A SCRIPTURAL STUDY OF THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD
This study of the judgments of God will focus on when God has judged and will judge. Another focus will be on who He will judge. By determining when and who God judges we will see that almost all the passages that most Bible believing Christians believe to be referring to a judgment of the resurrected unbeliever are not about them at all. The paper on this web-site “Will Unbelievers Be Raised For Judgment?” gives the Scriptural reasons for my belief that the unbeliever (with the exception of the unbeliever of the tribulation) will not be raised for judgment.
One point I made in the paper mentioned above is that there are a number of Scriptures that speak of the fact that unbelievers will never rise again. I quote those passages here.
Job 8:12-13, “While still growing and uncut, they (papyrus and reeds of verse 11) wither more quickly than grass. Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless“. This verse and the verses quoted below from Job speak of man in general, and are, of course, true. But Job also wrote that he knew that his Redeemer lives. So when man dies, he is no more, except for those who have a Redeemer, i.e. believers.
Job 14:10-12, “But man dieth and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea and the flood decayeth and drieth up: so man lieth down and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, or be raised out of their sleep.”
Psalm 49:13-15, “This is the fate of those who trust in themselves,….. Like sheep they are destined for the grave, and death will feed on them. The upright will rule over them in the morning; their forms will decay in the grave far from their princely mansions. But God will redeem my soul from the grave; He will surely take me to Himself”. Note the contrast in this verse. The forms will decay, but the writer of the psalm will be redeemed. Without redemption, there is no resurrection.
Proverbs 24:20 tells us the same thing. “for the evil man has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out”.
Ecc. 3:19-20, “Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal.” Solomon is saying the same thing that Job said in the verses quoted above. Man dies and is no more, except for believers who will be redeemed from the grave. It seems rather obvious that if we allow for the resurrection of the unbeliever, we must also allow for the resurrection of animals according to this verse. This is, of course, a ridiculous notion.
Isaiah 26:14, “They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish”. The note on this verse in the Companion Bible suggests that the verse refers to the “lords” of verse 13, and that those lords are not men. The paper on the Rephaim will prove from Scripture that the Rephaim were indeed giants, as were several other tribes, but they were not progeny of fallen angels as Dr. Bullinger suggests.
Jeremiah 51:39, “But while they are aroused, I will set out a feast for them and make them drunk, so that they shout with laughter-then sleep forever and not awake.
Jeremiah 51:57, “………they will sleep forever and not wake”.
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. The word “perish” is often mistakenly taken to mean death. That it is more than that is obvious from two verses in in the New Testament. 1) John 10:10, “The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy“. 2) I Cor. 15:17-18, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished“. The dead in Christ who had fallen asleep are, obviously dead, but not perished, because they will be resurrected. The ones who have perished are those who are not in Christ, i.e. the unbeliever, who will not be resurrected.
As mentioned above, there is one exception to unbelievers not being raised for judgment, and that exception is the unbelievers of the tribulation period, i.e. those who worshipped the beast. The passages that speak of those unbelievers have been addressed in the above mentioned paper and will also be addressed in the main body of this paper. Most of the passages that deal with God’s judgments are assumed, by many to include the resurrection of those to be judged. As we shall see as we continue, that is an assumption that is not warranted by the context. That is to say, because there is an assumption that all unbelievers will be raised for judgment, there is an assumption that all the passages that speak of judgment imply a resurrection. As faithful students of God’s perfect Word, we may not assume things that are never stated or even hinted at. With that in mind let us turn to the Old Testament judgments of God.
JUDGMENTS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
The reader should understand that my intention is to quote in this paper each and every occurrence of the Hebrew and Greek words translated “judge”, “judged”, “judgeth”, “judgest”, “condemn”, “condemnest”, “condemned”, “contempt”, ” judgment” and “judgment seat” that has to do with God’s judgment of man. In this way, the reader will have at his fingertips every occurrence of passages that speak of God’s judgment and will be assured for himself/herself that with the exception noted above, there are no verses in God’s Word that say that unbelievers will be raised for judgment. If I have missed some verses, I apologize and I will certainly include them as I learn of them. (The resurrection of the unbelievers of the tribulation will be dealt with in a separate section at the end of this paper.)
There are several categories of judgments in the Old Testament. The first category we will study is judgments in general. That is to say judgments that are not mentioned in a specific time frame.
PASSAGES THAT SPEAK OF JUDGMENTS IN A GENERAL WAY
The passages quoted in this category are those that speak of judgment or of God as the righteous Judge, but they do not imply a specific time of judgment.
The reader will note that there is no hint of resurrection in any of these verses. I invite the reader to study the context of each verse so that the point will be well learned that none of the following passages imply a resurrection.
Job 36:31, “For by them judgeth He the people; He giveth meat in abundance”.
Ps. 7:11, “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day”.
Ps. 50:4, “He may call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His People”.
Ps. 51:4, “……that thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest”.
Ps. 58:11, “”….Verily He is a God that judgeth in the earth”.
Ps. 94:2, “Lift up Thyself, Thou judge of the earth: Render a reward to the proud”.
“Is. 3:13, “The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people”.
JUDGMENTS DURING ONE’S LIFE TIME
Leviticus 26 describes the rewards for Israel’s obedience to the Law of Moses, and the punishments for disobedience. I will not quote this rather lengthy passage, but it is clear that these rewards and punishments were to be given during the life time of those who obeyed or disobeyed.
JUDGMENTS THAT HAVE ALREADY TAKEN PLACE
In the interest of completeness I will list the passages that have already been fulfilled. Since our Lord Jesus Christ was the first to have been resurrected, obviously Old Testament judgments did not include resurrection.
Gen. 15:14, “And also that nation (Egypt) whom they shall serve, will I judge and afterwards shall they come out with great substance”.
Gen. 30:6, “And Rachel said, ‘God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son…”.
Ex. 6:6, “….I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians ……and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments”.
Ex. 7:4, “But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay My hand upon Egypt and bring forth Mine armies, and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments”.
Ex. 12:12, “…..I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt”.
Numbers 33:4, “….upon their gods (Egyptian gods) also the Lord executed judgment”.
Ex. 12:12, “…..I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt”.
Ps. 9:4, “Thou satest in the throne judging right”.
Ps. 43:1, “Judge me O God and plead my cause against an ungodly nation”.
Ps. 76:8-9, “Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven: the earth feared, and was still, when God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth”.
Ps. 135:14, “For the Lord will judge His people…..”.
