What Saith the Scripture?
Judge Righteous Judgment
Or, How Judgment-- the Theme for the Tribulation Week-- Should Be Applied
"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment"
by Tom Stewart
The whole point of the Tribulation Week is that God, the Judge of All the Earth (Genesis 18:25), will do exactly that-- judge the Earth. As we approach the "Consummation" (Daniel 9:27) of the Age, our LORD will "finish the transgression" and "make an end of sins" (9:24). Accordingly, the cleansing of the Church is the first priority of our Judge. "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?" (1Peter 4:17). If the people of God have judged their own sins, then they are walking without known sin, i.e., "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1John 1:9). Consequently, we would be spiritually ready to be Pre-Tribulationally Raptured. "Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully" (Psalm 24:3-4). If we have judged our own sins, then the LORD will not have to leave us here to face the judgments of the Tribulation Week. "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged" (1Corinthians 11:31).
If judgment is the predominant theme of the upcoming Tribulation Week, then we would do well to acquaint ourselves with the concept of judgment. "And I saw Heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war" (Revelation 19:11). In particular, we need better understanding of the judgment that the Saints should be-- or, should have been-- exercising in this life. Though ours is only a lower court ruling in relation to the supreme verdict of the Judge of the Earth (Psalm 94:2), it is apparent that even a lower court ruling can be upheld by the Final Judge Himself, i.e., "Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven" (Matthew 18:18)
We, as minor fixtures in the LORD's kingdom, agree with the judgments rendered by the Judge of All (Hebrews 12:23), as can be seen by the "Hallelujah Chorus" reaction of Heaven to God's judgment upon Babylon the Great (Revelation 18:2). "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in Heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the LORD our God: For true and righteous are His judgments: for He hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia" (Revelation 19:1-4).
The Righteous Judge: Judgment is an Integral Part of God's Character
The LORD distinguished Himself by the execution of "judgment" upon the ancient Egyptians, as He passed through Egypt, liberating His people, i.e., "For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD" (Exodus 12:12).
The Saints' solemn awe that God would trouble Himself with the affairs of mankind is seen in the Godly prayer of King Solomon's dedication of the original Jerusalem Temple. "But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the Heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house which I have built!" (2Chronicles 6:18). Further, that the LORD does actively judge in the affairs of man, goes beyond the philosopher's image of a God who only winds up the clock of the universe and then departs. "Then hear Thou from heaven, and do, and judge Thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness" (6:23).
A classic Old Testament account of how the Saints of God entrusted the LORD with their lives in the judgments of God, is the time when the enemies of Israel "came against Jehoshaphat to battle" (2Chronicles 20:1). Notice how King Jehoshaphat calls upon the LORD to defend the lives of the people of God by judging their mortal enemies, i.e., "O our God, wilt Thou not judge them?" (20:12). Can even we of the New Covenant blame our brethren of the Old Covenant for this conduct of self-defense? Definitely not!
"It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle. Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi. And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not Thou God in Heaven? and rulest not Thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in Thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand Thee? Art not Thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before Thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham Thy friend for ever? And they dwelt therein, and have built Thee a sanctuary therein for Thy name, saying, If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in Thy presence, (for Thy name is in this house,) and cry unto Thee in our affliction, then Thou wilt hear and help. And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom Thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not; Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of Thy possession, which Thou hast given us to inherit. O our God, wilt Thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee. And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation; And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's. To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel. Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you. And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD. And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high. And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another. And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped. And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much. And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the LORD: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah, unto this day. Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies. And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the LORD. And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about" (2Chronicles 20:1-30).
The Psalmist was persuaded that the judgments of God were not simply a past or solely a future apocalyptic event, but an every day experience. "God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day" (Psalm 7:11). The difficulty that many in these Gospel times have with this idea of judgment is what our LORD said about turning the other cheek. It seems to contradict judging-- but doesn't-- i.e., "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matthew 5:39). The Gospel does not take away the right of the smitten Saint to defend himself; rather, it emphasizes the Saints' New Covenant privilege of disarming the offender by turning the other cheek-- and thus, winning him for Christ. Only because the LORD Jesus' prophetic program to "make an end of sins" (Daniel 9:24) demands these final judgments, do we acknowledge both our LORD's right and necessity to employ the Seal Judgments, Trumpet Judgments, Vial Judgments, etc. But, even with all these final judgments, the LORD Jesus is still interested in bringing in the final harvest of souls for His kingdom, i.e., "to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness" (9:24). Thanks be to the wisdom and love of the Judge of All the Earth!
