THE LAST DAYS OF BABYLON Part 7, THE JUDGMENT

Goodnews Christian Ministry

"He who obeys the commands will come to no harm, and the wise man knows there will be a time of judgment." ---Eccl. 8:5

CHAPTER 32

The Day of Reckoning

"Let the nations be roused, let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat,
for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side."
Joel 3:12

_____________

By the command of God and in accordance with the scriptures, a day has been set when all the people who have ever lived on earth are going to be brought before the law court of Christ and judged for the way each has lived their lives.

"For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed." (Acts 17:31).

The world is coming to an end and this court is being held because God has decreed a 'Day of Reckoning' as a result of sin. (Ez.7:1-4).

"Listen, you peoples, all of you. Attend, earth, and everything in it. God is going to give evidence against you. For look, God sets out from his holy place, he comes down from his sacred palace, he treads the heights of the earth. The mountains melt as he goes, the valleys are torn apart like wax before the fire..." (Micah 1:2-4).

"Preceding him, a devouring fire, round him, a raging storm; he summons the heavens above and the earth below, to his people's trial" (Ps.50:3-4).

This day of trial is a day of Judgment for all mankind -- a day when everyone who has ever lived on earth will be assembled before the throne of God and strictly assessed for their behavior in life.

"What will you do on that day of reckoning? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches?" (Is.10:3). There is nowhere to go. No one can escape the trial God has set. And when it comes, who will be exonerated?

"Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Mt.7:13-14).

According to the Bible, the criterion God will use to judge us on that day will be the commandments of Jesus Christ. "For all truth about us will be brought out in the law court of Christ, and each of us will get what he deserves for the things he did in the body, good or bad." (2 Cor.5:10).

Awaiting that day, the souls of all those who have ever died are being gathered together and held in a place decreed by God -- ready to make their appearance when they will be called and brought before the court.

The souls of the virtuous are being held in a special location, close to the alter of heaven; the martyrs underneath it and the others nearby. "When he broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of all the people who had been killed on account of the word of God, for witnessing to it."

"They shouted aloud, 'Holy, faithful Master, how much longer will you wait before you pass sentence and take vengeance for our death on the inhabitants of the earth? Each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to be patient a little longer, until the roll was complete and their fellow servants and brothers had been killed just as they had been."
(Rv.6:9-11).

"After that I saw a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands." (Rv.6:9).

John's vision shows that all the people who have ever died in Christ have been gathered together by the angels at a place near the throne of God where they are patiently waiting for the day of Judgment promised by the scriptures.

They are waiting there for us -- for God's roll to be completed and the rapture concluded.

It is so that we can join them in their escape from that great and terrible day that Jesus came to warn us to change our lives -- before the wrath that is bearing down on the world appears and shuts the doors to heaven forever. (Mt.16:27).

That wrath -- the tribulation that is the vanguard of Judgment Day -- is the punishment that proves how unfortunate it will be for those who fail God's examination. "There is an anger stirred to flame by evil deeds so you will learn that there is indeed a Judgment." (Job 19:29).

John said that when the Day of God arrives, there will be an immense gathering of the holy Host -- all the dignitaries of heaven will assemble above the earth in the sky high over the city of Jerusalem. (Rv.4, Ps.7:7).

Daniel revealed that a number of thrones will then be set in place and finally God Himself will come and take His seat in an incredible display of fire. (Dn.7:9-10).

"Then I saw a great white throne and the One who was sitting on it. In his presence, earth and sky vanished, leaving no trace. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of his throne..." (Rv.20:11-12).

Vanishing with the earth and sky will be the life we once thought so important. In its place will appear an event few on earth ever believed would really take place. "A court will be held and the books opened." (Dn.7:10).

The Bible shows that the last Judgment is to be an awesome tribunal. A vast array of heavenly beings will be assembled in attendance as all the souls of the world are gathered in front of the throne of God.

"A thousand thousand waited on him, ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him." (Dn.7:10).

This is when Jesus will return, coming on the clouds of heaven. He will be led into the presence of God who will confer on him complete sovereignty, glory and kingship. (Dn.7:13-14).

The entire world will be placed at his feet and all Judgment shall be handed over to him. (Dn.7:14). "The Father judges no one; he has entrusted all Judgment to the Son..." (Jn.5:22).

Jesus in his turn has given the power of judgment over to the Gospel he preached. (Jn.12:47-48). Thus it is Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that will determine our fate on the day of trial.

Nothing on earth escapes the eyes of the Lord.

Scripture has revealed that everything that has ever happened in the world has been written down in heavenly books. "You had scrutinized my every action, all were recorded in your book, my days listed and determined, even before the first of them occurred." (Ps.139:16).

