The Righteous Judgment
One of the most searching questions ever posed was, “…who warned you to flee from the wrath to come (Mt 3:7; Lk 3:7)?” It is the wrath of God against the ungodly and unrighteous that is being revealed (Rom 1:18), albeit slowly, today (2 Pet 3:9). God is a righteous judge and a God who has indignation everyday (Ps 7:11). He hates those who do iniquity (Ps 5:5; 11:5), even from the womb (Rom 9:13).
God is not slack, but He would have none of His own to be lost or perish (2 Pet 3:9). God’s elect (Eph 1:4–5), redeemed (Rom 5:8; 1 Pet 1:18–19), regenerate (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13; 1 Pet 1:3) were chosen by God for salvation (2 Thess 2:13). God in Christ saved us from God’s wrath (1 Thess 1:10), resulting from His righteous judgment against Jesus on the cross (1 Pet 2:22–24; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10).
There is a further judgment, His judgment by fire (Is 66:10; 2 Pet 3:10). Here, we will explore God’s righteous judgment, with the light of revelation, as in the noon day (Ps 37:6). In other words, the Bible has much to reveal to us about God’s righteous judgment to come.
First, who is the righteous Judge? As we have already noted, God is the righteous judge (Ps 7:11) and the heavens declare His righteousness (Ps 50:6). The psalmist also revealed that God was coming to judge the earth, the world in righteousness (Ps 96:13). In faithfulness, God will deal justly as judge of all the earth (Gen 18:25).
Scripture further reveals that God has appointed Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Acts 10:42) and Son of Man, to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man (Jn 5:22, 27), having taken on flesh and having dwelt among us (Jn 1:14). God’s approval of Jesus, as Judge, was proven by God raising Jesus from the dead (Acts 17:31). Jesus will not be alone as many thousands of His holy ones, the armies of heaven on white horses, will be with Him (Mt 25:31; Jude 14–15; Rev 19:14), on that most historical day of culmination.
Second, when will Jesus judge? God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31). It is a day known only to the Father (Mt 24:36). On that day, God’s glorious appearing and His kingdom will come (2 Tim 4:1).
The day will appear as a thief, suddenly (1 Thess 5:2; 2 Pet 3:10); or as lightning that strikes without warning (Mt 24:27); or as with the flood in the days of Noah, when it began to rain (Mt 24:37). It will be sudden destruction (1 Thess 5:3). Jesus assured His disciples that they would not know the day of His coming, but for this reason they should always be on the alert (Mt 24:42). This is the final day of history, for this present evil age and the present heavens and earth (Gal 1:4; 2 Pet 3:7).
Jesus’ ministry on the Mount of Olives (Olivet Discourse) revealed much of what we know of this appointed day in history (Mt 24–25; Mk 13; Lk 21). The Apostles Paul (1 Thess 4:13–5:11; 2 Thess 2), Peter (2 Pet 3), Jude (6–7, 15), and John (Rev 19:11–21) all contribute something, too. They add to God’s revelation of the Day of the Lord given to the prophets of the Old Testament.
Third, whom will Jesus judge? Jesus will judge the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5), all those who live on the face of the earth (Lk 21:35), and all those who will be resurrected to judgment (Jn 5:28–29; 1 Thess 4:16). This includes the righteous and the wicked (Eccl 3:17). The dead are to be judged under God’s wrath, but the righteous will receive their reward (Rev 11:18), for they are blessed of God their Father (Mt 25:34). He has prepared a kingdom for them from the foundation of the world.
Those who heard and believed Jesus’ Word, having been given eternal life, will not come into the judgment because they have passed from death to life (Jn 5:24). These were not destined to wrath but for the obtaining of salvation (1 Thess 5:9). The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation (2 Pet 3:7) and deliver them from wrath (1 Thess 1:10). Therefore, the righteous will receive their reward (Ps 58:11), their crowns (2 Tim 4:8; Jas 1:12; 1 Pet 5:4), their inheritance, the kingdom (Mt 19:29; 25:34).
The wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous (Ps 1:5). The unrighteous are kept by God under punishment for the day of judgment (2 Pet 2:9), as are the angels in hell (2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6). All the ungodly, unrighteous sinners must appear before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10), in order to receive their sentence of punishment for eternity (Mt 25:46). Their sentence is the second death, with the devil and his demons (Mt 25:41), in the eternal lake of fire (Rev 20:14–15).
Fourth, where will Jesus judge? The sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky (Mt 24:30). Jesus is the judge of the whole earth (Gen 18:25). On the Day of the Lord, heaven will open, and the Faithful and True rider of the white horse will descend (Rev 19:11) with a shout, the voice of an archangel and a great trumpet blast (1 Thess 4:16).
Behold, He is coming with the clouds (Rev 1:6) with great power and glory (Mt 24:30; Mk 13:26). The sun will be darkened, and the earth will be shaken (Mk 13:24–25). The nations will gather together to make war with the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:19). The bema seat, His great white and glorious throne will be set up for all nations to appear before Him (Mt 25:31–32; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:11). The enemies of Jesus Christ will be thrown into the lake that burns with fire (Rev 19:20).
On that day and in that place, the living and the dead (now resurrected) will be gathered to Him, even from the sea (Rev 20:13). His angels will be sent to gather the elect from one end of the sky to the other (Mt 24:31). They will be caught up together with the Lord and be with Him, forever (1 Thess 4:17).
Fifth, what will Jesus judge? The secrets of men will be judged (Rom 2:16). Both good deeds and bad will be accounted (2 Cor 5:10). Jesus will judge the people, the world (Ps 9:8; Acts 17:31), and the earth (Ps 58:11; 96:13; 98:9).
Sixth, how will Jesus judge? By the Word of God, people will be judged on the last day (Jn 12:48). Moses is the accuser (Law of God). The Holy Spirit is the One who convicts the world of sin (Jn 16:8), and Jesus, the Word, is Judge of all. With the Word of His mouth being as a double-edged sword, Jesus wages war and strikes down the nations (Rev 1:16; 19:11, 15).
This will be the day of separation for the righteous and the wicked, all nations, the wheat and the tares, the sheep and the goats (Mt 24:41; 25:31–33). His own will join Him in judging the angels (1 Cor 6:3).
In summary, we have learned that Jesus is the judge of all (Heb 12:23). He is coming to judge at God’s appointed time. The whole earth, along with everything and everyone in it will be judged by fire (2 Pet 3:10–12). The final judgment by fire is true and righteous (Rev 16:7; 19:2).
Finally, all people, everywhere must be assured that Jesus’ judges with perfect justice (Rev 19:11). All judgment is His (Jn 5:22), and His judgment is upon all the ungodly (Jude 15). Therefore, Christians must be sober and stay alert (Mk 13:33–36; 1 Thess 5:6), as a soldier ready for warfare (Eph 6:10–20; 1 Thess 5:8), as a virgin who looks for and loves the appearing of her Lord (Mt 25:13), the righteous Judge (2 Tim 4:8).
Behold, He is coming quickly for His bride, His church, the Israel of God (Rev 22:20). Together, let us encourage one another and build one another up with the words and knowledge of these end things (1 Thess 5:11), the things of His righteous judgment.
Spokane Valley, Washington
February 6, 2021