THE FINAL JUDGMENTS

THE FINAL JUDGMENTS Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

It seems, as we approach the return of Christ to the earth, passages of the Scriptures are being emphasized that we may not have noticed previously. Of all the wealth of understanding that is coming forth, there is one simple, practical idea to be gained. It is this: if we hope to be raised from the dead, ascend to meet Christ in the air, and then return with Him to participate in the work of installing the Kingdom of God on the earth, we must press into Christ with all our might during each day of the remainder of our life.

In fact, if we are to be able to stand in victory and assist other people when Divine judgment sweeps across America, we will have to be living in the Presence of Christ and interacting with Him at all times. No casual, lukewarm professor of Christ will be able serve God when the full darkness of the age of moral and physical horrors covers the United States.

Table of Contents

The Final Judgments of God’s Elect   

    Who are God's elect?     The judgment of the called     The judgment of the chosen     The judgment of the faithful

The Final Judgments of the Nations

    The judgment of the sheep     The judgment of the goats     The concluding judgment of the world

THE FINAL JUDGMENTS

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. (John 5:28,29)

There is a simplicity in the above passage that has been obscured.

The Divine truth is, the body of every person who has been born on the earth will come back to life, at one time or another. There is no exception to this.

The people who have done good will rise to live.

The people who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

The Christian message of grace has been so warped that this passage is ignored. We say that if we "accept Christ" we can do evil and yet rise to live. Thus we have invalidated one of the clearest of all the statements made in the Bible.

No matter how we twist and turn in our theological acrobatics, the eternal truth shall prevail: The people who have done good will rise to live; the people who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

If such is the case, where does the salvation that is through Christ enter this simple statement? The salvation that is through Christ forgives our sins of the past, and then Divine grace enables us to be transformed. If there is no transformation we have not entered the new covenant and remain under condemnation.

The new covenant, the Christian covenant, is the writing of God’s eternal moral laws in our mind and heart. As long as this transformation is occurring, as long as Christ is being formed in us, our sins are being forgiven. We are being changed into the image of Christ.

But if we are not cooperating with the Holy Spirit in the work of re-creation, if the eternal moral law of God is not being written in our mind and heart, if no new creation is coming forth, then our sins are not being forgiven. We are not walking in the light. We may be making a profession of faith in Christ, but the new covenant is not operating in our personality.

If we continue to do evil, we will rise to be condemned, whether or not we profess belief in Jesus Christ. The new covenant is not a Divine device to bring wicked people into Paradise. If this were the case, then all would be lost. There would be no hope for a new world of righteousness.

Fortunately, God’s Word has not been altered by the current emphasis on lawless grace. God’s power through Jesus Christ is taking sinful people and making them new creations of righteous behavior, and these shall rise to eternal life in the coming world of righteousness.

The Final Judgments of God’s Elect

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

Who are God’s elect?

"Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites. (Exodus 19:5,6)

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)

God’s elect are those people whom God has chosen from the beginning of the world to belong to Him in a unique way. They are God’s household, His family.

To those who would maintain every person on earth is called to be saved, we would answer along two lines. First, it indeed is true that God is not willing that any perish but that all come to the truth of salvation.

Second, the very term "church" means called out. To deny that God has chosen a minority of the people on the earth to be His own family among the nations of the world is to deny many passages of the Scriptures.

If we are to be scriptural we must hold to the fact that, beginning with the Patriarch Abraham, specific people have been called by the Lord. We do not mean called to be saved, we mean called to be especially close to the Lord so they may be used to accomplish His purpose. God’s ultimate purpose is to bring Himself and all His creatures to complete, perfect joy.

In the ages to come there will be nations of people who are experiencing eternal life in the new world of righteousness but who are not members of the elect. The elect are portrayed by the holy city, the new Jerusalem. The nations of saved people are the inheritance of the elect and are governed and blessed by the elect.

As for the elect:

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)

As for the nations of saved people:

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (Revelation 21:24)

The elect are the Kingdom of God. The saved people of the nations of the earth are the inheritance of the elect—of Christ and of the members of the Body of Christ who are coheirs with Christ.