Self-Judgment: The Beginning of Righteous Judgment
What part do we have in the judgments of God? Self-judgment is the necessity of all the Body of Christ. "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the LORD, that we should not be condemned with the world" (1Corinthians 11:31-32). If we have honestly cast the "beam" out of our own eye, then we can help take the "mote" (literally, speck) out of our brother's eye. "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye" (Matthew 7:5).
God's people are to imitate God in the exercise of holy judgment, i.e., "Judge not, that ye be not judged... Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you" (Matthew 7:1, 6). Lest an improper interpretation of verse 1 (i.e., that Christians should not judge) hinders us from exercising godly judgment, verse 6 reminds us that God's people must determine the difference between "holy" and "dogs", "pearl" and "swine". The very concept that Christians should not judge, flies in the face of the teachings of the New Testament. The Apostle Paul gave us the example of readiness to judge, i.e., "For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed" (1Corinthians 5:3).
God's people are not afraid of God's judgment. How can we pray for the fulfillment of God's judgments, if we are not willing for God to judge us first? "Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide" (Psalm 26:1).
How are we to practice self-judgment? "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24). God's thoughts-- as revealed in His Word-- are the precious means by which we judge ourselves. "How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!" (139:17). The Holy Spirit searches us with His Word. "For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is A Discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:12-13).
Self-judgment implies that we must willingly seek out God's Word to search out our motives and ultimate purpose. "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word. With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy Commandments. Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee" (Psalm 119:9-11). Self-judgment aids us in seeking God's cleansing from sin as well as keeping us from wandering into sin. It may be added that prayer, i.e., specific petition to God to keep us from sin and sinning, is essential to keep us from falling into sin. "And when He was at the place, He said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation" (Luke 22:40).
"For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:14). No threat of future judgment should be necessary to induce the professed Saints to thoroughly judge ourselves. However, the very idea that our God is completely able to review all of the Believers' conduct-- in particular, all conduct since we came to Christ-- and pronounce it "gold, silver, precious stones" (1Corinthians 3:12) to be rewarded (3:14) , or "wood, hay, stubble" (3:12) to "be burned" and "suffer loss" (3:15)-- "Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward" (2John 8)-- should encourage us to "walk circumspectly [literally, carefully], not as fools, but as wise" (Ephesians 5:15). We need to be knowingly seeking to abide in Christ (John 15:4;1 John 2:28), i.e., practicing such admonitions as: "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath" (Ephesians 4:26).
Judgment of the Body of Christ: The Healthy Process of Righteous Judgment
The Judgment of the Body of Christ-- also known as Church Discipline-- is necessary to maintain the holiness demanded by our LORD, i.e., "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the LORD" (Hebrews 12:14). Any usefulness the Church may have to our LORD in reaching a lost and dying world with the Gospel depends upon cleaning first the "house of God". "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?" (1Peter 4:17). Rebuking known sin in the brethren and separating from them in spiritual fellowship and casual social intercourse, is necessary to restoring them to the holiness of the Body of Christ. "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our LORD Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our LORD Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the LORD Jesus" (1Corinthians 5:1-5). Since this type of judgment of the Body of Christ, or church discipline, is virtually unknown in Christendom, is it any wonder that so much of the Professed Church would miss the Pre-Tribulational Rapture and could be present for the martyrdom of the 5th Seal Judgment (Revelation 6:9-11), i.e., the first part of the Tribulation Week? [See our article, "How to Deal With Backsliders" for more information on this point.]
God's people, who are a "peculiar people" (Deuteronomy 14:2 & 1Peter 2:9), are called upon to faithfully exercise "judgment", even in standing against the majority, in order to do so, i.e., "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment" (Exodus 23:2).
God's judges are to deliver God's people out of the hand of their enemies, i.e., "And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them" (Judges 2:18).
Abraham was commended for practicing "judgment", i.e., "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him" (Genesis 18:19).
A good judge must have a servant's heart as King Solomon originally did, i.e., "Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this Thy so great a people?" (1Kings 3:9). That heart will be a discerning heart. God is much more willing to answer an unselfish request for wisdom and understanding to make judgment for Him than to satisfy a simply material personal need. "And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge My people, over whom I have made thee king: Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like" (2Chronicles 1:11-12).
Judging All Things: Righteous Judgment Brings People to Christ
A truly spiritual man judges (or, discerns) "all things", i.e., "But he that is Spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man" (1Corinthians 2:15). Consequently, the Spiritual man will find the most appropriate means-- if possible-- to win those who can be reached for Jesus Christ. "To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" (1Corinthians 9:22).