Ezek. 36:19, “….according to their ways (Israel’s) I judged them”.
The following judgments were made and carried out during the time of the Babylonian captivity of Israel.
Ezek. 5:10, “….I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds”.
Ezek:3, “Now is the end come upon thee, and I will send Mine anger upon thee and will judge thee….”
Ezek. 5:10, “…and I will execute judgments upon thee and the whole remnant of thee I will scatter to the winds”.
Ezek. 5:15, “…when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes, I the Lord have spoken”.
Ezek. 7:8, “….and I will judge thee according to thy ways.
Ezek. 7:27, “The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the People of the land shall be troubled: I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them…”.
Ezek. 11:9-10, “And I will bring you out of the midst thereof, and deliver you into the hands of strangers, Ye shall fall by the sword; I will judge you in the border of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.”
Ezek. 14:21, “…How much more when I send My four sore judgments, upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast.”
Ezek 16:38, “And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged…….”
Ezek. 16:41, “And they shall burn thy houses with fire and execute judgments upon thee in the sight on many women….”.
Ezek. 18:30, “Therefore, I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God…..”.
Ezek. 21:30, “I will judge you in the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy nativity”.
Ezek. 25:11, “And I will execute judgments upon Moab…..”.
Ezek. 28:22, “….And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her”.
Ezek. 28:26, “…..When I have executed judgments to all those around them….”.
Ezek. 30:14, “And I will make Pathros desolate, and will set fire in Zoan, and will execute judgments in No”.
Ezek. 30:19, “Thus I will execute judgments in Egypt…..”.
Ezek. 33:20, “…O ye house of Israel, I will judge you everyone after his ways”.
JUDGMENTS TO BE EXECUTED IN THE FUTURE
THE DAY OF GOD’S WRATH
The day of wrath is a day of judgment. As the reader will see, the day of wrath will come before the millennium, and it is necessary to bear in mind that there is no resurrection of unbelievers until after the millennial reign.
Ps. 110:5, “the Lord at Thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of His wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, He shall fill the places with the dead bodies. He shall wound the heads over many countries”.
Is. 66:15-16, “For behold, the Lord will come with fire and with His chariots like a whirlwind to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire; for by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead (should be “judged”) with all flesh; and the slain of the Lord shall be many”.
Ezek. 38:22, “And I will plead (should be “judged” as the word is almost always translated) against him (Gog) with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone”.
THE JUDGMENT OF ISRAEL AT HIS COMING
There are several Old Testament prophecies concerning judgments that will be executed at the return of Christ. Again, the reader will note that there is no hint of resurrection in connection with these judgments. The judgments quoted in this section are alluded to many times in the New Testament and are therefore, very important in any study of God’s judgments.
Ps. 1:5, “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous”. The Hebrew word translated “stand” in this verse is ‘koom”. It is used of resurrection in Job 14:12, Ps. 88:10 and others. But it is also used in the sense of to continue, or remain. In Job 15:29 it is translated “continue”. “He (the wicked man-verse 20) shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth”. It is translated “established” in Prov. 15:22, “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: But in the multitude of counselors they are established“. And in Prov. 19:21 it is translated “stand”, “There are many devises in a man’s heart; Nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand“. We must determine the meaning of “koom” from the context. Let us look once again at Ps. 1:5. “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous”. But we know that the “ungodly” will indeed be raised for judgment at the great white throne. Therefore, I believe we must understand “koom” in the sense of remain or continue. That is to say, the ungodly will not measure up to judgment and will therefore, not remain in the “congregation of the righteous”. To what judgment then, does this verse refer?
We read in Ezek. 20:33-38. “As I live, saith the Lord God, ….I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. ….And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; and I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against Me; I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, but they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the Lord”.
We are told very clearly that at the beginning of the millennium Israel will be gathered from among the countries to which they had been scattered. But there will be a judgment which will purge some of Israel and they will not be allowed to enter the Land for the millennial reign. That is a harsh judgment indeed, as it will be only in the land of Israel that millennial blessings will be in effect. Outside the land there will be no millennial blessings. Please see the paper on this web-site The Kingdom Of Heaven for the Scriptural proof of that statement.
Note once again, there is no resurrection implied in this judgment. But one may object that all Israel is resurrected before the millennial reign and therefore a resurrection of unbelievers is implied. As we shall see as we continue, only believers are resurrected at the return of Christ, and the resurrected will not be judged. Let us examine that thought.
We read of the resurrection of Israel in Ezek. 37:12-13, “Therefore, prophesy and say unto them thus saith the Lord God; ‘Behold all my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened up your graves, O My People: and brought you up out of your graves. And shall put My spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land….”.
This passage tells us that those whose graves are opened; i.e. who are resurrected, will be settled in the land of Israel. But some of Israel will not be allowed entrance into the Land. Therefore, we must conclude that those who are resurrected and take their place in the land are those who were believers before they died. That is to say; unbelievers will not be allowed entrance into the land for the millennium. But the ones who are raised from the dead are promised entrance into the land, therefore only believers are raised from the dead. “They are not all Israel that are of Israel” (Romans 9:6).
(It will not be only the scattered of Israel that will be judged as to their worthiness to enter into the millennial reign, those who are alive at the second coming of Christ and are in the landl will also be judged. This will be proved as we consider the judgment of Israel as told in the New Testament.)
Ezek. 34:20-23, “Therefore, thus saith the Lord God unto them; Behold I even I will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horn, till ye have scattered them abroad; Therefore will I save My flock, and they shall no more be a prey; …..And I will set up one shepherd over them and he shall feed them even My servant David; he will feed them and he shall be their shepherd”. This is obviously a millennial prophecy and refers therefore to the judgment of Israel for entrance into the land.
JUDGMENT OF THE NATIONS WHEN CHRIST RETURNS
Joel 3:1-2, “For behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will plead (in almost every occurrence this Hebrew word is translated “judge” and should be so translated here) with them there for My people and for My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted My land”. The phrase “shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem” tells us that “in those days” refers to the time of the second coming of Christ. In Matthew 25:31-32 we read again of this prophecy of judging the nations. “When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. We read in verse 46 of this chapter “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal”. Many assume a resurrection in this passage, but it is not implied in either Matthew 25 or in Joel 3. Again, where there is no resurrection implied in the context we may not assume a resurrection.
