Day of Judgment
confused notions are held by many as to the work of judgment in
the future age. The popular idea on the subject being something
Father, robed as a judge, with silvery hair, and stern aspect,
is seated on a great white throne. By his side stands the Saviour
with loving eyes and pleading face. The world of mankind is marshalled
before him. They come up in close ranks, and with down-cast faces
toward the Judge. The very large majority are addressed by him
in a voice of thunder, and ordered to depart toward the left.
Trembling with despair they hurry away, and are at once seized
by a guard of demons, and are swiftly dragged, shrieking with
terror, down, down, down. In the advancing crowd, there comes
now and then one, who is at once recognized by the Saviour as
a true christian; introduced to the Father as such; who with modulated
voice welcomes him to the right hand; where he is immediately
crowned, and seated with the angels to view the remainder of the
solemn scene. This separating work to continue until all who have
ever lived have passed the tribunal; the whole period of time
occupied being something less than 24 hours, thus constituting
"the day of judgment."
some features of this picture are drawn from symbolic Bible imagery,
the conception as a whole is very far from being a scriptural
one. As to the gathering of the world before the Judge in a kind
of military review, and the immediate separation of the classes,
while it is the likeness in the figure, it is of necessity as
far from the real, as a type is from its antitype.
GREAT PERIODS OF SEPARATION
three great periods of separation are, we think, clearly revealed
in God's word: "The separation of the chaff from the wheat."
Matt. 3:10,12; "the tares from the wheat." Matt. 13:37,43;
"and the sheep from the goats." Matt. 25:32.
first separation is in the past. Jesus himself, while on earth,
thoroughly purged the floor of the Jewish house, gathered the
wheat into the Gospel church, and cast the chaff into a fire,
which, culminating at the destruction of Jerusalem, burns even
yet against the Jew. So far from marshalling that nation in rank
and file before him, they were not even aware of the test then
made, and were condemned because they knew not the day of their
second great separation was due to take place at the end of this
aionos [age] i.e., closing period of the Gospel dispensation.
This work has actually been going on in our midst, and the world
and worldly church know nothing of it. So in the last great harvest
in the age of judgment, God's truth, the two-edged sword, will
quietly, but surely, do the dividing work; and that Word not spoken
but written, will plainly manifest the sheep and the goats.
term day in Bible times was frequently used, as now, to cover
a long but definite period; as, for instance: "The day"
in which "Jehovah God made the earth and the heavens."
Gen. 2:4. "The day of the temptation in the wilderness."
Heb. 3:8. [40 years]. "The day of salvation." 2 Cor.
6:2. [Gospel dispensation].
to the period comprised in "the day of judgment," if
the student will but faithfully use a reference Bible or a concordance,
and find the amount and kind of work to be accomplished "in
that day," he will soon be glad to accept of Peter's explanation
of it, that "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years;"
and believing the Revelation of Jesus Christ, rejoice in the promise
there given, to "reign with him a thousand years." As
KIND OF JUDGING
kind of judging which is to be carried on, we must consult the
Word if we would get the truth. Turn to the book of "Judges,"
and we find that after the death of Joshua, the Israelites forsook
Jehovah, and worshipped Baal. To bring them to their senses, their
enemies were allowed to triumph over them. When they repented,
"Jehovah raised up judges; who delivered them out of the
hand of those that spoiled them." For instance, "When
the children of Israel cried unto Jehovah, Jehovah raised up a
deliverer Othniel. And the spirit of Jehovah came upon him, and
he judged Israel, and went out to war, and prevailed, and the
land had rest for forty years," until Othniel died. Thus
it continued through the period of the Judges until Samuel, who
"judged Israel all the days of his life." When Samuel
had grown old, the Elders of Israel asked him for "a King
to judge us like all the nations." 1 Sam. 8:5,20.
judge, then, in those days, was a person eagerly sought after;
a ruler to be desired; who would deliver his people from oppression,
administer justice to the wronged, and bring peace and joy to
those over whom he exercised authority.
world, and even the church, at the present time, led astray by
an unscriptural theology, puts far away the idea of Christ's presence
to judge [rule] the world, as something to be dreaded by all.
Not so the Heaven inspired prophets of old. To them it was the
one grand and glorious epoch for which, as Paul said, "creation
groaneth." Listen to David and the sweet singers of Israel,
in the first psalm sung, by the first divinely appointed choir,
at the home-bringing of the ark.
the heavens be glad,
And let the earth rejoice:
And let men say among the nations,
the sea roar, and the fulness thereof:
Let the fields rejoice, and all that are therein.
