Loading

About Us - Publications - Broadcasts - Audio & Video - Contact Us - Home

- Publications -

Rainbow Divider

Chapter 6

Resurrection and Judgment

Heb. 9:27 says, “... it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

In Chapters 1-5 we have discussed several aspects of the subject of immortality. I believe we have established from the scriptures that only God is by nature immortal; that man, possessing only mortal “soul” life, and that corrupted by sin, will, unless he comes into possession of God’s life, perish — the light of his life being forever extinguished; that there is a difference in the destiny of lost men — those sinning without law simply perishing while those sinning under the law being judged by the law; that the gospel preached with the anointing by men sent of God is the only means by which men may become immortal.

Earlier we referred to John 5:28-29: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

I believe that we earlier established that “doing evil” for the purposes of this resurrection has to do with a knowledge of the law. For example, Rom. 5:13 says, “... but sin is not imputed when there is no law.”

Obviously there are two kinds of men who will be raised from the dead: some to everlasting life and some to damnation, condemnation, judgment. I believe that before considering the nature of that judgment it would be profitable to further clarify the basis upon which God will judge men.

John 3:19 says, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” We know from this same passage that Christ’s coming into the world was not for the purpose of condemning men, but rather to open up a way of escape from sin and its consequences. Nevertheless most men are under condemnation because, loving darkness, they refuse to believe in the light God sends them.

What is Light?

But what is this light referred to by Jesus and recorded by John? Is it, as many suppose, a set of doctrines or traditions? Is it the beliefs of a particular religious organization or sect? Is it some secret mystical revelation? Is it even the scriptures themselves?

I believe that the answer is be found in John 1:4. Here, John is discussing the coming of Christ into the world and the response of men. He says, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” Of course the “life” that was in Christ was God’s life. Only divine life has the power to enlighten. No doctrine, tradition, organization, or even scripture can enlighten even in the slightest where there is an absence of God’s life!

John 8:12 says, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” What kind of light? — the light of LIFE.

Note the emphasis here. Jesus HIMSELF was the light. To have light men were to follow HIM. Of course Jesus’ teachings were important but it was not primarily their CONTENT that was crucial; rather it was the fact that the words involved were an expression of the Spirit of life within. “... the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63. “... the words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” John 14:10.

If words are not a present tense expression of God they are darkness, regardless of how scripturally correct they may be from a technical standpoint. This is hard for religious man to receive or even to understand.

The Jews of Jesus’ day give us a perfect example. In John 5:38-39 Jesus said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” In their opinion, life was to be had by a strict observance of the scriptures (shaped by their convenient traditions, of course). Jesus was telling them that the role of the scriptures was to testify to the true source of life — in Jesus Himself. But they blindly rejected him in favor of their religion.

“... God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself ...” II Cor. 5:19. “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” I Tim. 3:16. Jesus said, “... he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” John 14:9.

From these and many other scriptures it is clear that the man Jesus was a vessel that God clothed Himself with in order to walk among men, look them in the eye, speak truth in their ears, and in general to make Himself known.

They had a historical God, a God of the scriptures, a God of a hoped-for future, a God in heaven somewhere. But the God who came to them dressed in robes of flesh and blood they could not recognize. This proved that all their high-sounding concepts of God were mere religious delusion. It is easy to believe in a God who is remote from day to day life, who doesn’t interfere with what we want to do.

The glory of God is reflected in the creation. His law is reflected in man’s conscience. But the glory of God that is manifested as He robes Himself in flesh results in a different and far greater responsibility for men who are involved.
In John 15:22, Jesus said, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.” A “cloak” is a covering or an excuse. Think about that verse!

Basis for Judgment

This is the basis for judgment. It is one thing for man to turn away from the glory of God in creation; it is quite another for the same man to MEET GOD face to face and to reject Him.

In John 9:9 Jesus said, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Think about that. Jesus the man is no longer in the world: therefore, by his own testimony he is not at this present time the light of the world!

Before you fall out of your chair and brand me a heretic, bear with me for a moment. Jesus, God’s Son, is presently at the right hand of the Father. He dwells where no lost man can go. Man has the scriptures yet there is no life, (and hence no light) in the scriptures alone. How, then, are men enlightened today?

They are enlightened in exactly the same way as they were in Jesus’ day — by God manifesting Himself in the flesh. Jesus said in Matt. 5:14-16, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Jesus’ words are from the sermon on the mount and were directed to the righteous, to those who would follow him, to the children of God (verse 9). Notice that Jesus said, “Ye are THE light of the world.” Obviously this statement was not meant to exclude Jesus himself, but apart from his personal presence in this world, THE light of the world — the ONLY light of the world — is the life of God in the church.