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. (Psalms 2:8)

The Kingdom, which is the Church, God’s elect, is the inheritance of the saved people of the nations.

Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." (Matthew 25:34)

God loves the people whom He has created. Therefore He is forming the members of the elect into the image of Christ so the people of the nations whom God chooses to save may have rulers and priests to help them maintain Paradise on the earth.

The Old Testament and the New show clearly that the Church, or Israel, is a holy nation of priests set in the earth to be the moral light of the world.

The people and activities of the world have been and still are expendable as God works to perfect His elect in the image of Christ. However, once the elect have attained the stature of the fullness of Christ, God will use these brothers of Christ to serve the needs of the multitudes of people whom God admits to the new world of righteousness. The elect will serve as trees of life, being sources of God’s Life for the peoples of the earth.

We see this pattern operating today as mature Christians are able to be sources of eternal life to people to whom the Spirit guides them. The difference today, as compared to the future, is that now those who are made alive become part of the Church itself; for we are in the Church Age, the period when God is creating the Body of Christ.

The judgment of the called.

And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)

Predestined; called; justified; glorified. Notice that these all are past tense. They reflect the vision God holds concerning each member of His elect.

But in between justification and glorification are found the numerous exhortations and admonitions directed toward the elect by the early apostles. These exhortations and admonitions reveal that our predestination and election do not insure our glorification. The calling of God on our life—every aspect of it—is an opportunity. We choose to grasp that for which we have been grasped, or we neglect our salvation.

Let me present some verses addressed to God’s elect that reveal the danger of not leaving all and following Christ, once we have been called.

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, 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. (Revelation 3:4,5)

Here is a warning to the Christian believers in Sardis. The white robe is that of the royal priesthood. If there were no danger of our name, once having been written in the Book of Life, being blotted out, why would Christ issue such a warning? It is clear that only a minority of the believers in Sardis were judged as worthy to be a member of the royal priesthood. Something to think seriously about!

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. (Revelation 3:11)

Obviously if there were no danger of someone taking from us our authority of rulership, our place in the governing priesthood, the above words would be so much foolishness.

And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30)

The Lord Jesus is referring to one of His servants to whom had been entrusted some resources of His Kingdom. Since in this instance the resources were not wisely administered, the resources were taken from the worthless servant and he himself was thrown into the darkness.

Will the judgment of the talents take place during the believer’s lifetime; or when Jesus next comes; or at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age at the general resurrection and judgment of the world?

I would say at the next coming of the Lord, and applied to living believers who will be driven in their body into spiritual darkness when He appears.

However, it seems to me that even in the present life there are Christians who forfeit what God has given them. Their gifts are given to another, and they themselves enter spiritual darkness.

The judgment of the talents does not appear to fit the time when the world is judged, at the end of the thousand-year period, because the judgment of the talents has to do with God’s elect. Notice that the emphasis is not on bodily lusts and passions in which they may have indulged but on their lack of fervent discipleship.

We shall not escape if we neglect our great salvation!

I think we need more preaching on this today. We are spending our efforts on attempting to get people saved, while the people who have been converted are in danger of severe punishment because of their lack of diligence and their ignorance of Jesus Christ and His demands! When are we going to turn our attention toward God’s elect? Some of them are in pitiful condition!

And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3)

In the present hour the Holy Spirit appears to be raising up ministries that are able to deal with the emotional and mental distress of the believers. The members of Christian families often are distraught because of emotional and domestic conflicts. They are not able to live the victorious life in Christ because of their personal problems and weaknesses. They need to be ministered to.

Christ will help every member of His elect who comes to the throne of grace for wisdom and strength.

The New Testament warnings to the elect who are not serving the Lord are severe:

I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (Revelation 2:23)

The above is addressed to Christians of the church in Thyatira, obviously members of the elect, of those whom God has called.

But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. (Matthew 25:10)

The virgins represent members of God’s elect. They had their lamps, their Bibles, and also the oil of the Holy Spirit. But some had been lazy and careless and thus were denied entrance to the Presence of the Lord when the Bridegroom arrived.