Misguided judgment is as undesirable as the lack of judgment, i.e., "And it came to pass, when the time was come that He should be received up, He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before His face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him. And they did not receive Him, because His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, LORD, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village" (Luke 9:51-56). A righteous judge has "the mind of Christ" (1Corinthians 2:16). The Samaritans would not receive the LORD Jesus. But James and John were not just angry for this callous treatment of the LORD. They were rebuked by the LORD Jesus because they sought judgment to fulfill their OWN purposes-- not His. A righteous judge, like Elijah, could not "command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them", unless the action justified God's judgment. James and John disliked the Samaritans, as most Jews did. They wanted judgment to satisfy their OWN anger, insomuch, so as to cause the Samaritans death by fire. The LORD Jesus "rebuked them" because they abused judgment. "Ye know not what manner of Spirit ye are of." Misguided judgment seeks selfish justification-- or personal revenge. Righteous judgment justifies God only. For it is only God that deserves to be justified. "Great and marvellous are Thy works, LORD God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, O LORD, and glorify Thy Name? for Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest" (Revelations 15:3,4).
Unrighteous judgment of our neighbor is avoidable and forbidden to the people of God, i.e., "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour" (Leviticus 19:15).
The Apostle Paul warned the carnal of Corinth from the conduct of careless and unrighteous judgment, i.e., "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the LORD come, Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God" (1Corinthians 4:5).
When the Apostle Peter wrote 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?" (1Peter 4:17), he understood that a sinfully unhealthy and unclean Church could not reproduce healthy New Life. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one" (Job 14:4). After dealing first with our own sin, then we are useful to the LORD to help someone else with their sin. "Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye" (Luke 6:42).
Charles G. Finney, the noted American evangelist of the early 1800's, had the opportunity to make many pointed observations about the need, effect, promotion, and the results of Revivals of Religion. These comments, in light of the Church's need to judge itself, are noteworthy, since historically, the bringing of new converts to the LORD Jesus Christ has been the result of Revivals of Religion in the Church. It has been estimated by some that Finney was responsible for more than a half million people being converted through his ministry. His noted work, "Revival Lectures" began with a quotation from the prophet Habakkuk: "O LORD, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy" (Habakkuk 3:2). He said, "A 'Revival of Religion' presupposes a declension." Further, "The state of the world is still such, and probably will be till the millennium is fully come, that religion must be mainly promoted by means of revivals." [WStS note: Charles G. Finney believed in ushering in the Millennium without thought of the need of a Tribulation Week, because his Philadelphian Church age mind-set saw some success-- fabulously more than now-- with Philadelphia's "little strength" (Revelation 3:8) in the ongoing building of the Church, and because the LORD had not focused this servants eyes on the 'End Game' necessity of Daniel's 70th Week, i.e., the "consummation" (Daniel 9:27).]
"It is altogether improbable that religion will ever make progress among the heathen nations except through the influence of revivals... Men being so reluctant to obey God, will not act until they are excited" (from Finney's "Revival Lectures", Lecture 1: "What a Revival of Religion Is"). When we have been "excited" to understand how our abiding relationship in Christ (John 15) causes us to bear fruit, i.e., bringing people to the Salvation found in the LORD Jesus Christ, then we are willing to take the time to introspect ourselves with the self-examination necessary to break up our fallow ground ["ground which has once been tilled, but which now lies waste"-- C. G. Finney] and thus promote a Revival of Religion. "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till He come and rain righteousness upon you" (Hosea 10:12). Therefore, self-judgment is the very first step in the promotion of a Revival of Religion, which results in the winning of souls for the LORD Jesus Christ. "The fruit of the righteous is a Tree of Life; and he that winneth souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30).
Judging the World: Righteous Judgment in the Millennium and Beyond
Both the Saints of the Old and New Covenants will judge the world, i.e., "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?" (1Corinthians 6:2). This seems to point to the time of the Millennial reign of the LORD Jesus Christ upon the Earth. "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).
The parable of the ten pounds and ten servants who were ordered, "Occupy till I come" (Luke 19:13), teaches us that our faithfulness in this life will be rewarded with responsibility in the next life, i.e., to judge and reign with the LORD Jesus Christ. "And as they heard these things, He added and spake a parable, because He was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the Kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities" (Luke 19:11-17).
As Aaron wore the "breastplate of judgment" as he ministered before the LORD, i.e., "And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually" (Exodus 28:29), our purpose in exercising judgment with man will be to justify-- in our Millennial roles as judges-- the righteous and condemn the wicked, i.e., "If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked" (Deuteronomy 25:1).