Then shall the trees of the wood sing aloud
At the PRESENCE of JEHOVAH,
BECAUSE HE COMETH
TO JUDGE THE EARTH.
give thanks unto Jehovah,
For he is good,
FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOREVER.
might multiply quotations like the above, but they ought to be
familiar to the faithful student of the Word.
did "all the holy prophets since the world began" long
for "that day" when the anointed should be present to
rule, to reign, to judge?
does all Christendom of this age shrink at the bare mention of
"THE DAY OF THE LORD,"
"the day of the Lord" as in the days of creation, there
is an evening and a morning. So the Jews kept their time: beginning
their day with evening. It is God's order. First the cross, then
the crown. The night was forty years long to the children of Israel.
To the Gospel church it has been many centuries. So the nations
in the coming age must first run the race before they receive
the prize. They have not been on the race course-- the narrow
way--yet. And during their trial, as in ours, there must be "weeping
for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."
who have failed to "search the scriptures" as commanded,
have seen only this night of darkness; and it has hung before
them like a funeral pall, cutting off the light of the glory beyond.
dark night is indeed closing over a sleeping church, and a blind
world; during which many woes will be poured out upon them. But
when they have well learned the lesson of obedience through suffering,
as all past overcomers have, they will reap the blessed reward.
day of Judgment, then, divides itself into two parts. First, a
"time of trouble" during which the nations will be subdued,
and humbled, and taught the lesson of Nebuchadnezzar their type,
"that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth
it to whomsoever he will." Secondly, a morning, in which
the Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his wings;
driving away the mists of ignorance and superstition; destroying
the miasma of sin; and bringing light, and life, and love, to
the downtrodden sons of men. During the first named period, such
scriptures as the following have a fulfillment:
the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger,
to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof
out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof
shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going
forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. [Symbolical
of a spiritual night.] And I will punish the world for their evil,
and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy
of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the
terrible." Isa. 13:9,11. "Ask of me, and I shall give
thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts
of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a
rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potters vessel."
heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice,
the earth melted...come, behold the works of Jehovah, what desolations
he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the ends
of the earth; he breaketh the bow and cutteth the spear in sunder;
he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I
am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted
in the earth." Psa. 46:6,10. How does he make wars to cease?
Evidently by the "desolations" above mentioned. The
nations will be so satiated with bloodshed; and by bitter experience
will so realize the misery of injustice, and oppression, and sin,
that they will loathe themselves and their ways, and will willingly
turn and seek for purity and peace. But to produce this effect
the command will first go forth: "Proclaim ye this among
the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the
men of war draw near; let them come forth:
YOUR PLOWSHARES INTO SWORDS
your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears:
let the weak say, I am strong." Joel 3:9,10. The dreadful
lesson of the exceeding sinfulness of sin will be learned in time,
and well learned, for, "thy people shall be willing in the
day of thy power." Psa. 110:3. Then, after they have been
brought to a condition of willingness to let "this man reign
over" them, we find as a result of his judgeship, they shall
THEIR SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES, and their spears into pruning hooks:
nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they
learn war any more." Isa. 2:4.
preceding verse tells us when this blessed time will come, and
also other events in this glorious day of Christ's presence, as
Judge over all the earth. "It shall come to pass in the last
days, that the mountain [government or kingdom] of the LORD'S
house [Temple: which Temple ye are. 1 Cor. 3:17.] shall be in
the top of the mountains [great kingdoms of earth], and shall
be exalted above the hills [lessor kingdoms]; and all nations
shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, come ye,
and let us go up to the MOUNTAIN of Jehovah, to the HOUSE of the
God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk
in his paths: for out of Zion [the glorified Temple] shall go
forth the law, and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem [restored
earthly Jerusalem and her priesthood. 33:20,21]. We are now prepared
to read the 97th Psalm, which we will quote.
the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him:
Righteousness and judgment [justice]
the establishment of his throne.
A fire goeth before him,
And burneth up his enemies round about,
His lightnings [truth] enlighteneth the world:
The earth [nations] saw and trembled.
The hills [earthly governments] melted
like wax at the presence of Jehovah.
At the presence of the LORD of the whole earth.
The Heavens [immortalized saints in
heavenly places] declare his righteousness,
and all the people see his glory.
Zion heard and was glad:
And the daughters of Judah rejoiced,
Because of thy JUDGMENTS, O
view of the glorious prospect before the church and the world,
can we not join the prophet in the closing words of this psalm.
is sown for the righteous,
And gladness for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in Jehovah, ye righteous; and
give thanks at the remembrance
of his holiness.