By the church I mean to include only those in the earth who are truly children of God as a result of having seen Him manifested in the flesh and having believed the words of life spoken by Him into their hearts.

Ephesians 3:22 speaks of the church as “... builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” The church is God’s earthly house. Men will not find Him anywhere else. In spite of imperfections in the vessels, when anyone meets a child of God, he meets God face to face. Whatever measure of God’s life is manifested creates the same measure of responsibility in men to whom that life is manifested.

It comes down to this: the place you occupy on the judgment day will be determined by one thing — how did you ultimately respond when you met God face to face? I used the word “ultimately” because some men become believers after an initial negative reaction to Him. There is a process of conviction involved. Sooner or later, however, men go one way or the other.

The vast majority of men, because of the blindness of their darkness-loving hearts, do not recognize that it is God who has crossed their paths. They only know that they have been disturbed by something. They may attribute it to the humanity involved or even to the devil himself, but either way they go on as they are. If men are not disturbed to the point of repentance by the light of God’s life manifest in human flesh they have nothing to look forward to but judgment.

This is what the so-called unpardonable sin is all about (Matt. 12:31-32). It is one thing to speak against the vessel God uses but quite another to reject the Spirit inspiring the vessel, because that Spirit is God Himself.

The Judgment

The judgment is pictured in Rev. 20:11-15: “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, 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 and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

The apostle John was permitted by God — for our benefit — to see in a vision the day of judgment referred to elsewhere in the scriptures.

His attention is first focused on a throne, a place of authority. It is not, however, just a throne, but a great throne, setting it apart from the temporal thrones of this world, a throne representing the supreme authority of God Himself.

It is a great white throne, reflecting the utter purity and holiness of God. As John said elsewhere, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” I John 1:5. All that corrupt, sin-darkened man is will be made to stand utterly naked and exposed before the pure light of God’s holiness.

Think of the prophet Isaiah who saw the Lord upon a throne and said, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5.

Remember also Job who said, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6. Men may feel alright compared to other men but God’s light will reveal the truth. Truly, there is no hope for anyone apart from the imputed righteousness of Christ obtained by faith.

It is no wonder that John in his vision saw “the earth and the heaven” try to flee. Obviously this is a figurative reference to lost mankind.

This is pictured more clearly in Rev. 6:15-17:

“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the 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?”

The One on the Throne

Both passages refer to the one sitting on the throne and to his face. Who is he? I believe that it will be Jesus sitting on that throne, rejected of men, but chosen of God (I Peter 1:7).

John 5:22 says, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” Verses 26 and 27 say, “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of Man.”

God is a great omnipresent Spirit. He has no “face” except for His Son, “the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person” (Heb. 1:3).

Remember I Tim. 6:16: “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting.” Not only has man not seen God: he cannot see Him — not in His essence.

Job “saw” Him through a spiritual revelation. Isaiah “saw” a representation of Him in a vision. The disciples “saw” Him in Jesus. But, as it says in John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

It is the face of Jesus Christ that will cause lost men to flee in terror on that day but there will be no escape. Listen to the words of Paul recorded in Acts 17:30-31:

“And the times of this ignorance 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 in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”

Consider also Phil. 2:9-11: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

“And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Those who refuse to bow before Christ in this life will certainly do so there. He will be on that throne.

Who will be there?

If Christ is to be the one sitting on the throne, who are the ones who will be brought to stand before him? John “saw the dead, small and great, stand before God ...” (God the Father and His Son are so one in thought and purpose that for men to stand before Christ, God’s anointed, is to stand before God.)

There is a widespread and popular school of thought that holds that only the wicked dead will appear at the white throne judgment. This teaching is part of a body of doctrine that does a great deal of artificial and unscriptural dividing up of the scriptures. Without spending a lot of time unraveling a whole system of belief, suffice it to say that were it not for the fact that so many have been taught this doctrine, I doubt that it would occur to anyone simply and honestly reading the scriptures.

There is no hint of separate judgments of righteous and wicked in Daniel 12:2. Nor is there in John 5:28-29 where Jesus says, “...THE hour is coming...” and then proceeds to describe the resurrection of both righteous and wicked.

The verse we began with, Heb. 9:27, refers to “THE judgment” — obviously identifying a single day of judgment. Matthew 25:31-46 pictures a future judgment of both righteous and wicked in which Jesus indicated He Himself would preside as judge.

As further confirmation, note that Paul says in Rom. 14:10, “...we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” II Cor. 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ...” Rom. 2:16 speaks of “THE day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.”