Joel 3:12 also refers to this same judgment of the nations at His coming. “Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about“. Let us consider the word “wakened” in the phrase “Let the heathen be wakened”. Does this verse mean that heathen are raised for judgment? The word translated “wakened” is used of being wakened from sleep as in Judges 5:12, “Awake, awake, Deborah; Awake, awake, utter a song….”. Also Cant. 5:2 “I sleep, but my heart awaketh, it is the voice of my beloved….” It is used of God as in Ps. 7:6, “Arise O Lord, in thine anger, Lift up Thyself…..And awake for me to the judgment that Thou hast commanded”. And Ps. 44:23, “Awake, why sleepest Thou O Lord?…..”.
It is used in another sense in Jer. 6:22 where it is translated “raised”. “Thus saith the Lord, Behold, a people cometh from the north country and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth”. Consider also, Dan. 11:2 where it is translated “stir up”., “…..and by his strength (the fourth king of Daniel’s vision) through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia”. And in Zech. 9:17 where it is translated “raised up”. “When I have bent Judah for Me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against they sons, O Greece…”. It is also used in Joel 3:9 where it is translated “wake up”, Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men let all the men of war draw near …”.
And it is used once of resurrection. That reference is found in Job 14:12, “So man lieth down, and raiseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, not be raised out of their sleep”.
Coming back then to Joel 3:12, In light of the fact that Job, through the Holy Spirit tells us that man is not awakened (except of course for those who are redeemed) , that Joel 3 refers to nations being raised as in Jer. 6:22, Dan. 11:2, Zech. 9:17 and Joel 3:9. This view is consistent with the context, with the usage of the word in the passages quoted above and with the teaching of Scriptures. Therefore, we may conclude that there is no resurrection in Joel three.
JUDGMENTS DURING THE MILLENNIUM
There are several passages that speak of God judging during His millennial reign. Once again, the reader will note that there is no resurrection implied in any of the passages quoted below.
I Sam. 2:10, “…..the lord shall judge the ends of the earth; And He shall give strength unto His king, and exalt the horn of His Anointed”.
I Chron. 16:33, “Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord, because He cometh to judge the earth”.
Ps. 72:2-4, “He shall judge Thy People with righteousness, and Thy poor with judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people. And the little hills righteousness. He shall judge the poor of the people, He shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor”.
Ps. 9:7-8, ” ….He hath prepared His throne for judgment. He shall judge the world in righteousness”.
In Psalms 10:16 we read, “The Lord is King forever and ever”. This tells us that we are reading of the millennium. In verse 18 we read of judgments during the millennium, “”to judge the fatherless and the oppressed….”.
Ps. 82:8, “Arise, O God, judge the earth: for Thou shalt inherit all nations”.
Ps. 96:10-13, “Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth; the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved; 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…before the Lord” For He cometh to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with His truth”.
Ps. 98:8-9, “Let the floods clap their hands” Let the hills be joyful together, before the Lord; For He cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall He judge the world and the people with equity”.
Is. 11:1-4, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots; and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord: and shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears. But with righteousness shall He judge the poor and reprove with equity the meek of the earth; and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked”. The last phrase of this millennial passage is noteworthy as it confirms my belief that millennial blessings, which include resurrection life, will not exist outside the Land of Israel.
Is. 42:1-3, “Behold My Servant, whom I uphold: Mine elect in Whom My soul delighteth; I have put My spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.” One could make the case that this prophecy was fulfilled during Christ’s earthly ministry. However, Christ did not “bring forth judgment to the Gentiles” when He was on earth, and therefore, I believe this to be a millennial prophecy.
Is. 51:4-5, “hearken unto Me, My People and give ear unto Me, O My nation: for a law shall proceed from Me, and I will make My judgment to rest for a light of the people. My righteousness is near’ My salvation is gone forth and Mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon Me, and on Mine arm shall they trust”.
POST MILLENNIAL JUDGMENT
Jer. 25:31-33, “A voice shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with (almost always translated “judge” and should be here also) all flesh…… Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried…“. Note these dead will not be buried, whereas the dead of Ezek 39:9 and12, which is pre-millennial will be buried. My reasons for believing that Ezek. 39 is pre-millennial comes as we compare Ezek. 39:17-20 with Rev. 19:17-18. We read for example in verse Ezek. 39:18, “You (all the birds and wild animals of verse 17) will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth as if they were rams….”. See also verse 20, “At my table you will eat your fill of horses and riders, mighty men and soldiers of every kind….“. Compare this with Rev. 19:17-18 where we read of a similar “feast”. “Come gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave….”. Another reason for believing that Ezek. 39 is pre-millennial is found in verse 22 where we read, “From that day forward the house if Israel will know that I am their God….”.
JUDGMENTS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
We are now ready to continue our study of the judgments of God in the New Testament. As we do so, it is imperative, if we are to understand the New Testament correctly, that we understand that the New Testament did not come out of a vacuum. That is to say, New Testament writers wrote, (with the exception of Paul’s letter to the church of the dispensation of the mystery) of truths that, for the most part, were truths written of in the Old Testament. Therefore, when we read verses that speak of judgment, we must understand them in the same way as the readers of the times in which they were written would have understood them. As we have learned in the study of Old Testament judgments, those to whom the New Testament writers were speaking would not assume a resurrection, and neither must we unless the context allows.
PASSAGES THAT SPEAK OF JUDGMENTS IN A GENERAL WAY
The passages quoted in this category are those that speak of judgment or of God as the righteous Judge, but they do not imply a specific time of judgment.
The reader will note that there is no hint of resurrection in any of these verses. I invite the reader to study the context of each verse so that the point will be well learned that none of the following passages imply a resurrection.
John 5:22, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son”.
Romans 2:2, “but we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things”.
Rom. 3:6, “…. for how shall God then judge the world?”
Rom. 3:8, “And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say) ‘Let us do evil, that good may come’? whose damnation is just”.
Rom. 11:33, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God; how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!”
Heb. 6:1-2, “therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works….of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment”.
Heb. 12:22-23, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all….”.
I Peter 2:23, “Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him That judgeth righteously”.
Rev. 16:7, “….even so Lord God almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments”.
Rev. 19:2, “For true and righteous are His judgments….”.
JUDGMENTS EXECUTED DURING ONE’S NATURAL LIFE
Many of the passages listed in this category have been misunderstood to refer to a judgment of the resurrected. As the reader will see, there is no mention of resurrection in any of these passages or in their contexts. Therefore, a resurrection is only assumed. But because the Old Testament Scriptures do not teach a resurrection of unbelievers that assumption has absolutely no basis.