The events surrounding the judgment of the evil angels-- "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment" (2Peter 2:4)-- and their leader Satan, is described in Revelation 20. Here, the Millennium has already taken place, which is followed by a revolt of many of those Millennial inhabitants, "the number of whom is as the sand of the sea" (Revelation 20:7-8), and this Post-Millennial Revolt has already been put down, i.e., "fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them" (20:9). It seems that Satan's judgment at this time into "everlasting fire" will be accompanied by the judgment of the evil angels, i.e., "Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41). "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast [the Antichrist] and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Revelation 20:10).
What joy God's Saints will have in the judgment of Satan, the arch foe of the LORD Jesus, and his minions of evil angels! "It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity" (Proverbs 21:15). Though it is extremely unwise to taunt this greatest of created beings-- Satan (whose supernatural power is respected by Michael the Archangel, i.e., "Yet Michael the Archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The LORD rebuke thee" [Jude 9])-- it is wise for us to rejoice in faith that Satan, the "accuser of our brethren" (Revelation 12:10), is already by faith a defeated enemy! "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone" (20:10).
Prayer and the Apocalyptic Judgments
Finally, we should actively participate-- through prayer-- in the accomplishment of God's judgments upon the world, i.e., the Seal Judgments [see "Tribulation Timeline: When Shall These Things Be? (Part 2)" for a discussion of the Seal Judgments], the Trumpet Judgments [see "Tribulation Timeline: When Shall These Things Be? (Part 3)" for a discussion of the Trumpet Judgments], and the Vial Judgments [see "Tribulation Timeline: When Shall These Things Be? (Part 4)" for a discussion of the Vial Judgments]. "Thus saith the LORD GOD; I will yet for this [i.e., 'A new heart also will I give you' (verse 26)] be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them" (Ezekiel 36:37). Even the LORD Jesus instructed us to pray for the fulfillment of prophecy-- including the judgments. "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven" (Matthew 6:10). Though we obviously are not the source of the judgment, we stand by our LORD, Who is with us "in the judgment". "And [Jehoshaphat] said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, Who is with you in the judgment" (2Chronicles 19:6).
Again, we of the New Covenant need to understand the cooperative relationship we have with the "Judge of quick and dead" (Acts 10:42) to pray for the execution of His judgments upon the world during the Tribulation Week. Remember, some will be saved as a result of these judgments-- as evidenced by a call to the Godly before the judgment of Babylon the Great, i.e., "And I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Revelation 18:4)-- and the rest will be hardened for damnation, i.e., "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the Truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the Truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2Thessalonians 2:10-12).
Instead of adopting an aloof position to the LORD Jesus' work of judgment during the Tribulation Week, we ought to joyfully enter into our ministry of judgment-- praying for the LORD's success in the judgments. "Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a Twoedged Sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all His saints. Praise ye the LORD" (Psalms 149:5-9).
The Judge of All the Earth (Genesis 18:25) would not need a Tribulation Week, if the world already practiced judgment, i.e., "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged" (1Corinthians 11:31). Since the very word "judgment" has developed a negative connotation within professed Christianity, is it any wonder that professed Christians do not practice judgment, or realize what it is when they do? "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6).
A trick of Satan has been to rob the people of God of righteous judgment in the name of love, i.e., "We ought to be loving and not judgmental." "We are not ignorant of his devices" (2Corinthians 2:11). By divorcing God's attribute of being the "Righteous Judge" (2Timothy 4:8) from His attribute of being the "God of Love" (2Corinthians 13:11), "false teachers" (2Peter 2:1) have robbed the Church of the Godly conduct of "righteous judgment" (John 7:24). Instead, an anemic form of love is held forth as the correct alternative for Christian conduct, not caring that the LORD Jesus has given the correct view of love and judgment to the Body of Christ in His letters to the Seven Churches of the Book of Revelations, i.e., "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent" (Revelation 3:19).
Without the correct conduct of righteous judgment, the professed Church is paving the way for the acceptance of the Antichrist. This will not only result in the Backslidden Foolish Virgins (Matthew 25) being left at the Pre-Tribulational Rapture-- see our article, "A Tale of Ten Virgins"-- but, the perishing world will consequently be punished by God by allowing them to be deceived by the Antichrist. "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie" (2Thessalonians 2:11). What lie? That Antichrist is God. "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the Temple of God, shewing himself that he is God" (2Thessalonians 2:3-4).
And, all of this because the Church has been taught a false standard of not exercising judgment. But, "when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him" (Isaiah 59:19).
May we, the professed people of God, conduct ourselves as we ought. "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24). After all, it takes love to obey the LORD Jesus' command to "judge righteous judgment". "He that hath My Commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him" (John 14:21). Accordingly, may the LORD Jesus Christ, Who is the Judge of All the Earth, be able to manifest Himself to us.
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