Notice also in Rev. 20:12 the presence at the judgment of the book of life. We know that the book of life is a record of those who belong to God (Psalm 69:28; Daniel 12:1; Phil. 4:3; Luke 10:20; Rev. 13:8). What purpose would be served by the formality of attempting to look up everyone’s name in the book of life (as is popularly pictured) if it were a foregone conclusion that no one appearing at the judgment could be found there?

John says that the dead “small and great” will be there. Everyone, regardless of how insignificant or unimportant they may have been on earth, will be there: no one will be “lost in the crowd.” Everyone will be judged on that day.

Where are the dead?

Notice that John refers in verse 13 to the sea giving up its dead and “death and hell delivering up the dead which were in them.” There are questions in many people’s minds as to where the dead are prior to the judgment and perhaps some comments are in order.

Many people today believe that the wicked dead are somewhere in a state of conscious suffering awaiting the judgment. Some even believe they go straight into the flames of hell at death.

It seems rather strange to me to picture God dragging people out of hell — some having been there for thousands of years — to condemn them at the judgment and toss them back into hell! Think about it!

Even if you believe that the wicked are in some sort of “temporary hell,” why would God instruct us to “judge nothing before the time” (I Cor. 4:5) only to violate his own principle by punishing the wicked before their trial?

This teaching is an expression of religious tradition, much of it rooted in old Jewish tradition. It is also based upon a literal interpretation of Jesus’ story of the rich man and a beggar named Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31.

This parable conveys many important truths: men need to live with eternity in mind and not just for earthly success and comfort; once a man dies, his destiny is fixed; unbelief is such that men who will not believe the Word will not believe for any reason, even if one rose from the dead to warn them. Only the living Word has the power to beget faith. Nothing else, supernatural or otherwise, is a substitute.

There is nothing in the rest of scripture to suggest that Jesus meant to portray this story as a literal picture of the present state of the dead. Did Jesus really mean us to believe that the righteous and wicked dead are in some sort of temporary place able to converse with one another?!

This parable certainly conveys important truth as do all his parables yet it is not right to force a literal interpretation of one passage — and a parable at that — to override the rest of the word. The word harmonizes and should be understood in its own light as God reveals it.

In earlier chapters we pointed out the fallacy of the belief in the immortality of the soul. When an unbeliever dies it is the culmination of the “death passed upon all men” Paul speaks of in Rom. 5:12. No part of his being is immortal. Being “alienated from the life of God” (Eph. 4:18) he dies like a beast (Psalm 49:12, 20). “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4).

The word “hell” in Rev. 20:14 is “hades” in the Greek, the equivalent of “sheol” in Hebrew. It simply means the grave and expresses the place men where men wind up as a result of death. Apart from the intervention of God, the grave holds absolute sway over lost men.

There is no consciousness in a lost man from his last moment of earthly consciousness until he is raised from the dead by God to answer for his sins.

Some teach “soul sleep” — namely that souls are “asleep” in the grave until the judgment. “Sleep” is used as an expression in the scriptures for death (John 11:11-14, for example) yet where the wicked are concerned, using the word “sleep” too literally suggests that they are still alive. No doubt such a concept is heavily influenced by the basic belief in the immortality of the soul.

In I Cor. 15, Paul confronts the error of some who taught that there was to be no resurrection. In verse 18 he contends: (If the dead rise not) “then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” Listen to what Paul is saying: if there is no resurrection and a Christian dies then he has perished — that is the end of him. If that would be true for a Christian, how much more is it true of the lost! And I believe it is true of the lost until they are raised.

Christians have a far different hope. It is plain from II Cor. 5:8 that Paul expected to go to the Lord’s presence upon leaving his body at death: “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” He also spoke in Phil. 1:23 of his “desire to depart, and be with Christ.”

In John 11:26, Jesus said, “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” It is true that our bodies die, yet our souls, having been made alive with God’s immortal life, cannot die. Rom. 8:10 says, “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”

I do believe, however, that the resurrection of Christ marked a turning point for believers. The faith of Old Testament believers is best described in Heb. 11:13: “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” The work of redemption that secured the salvation of all believers was not complete until Jesus cried, “It is finished!” John 19:30.

David expressed his hope in Psalm 16:10: “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” The word “hell” used here is “the grave.” It is evident that David expected his soul to be released from the grave at some future point, but it is also obvious therefore that he expected his soul to be in the grave until that time! Of course this passage is also a wonderful prophecy of Christ’s resurrection.

Psalm 17:15 says, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”

Psalm 49:14-15 shows the contrast between the expectation of the wicked and the righteous: “Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.