When reviewing the dire warnings directed toward the Lord’s servants we might conclude that the doctrine of "eternal security" is a deadly error that has influenced Christian thinking. It does away with the several passages that point toward the danger of not following the Lord with a whole heart.

But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. "Friend," he asked, "how did you get in here without wedding clothes?" The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, "Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." For many are invited, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:11-14)

The king had sent out his servant to invite people to come to the wedding banquet. This represents the calling of the Lord, or election. But notice that if the individual was not properly dressed he, as in the case of the servant who did not use his talent, was thrown into the darkness.

Many are invited, or called, but few are chosen.

Invited to what?

Chosen for what?

Do those who have been invited but not chosen meet with the approval of the King, and participate with Him in the abundance of the Kingdom? Apparently not, from the above parable.

Predestined; called; justified; glorified. All past tense, but in between justification and glorification there is the danger of grave consequences, perhaps to the point of being removed permanently from membership in the royal family.

After having reviewed the above passages, and others of similar import, I have concluded that if the elect do not respond as they should they are in real trouble. Whether they finally will be removed from the Vine, from Christ, I am not certain. Christ has stated that the branch that does not bear fruit shall be removed from the Vine, from Himself.

The Bible states that God’s calling is without repentance. I know that the names of the sons of Jacob are on the gates of the New Jerusalem, the glorified Christian Church, and they were not perfect.

If it is true that God eventually will redeem His called who failed to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, then I believe two facts are evident: first, they will not govern with the Lord Jesus Christ; second, they will be punished severely until they are ready to serve Christ.

If I were a Christian but not serving the Lord I would not gamble on eventually being redeemed. I would be terrified at the possibility of being left in the outer darkness for eternity, there to weep, wail, and gnash my teeth.

Incidentally, as far as I can determine, the fate of the outer darkness is reserved for Christ’s servants. I see no evidence in the Scripture of a member of the nations, someone who has not been called, being placed in the outer darkness. This punishment seems to be reserved for the Lord’s servants.

The elect, then, either press forward to the ranks of the chosen, or else are chastised severely by the Lord.

The judgment of the chosen.

Then Jesus replied, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!" (John 6:70)

Multitudes followed the Lord Jesus because He fed them with bread and fish. But when He began to speak to them concerning eating His flesh and drinking His blood, instead of bread and fish, they left Christ by the thousands, including many of His disciples.

Twelve men remained. One of these was Judas Iscariot.

Christ included Judas as one of the chosen. Isn’t this interesting?

On what basis did these twelve pass from the ranks of the called, or invited, to the ranks of the chosen?

I think it was because they stayed with Christ when He no longer was acting in a manner that appealed to most people. Instead of presenting the people with bread and fish He was offering them His body and blood.

So it is that many are called but few chosen. The Gospel call goes out. The net is let down. But at the end of the age the angels will cast out that which is worthless.

If we are to pass from the called to the chosen we must stay with Christ when the way becomes unpopular. So many start off in the grand Gospel parade. But how many still are carrying their cross behind Christ twenty years later? These are the chosen.

To what are we called? We are called to a place in God’s family of elect people.

For what are we chosen? We are chosen to be close to Christ, to walk with Him through His suffering and His glory.

What can we say about the sentence passed on the chosen?

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. (Matthew 19:28-30)

This last part, "many who are last will be first," may be related to what I stated at the beginning. There are passages of the Scriptures that previously have not been emphasized but now are coming into focus. We are of the "last," and, as the Lord promised, we have the opportunity of entering the fullness of the glory of the Kingdom of God.

We understand, therefore, that the sentence passed on those who are chosen is to share the riches of the inheritance with the Lord Jesus.

One may ask, "Can an individual be chosen and then be condemned?"

Apparently so. Christ stated that He had chosen Judas, even though He knew Judas was a devil. Judas was invited into the fellowship and then was designated as one of the Twelve.

