rich young ruler and upon the departure of the man told his disciples that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Upon hearing that Peter inquired as to what would happen to them since they had forsaken all.  In response Jesus replies,

Mat 19:28  And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Paul tells us that the saints judge men and angels.

1Co 6:2-3  Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?  (3)  Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?

Summary of ‘What is the Day of Judgment?’

We now know several things:

1)     The day of Judgment is divided into two parts: a time of trouble during which the nations will be subdued.  The second time period is a time of restoration.

2)     This judgment is righteous and equitable.

3)     Christ is doing the judging.

4)     The Day of Judgment is a one thousand year period, not a literal twenty four hour day.

5)     This judgment is for all men and

6)     Jesus’ faithful followers share in this work.

We can then conclude our 7th point.  And that is…

7. God doesn’t decide the destiny of mankind at the moment of death.

In John 12:47-48, Jesus clearly stated at his first advent that those who do not accept his teachings are not judged now, but later,

Joh 12:47-48  “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.  (48)  “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

That statement leads us to another question.  Since the time of judgment is yet future, are any judged now?

Because we understand that those who do not believe now are not judged now, it is a reasonable and scriptural conclusion that those who do believe now do come into judgment now.  “Judgment”, scripturally, means more than just the passing of a sentence; it also includes the thought of a trial leading up to a sentence.

Peter said in 1 Peter 4:12 that we should not be surprised at the “fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing…but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exaltation”. He continues in vs. 17, “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God: and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of Christ?” He clearly indicates that the present age is now a time for judgment for believers.

We can scripturally conclude that only those who have unreservedly committed their lives to Christ are now on trial for life.  In John 5:29 Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my Word, and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”  By faith, believers now pass from death unto life; their judgment or trial day is now – not in the future.

Romans 6:22  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

Romans 8:1-2 (1) Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, (2) because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

While there is no other trial period for the believer, it is unscriptural to conclude that there is no trial period for anyone else other than this present life.  The Apostle Paul tells us (Romans 5:18) regarding father Adam’s sin, “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.” See I Cor. 15:21-22.  This was the first judgment day on Adam and all of mankind.  The thousand-year age (the day of judgment) for the world, in a sense, will be the second judgment for mankind.

In 1 Timothy 2:3-6, the Apostle Paul says that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time”. Paul is telling us that all mankind would come to a knowledge of the truth.

Jesus said in John 14:6 that he was the way, the truth and the life.  This truth, then, is that Jesus is the only way of salvation, which all must learn and accept in order to have life eternal.  Since many died without knowing this truth, or without knowing Christ, then we can conclude that the reality of this will be during the day of judgment for the world when they are awakened from death to an opportunity to come to a knowledge of Christ.

Acts 4: 12  “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

The Results of the Day of Judgment

Though man’s destiny is not decided until the Day of Judgment, let’s not overlook the fact that it is decided.  The scriptures are quite clear as to the outcome of the Day of Judgment.

Act 3:22-23  “Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you.  (23)  ‘And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’

1Co 15:25-28  For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  (26)  The last enemy that will be abolished is death.  (27)  For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.  (28)  When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

Rev 21:7-8  “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.  (8)  “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

What did the Prophets Understand?

Surely the Lord GOD does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets.  Amo 3:7

We know:

1)     The day of Judgment is divided into two parts: a time of trouble during which the nations will be subdued.  The second time period is a time of restoration.

2)     This judgment is righteous and equitable.

3)     Christ is doing the judging.

4)     The Day of Judgment is a one thousand year period, not a literal twenty four hour day.

5)     This judgment is for all men.

6)     Jesus’ faithful followers share in this work.

7)     God doesn’t decide the destiny of mankind at the moment of death.

Did the prophets know all of this regarding the Day of Judgment?  Did they understand the portent of their message beyond the immediate context of their circumstances and their time?  Did they realize there was a deeper symbolic meaning to their messages?  And if so, did they understand what it was?

We can not say with certainty what the prophets of old understood and to what degree they understood the things they spoke.  We know they understood and were in expectation of a Messiah.  Sometimes, the wording of their messages indicated to them that the fruition of the prophecy was yet future and did not apply in the fullest sense now.  It would be reasonable to conclude that they understood that there was deeper meaning to their words than the immediate context in which they spoke;  judgment for current or past behavior.

Secondly, many of the prophets were contemporary and knew (or knew of) their fellow prophets and their messages.  Hosea, Amos, Micah and Isaiah were contemporaries and Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Habakkuk, and Ezekiel were also and followed shortly after the previous group.  Each of the prophets warned Israel and/or Judah of God’s judgment, but also spoke of God’s future plans for them as well.  Prophetically, they spoke of a future day and often used the term, “in that day” referring to the Day of Judgment.

Hosea’s message was for Israel (Northern kingdom) to return from sin and turn back to worshipping God.  Even as Hosea went after his unfaithful wife, so God pursues His people.  Even in the midst of Israel’s immorality, God was merciful and expressed His love for His people (chapter 11) and told them their repentance would bring blessing, yet future.  (chapter 14).

Amos condemned the surrounding nations for their sins against Israel and God.  Then the message came home to Israel and he told them that God also condemned them and he told them the reasons why.  After all the judgments given, God concludes with a message of hope; God will restore His people again, yet future.