John 3:16-18, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but has eternal life. For God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God”. The word translated “condemn” and “condemned” in verse 17 is from the root “krino”. The Companion Bible has the following definition of this word, “to judge, used of a legal or other decision; generally translated “judge”, sometimes “determine”, “conclude” etc”.
Please note the contrast between those who believe and those who do not believe. The former will have eternal life, and the latter will perish. The word “perish” is often mistakenly taken to mean death. That it is more than that is obvious from two verses in the New Testament. 1) John 10:10, “The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy“. 2) I Cor. 15:17-18, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished“. The dead in Christ who had fallen asleep are, obviously dead, but not perished, because they will be resurrected. The ones who have perished are those who are not in Christ, i.e. the unbeliever, who will not be resurrected.
John 3:16-18 is arguably the clearest statement in the Bible that explains the fate of the unbeliever in terms of being resurrected unto judgment. Note the contrast in verse 16 between life and perishing. Note especially that we are told in the clearest terms possible that the unbeliever is judged already. Because he is judged already, there is no need to resurrect him to judge him again.
John 16:8, “And when He (the Holy Spirit) is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”. I believe that this verse tells us that when the Holy Spirit comes He will convict the living person of what sin is, of what righteousness is, and what judgment is. The only judgment mentioned in this context is in verse 11. “…of judgment because the prince of this world is judged”. (The prince of this world is, of course, Satan.) The note in the Companion Bible on the word “is” reads, “has been judged”. So the Holy Spirit will convict the world of the fact that Satan has been judged.
Romans 5:16 is a verse that mentions a judgment that has already been executed. “….for the judgment was by one, to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. The context points to the judgment of Adam after he was tempted and is applicable to all “in Adam”.
I Cor. 11:29-32, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you and many sleep. 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”. The Greek word translated “damnation’ in verse29 is “krima”. The same word is used in John 9:39 where it is translated “judgment”, “For judgment I have come into this world so that the blind will see…”. Obviously, “condemnation” is not an appropriate translation. Consider also Rev. 20:24, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them (the overcomers of the tribulation) and judgment was given unto them….”. Obviously, “condemnation” is not an appropriate translation in this verse either. In point of fact the word “judgment” is the best translation of the Greek “krima” in every occurrence as it is appropriate in each occurrence. That the judgment of those who eat or drink unworthily of the Lord’s supper is during one’s natural life is clear from the fact that the consequences, as given in verse 30, are consequences suffered in the natural life. “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep”.
The same topic is continued in verse 34 of I Cor. 11, “And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation (should be “judgment”)…..”. Because this judgment is of those that eat and drink unworthily, the judgment is the same as verse 30, that he will become weak and/or sickly, it is clear that this judgment will be executed in one’s natural life.
Gal. 5:10, “……..for he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.” Paul is speaking here of those who have tried to convince the Galatian believers that they need to be circumcised. There is no reference to a judgment of the resurrected. We must therefore, not assume a resurrection.
JUDGMENTS TO BE EXECUTED IN THE FUTURE
THE DAY OF WRATH
Some of the verses which concern the day of wrath speak of the judgment of cities. There is no mention of resurrection in the day of wrath and, in my opinion, a resurrection should not be assumed. In point of fact, as the reader will see, the day of wrath is the day of the Lord, which is before the millennium, and there is no resurrection of any unbeliever until after the millennium.
Romans 2:5, “but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God”. When is the day of wrath and who will be judged in that day?
The question of when the day of wrath will occur is answered as we compare Revelation 6 with Zeph. 1. Rev. 6:12-17, “And I beheld when He had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a might wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men…..hid themselves in the dens and in rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him That sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
Zeph. 1:4-18, “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness. A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the nigh towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy: for He shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land”.
We learn by comparing these passages that the day of God’s wrath is the day of the Lord. That day is not to be confused with the tribulation as Matthew 24:29 makes it quite clear that the cosmic signs of the day of the Lord are after the tribulation. That verse reads, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not five her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken”.
Now that we have discovered when the day of wrath is, our next question is; who will be judged in the day of His wrath. As mentioned above, the day of His wrath is the day of the Lord. By studying the references to the day of the Lord the reader will see that there is no hint of a judgment of the resurrected.
In the New Testament the phrase, “the day of the Lord” is found three times, I Thess. 5:2, II Thess. 2:2, II Peter 3:10. I Thess. 5:2 reads, “You know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night”. II Thess. 2:2 reads, “not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophesy or letter supposed to have come from us saying that the day of the Lord has already come”. II Peter 3:10 reads, the day of the Lord will come like a thief….” There is no hint of a resurrection in any of these passages.
The phrase “the day of the Lord” occurs 15 times in the Old Testament. The fifteen passages in which the Hebrew reads, “yom Jehovah”, i.e. the day of the Lord, and the four New Testament passages which speak of the day of the Lord. There are four passages in which the Old Testament Hebrew has “l” as a prefix which, according to the Companion Bible, means “for” or “to” Jehovah. Those four passages are: Is. 2:12, Ezek. 30:3, Zech. 14:1 and 17. Again, the reader will discover, by studying the contexts of each of these verses that there is no hint of resurrection.
So, the day of His wrath is “immediately after” the tribulation and it is a judgment of those unbelievers that are alive at the time. Again, there is no resurrection of unbelievers until after the millennium. We will continue our study of the judgments of God by looking at all the verses that speak of judgment on the day of His wrath.
Matthew 10:15, “Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city“. There are three judgments that are to be executed after the Lord spoke these words. They are the day of wrath, the judging of Israel at His return, and the great white throne judgment. This verse obviously does not refer to the judging of Israel and the fact that it will be a city that is judged points to the day of wrath, rather than the great white throne judgment.
Matthew 11:22, “But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you”. Please see the note above on Matthew 10:15. See also Matthew 11:24, Mark 6:11and Luke 10:14, which speak of the same judgment of cities.
John 12:31, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out”. The Greek word translated “world” in this verse is “kosmos”.
Acts 17:30-31, “And the times of this ignorance (of worshiping idols) God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world……”. Note the phrase “but now’. That tells us that things are going to change. Where God had winked at their idol worship, He is going to change that to judgment. At the time of the events of Acts 17 Israel was still expecting the end times to begin, so the “appointed day” in which God will judge the world is the day of His wrath which follows the tribulation. But the day of wrath will be meted out against those who are already alive, not the resurrected. Again, there is no resurrection of unbelievers until after the millennium. i.e. at the great white throne judgment.
