84 The Judgement of the Saved Part 3
We concluded this three part series of the Judgement of the Saved. Wow what a journey into the heart of God as we realize while He is the Judge - He does not condemn. His role is to preside over the judgement while the enemy and accuser brings his accusations and initiates the judgement. Discover several aspects to judgement as we look at several case studies. Our hearts burned within us as we were reminded of this amazing God that loves us more than we can comprehend. We trust your heart will be drawn to Him as well.
The Judgment of the Saved. Part 2
This presentation is motivated by the apparent contradiction between judgment for all as stated in the Bible and the parallel statement by different authors in the Bible that Jesus has forgiven all our sins: past, present and future. Why judge people if all is forgiven? It will be shown that the judgment of the saints is not initiated by God but by Satan. It will also be shown that God is judged. This is consequence of having the power of choice creatures can then judge if God is worthy of their worship.
The New Testament is categorical. There is a coming Judgment for all.
Matthew 12:36 Careless words will condemn men in the judgement Matthew 25:30 "Fling the useless servant out into the dark, the place of wailing and grinding of teeth."
Matthew 25:41 "The curse is upon you; go from my sight to the eternal fire that ready for the devil and his angels." Acts 17:30-31 Paul calls men to repentance and holy living for the day of judgement is yet future.
Romans 2:5-6 Whole chapter is about the judgement, there is good news and bad news. Hebrews 10:26-27 There is a fearful expectation of the judgement 2 Peter 3:6-7 Judgement is linked with the day of the Lord Jude 14-15 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, proclaims that all men will come to judgement. The judgement will condemn the godless. Daniel 7:9-10, 22 There is a judgement, the books are opened, the kingdom is given to the saints.
So, having established there is an impeding Judgment for All, we need to question why saints come to judgment in view of the following statements by Jesus.
Jesus states that he did not come to judge the world but to save it (John 3:17). He was also clear that there is a judgment and that his words (John 6:63) and our words will judge us. He also states the following: John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment but has passed from death to life.” A possible solution to this apparent contradiction is that there is a judgment, not initiated by God or Jesus, that comes to the saved at some point.
As will be shown later, the devil initiates condemnation or judgment of the saints in an attempt to keep them from being saved by God. It is interesting to note that in general it is not the judge which initiates a judgment process. A judgment is initiated by an accuser against the accused.
Here are some questions to get one thinking about the judgment of the Saved.
When are the saved judged?Before death? At death? After death? Before the resurrection? After the resurrection? Before the millennium? In the millennium? After the millennium? Are there different judgments for the righteous and the unrighteous?
When thinking about a Judgment in the Bible it is helpful to ask the following questions.
When does this judgment take place? Who does the judging?
Is there a jury? (The jury has evolved from Trial by battle, e.g. David and Goliath, Trial by ordeal, e.g. suspected wife [Numbers 5], to Trial by jury. The idea of a Jury is to protect citizens from dysfunctional judges.) Who is/are the accused? Who is the accuser? The one who initiates the judgment process. Who is the defender? What is the verdict? Who enforces this verdict?
We will consider six case studies in these presentations.
Case Study 1: The Judgment of Joshua the High Priest/Saints. Zechariah 3:1-10 NLT
Case Study 2: How God is judged by People. Revelation 14:6-7 NIV Case Study 3: The Judgment at the Second Coming. Revelation 6:15-17 NLT Case Study 4: The Judgment of God by the Saints. Revelation 20:1-6 NLT Case Study 5: Judgment of Rebels against Love. Revelation 20:13-15 NLT Case Study 6: The Judgment in favour of the Son of Man and God’s People. Daniel 7:9-14 NLT
Case Study 1: The Judgment of Joshua the High Priest/Saints. Zechariah 3:1-10 NLT
1 Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua.
2 And the LORD said to Satan, “I, the LORD, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.” 3 Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. 4 So the angel said to the others standingthere, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.” 5 Then I said, “They should also place a clean turban on his head.” So, they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the LORD stood by. 6 Then the angel of the LORD spoke very solemnly to Jeshua and said, 7 “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: If you follow my ways and carefully serve me, then you will be given authority over my Temple and its courtyards. I will let you walk among these others standing here. 8 “Listen to me, O Jeshua the high priest, and all you other priests. You are symbols of things to come. Soon I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 Now look at the jewel I have set before Jeshua, asingle stone with seven facets. I will engrave an inscription on it, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, and I will remove the sins of this land in a single day. 10 “And on that day, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, each of you will invite your neighbor to sit with you peacefully under your own grapevine and fig tree.”