“But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me.”

God prophesied through Hosea (13:14): “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.”

I believe the fulfillment of that prophecy began when Christ was raised from the dead. Though the resurrection of the bodies of believers awaits Christ’s coming, yet I believe the scriptures teach that his own live and reign with him.

Speaking of Christ’s resurrection and exaltation, Paul says in Eph. 4:8, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” (This is a reference to Psalm 68:18). A clearer translation would be, “he led a multitude of captives.” Who were these captives? I believe they were the souls of Old Testament saints being delivered from the power of the grave through what Christ had done.

Incidentally, it is no accident that this is mentioned in connection with Christ giving gifts to men. The gifts are gifted men, men equipped with spiritual abilities that enable them to play a vital role in the work of bringing the Body of Christ to full maturity.

I believe that Old Testament saints — the spirits of just men made perfect mentioned in Heb. 12:23 — have a part in the dispensing and operation of spiritual gifts. They are active in the work of God in the spirit realm. We are afforded a glimpse of this in the words of the angel (remember that angel means “messenger”) who came to John (Rev. 22:8-9): “And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.

“Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” See also Rev. 19:10.

The Kingdom of God is far more than what we observe here on earth. There is much going on in the realm of the spirit that we are not as conscious of as we might be.

In many previous articles in the Midnight Cry Messenger, I believe it has been made plain that the symbolic 1000 years referred to in Rev. 20:1-6 is the church age. In verses 4- 6 we read: “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands: and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

“But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

Notice the distinction between those who live and reign with Christ and the rest of the dead who live not again until that period is over. The scriptures harmonize.

Two Deaths

In verses 5 and 6 we find a reference to “the second death.” This second death is identified in verse 14 as “the lake of fire.” It is interesting to note that in the scriptures there are two births, two resurrections and two deaths.

All men experience the first birth when they are born physically into the world and partake of Adam’s life. Unfortunately, the first birth brings men forth into a state we can call the first death or the death that was passed on all men that we referred to earlier (Rom. 5:12). This is all some men ever know — namely those who perish without law (Rom. 2:12). They are born, they die, and that’s the end of it.

Others die once and then are raised for the judgment where they will be condemned to the second death.

Rev. 20:6, however, refers to a group of people upon whom the second death has no power. These are the ones who have partaken of the first resurrection. The first resurrection is the one referred to in John 5:25: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” It is a spiritual resurrection and is identical to the new — or second — birth.

Men who have been born twice — once of Adam’s life and once of Christ’s — will taste the first death (unless Christ comes first) but will never taste the second.

Men who are born only once and reject the God who would give them eternal life die twice, once physically and the second time in the lake of fire.

According to Works

On the face of it there seems to be a contradiction between what John says will be the basis of judgment and what we have said previously. In Rev. 20:12- 13 he says that men will be judged “according to their works.”

In many people’s minds this suggests that what we do in the way of good and bad deeds will somehow be compared — perhaps on a set of scales of some sort — and our destiny will depend on our good deeds somehow measuring up or outweighing the bad. This is, of course, far from the truth.

God judges things much differently than we do. You may give to charity and help little old ladies across the street and think that God views your actions as “good.” In I Sam. 16:7 the Lord said, “... the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

In Titus 1:15 we read, “... Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” A defiled mind — defiled by the sinful nature we were all born with and the thoughts and ideas of others so contaminated — is a deluded mind where God is concerned.

This is readily seen in Matt. 7:21-23 where Jesus says that many on the judgment day will point to religious works done in the name of Christ, believing them to be good only to find their works branded as iniquity.

The word “iniquity” is anomia in the Greek. Just as the word amoral in English means “without moral principle,” so does the word anomia in Greek mean “without law” or “lawless.”

This lawlessness does not necessarily mean robbing banks and committing murder, though. It is a lawlessness as it relates to being subject to God. God isn’t impressed by what looks righteous to men. Read Matt. 23 for a perfect example.

He looks beyond the surface into the heart seeking faith. All else falls short. “Without faith it is impossible to please him ...” (Heb. 11:6). Paul said, “... whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23).

It is impossible for anyone to do anything God regards as “good” unless he has been made a partaker of the faith of Christ through the gospel. That is a hard thing for the natural man to swallow, but it is so.

The problem with “good works,” religious or otherwise, is that they are done in harmony with the carnal mind which Rom. 8:7-8 says is “enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Notice that Paul says the carnal mind is “not subject to the law of God.” That is “lawlessness” or “iniquity.”

