“God. . . hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world.” Acts 17:30,31.Was the judgment still future in Paul’s day?
“As he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled.” Acts 24:25.
How many must meet the test of the judgment?
“I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked.” Eccl. 3:17. “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.
What reason did Solomon give for urging all to fear God and keep His commandments?
“For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Eccl. 12:14.
What view of the judgment scene was given Daniel?
“I beheld till the thrones were cast down [placed, R.V.], and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Dan. 7:9,10.
Out of what will all be judged?
“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.” Rev. 20:12.
For whom has a book of remembrance been written?
“Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord harkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name.” Mal. 3:16. See Rev. 20:12.
Who opens the judgment and presides over it?
“I beheld till the thrones were cast down [placed], and the Ancient of days did sit.” Dan. 7:9.
Who minister to God, and assist in the judgment?
“Thousand thousands [of angels] ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.” Verse 10. See Rev. 5:11.
Who is brought before the Father at this time?
“I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him.” Dan. 7:13.
What does Christ as the advocate of His people confess before the Father and His angels?
“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.” Rev. 3:5. See Matt. 10:32,33; Mark 8:38.
NOTE.-During this judgment scene, both the righteous and the wicked dead are still in their graves. The record of each one’s life, however, is in the books of heaven, and by that record their characters and deeds are well known. Christ is there to appear in behalf of those who have chosen Him as their advocate. 1 John 2:1. He presents His blood, as He appeals for their sins to be blotted from the books of record. As the place of judgment is in heaven, where God’s throne is, and as Christ is present in person, it follows that the work of judgment is also in heaven. All are judged by the record of their lives, and thus answer for the deeds done in the body. This work will not only decide forever the cases of the dead, but will also close the probation of all who are living, after which Christ will come to take to Himself those who have been found loyal to Him.
After the subjects of the kingdom have been determined by the investigative judgment, what is given to Christ?
“And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him.” Dan. 7:14.
When He comes the second time, what title will He bear?
“And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.” Rev. 19:16.
What will He then do for each one?
“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.” Matt. 16:27. See also Rev. 22:12.
Where will Christ then take His people?
“In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2,3.
How many of the dead will be raised?
“For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28,29. See also Acts 24:15.
What time intervenes between the two resurrections?
“And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” Rev. 20:4,5.
What work did Daniel see finally assigned to the saints?
“I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” Dan. 7:21,22.
How long will the saints engage in this work of judgment?
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: . . . and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Rev. 20:4.
Who will thus be judged by the saints?
“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” 1 Cor. 6:2,3.
How will the decisions of the judgment be executed?
“And out of His [Christ’s] mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” Rev. 19:15.
Why is the execution of the judgment given to Christ?
“For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man.” John 5:26,27.
How was the opening of the judgment to be made known to the world?
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.” Rev. 14:6,7.
NOTE.-There are three phases of the judgment mentioned in the Scriptures,-the investigative judgment, preceding the second advent; the judgment of the lost world and wicked angels by Christ and the saints during the one thousand years following the second advent; and the executive judgment, or punishment of the wicked at the close of this period. The investigative judgment takes place in heaven before Christ comes, in order to ascertain who are worthy to be raised in the first resurrection, at His coming, and who among the living are to be changed in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trump. It is necessary for this to take place before the second advent, as there will be no time for such a work between the coming of Christ and the raising of the righteous dead. The executive Judgment on the wicked occurs after their cases have been examined by the saints during the thousand years. Rev. 20:4,5; 1 Cor. 6:1-3. The investigative judgment is that which is announced to the world by the angel’s message of Rev. 14:6,7.
Thou Judge of quick and dead,
Before whose bar severe,
With holy joy or guilty dread,
We all shall soon appear,-
Our cautioned souls prepare
For that tremendous day,
And fill us now with watchful care,
And stir us up to pray.
by CHARLES WESLEY.