When does this happen? Literally around 500-400 BC Who does the judging? The LORD of Heaven’s armies (vss. 2, 4, 7) Is there a jury? Those standing there—Angels (vs. 4, 7) Who are the accused? Jeshua the High Priest (vs. 1)
Who is the accuser who initiates this judgment? Satan (vs. 2) Satan points out in great detail the sins of the saints Jesus has saved. He has an exact record and places saints in the worst possible light. Who is the defender? The Angel of the LORD (vs. 2)
The angel or Jesus does not deny their sins but points out:
Sinners never chose to be born on planet earth (Genesis 1-3).
Satan is the one who has destroyed every sinner’s innocence and righteousness (John 8:44-45; Hebrews 2:14).
Only Jesus lived the life every sinner was meant to live in God’s plan (Romans 3:21-26; 6:23)
Jesus was executed unjustly at the hands of Satan and his followers. He thus has merit to pass his history onto any sinner who desires this history or righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Jesus claims repentant sinners as his own and presents them to his Father as if they had never sinned since they would not have sinned if they had been born on a planet without Satan’s harassment (Zechariah 3:4-5).
What is the verdict? Jeshua is forgiven, innocent and righteous. (These are not synonyms.) Who enforces the verdict? The others standing there (vs 4).
This judgment serves as a template for many of the judgment scenes
in Daniel and Revelation. Satan is the accuser and Jesus is the defender and the Cosmos is the jury. Satan is identified as THE accuser (Revelation 12:9). The title “Satan” comes from the Hebrew, Shattan which literally means the accuser or prosecutor. This is Satan trying to keep the saints from being saved.
Case Study 2: God is judged by People. Revelation 14:6-7 NIV
This judgment is described in Revelation 14:7. This judgment is located at the end of the age or the end of the world since its context is chapters 13 and 14 of Revelation. These chapters have to do withthe Image to the Beast and death for all who do not receive the Beast’s mark which takes place at the end of time.
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Contrary to some translations, this is NOT God judging people, but people judging God. This claim can be seen from four different perspectives.
Linguistically, if I say, “the hour of John’s judgment has come,” I mean that John is being judged. I do not mean that John is judging. Most translations have wording which parallels the NIV.
Contextually, the angel has good news or the gospel to accredit his announcement. If God was judging or condemning sinners, it would not be good news.
Theologically, the longstanding judgment by human beings is about God. The serpent beguiled Eve by suggesting God was withholding a better plain of existence from her. Eve then judged God asselfish. Human beings, even atheists, often cry out, “Why did God allow this tragedy?” Insurance language describes disasters as “acts of God.” It is thus clear humans judge God all the time.
This passage (14:6-12) is concerned with worship of God versus worship of beasts. We are called upon to make a choice about who we will worship. Who will we judge worthy of our worship? God or a beast? This is a judgment call by the worshipper. There is a parallel judgment of God during the millennium (Revelation 20:1-6).
When does this judgment take place? At the end of the age.
Who does the judging? Those who live on the earth (vs 6) Is there a jury? At least the angels. Who are the accused? God Who is the accuser who initiates this judgment? Satan and people.
Who is the defender? The announcing angel (vs 7) What is the verdict? God is righteous in every way.Who enforces the verdict? Angel from the altar (vs 8)
Case Study 3: The Judgment at the Second Coming. Revelation 6:15-17 NLT
Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?”
When does this judgment take place? At the Second Coming (vs 17) Who does the judging? The lost. They judge themselves, as Judas did, they would rather die than face God. Is there a jury? At least the angels. Who are the accused? The enthroned One and the Lamb. Who is the accuser who initiates this judgment? The lost accuse God of being angry with them (vs 16)
Who is the defender? The angel with the seal of God (Chapter seven)
What is the verdict? The Lost would prefer death to life with God.
Who enforces the verdict? The Lost as with Judas (Vs 16)
Case Study 4: Judgment of God by the Saints. Revelation 20:1-6 NLT
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. 2 He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years. 3 The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while.
4 Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Answers question of souls under the altar 6:10) 5 This is the first resurrection. (The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years had ended.) 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years.
When does this happen? During the Millennium (vs 7) Who does the judging? Saved People (vs 4) Is there a jury? Angels according to Daniel 7:10 Who are the accused? Those who names are not in The Book of Life (vs 15)
Who is the accuser that initiates this judgment? Lonely Saints Who is the defender? God and Jesus Christ Who enforces the verdict? Consequences of rebellion (Revelation 6:15-17)
Covered Case Studies to this Point.