Acts 24:25, “And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled…..”. Felix was not a Jew and would therefore, not have been subject to the judgment of Israel. Therefore, I believe that the judgment at which he trembled was the judgment of the day of God’s wrath.
Romans 2:3, “And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?” This verse comes in the same context as 2:5 which is quoted below and refers specifically to the day of wrath, “the righteous judgment of God”.
Romans 2:5, “but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God”.
Heb. 10:27, “But a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries”. I believe that it is the day of wrath which will “devour the adversaries”.
II Peter 2:3, “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumberth not”. The word translated “damnation” is translated “destruction” in verse one. The only judgment of destruction that does not involve resurrection, (there is no hint of resurrection in this passage) is the judgment on the day of His wrath.
II Peter 2:9, “the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished”. The Companion Bible note on the word “temptations” is, “= temptation” (singular). In my opinion, the temptation from which the godly are delivered is the great tribulation and the ungodly are reserved unto the day of His wrath. That statement can not be proven from this context, but it is consistent with the teachings concerning both the tribulation and the day of wrath.
Jude 4, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation….”. Please see the comment on Jude 14-15 quoted below.
Jude 14-15, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these saying, ‘Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which the ungodly have committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him”. We read in Zechariah 14:1-5 when the Lord will come with “ten thousand of His saints”. “Behold the day of the Lord cometh….”. And in verse 5 we read, “… .and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee“. According to the note in the Companion Bible, some codices read “all the saints with Him“, rather than “all the saints with thee“. In either case it is clear that it is Christ with whom all the “saints” will come, as shown by Jude 15. The day of the Lord, as has been shown above, is the day of His wrath.
Rev. 6:10, “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘ How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” Rev. 19:2 has the answer to that question. “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 servant at her hand.” The great whore spoken of in this verse is Mystery Babylon. That city is destroyed “in one hour” in the day of wrath. (See Rev. 18:10,17 and 19.)
Rev. 14:7, “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”. The “hour of His judgment” is the “hour” in which, among other things, Babylon is destroyed (see note above on Rev. 6:10). Babylon will be destroyed in the day of His wrath, therefore, I believe this verse refers to the day of His wrath.
Rev. 16:5, “And I heard the angel of the waters say, ‘Thou art righteous, O Lord, Which art, and wast, and shalt be, because Thou hast judged thus”. Chapter 16 is the record of the vials that will be poured out upon the earth in the day of God’s wrath. Verse1, “and I heard a great voice out of the Temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth”. In verse 2 we learn that those who suffer the consequences of these seven vials are those that “had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image”. It would take us too far from our topic to present the Scriptural evidence here that the rapture will take place after the tribulation and at the beginning of the day of His wrath. Please see the paper on this web-site The Rapture Occurs At The End Of The Tribulation for that evidence. But the rapture will save the believer from God’s wrath and so only the unbelievers who are alive (again, there is no resurrection of unbelievers until after the millennium) will suffer from His wrath.
Rev. 17:1, “and there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither, I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters”. (Babylon). (Please see the note above on Revelation 6:10.)
Rev. 18:8, “Therefore shall her (the city of Babylon) plagues come in one day, death and mourning and famine” and she shall be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God Who judgeth her”. (Please see the note above on Revelation 6:10.)
Rev. 18:10, “……Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come”.
Rev. 18:20, “Rejoice over her (Babylon) thou heaven, and the holy apostles and prophets: for God hath avenged you on her”.
Rev. 19:11, “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”. Verse 15 makes it clear that this scene is part of the day of wrath. “And out of His 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 winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God“.
THE JUDGMENT OF ISRAEL AT HIS COMING
In the section above on Old Testament judgments, a judgment of Israel at the time of the second coming of Christ was discussed. The reader may recall that as we learned in Ezekiel 20, as well as other passages, when the Lord returns He will gather all of Israel out of the countries to which they had been scattered, but unbelievers will not be allowed entrance into the Land for millennial blessings. We also learned that this judgment is only for those who will be alive at Christ’s coming, there is no resurrection of unbelievers for this judgment.
It should not be at all surprising that the New Testament writers also allude to this judgment. Again, as the context will show, there is no resurrection implied in the context of these passages.
Matthew 12:36-37, “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”. The judgments that were yet to be executed were the day of wrath, the judgment of Israel, and the judgment at the great white throne. In my opinion, the day of the judgment of Israel is the one most likely in the mind of our Lord when He spoke these word for several reasons. 1) God’s wrath will be poured out to all who are not raptured, i.e. there is no consideration of idle words spoken. 2) The great white throne judgment is, in my opinion, will be a judgment of those who worshiped the beast, again (please see the section on the great white throne judgment below), “idle words” are not the primary concern at the great white throne.
Matt. 12:41-42, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it…….the queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it……”. These verses obviously refer to the same judgment so we will consider them together.
The first thing we must do is try to understand what judgment is referred to in these verses. There are three judgments that are to be executed after the Lord spoke these words. They are the day of wrath, the judging of Israel at His return, and the great white throne judgment. Because our Lord spoke of the men of Nineveh and the queen of the south rising (“shall rise in judgment” and “shall rise up in the judgment”) we must put this judgment at the time of Christ’s return. That is to say, we know that believers will be resurrected at the return of Christ, therefore the rising up of the men of Nineveh and the queen of the south must refer to the day of resurrection, i.e. the day the Lord returns.
Let us consider at this time the parallel passage in Luke that refers to the queen of the south and the men of Nineveh.
Luke 11:31-32, “The queen of the south shall rise up in judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them; for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here”.
This passage contrasts “the men of this generation” who are said to be “evil” in verse 29, with the queen of the south who heard the wisdom of Solomon, and the men of Nineveh who repented after hearing Jonas’ message for them. On first reading (together with the note in the Companion Bible) one assumes that this passage is speaking of the judgment of the resurrected. But I believe that that thought needs to be examined more carefully.
The Greek word translated “with” in the phrase “rise up in judgment with the men of this generation” is “meta”, which the Companion Bible defines as “in company with, amidst”. That means that as the Queen of the south and the men of Nineveh are raised, so too (meta) will the evil men of that generation being addressed in the Gospels. But evil men will not be raised until the great white throne judgment which is, of course, after the millennium, i.e. 1,000 years after the resurrection of the queen of the south and the men of Nineveh.
