The verb "judge" in the Hebrew is "din" in the Greek is "krises" means to "discern", "sift" or "make manifest". This concept of discerning or sifting reminds us of the parable of the sheep and the goats.
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all his holy angels with him, then will he sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. He shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King shall say to those on his right hand, "Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me." Then the righteous will answer him saying "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink ? .... " and the King will answer and say to them "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it for me". Then will he say to those on the left hand. "Depart from me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels, for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink. I was a stranger and you did not take me in, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and you did not visit me." Then they also will answer him saying, "Lord when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to you ?" Then he will answer them saying, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it for the least of these, you did not do it for me." And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matthew 25:31 - 46).
There are a couple of important things to note about this passage.
We are also reminded that the wisdom of Solomon came from God (1 Kings 3: 5 - 12), therefore the judgments of God will also display this same wisdom. It is good to fear God (Proverbs 9:10). But our God is a good and just God who does things for a purpose. In testing the hearts of the nations and allowing those who are worthy according to their deeds to enter into the "kingdom prepared for them", God will not only remove evil intent from the new world, but draw praise and worship from those who are thus saved from destruction. Let us consider some verses which convey the hope we have in God's judgment:
"Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad and let them say among the nations 'The Lord reigns'. Let the sea roar, and all its fullness. Let the fields rejoice and all that is in it. Then the trees of the wood shall rejoice before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth" (1 Chronicles 16:31-33). "Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy ! For You shall judge the people righteously and govern the nations on earth. Let the peoples praise You, O God. Let all the peoples praise You. Then the earth shall yield her increase. God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him" (Psalm 67:4-7). "Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad. Let the sea roar and all its fullness be joyful and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the wood will rejoice before the Lord for He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the earth with righteousness and the peoples with His truth" (Psalm 96:11 - 13). "The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice. Let the multitudes of isles be glad" (Psalm 97:1). "Let the sea roar, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell in it. Let the rivers clap their hands. Let the hills be joyful together before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth. With righteousness He shall judge the world and the peoples with equity" (Psalm 98:7 - 9).
Obviously it is a time in which the righteous can rejoice.
There is one verse from Isaiah which also places an entirely new light on the "judgments" of God. Consider:
"My soul yearns for you in the night, my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness." (Isaiah 26:9)We may be confident that God's judgments will be in the earth during the reign of Jesus and His Saints in the Millennial Kingdom. We are also confident that the world will be inhabited by nations when Jesus returns to establish this Kingdom. Therefore we may be confident that these nations will "learn righteousness" during this time. It is interesting to look at the original Hebrew word translated here as learn. It is "lamad" which means "learn or accustom one self to". So this passage could also be read as "when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world accustom them selves to righteousness." This is a profound thought ! It also gives us an even better understanding of God's Eternal Purpose and its ultimate fulfillment.
WHAT ABOUT THE CHURCH ?There is one thing in which we can all be confident. We shall all give an account to Christ for our actions (2 Corinthians 5:10). For the church, our time of trial begins now, "for the time has come for judgment to begin at the household of God" (1 Peter 4:17). Our faith is already being tested. "Now for a little season, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials that the genuineness of your faith, which is much more precious than gold ... may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:6 - 7).
We are on trial during this present evil age, "for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17). It is for this reason that God has permitted us to endure evil. To those who overcome (Revelation chapters 2 and 3) the rewards are beyond measure:
We have been called to a much higher calling. The Church is a mystery, hidden in past ages, but now revealed. We have been set aside by God to form the new heavens, for "God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ -- by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus". (Ephesians 2:4-7)
Created: 23 - Jan - 1997.