On the other hand, notice Peter’s expression of what God had done in saving Gentiles: “purifying their hearts by faith.” Remember the reference in Titus 1:15 to “the pure”? Faith is the only thing that can purify a human heart.

It all comes back to faith and unbelief. The works that men do are an expression of one or the other.

Now once again read Matt. 25:31-46. Jesus was picturing the judgment for his disciples and the judgment of both righteous and wicked was related to things they either did or failed to do. The central issue was not a matter of sins as we think of them, however. The judgment was centered around the treatment by men of Christ’s brethren. Think about that!

Christ’s brethren here refers to believers that God lives in who are yet in the world. The judgment will be based on the response of men, not to God in the sky, but to God in other men. That faith or unbelief is reflected in their works. Those with faith are drawn to and made one with Christ’s brethren. Those in unbelief hate the light and do whatever it takes to avoid exposure of their condition.

Remember Christ’s words to Saul on the Damascus road: “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Saul had not been conscious of persecuting Jesus, but he had been by persecuting His followers. Jesus didn’t say, “Why are you persecuting my followers?”

Christ was in his followers and He was the reason for their persecution. Until this experience, Saul, who became Paul, did not understand what it was that caused him to hate and oppose Christians. Of course, not all unbelievers take such measures, but given the right conditions their true nature is exposed. The same crowds that cried, “Hosanna!” when Jesus entered Jerusalem, a few days later joined in crying, “Crucify Him.”

All who are joined to the Lord are one spirit (I Cor. 6:17). There is no way to separate the Father from the Son, nor the Father and the Son from the Church. Reject one and you reject all; truly receive one and you receive all.

There are only two kinds of men who will appear at the judgment and this is the issue that separates them: faith or unbelief as it relates to God who manifests Himself through human flesh.

No More Secrets

The wicked will be raised from the dead, experiencing their first conscious moment since death. No doubt that moment will be one of confusion and great terror as they begin to realize the predicament they are in.

Seven times in the gospels the writers quote Jesus as saying that in that day there will be weeping (or wailing) and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 8:12, 13:42, 13:50, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30, Luke 13:28). The lost will be filled with fear, anger, frustration, regret, and despair as they are brought face to face with the Christ they have rejected.

Most men in this world live and die in a state of spiritual delusion, believing lies to be the truth. They believe that they can live as they please and get by. However, on that day they will be made to see clearly. Before judgment is executed God intends to manifest His truth with crystal clarity.

Luke 8:16-17 says, “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.”

Jesus spoke of man’s purpose in lighting a candle to illustrate God’s purpose in sending light into the world. In our earlier discussion we pointed out that the light is simply God’s life manifest in human flesh, whether through His Son during the incarnation or through the Church. God didn’t send light to hide it but that it would ultimately show everything exactly as it was. As Paul said in Ephesians 5:13, “... for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.” Though men may try to hide from light in this world, nothing will be hid on the judgment day.

In Luke 12:2-3, Jesus said, “For there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”

In Matthew 12:36-37, Jesus said, “... 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.”

If you listen to a man long enough, his words will reveal his heart. That is why Jesus said in verse 34 of Matthew 12, “... for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” God is listening and has an accurate account. When the books are opened on that day there will be a complete record!

The expression of Christ on earth has always set men on one of two paths: life or death. In II Cor. 2:14-16 Paul says, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?”

Here the knowledge of God is compared to a “savour” or fragrance. As men react differently to natural smells so do they in the spirit. To most, the anointing of God’s Spirit carries the “smell of death.” They shrink from it and in rejecting it they are set on the road that leads surely to the second death. Thus is the anointing “the savour of death unto death.”

But to God’s elect the anointing carries the sweet fragrance of life and in bowing to it they are made partakers of eternal life — thus, it is a “savour of life unto life.”

Jesus is Lord

In his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, Peter said, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:36.

Paul speaks of God’s mighty power, “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Eph. 2:20-23.

Man in general is totally blinded to the Lordship of Christ. Though some have a traditional belief in his Lordship, it is not a revelation to them and thus has no real effect. Phil. 2:9-11 says of Christ: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

It will be quite a sight to see the wicked on that day — the proud, the arrogant, the self-willed, the rebellious — made to bow before the Christ they have rejected, having joined in spirit those who crucified him.

Nebuchadnezzar was a rare exception among the kings of this earth in that he, through the mercy of God, came into a possession of a revelation of God. Before this revelation (Daniel 4:30) he said, “Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?”

After God had humbled him by removing his intelligence from him, allowing him to live as a beast for seven years, and then restoring him, he testified: “... I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” Daniel 4:34-35.

Men will either bow here, or they will bow there: better to bow here!

Return to Library of Articles