These volumes will be brought forth and opened in the courtroom.

Among these will be a "Book of Remembrance" (Malachi 2:16) in which the names of all the virtuous are recorded.

"And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the Book of Life; the dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books." (Rv.20:12).

Anyone who lives a sinful life will have his name blotted out of God's book of remembrance. "The Lord replied to Moses, whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book." (Ex.32:33).

"Nothing impure can enter the kingdom of heaven, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life." (Rv.21:27).

Anyone whose name does not appear in God's Book of Life will be thrown into the lake of fire. (Rv.20:15).

This is why God made a way for us to get out of sin, so that our names would not be blotted out of the book that He had written.

"Therefore O House of Israel, I will judge you, each one of you according to his ways, declared the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses -- then sin will not be your downfall." (Ez.18:30).

Throughout the scriptures God has made it known that repentance is essential to forgiveness and salvation. That is why Jesus preached "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins". (Mk.1:4, Mt.3:2).

Jesus died on the cross so that we could offer repentance for our sins and be forgiven by God through our own contrition.

It is the divine forgiveness that we receive from God as a blessing for our remorse which separates us from the Judgment and takes away the awful terror of the day that is now bearing down on us so quickly.

Repentance in Jesus brings us to grace -- a state which guarantees our names have been enscribed in God's eternal book and where no sin can be found in us. "Happy is the man whose fault is forgiven, whose sin is blotted out; happy the man whom God accuses of no guilt, whose spirit is incapable of deceit." (Ps.32:1-2).

Through continued penitence, and by obedience to Christ's commandments, we are able to grow in grace and keep alive the eternal life God has freely given us; but if we turn away from him, and abandon his commandments, we will fall from grace -- a fall that can erase our names from the Book of Life and plunge us back into death.

That is why Jesus commanded us to live in love and humility.

Only those who live their lives in Christ will keep their names in His book. "He who overcomes will be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the Book of Life, but will acknowledge his name before my father and his angels." (Rv.3:5).

Those who put off changing their ways, thinking that they can repent later -- at the last minute -- will be trapped by their sins because their end will come suddenly at a time when they least expect it.

Like those who abandon the Way, they will be turned out of the kingdom and have to share the same fate as the godless. "It is the man who sins against me that I shall blot out from my book." (Ex.32:33).

If those who were once in Christ can suddenly find themselves outside of Christ (Lk.8:13, Mt.25:1-13), the need for perseverance in the Lord's word is obviously essential.

Doubly so because many of the scribes and Pharisees of our time are promoting a Jesus foreign to the one who spoke the Gospel, showing that we have to be very careful how we hear.

"If your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven." (Mt.5:20).

Despite everything written in the scriptures to the contrary, there are many who still cannot bring themselves to believe that any Judgment is coming. They say that God is too merciful and too good to judge a people that cannot possibly meet His perfection.

Paul answered this, saying, "It is written that 'God is true and every man a liar'. But if our own wickedness brings out God's righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us because we are so imperfect? Certainly not! If this were so, how could God judge the world?" (Rom.3:4-6).

The fact is, God is going to judge the world and that is why Jesus was bearing our faults in his own body on the cross so that we might die to our faults and live for holiness. (1 Peter 2:24).

Jesus commanded us to change our lives and stop sinning.

John said that we not only have to be baptised by water and the Holy Spirit, but by fire as well. (Mt.3:11). "Gold is tested in the fire and chosen men in the furnace of humiliation." (Sir.2:5).

"I am going to strike the shepherd so that the sheep may be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the weak. And it will happen throughout this territory -- it is the Lord who speaks -- that two-thirds in it will be cut off (will be killed), and the remaining third will be left."

"I will lead that third into the fire, and refine them as silver is refined, test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name and I shall listen; and I shall say: These are my people; and each will answer, 'The Lord is my God'."
(Zech.13:7-9).

The trials we must bear when we make the changes that Jesus ordered are the elements of the Great Persecution which makes us eligible for God's kingdom -- these are the trials that wash us in the blood of the Lamb. (Rv.7:14).

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12).

"We have to bear trials as a test." (1 Peter 1:6-7). It is our share of the cross. (1 Peter 4:12-13). Jesus said that Satan had got his wish to "sift us all like wheat". (Lk.22:31).

Why did God grant Satan such a wish? Why do we all have to go through this testing?

The answers to these questions may seem uncertain, but there are many quotations in scripture concerning these trials that test our faith. "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning." (Ex.20:20).

"Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands." (Dt.8:2).

Jesus said he came down to seek out and rescue those who were His own.

Trying to prevent this, Satan saturated the earth with his own seed, sowing many others in the night and scattering these everywhere among the children whom God had planted.

