been the traditional reaction to the words "Judgment
Day." It is no wonder! Dark-age theology has promoted
a picture of a 24-hour horror when Jesus returns, brings
the dead back (from wherever they were), tells them
their eternal fate (which apparently they had already
experienced), and sends them back to their rewards and
punishments. He then burns up the earth, and that’s it!
however, gives a different picture. Psalm 96:10-13 sums
it up well:
"Say among the heathen
that the Lord reigneth:
The world also shall be established
that it shall not be
He shall judge the people righteously.
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad:
Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof.
Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein:
Then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice
For he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth:
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
And the people with his truth."
The fact is,
the "judgment day" lasts a thousand years. (II Peter
3:7-13) And, according to the Apostle Peter, it
combines the passing of the old order ("the heavens and
earth which are now") with the establishment of a
wonderful new order ("new heavens and a new earth
wherein dwelleth righteousness").
is that there is more than one judgment day. The
present, between the first advent of Jesus and the
establishment of Christ’s peaceable kingdom, is "the day
of salvation" (II Corinthians 6:2) for Jesus’
disciples. The second advent of Jesus (II Peter 3:7-13)
is the judgment day for the institutions of this world
followed by the judgment of individuals. (Revelation
two-part judgment (see
SALVATIONS) was pictured in Israel’s
experiences when they were delivered out of bondage in
Egypt. At that first "Passover," the "first-born" were
delivered first, during the night. This pictures the
judgment and salvation of the "church of the firstborn"
(Hebrews 12:23) during the nighttime of the Christian
age. When the Millennial morning arrives, the remainder
of mankind will be delivered from its bondage of sin and
death even as the nation of Israel was delivered the
morning after the nighttime deliverance of the
the Scriptures summarize the matter thusly:
came at the first advent to save the world by his
offering, he did not come to judge those who would not
believe him in this life. Those will be judged "in the
last day" when the truth will be made plain to them.
They will not be judged by their deeds in this life, but
according to their deeds in that future age.
(Revelation 20:12 where "books" = the truth from
the Scriptures. Revelation 22:12)
The time for
the judgment of unbelievers is the Millennial Age, the
"appointed" day in which "He will judge the world in
righteousness" by Christ. (I Timothy 4:10 shows the
"special" salvation now of the church and also the
salvation later of "all men.")
given Jesus the entire work of judgment. When Jesus has
finished the work, he will turn the perfected race over
to God. (I Corinthians 15:25-28)
Corinthians 6:2, 3:
disciples will participate with him in judging the world
and the angels!
faithful Christians will receive the honor of judging
the world and angels, they must pass the judgment of
this Christian Age —
the time before the establishment of the peaceable
11:11, 22, 24:
general judgment of mankind arrives, it will be a time
for the judgment of righteous men who have not been
disciples as well as for those who have lived lives of
degradation. John the Baptist will receive his judgment
then. But so will Tyre and Sodom, places known for
their depravity. Interestingly, it will be "more
tolerable" for those wicked cities who acted in
ignorance than for those like Capernaum who were exposed
to the light. Yet, it is clear that all have the
opportunity to pass the judgment. No one will be
condemned before at least a century of opportunity.
Scriptures consistently picture the judgment day for the
world as a wonderful and joyous period. They clearly
point out the seriousness of the age and its objectives,
but they also stress the optimism of that "day."
* * * * *
In Volume I
of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES there is an entire helpful
chapter on "The Day of Judgment." The Volume is available through this website
Available Literature Link.
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