Let us also consider Jn. 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him That sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation (should be “judgment”)….” If the queen of the south and the men of Nineveh are believers, and there is no reason to think that they are not, especially since they will be put into contrast to the “evil” “men of this generation”, they should not be judged ( “rise up in judgment with“ ) at the great white throne which is a judgment, not of rewards, but of everlasting life.
Having given several reasons that we must, in my opinion, look more carefully at what it means for the queen of the south etc. to “rise”, let us consider the Greek word translated “rise” in Luke 11:31. That Greek word is “egiro”. It is used many times of resurrection, but it is also used of just arising, as in the first occurrence where we read in Matt. 2:13, “arise and take the young child…”. And it is the same Greek word used in the phrase, “nations shall rise against nations” as in Luke 21:10.
What is the point of this passage? It is that the queen of the south and the men of Nineveh will show by example the “men of this generation” their wickedness. I am suggesting that in this passage “rise” does not refer to resurrection as it contradicts other passages in the Bible. I am suggesting therefore, that “egiro” refers to a standing or rising as an example. And that this judgment is not at the great white throne, but the judgment at the second coming of Christ. Let me offer for the sake of clarity an amplified translation of Luke 11:31. “The queen of the south shall stand as an example in the judgment of this evil generation and condemn them……”. This is more in keeping with the point of this passage and does not contradict other passages. This view is substantiated by the fact that the verse in question reads, “shall rise up in judgment”.
But how are we to understand the phrase that says that the men of Nineveh will rise “in company with” (Gr. “meta”)? I believe it means that both the evil men of that generation and the men of Nineveh will rise in the sense of being judged together by comparison, not in the sense of resurrection.
John 12:47-48, “And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejoiceth not in Me, and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth him: the words that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” A comparison of John 11:24 will show that “the last day” in these passages refer to His coming, i.e. when He shall judge Israel.
Matthew 23:11-13 is a record of Christ preaching about the kingdom of Heaven. “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in”. And in verse 14 our Lord pronounces this judgment. “Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayer; therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation” (should be judgment). I believe that the judgment referred to in verse 14 is the judgment of Israel at His coming because the context concerns the kingdom of Heaven which will be established at His coming. But again, there is no resurrection even hinted at in this passage. we must bear in mind that the message in the Gospel period was “the kingdom of God is at hand”. That is to say, it was expected in the life time of those who lived in the first century.
John 12:48, “…. the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day”. The term “last day” is never used in Scripture to refer to the end of the millennium, which is the time of the great white throne judgment. Therefore, I believe that this verse refers to the judgment of Israel at His coming.
Romans 2:12 and16, “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel”. There is nothing in the context to point to when this judgment shall take place, but neither is there any hint of resurrection in this passage. Perhaps the phrase “shall judge the secrets of men” as compared to the phrase in I Cor. 4:5, “the hidden things” will help answer our question. As the note below on I Cor. 4:5 will show, I believe that because Paul wrote of the Lord’s coming, that that verse refers to the judgment of Israel at Christ’s coming. Because that judgment will reveal “the hidden things” and is the judgment of Israel, so too in my opinion, is the judgment of “the secrets of men” the judgment of Israel.
Romans 14:10, “But why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ“. I believe the key to understanding to which judgment Paul is referring in this verse is the fact that he included himself in this judgment, i.e. “For we shall all stand…..”. Because Paul was a believer he will be raised at the second coming of Christ and will not die and obviously will not be raised after the millennium..
I Cor. 4:5, “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”. The fact that Paul refers to the Lord’s coming rules out the great white throne judgment, as that judgment will be executed after the millennium. The hidden things will not be considered in the day of wrath. Therefore, I believe that this is the judgment of Israel at Christ’s coming.
II Cor. 5:10, “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”. Please see the note on Romans 14:10.
II Thess. 1:5, “Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer”.
Heb. 9:27-28, “Even as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many: and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin, unto salvation”. On the surface this verse does indeed seem to suggest that there will be a judgment after death. But if we look only at the surface there are several difficulties with this verse. First of all, as Paul makes very clear in I Cor. 15:51-53, “we shall not all sleep“, i.e. not all will die. Secondly, as we have already seen, throughout this study, with the exception of the unbelievers of the tribulation, there are no Scriptures that say that the unbeliever will be raised for judgment. In fact, we are told just the opposite, i.e. “they will not awake, not be raised out of their sleep ” (Job 14:12). How are we to understand this passage in Hebrews 9?
In order to correctly understand this passage we must understand which judgment the writer of Hebrews has in mind in verse 27. A structure of verses 27-28 will give us that judgment.
A. men will die once
B. the judgment
A1 Christ was offered once for sins
B1 the second coming
The structure of this verse suggests that the judgment (B) is at the second coming of Christ (B1). But let us continue.
What does this verse teach? Of great importance is the contrast evident in the word “but”. Men will die, but after this the judgment. The contrasting word “but” tells us that this verse does not speak of death and judgment, it speaks of a contrast between death and judgment. But this verse does not speak of a resurrection unto judgment, so only those who are alive at the coming of Christ will be included in the “all” who will be judged.
Let me put this another way. From the fall of Adam until the coming of Christ men have been appointed unto death. At His coming, Christ does away with the appointment unto death. That is to say, there will be death outside the Land of Israel during the millennium (death is not destroyed until after the millennium) but believers are inside the Land, and they will be clothed with immortality at His coming, so they will obviously not die. Therefore, all men will not be appointed unto death. The judgment of Israel, the reader will recall, is to separate believers from unbelievers. The former to enter the Land, the latter to be excluded. It follows then, that the judgment will mean death to some but not to others.
Therefore, I believe that Heb. 9:27 is teaching the following: Death has been appointed unto all men. But when Christ returns and judges some worthy of avoiding this appointment with death because of their faith, they will enter the Land for millennial blessings and will not die. Let me paraphrase this verse. “Even as it is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgment which will determine that some will never die, i.e. are not appointed to death….”. This is consistent with the teaching Scripture regarding the judgment of the unbeliever (they will not be raised for judgment) and answers the difficulty implied in the fact that not all men are appointed unto death.
Heb. 10:30, “For we know Him that hath said, “Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense, saith the Lord’ And again, ‘The Lord shall judge His people“. I believe that because this is specifically a judgment of God’s people written in an epistle to the Hebrews, this judgment is the judgment of Israel at Christ’s coming.