"The kingdom of heaven can be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. "

"When the new wheat sprouted and grew, the darnel appeared as well. The servants went to the master of the field and said, 'Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?' '

Some enemy has done this', he answered...let them both grow up together till the harvest...then tie the darnel for the fire and gather the wheat into my barn."
(Mt.13:24-30).

That is why God must weigh our true motives. "A man's conduct may strike him as pure; God, however, weighs the motives." (Pr.16:2). "A child of God listens to the words of God; if you refuse to listen, it is because you are not God's children." (Jn.8:47).

And that is the trial -- listening to the commandments of Jesus and putting into practice what we have heared, while the world around us lives in direct opposition to what He has preached.

God has brought each of us to this world to find out what is in our inmost heart. "The eyes of God are everywhere: observing the evil and the good." (Pr.15:3).

In doing this Jesus has shined a light into us that, while invisible to our eyes, is so brilliant as far as God is concerned that it cuts to the heart of the darkness and exposes the deepest parts of our soul to His view.

"The eyes of the Lord are ten thousand times brighter than the sun, observing every aspect of human behavior, seeing into the most secret corners." (Sir.23:27).

"Having summoned up our sins you inspect our secrets by your own light." (Ps.90:8). The Gospel is our test. It is the light of God probing deep into us.

In the heat of this light wickedness burns to a crisp. This is why the Gospel of Jesus is described in scripture as a fire that has been burning across the earth ever since it was first preached.

It has exposed the sins of the world and judged them in every person the word of Christ has ever touched. "God has made himself known, has given Judgment, he has trapped the wicked in the work of their own hands." (Ps.9:16).

For those who have turned their lives over to the Gospel, the ordeal leads to salvation.

"You tested us, God, you refined us like silver, you let us fall into the net, you laid heavy burdens on our backs, you let people drive over our heads; but now the ordeal by fire and water is over, and you allow us once more to draw breath." (Ps.66:10-12).

God has given us complete free will to live and behave in this world as we please. "He made man in the beginning and then left him free to make his own decision." (Sir.15:14).

Some live by Christ and others live by their own opinion, and God measures every move we make. "I tell you this, for every unfounded word men utter they will answer on Judgment day, since it is by your words you will be acquitted and by your words condemned." (Mt.12:36-37).

Every action has been written down in God's book of deeds -- the book that God has brought to the trial.

On that day all mankind will be judged by the words Jesus preached because the Lord has given the entire power of the Judgment over to the Gospel. (Jn.12:48). And by that Gospel's own declaration, the only loophole in this judgment will be the extent to which we have forgiven the people who have sinned against us.

"Do not judge and you will not be judged; because the judgements you give are the judgements you will get, and the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given." (Mt.7:1-2).

Those who choose to live outside this Gospel will have to answer for doing so even if their own conscience seems clear: "There is a way that some think right, but it leads in the end to death." (Pr.14:16).

But everyone who listens to the Gospel will be saved. "I tell you most solemnly, whoever keeps my word will never see death." (Jn.8:51).

"Whoever listens to my words and believes in the one who sent me, has eternal life; without being brought to Judgment he has passed from death to life." (Jn.5:24).

Our conscience only tells us what is right or wrong. But right and wrong are subjective things. One conscience says one thing and another says something entirely different. This is why Jesus told us not to call him (or anything or anyone else) 'good'. There is nothing good but God alone.

Jesus brought God's commandments to the earth. There is only the doctrine of Christ -- that is God's only blueprint for salvation. If we are obedient to it and follow it very closely, we will find its reward.

If we go by another measure, we will lose that reward. This is why the trials we undergo now in keeping Christ's commandments are so important. They allow us to escape the Day of Trial and eternal fire that looms ahead.

God has determined that the Judgment should take place here, on this planet -- not in outer space somewhere or up in heaven. "In the place where you were created, in the country where you were born, there I will judge you." (Ez.21:30).

The country of our birth is Babylon -- this wicked world. And it is in the wreckage of Babylon that the judgment will occur. It will take place in the air above the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

No one can say for certain where this valley is, but the name it carries applies literally to the Kidron Valley which separates the Mount of Olives from the temple mountain in the city of Jerusalem.

Once the heavenly Host has assembled itself there in readiness, God will appear high over Jerusalem. (Ps.7:7). His arrival will coincide with an intense rain of fire and brimstone.

"For see how God comes in fire, his chariots like the tempest, to avenge his anger with burning, his threats with flaming fire. For by fire will God execute Judgment, and by his word, against all mankind. The victims of God will be many." (Is.66:15-16).

Everyone will be brought up in the air to meet with Him and the Judgment will begin. The world, meanwhile, having broken into pieces under the weight of the cosmic bombardment raining onto it, will fall apart and disappear.