Case Study 1: The Judgment of Joshua the High Priest/Saints. Zechariah 3:1-10 NLT
Case Study 2: God is judged by People. Revelation 14:6-7 NIV Case Study 3: The Judgment at the Second Coming. Revelation 6:15-17 NLT
Case Study 4: The Judgment of God by the Saints. Revelation 20:1-6 NLT
Remaining Case Studies.
Case Study 5: Judgment of Rebels against Love. Revelation 20:13-15 NLT Case Study 6: Judgment in favour of the Son of Man and God’s People. Daniel 7:9-14 NLT
Case Study 5: Judgment of Rebels against Love. Revelation 20:13-15 NLT The Story 20:7-10
7 When the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison. 8 He will go out to deceive the nations—called Gog and Magog—in every corner of the earth. He will gather them together for battle—a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore. 9 And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them. 10 Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
11 And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. 12 I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. 14 Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. 15 And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.
When does this happen? At the end of the Millennium (vs 7) Who does the judging? God presides (vs 11), those who have removed their names from the book of life (vs 15). “book of life”—This book is referred to as follows: contains names that can be blotted out (Rev 3:5; Ex 32:32-33; Psalm 69:18, 28), belongs to the lamb (Rev 13:8), contains names written in it from creation of the world (Rev 17:8), is used in judgment of wicked (Rev 20:12), contains the names of those who will be in the city (Daniel 12:1; Phil 4:3; Rev 21:27). Is there a jury? Angels according to Daniel 7:10, Saints (vs 9) Who are the accused? Those who names are in The Book of Life (vs 15)
Who is the accuser, the one who initiates this judgment? Satan of the Devil (vs 9). He is the one who attacks God’s people. Those who names are NOT in the book of life. Who is the defender? The glory of God in the city. What is the verdict? Consequences of rejecting the Life-giver (vs 15). This is what the books are about.
Who enforces the verdict? Consequences of rebellion (Genesis 2:17, Romans 6:23). The “lake of fire” is a symbol of total destruction since “death and the grave” are cast into it. It is the result of the rebellion of sin
Case Study 6: Judgment in favour of the Son of Man and God’s People. Daniel 7:9-14 NLT
9 I watched as thrones were put in place and the Ancient One sat down to judge. His clothing was as white as snow, his hair like purest wool. He sat on a fiery throne with wheels of blazing fire, 10 and a river of fire was pouring out, flowing from his presence. Millions of angels ministered to him; many millions stood to attend him. Then the court began its session, and the books were opened. 11 I continued to watch because I could hear the little horn’s boastful speech (Actually the claims of Satan). I kept watching until the fourth beast was killed and its body was destroyed by fire. (Before the Second Coming, during the Second coming, after the Second Coming, After the millennium) 12 The other three beasts had their authority taken from them, but they were allowed to live a while longer. (They coalesce in the fourth beast.) 13 As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven (angels). He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence.
14 He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed (This happens after the judgment).
The Story continued
15 I, Daniel, was troubled by all I had seen, and my visions terrified me. (Why is Daniel troubled if the judgment is in favour of the people of the Most High? Probably because he understands it will take a long time before this happens because of the image dream of chapter two.) 16 So I approached one of those standing beside the throne and asked him what it all meant. He explained it to me like this: 17 “These four huge beasts represent four kingdoms that will arise from the earth. 18 But in the end, the holy people of the Most High will be given the kingdom, and they will rule forever andever.” 19 Then I wanted to know the true meaning of the fourth beast, the one so different from the others and so terrifying. It had devoured and crushed its victims with iron teeth and bronze claws, trampling their remains beneath its feet. 20 I also asked about the ten horns on the fourth beast’s head and the little horn that came up afterward and destroyed three of the other horns. This horn had seemed greater than theothers, and it had human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly.
The Judgment continued
21 As I watched, this horn was waging war against God’s holy people and was defeating them, 22 until the Ancient One—the Most High—came and judged in favor of his holy people. Then the time arrived for the holy people to take over the kingdom.
The Story continued
23 Then he said to me, “This fourth beast is the fourth world power that will rule the earth. It will be different from all the others. It will devour the whole world, trampling and crushing everything in its path. 24 Its ten horns are ten kings who will rule that empire. Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them. 25 He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people ofthe Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time. (3 1⁄2 years, the time of drought in Elijah’s confrontation with Ahab and Jezebel become symbolic of oppression by Satan of God’s people).
The Judgement continued
26 “But then the court will pass judgment, and all his power will be taken away and completely destroyed. 27 Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey him.”