James 2:12, “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”. James addresses his epistle to “the twelve tribes, which are scattered abroad” (verse 1:1). Again, there are three judgments yet to be fulfilled, 1) the judgment in the day of the Lord, 2) the judgment of Israel at Christ’s coming, and 3) the judgment at the great white throne. The paper on this web-site on who will be raptured will prove from Scripture that only those who live within the boundaries of what was once the Roman Empire will be raptured, for it is only that area that will suffer the wrath of God in the day of the Lord (see for example Is. 66:20). In other words, the “scattered” of Israel will not be in danger of the wrath of God in the day of the Lord. Given the very narrow audience that James addressed, I believe therefore that James refers to the judgment as to who will be allowed entrance into the millennial reign of Christ.
James 2:13, “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” Please see the note above on James 2:12.
James 3:1, “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (judgment). Please see the note above on James 2:12.
James 5:9, ” Grudge not one against another, brethren lest ye be condemned: behold the Judge standeth before the door. Verse 7 tells us the time period that James had in mind. “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord.” (Please see the note on James 2:12.)
I Peter 1:17, “And if ye call upon the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s works, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear”. Peter addressed this epistle to the “scattered elect” (see 1:2). The scattered would have no fear of the wrath of God because they would be outside the area upon which the wrath will be meted out (please see the note on James. 2:12). And the elect will not be judged at the great white throne. Therefore, I believe that this is in reference to the judgment of Israel as to who will be allowed entrance into the Land for the millennium.
I Peter 4:17, “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” (Please see note above on I Peter 1:17.)
I John 4:17, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world”. In verse 1 of this chapter John addressed his readers as “beloved”. I believe this indicates that he wrote to believers. Believers would not face the wrath of God nor would they stand at the great white throne. I believe therefore, that John referred to the judgment of Israel as to who will be allowed entrance into the Land for the millennial reign of Christ.
As we would expect from God’s Word, there is a perfect consistency between the New Testament prophecies quoted above and the Old Testament prophecies about this judgment. Of particular importance to this study is that there is no hint of a resurrection unto this judgment, just as there is no resurrection unto judgment in the Old Testament in regard to this judgment.
JUDGMENTS DURING THE MILLENNIUM
Matthew 12:18-21, ” Behold My Servant, whom I have chosen: My Beloved in Whom My soul is well pleased; I will put My spirit upon Him: He shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive nor cry, neither shall any man hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall send forth judgment unto victory.” This is a quote from Is. 42:1-3. In a sense this prophecy was fulfilled in part when Christ was on earth. Indeed we read in Matt. 12:16, “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah”. However, the portion of the prophecy that speaks of His sending forth judgment unto victory will be fulfilled in His millennial reign.
JUDGMENT OF THOSE OF THE DISPENSATION OF THE MYSTERY
II Tim. 4:1, “I charge thee therefore, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom.” Obviously, this is not the judgment of who will be allowed entrance into the millennial reign of Christ because Israel was set aside at Acts 28 and the land of Israel is not the calling for the believers of the dispensation of the mystery. And it is not the judgment at the great white throne because this judgment will be at Christ’s “appearing” where the great white throne judgment is after the millennium. I do not believe that this is the judgment in the day of the Lord, but let us say for the sake of argument that Paul does refer to the judgment of the day of the Lord. The judgment of the day of the Lord, is a judgment of those who are alive, it is not a judgment of the resurrected unbeliever because, again, unbelievers will not be resurrected until after the millennium. But Paul wrote of the judgment of “the quick (i.e. those who are alive) and the dead”. Therefore, II Tim. 4:1 cannot refer to the judgment in the day of the Lord. To what, then, does this judgment refer?
We know from II Tim. 2:12 that “if we endure, we will also reign with Him”. Note Paul includes himself in the pronoun “we” So that tells us it is a judgment of believers. I believe, therefore, that the judgment of II Tim. 4:1 is a judgment of resurrected believers at His coming in order to determine whether they will “reign with Him”.
II Tim. 4:8, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing”. This judgment is also a judgment unto the reward for faithfulness of reigning with Christ.
THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT
Rev. 20:12-13, “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. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death an yell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works”.
The concept of all unbelievers being raised for judgment comes, primarily, from the false assumption that the great white throne judgment is for every unbeliever who ever lived. At the beginning of our study of the judgments of God I quoted several passages which stated quite clearly that unbelievers will never be raised. And yet, we are told in Rev. 20:4-5 that some will be raised. There are, of course, no contradictions in God’s Word. I trust that the reader who must be interested in truth (I assume that interest because one not interested in truth would not have read such a long paper as this one) will also read the above mentioned paper on the great white throne judgment.
The great white throne judgment is mentioned only once in the Bible; that is in Rev. 20:4-5. For the purposes of this study I will also present the Scriptures in which the great white throne judgment is implied.
Daniel 7:10, “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”. The phrase “and the books were opened” takes us to Rev. 20:11-12, “And I saw a great white throne, and Him That sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away: and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God: and the books were opened: and another book was opened…”.
Daniel 12:1-2 is a passage that speaks of the resurrection and judgment of the unjust. “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people, everyone whose name is written in the book of life, will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust will awake, some to everlasting life and others to shame and everlasting contempt. “
How are we to understand this passage, who does it concern, when will this judgment take place? Some of these questions are answered in the passage itself. Note for example, the phrase “your people” appears twice. That tells us that this passage is about Daniel’s people, Israel. What is the time that is spoken of in this passage? We are told that it is about the time of the greatest distress, i.e. the great tribulation. This makes sense; the tribulation is to be centered on Israel, Daniel’s people, (Rev. 3:10). We read of those whose name is written in the book of life. While it is true that believers of the dispensation of the mystery have their names written in the book of life, I believe that to make Daniel 12:1-2 apply to believers of all dispensations is take the phrase “book of life” in Daniel out of context and force a meaning that the context will not allow. The context is about Israel and the tribulation, not about everyone who ever lived in the whole world.
To summarize what we have learned of this passage: The resurrection of Daniel 12 includes the unjust, but limits that resurrection in time and scope. It limits the resurrection to the time of the tribulation and to the people of Israel. Again, we may not, in my opinion, include all unbelievers in this passage, as the Holy Spirit was specific in the description of the time and the scope of this resurrection. The phrase, “Multitudes who sleep in the dust will awake, some to everlasting life and others to shame…” is similar to the one in John 5 and will be discussed in the next section of this paper. There are several passages in the New Testament about judgment.