Amos 9:11-15  “In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, And wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins And rebuild it as in the days of old;  (12)  That they may possess the remnant of Edom And all the nations who are called by My name,” Declares the LORD who does this.  (13)  “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When the plowman will overtake the reaper And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; When the mountains will drip sweet wine And all the hills will be dissolved.  (14)  “Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, And they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them; They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, And make gardens and eat their fruit.  (15)  “I will also plant them on their land, And they will not again be rooted out from their land Which I have given them,” Says the LORD your God.

Like a lawyer, Micah states God’s case against their institutions, leaders and peoples.  Even in the midst of judgment, God promises to deliver the remnant who follow Him.  He states, “their King goes on before them and the LORD at their head”.  This king is Jesus and chapter 5:2 tells us he will be from Bethlehem.  This deliverance is yet future, during the Day of Judgment.

Isaiah’s message is mixed; first he brings judgment against Israel and the surrounding nations, then he brings a message of comfort, forgiveness, and hope in the coming of the Messiah.  Isaiah speaks more about the Messiah than any other Old Testament prophet.

Speaking of this day of judgment he tells us in Isa. 11:9, “They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea”. Again, he says in Isa. 26:9, “When your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness,”.

As a result of this change of heart through a knowledge of God, mankind will no longer pursue the current course of hatred and war towards one another and will eliminate the implements of war.  Isaiah prophecies in Isa. 2: 2-4,

“Now it will come about that in the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.”

Zephaniah warned Judah that if they did not repent and turn from their sin, Jerusalem and their nation would be destroyed.  This punishment was both chastisement and purifying and would ultimately end in blessing.  Zephaniah chapter 3 speaks of this time of future judgment, and also of joy because God has completed judgment and will restore Israel and all mankind.

Jeremiah, serving under the last five kings of Judah, warned of the destruction and capture of Judah by Babylon.  If they would submit and go to Babylon, God would save them, if they didn’t they would perish.  Speaking of this future probationary period, he stated that each will be accountable for their own decisions and choices.

Jer. 31:29-30 “In those days they will not say again, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ “But everyone will die for his own iniquity; each man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge.”

 

He also looked forward to a time when God would again covenant with His people, and help them keep it.  Continuing, he prophesied that God will make a new agreement and will enable them to keep it by changing their heart condition.

Jer. 31:31-34.  “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

 

Jeremiah lived to see his own (and other prophets’ also) judgments literally fulfilled against the Israelites, but he looked for a future time of judgment as well.

Daniel and Ezekiel prophesied from captivity in Babylon and spoke about the events to come and the future restoration of their national hopes.  Ezekiel tells us of the then future rebuilding of Israel using the illustration of the restoration of a human as from the grave, first the bones, then the sinews, muscles, tissues and lastly life (chapter 37).  Then he tells us how God will use Israel to draw all nations against her and punish them that come against her (chapters 38, 39).  We are told how God will restore Israel and using the illustration of a temple how the true worship of God will be restored to all mankind during the judgment day (chapters 40-48).

While the prophets probably did not understand the full import of all that they said and recorded, they did look for a Messiah and for the restoration of Israel.  In that seeking, they were sure to encounter many things they could not or did not understand.  Even not understanding, they knew of that day wherein dwelleth righteousness, and they longed for it deeply.  Yes, the truths were there all along, waiting for the time to be revealed even as the Apostle James said after Jesus’ resurrection,

Acts 15:14-18. “Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name. “With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, ‘After these things I will return, and I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, and I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, so that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,’ says the LORD, who makes these things known from long ago’”.

We look forward to the Day of Judgment, even as the men and women of old did.  Yes it will be a period of judgment.  Zephaniah 3:8,9 (KJV), tells us that following this period of distress, the Lord “will…turn to the people a pure language (message or understanding), that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.”  It will also be a period of great joy and enlightenment about God, His plan, His purposes and His Son.  It truly will be a time when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the sea, providing all with an opportunity to obey and live. (Isaiah 11:9; Hab. 2:14.)  It will surely be a time to rejoice “before the LORD, for He is coming to judge the earth; he will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity.” Psa. 98:9.

What affect should this understanding have on us?

The Day of Judgment is just that, a time of judgment.  Israel of old was judged because they had turned away from serving the Lord.  Mankind will be judged during the Day of Judgment to determine if they love the Lord their God, with all their heart, mind and soul.  Rightness of heart and righteousness of character will be the test.

The Anointed Little Flock and the Great Crowd are not judged then, we are judged now.

Don’t take for granted the blessings, favors and advantages we have now.

Don’t take lightly the opportunity we now have to be a joint heir with Christ in his kingdom.

Our judgment is no less severe than the world’s in the next age.  Rather, because the gift to us is so much greater, the test will be also.

Forgive one another even as Christ has forgiven you.

Love one another even as Christ has loved you.

Grow in the graces and fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Rightly divide the word of Truth.

Study God’s word so that it might become as much a part of your life as breathing is.

Think on spiritual things.

As much as possible, live simply.

Walk humbly before others and before the Lord.

Be thankful in everything, regardless of what your experiences are.

Take the Lord at His word, even if you don’t see how or understand why.

Pray for yourself and for others.

And lastly, loved ones, cleanse yourselves in the blood which purifies so that you may be with Him and see Him as He is.

May the Lord bless and keep you.  May your walk bring joy to our Father in Heaven, and may His light shine as a beacon into your hearts and from your hearts unto others, to His praise, to His honor and for His glory.

Amen

Contributed by:  Bro. Aaron Kuemichael

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