This judgment is not primarily about individuals but about the dominion of this world. Is Jesus Christ the rightful ruler or prince or is Satan the rightful prince of this world? Apparently, the prince is elected by the inhabitants of the world. Adam selected Satan at the beginning. Is this choice to continue forever? Will the rightful prince ever regain his dominion back? This judgment promises the reinstatement of Jesus and his people as the rulers of this world.
When does this judgment take place? This judgment occurs at the end of the age.
Who does the judging? Those sitting on thrones (vs 9), Court (vs 26) Is there a jury? Angels (vs 10) Who are the accused? Saved sinners from earth (vs 18, 22, 27) Who is the accuser, who initiates this judgment? Satan or the Devil in the person of the Little Horn (21)
Who is the defender? Son of Man (Jesus Christ vs 13) What is the verdict? Kingdom belongs to the Son of Man and his people. Who enforces the verdict? Most High and his angels
It is this Judgment of the Saints which may be called the pre-Advent judgement or the Investigative Judgment.
This latter term is not strictly correct as the verdict of their destiny is already sure according to Jesus.John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment but has passed from death to life.” It is the little horn, speaking for Satan, which is disputing this destiny. It is another attempt by Satan to prevent the salvation of the saints. There is a common idea that Jesus finally comes as executioner at the end of the Millennium (Hebrews9:27-28) Here is a story about judgment to stay with you!
Amazing Grace (The victim determines the punishment.)
It is a scene from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa: A frail black woman, Mrs. Khumalo, stands slowly to her feet. She is something over 70 years of age. Facing her from across the room are several white former police officers, one of whom, Mr. van der Broek, has just been tried and found implicated in the murders of both the woman's son and her husband some years before.
It was indeed Mr. van der Broek, it has now been established, who had come to the woman's home, taken her son, shot him at point-blank range and then burned the young man's body while he and his officers partied nearby.
Several years later, van der Broek and his cohorts had returned to take away her husband as well. For many months she heard nothing of his whereabouts. Then, almost two years after her husband's disappearance, van der Broek came back to fetch the woman herself. How vividly she remembers that evening, going to a place beside a river where she was shown her husband, bound, and beaten, but still strong in spirit, lying on a pile of wood. The last words she heard from his lips as the officers poured gasoline over his body and set him aflame were, "Father, forgive them." Now the woman stands in the courtroom and listens to the confessions offered by Mr. van der Broek.
A member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission turns to her and asks, "So, what do you want? How should justice be done to this man who has so brutally destroyed your family?
"I want three things," begins old woman calmly, but confidently. "I want first to be taken to the place where my husband's body was burned so that I can gather up the dust and give his remains a decent burial.”
She pauses, then continues. "My husband and son were my only family. I want, secondly, therefore, for Mr. van der Broek to become my son. I would like for him to come twice a month to the township and spend a day with me so that I can pour out on him whatever love I still have remaining within me.
"And, finally," she says, "I want a third thing. I would like Mr. Van der Broek to know that I offer him my forgiveness because Jesus Christ died to forgive. This was also the wish of my husband. And so, I would kindly ask someone to come to my side and lead me across the courtroom so that I can take Mr. van der Broek in my arms, embrace him and let him know that he is truly forgiven.
As the court assistants come to lead the elderly woman across the room, Mr. van der Broek, overwhelmed by what he has just heard, faints. And as he does, those in the courtroom, friends, family, neighbours—all victims of decades of oppression and injustice—begin to sing, softly, but assuredly, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.”
(Found in the June 1999 newsletter of Mennonite Church Peace and Justice Committee. Retold by James R. Krabill, Mennonite Board of Missions vice president for Mission Advocacy and Communication.)
I added the name “Mrs. Khumalo” to give the lady literary authenticity. In this story of grace, the victim (Mrs. Khumalo) determines the restorative penalty for the perpetrator (Mr. van der Brook).
This might be repeated during the millennium. The saints might very well decide that Satan be given another chance to repent together with his angelic and human supporters.
Judgment in the Bible is mostly initiated by the devil or Satan or his supporters. When Adam and Eve sinned God did not judge them but clothed them and comforted them (Genesis 3:15) in their self- condemnation. We may be sure Satan shamed them for what they had done.
God is not in the judging business. God is in the healing or saving business. There is no condemnation in God’s heart (Romans 8:1) any more than there is in Jesus’ heart (John 3:17).
God does not need a judgment to decide who is saved or lost. These decisions are made by created beings since they have the power of choice. This choice also means created beings decide if they admire God or hold him in contempt (Revelation 14:6-12).
When we fall from grace our hearts tend to condemning and judging. When we are “in grace” orwhen grace fills our hearts and minds, we have no condemnation for others.
Ian Hartley, September 2021.