Today, watching the nations of the world begin to coalesce around Jerusalem, we can see the seeds of this final moment begin to sprout. The primordial gathering of the nations around this ancient Middle Eastern city, elements of which are broadcast daily by our news media, is telling us that the day of God's final reckoning is near.

So near, in fact, that some of these thrones may already be in place in the air above our heads -- separate from us now only by the shroud which blocks spiritual light from our vision.

The signs are unmistakable. The millenium is drawing to a close and Jerusalem has been rebuilt. The Jews are back in Palestine and God and Jesus are now approaching the earth.

If we were able to peel away the sky and see what is beyond it, we would witness the fervent activity that has now begun to take place just past our eyes as all the Holy Ones of heaven take their assigned places and make ready the court of God for the earth's great trial.

At the very end, after the tribulations have ended, and the clock moved ahead to usher in the seventh day in advance -- all the people of the world will be gathered together at the throne of God to stand in judgment.

God will have His angels divide them into two groups.

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats."

"He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left."

"Then the King will say to those on his right hand, 'Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me."

"Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?' And the King will answer, 'I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me."
(Mt.25:31-40).

To the others -- to those who are brought into judgment, the Lord will say, "Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. "

"For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me."
(Mt.25:41-43).

God has published all the answers to His final exam. He has posted them in scripture so that no one will be caught unawares.

Since all Christians presumably know these questions (and their answers), who are all the people who have to ask? Who is it that God is saving that stand before Him so surprised?

There is a serious enigma here. One whose final answer seems to lie beyond the boundaries of creed. Jesus has called us into action, not to lip service. Those who act in accordance with His words will live forever. We have His word on that.

From the point of view of the earth what is coming is nothing less than absolute catastrophe. But for those who live in Christ, it means the beginning of the perfect world of God and with it an eternal life of magnificent joy.

"Once the oppression is over and the destroyer is no more, and those now trampling the country underfoot have gone away, the throne will be made secure in gentleness, and on it there will sit in all fidelity, within the tent of David, a judge careful for justice and eager for integrity." (Is.16:4-5).

Since no one can go into the kingdom until the day that Jesus returns to take us there, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and His coronation before God at the tribunal of the earth, must both occur beforehand.

This means that the gates of the highest heaven will not be opened until after the final judgment has taken place. Then will come the marriage feast of the Lamb.

"Alleluia! The reign of the Lord our God Almighty has begun; let us be glad and joyful and give praise to God, because this is the time for the marriage of the Lamb." (Rv.19:7).

Those who say that good deeds don't count or that God doesn't judge His people by their behavior, need to look at the words written in Revelation concerning the linen of the Bride: "His bride is ready, and she has been able to dress herself in dazzling white linen, because her linen is made of the good deeds of the saints." (Rv.19:8).

Almost every passage in the Bible tells the same story. "God's solid foundation stone is in position, and this is the inscription on it: 'The Lord knows those who are his own' and 'All who call on the name of the Lord must avoid sin'." (2 Tim.2:19).

"As scripture says, He was free in almsgiving, and gave to the poor: his good deeds will never be forgotten." (2 Cor.9:9).

The gates of heaven will not be opened for everyone. "It is not those who say to me, 'Lord, Lord', who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven." (Mt.7:21-27).

There are some who say that, through faith, grace allows us to live in sin without penalty, because God can no longer see our sins -- so obedience to the Gospel has no impact on salvation. But the picture of the coming judgment painted by the Bible does not support this view.

At the End, all people will be divided into two groups as they stand before the throne of God -- those who helped people on one side, and those who did not on the other.

Jesus said, "If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." (Mt.19:17).

"For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and, when he does, he will reward each one according to his behavior." (Mt.16:27).

Paul warned, "Don't delude yourself into thinking God can be cheated: where a man sows, there he reaps: if he sows in the field of self-indulgence he will get a harvest of corruption out of it; if he sows in the field of the Spirit he will get from it a harvest of eternal life. "

"We must never get tired of doing good because if we don't give up the struggle we shall get our harvest at the proper time. While we have the chance, we must do good to all, and especially to our brothers in the faith."
(Gal.5:7-10).

These terms define the narrow road to salvation that Jesus came from heaven to give to the world and every Christian should commit them to memory and enscribe them on their heart.

Will God relax any of these standards at the Tribunal?

Jesus said, "Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon and you will be pardoned."

"Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back."
(Luke 6:36-38; Mat.7:1-2).

Certainly He did not say this to derail the other commandments, but the latitude inherent in the proclamation proves God's immense mercy for those who are quick to forgive, and offers substantial confirmation that our faith will be rewarded if we never lose hope in His promise of eternal life.


The Last Days of Babylon


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