John 5:24-25 reads, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of Man, and those who hear will live.” But then, in verses 28-29 our Lord says, “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned”. In verse 25 “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of Man and those who hear will live”. But in verses 28-29 we are told that all in the graves will hear His voice and come out but not all will live. “Those who have done evil will rise to be condemned”.
There seems to be a contradiction in this passage. That is to say, in verse 25 our Lord says those in their graves who hear His voice will live. But in verses 28 and 29 He says that some of those in the grave who hear His voice will not live but be condemned. (While it is true that the word “judgment” is a better translation of the Greek than “condemned”, it does not change the meaning of the passage, as it involves judgment of the wicked.) The key to understanding this passage is to note that both statements begin with “A time is coming“. I believe that the only way we can understand this passage and to answer the seeming contradiction, is to recognize the fact that there are two resurrections mentioned, and they occur at two different times. The first one mentioned is for the believer who will not be judged but has passed from death to life; the second resurrection mentioned is for those who will be judged. Let us examine each resurrection for the Scriptural evidence, which will tell us when these two resurrections will take place.
In verse 24 we read of those who “believe” and have therefore, “crossed over from death to life”. I believe that this resurrection points us to I Thess. 4:16 where we read of the second coming of our Lord when “the dead in Christ will rise …”. The resurrection of verses 24-26 then, refers to the resurrection at the second coming, i.e. at the beginning of the millennial reign. When will the resurrection of verses 28-29 occur? We are not told explicitly when, but we are told something of the character of the judgment of those who are resurrected. We read in verse 29 that they will be judged according to what they have done, “those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned”. Nowhere but here, in John five, and in Revelation 20 do we read of the resurrection of the unbeliever in order to be judged according to their works.
OTHER SCRIPTURES WHICH ALLUDE TO THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT
In the sermon on the mount Christ gives a discourse from Matthew 5:21 to 7:27 on how one is to enter into the kingdom of Heaven. For example, we read in 7:21, “…Not every one that saith unto Me, ‘Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven…'”. This fact might suggest that the judgment spoken of in this passage is to be made at Christ’s coming, when He will judge Israel as to who will enter the land of Israel for the millennial reign (i.e. the kingdom of Heaven). However, there are three verses in the sermon on the mount which speak of Gehenna. They are Matthew 5:22, 29 and 30. In the KJV “Gehenna” is translated “hell fire” in verse 22 and “hell” in verses 29 and 30.
As the paper on Gehenna shows, it is a type of the lake of fire. It is true that the nations will be judged at Christ’s coming (see Matthew 25) and some will be cast into the lake of fire, but in my opinion, because the sermon on the mount has to do with individuals and because the judgments do not have to do with how one treated Israel as does the judgment of Matthew 25, the judgment referred to in the sermon on the mount refers to the great white throne judgment.
Let us consider just one of the verses in the sermon on the mount that speak of judgment. We read in Matt. 5:22, “….Whosoever shall say, ‘Thou fool’ shall be in danger of hell fire (Gr. Gehenna”). In other words, I believe that the sermon on the mount concerns how one will enter into the kingdom of heaven and the judgment of 5:22, 29 and 30 refers to the “danger” of not entering the kingdom of Heaven and the consequent danger of the great white throne judgment. That is to say, those who will enter the kingdom of Heaven are believers and will not be in danger of judgment, but those who will be denied entrance because of unbelief will be “in danger” of the the judgment of the great white throne.
Matthew 23:33, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation (should be “judgment”) of hell?”. The Greek word translated “hell” is “Gehenna”. The paper on this web-site on Gehenna will prove from Scripture that Gehenna was a literal place in the time of Christ, but that it was used as a type for the lake of fire. Therefore, I believe that this judgment refers to the great white throne judgment because it is those who are found wanting at that judgment that will be cast into the lake of fire. .
Mark 16:16, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (judged)”. We read in the pervious verse, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature”. The Greek word translated “world” is “kosmos”. This is an important fact in that the day of wrath will be meted out in the day of the Lord which is centered on Israel and surrounding nations. That is to say, if this judgment is the day of the Lord judgment, it would not be meted out to the kosmos, but to the oikoumenee, i.e. the area that was once the Roman Empire (please see the paper on this website on the geographical limits of the tribulation.) Therefore, I do not believe that this judgment is the judgment of the day of the Lord.
When will the gospel be preached to the world? I believe it will be accomplished in the millennium at which time Israel will, at long last, fulfill Her calling to be a nation of priests and will preach to the world. Therefore, this judgment would have to be after the millennium, i.e. at the great white throne.
Heb. 13:4, “….but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge”. There is nothing in the context that points to when this judgment will be executed, but the fact that this is obviously a judgment of unbelievers, I believe it must be the judgment at the great white throne.
PASSAGES NOT INCLUDED IN THE CATEGORIES ABOVE
I did not include the judgment of angels in this paper. The verses that address that judgment are II Peter 2:4 and Jude 6.
Mark 3:29, “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation”. I believe that this judgment applies only to those who heard it, i.e. those who were alive at the time our Lord spoke these words.
Acts 10:42, “And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He Which was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and the dead”. The context tells us nothing as to when this judgment is. I believe that there are two different judgments implied here. The judgment of the “quick” will be in the day of the Lord, and the judgment of the dead will be at the great white throne judgment.
I Peter 4:5, “Who shall give account to Him That is ready to judge the quick and the dead”. Please see the note above on Acts 10:42.
II Peter 3:7, “But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” That the heavens and the earth being reserved “unto fire” points to the day when the present earth and the present heavens will be replaced by the new heavens and the new earth.
Rev. 11:18, “And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great: and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth”. This verse takes in the day of wrath, the judgment of Israel at Christ’s coming and the great white throne judgment. The phrase ” the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come” points to the day of wrath because God’s wrath will come upon nations. The phrase, “the time of the dead that they should be judged” points to the great white throne judgment because that is the only time that the dead will be raised for judgment. The phrase, “Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets” points to the judgment of Israel at Christ’s coming.
The Old Testament has no hint of a general resurrection of unbelievers for judgment. If the New Testament writers were given knowledge of such a resurrection they would have had to say so clearly because their readers/hearers would not understand it from previous teaching. There is no statement to the effect that unbelievers would be raised for judgment, except for those unbelievers of the tribulation. Therefore, we may not assume a resurrection.
It is my prayer that as the reader studies the statements of God’s judgments in time categories; it will help to understand not only this subject, but prophecy in general.
This paper was written by Joyce Pollard.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Please e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org