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Judgment Scene

Scripture: Revelation 14:6-7, 2 Corinthians 5:10, Acts 17:31
One of the most solemn scenes spoken of in all the Bible is the final judgment. Everyone in every land in all time must face God's judgment. This message will be proclaimed to all nations, kindreds, tongues and all people. The Bible teaches that judgment begins before Christ's return. When is this time? Can we be ready? Will someone be able to represent us?
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One of the most solemn texts in all of the Bible is found in Revelation 14:6, 7, and it has to do with one of the most inevitable events in all human history, the judgment. Listen to these words, friends: "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: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." There comes a time in the history of this world when a message announcing the arrival of God's judgment is proclaimed. Everyone in every land must hear it. It won't be hedged up by political or racial boundaries; neither will it be stopped by denominational barriers. According to this prophecy of Revelation, this great word about God's judgment beginning will go to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people.

Why must it go everywhere? Because everyone is involved in it. There's not a man on this earth that it doesn't affect. In 2 Corinthians 5:10 we read: "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." The Lord doesn't say, "I hope you'll be there," or "I think it might be a good idea if you're there." No. He says you don't have any choice; you must be there. You and every relative and every friend you've ever had will be in that place. Men ought to be very, very much concerned about it. The prophecy states that the time will come when men will proclaim all over the world the fact that God's judgment has started.

How do they know it has started? Is there anything in the Word of God that gives man a date or time for the judgment? Paul says God has the day in mind. He has appointed one, in fact. Acts 17:31: "Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained." God knows the time. Will He reveal that time to His prophets?, this is the question. In Amos 3:7 God says He will. "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." He told His prophets the time when the Messiah was to appear. He gave the length of His ministry and the time of His death. He predicted the rise of the great authority, the Antichrist, and the very year when its power would temporarily come to an end. He predicted all those things in the book of Daniel and accurately pinpointed the dates. Would He fail to reveal so important a thing as the date of the judgment when He said through one of His prophets that the day had been appointed and also that He would do nothing without revealing His secrets unto His servants, the prophets?

Listen! The time of the judgment is not the time for the second coming of Christ. That's a date that Jesus says no man can know. The judgment is something that occurs before Christ comes. Maybe you hadn't thought of this before, but in Revelation 22:12 we read: "Behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." Notice, His reward is with Him when He returns. When He comes He'll have everything ready to distribute to the wicked and to the righteous. It's during the time that these rewards are being decided that the message is to go all over the world, "Fear God and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come."

Do you know that we've been living in the time of that judgment hour message for more than 120 years? Do you know that when the judgment is over, the decree goes forth from heaven: "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And behold I come quickly." Revelation 22:11, 12. When that decree goes forth at the conclusion of the judgment, prior to the coming of Jesus, there's not a soul upon the earth who'll be able to change his status.

His case is settled; and as that decree finds him, so he will stand forever. I wish somehow it were possible for me to portray this awful fact before men so they would see it as it really is. Here we are, sitting on the verge of eternity, and the judgment even now in progress and we slumber on, thinking some way, somehow, things are bound to turn out all right and that there's no cause for worry. There's plenty of cause for concern, friends. If Felix trembled over this thing 1900 years ago when he heard about the judgment, I think it's time we begin to do a little trembling over the prospects before us today. The Bible gives us a picture of that great judgment scene. We read it in Daniel 7:9, 10: "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, 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." Here God gives a picture of the setting of the judgment. Let's notice the various points concerning that judgment. Who is this Ancient of days, for example? Describing the nature of the everlasting God, the author of Psalm 90:2, says, "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." So, there it is, God the Father presides in this great assembly. He is the Ancient of days.

Who is the advocate, or lawyer, in this court case? Here's what God says in I John 2:1: "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not, And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Yes, it's Jesus who intercedes in our behalf. As it says in Hebrews 7:25: "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." You can't find an advocate that's more able or better prepared to take your case. He knows your life from first to last. He knows you so well that He's numbered the very hairs of your head. He knows every tear that you shed, as David points out in Psalm 56:8: "Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?" Christ has given His life for you and for me and now He lives again as our representative, our lawyer, our advocate.

Who are the accused in this judgment scene? As we've already read in 2 Corinthians 5:10, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. You'll notice that the special message of Revelation 14 which is to prepare men and women for the judgment says that it will be preached everywhere to every nation, kindred, tongue and people: "The hour of his judgment is come." This is especially interesting when we notice that all will appear before the judgment bar. The standard by which "all" will be measured in the judgment is given right here in Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14. It reads: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." According to these words, there is no one who can escape the judgment. With elastic step, the young people are striding toward the judgment. With feeble tread, the aged are staggering to the judgment. With mechanized precision a sin-maddened world is driving unto the judgment. In fact, at this very moment, we're all judgment bound.

Who are the witnesses in this great court trial above? It's very important that we should know who they are. Will they be honest and true in their testimony? It's upon their testimony that our cases will be decided either for life or for death. Who are they? Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:10: "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven." So the angels, then, will be the witnesses in the judgment. It was an angel who protected Daniel in the lions' den. It was an angel who opened the prison doors for Peter. They're always about us, helping and delivering.

Somebody is going to say, "What about these ‘books' you've been talking about? You say the angels write it all down in heaven and they keep an accurate account in the books of heaven. What are those books like?" Notice God's Word, in Daniel 7:10: "The judgment was set, and the books were opened." I notice from a study of the Bible that there are several different books that will be used in the judgment. I don't know what kind of books they are, please don't misunderstand me. We have microfilm processes today that can store up hundreds of pages in a square inch of space, but God has His way of doing it ,and you can be sure this is an accurate account. The first is a book of life, we're told. We read about it in Revelation 20:12 where it says: "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; 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."

Everybody who has accepted Christ will have his name put down in this book of life, and only those whose names are recorded in this book will be permitted to enter the city. The Bible says, "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." Revelation 21:27. Then there's the book of remembrance spoken of in Malachi 3:16: "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name." Then there's also the book that contains the record of evil deeds, because the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 12:14: "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." And then Matthew 12:36, 37 says: "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."

In order to be sure that our name is recorded in the book of life, we must know heaven's standard of judgment. That's referred to here in Ecclesiastes 12:13: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Again, in James 2:12, we read: "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." And to make sure of what that law really is, we go back to the preceding verses, 10 and 11, which say: "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law." So there it is. The great Ten Commandments of God will be the standard of judgment. Jesus will be our intercessor, our high priest. Friends, how is it with you in relation to Christ? Will He be able to defend you? Are you abiding and living according to that standard today, the great law of God? If not, then you need to understand better what the Bible says about the necessity of it.

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