However:

While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. (John 17:12)

The Authorized Version may be a bit clearer:

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. (John 17:12—KJV)

Christ kept those whom God had given Him, and only Judas was lost. The Scripture referred to may be as follows:

Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. (Psalms 41:9)

We note in the following verse that Christ had removed Judas from the ranks of the chosen.

I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me. (John 13:18)

I say all this to show that even though the Bible states we have been predestined, called, justified, and glorified, our calling, and even our being chosen, remains an opportunity. Wonderful opportunities accompanied by great dangers.

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, (II Peter 1:10)

The judgment of the faithful.

They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. (Revelation 17:14)

There are three categories mentioned in the above passage:

The called.

The chosen.

The faithful.

After we have passed into the ranks of the chosen we then must be proven faithful.

God tests our faithfulness with grueling trials that tax our patience to the limit.

We are placed in situations we detest and are required to continue in them, sometimes for many years.

That which we desire intensely is withheld from us for a long period of time.

What shall we do? Shall we remove ourselves from the distressing situation? In order to do so we may have to break God’s laws.

When we are in distress we always are to pray, taking nothing for granted. It often is true that we have not because we ask not. But we never are to break God’s moral laws, or betray other people, in order to restore our personal happiness.

I think many Americans of our day have a misconception of the Christian discipleship. Christianity is being sold as a means of enabling us to live a happy, prosperous American life. It is not this. True discipleship is a patient way of denial and discipline. The Lord gives us joy; but in the world we have tribulation.

The surest way to be deceived is to attempt to make our sin-cursed world a paradise.

The person without integrity takes the path of pleasure even though he may have to act unrighteously.

The person with integrity takes the path of righteousness whether or not it is pleasurable.

It is right at this point, the point of pleasure, that multitudes of American Christians may deny Christ during the next few years.

The purpose of our life on the earth is to prepare us for the real world to come. We are tested, tested, tested all the day long. God is determining what is in our heart—to see what we would do were we entrusted with the riches of the Kingdom of God, the things God has prepared for those who love Him.

It may be that the rewards to the chosen, and then to the faithful, are much the same. This may be portrayed in the fact that there was one Tabernacle of the Congregation, and yet it was divided into two parts.

I am suggesting, however, that the faithful who have come from the ranks of the chosen may be raised to higher thrones than is true of the chosen.

I am not interested in encouraging little groups of believers who believe themselves to be living an unusually exalted life. But there is evidence in the Scriptures that there are high goals worth pressing toward.

For example:

These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4)

It may be true that these were taken from among the chosen but were especially faithful.

It reminds us of the three on the Mount of Transfiguration.

Also of the first three of David’s mighty men.

These are the names of David’s mighty men: Josheb-Basshebeth,  a Tahkemonite,  was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter. Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty men, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered at Pas Dammim  for battle. Then the men of Israel retreated, But he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead. Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from them. But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the LORD brought about a great victory. (II Samuel 23:8-12)

Josheb-Basshebeth, Eleazar, and Shammah. It is interesting that the heroes of Israel were warriors rather than businessmen or farmers.

There were thirty mighty men, outstanding warriors of Israel. But three were of note among them because of their prowess in battle. The Holy Spirit makes these distinctions for a reason, because the Old Testament was written for our admonition.

The Song of Solomon refers to one who was mightier than her sisters, and perhaps was charged with the upbringing of her sisters.

We have a young sister, and her breasts are not yet grown. What shall we do for our sister for the day she is spoken for? If she is a wall, we will build towers of silver on her. If she is a door, we will enclose her with panels of cedar. I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers. Thus I have become in his eyes like one bringing contentment. (Song of Solomon 8:8-10)

Also, a distinction may be found in the following:

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)

It is possible that "those who had been given authority to judge" are not the same as "those who had been beheaded . . . ."

The Lord Jesus told us that some would reap a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold. The Seed that is sown and the crop that is reaped is Christ—Christ in us. Let each one of us press forward that we may reap a hundredfold, and thus be of greater use to God in His Kingdom.

We have just finished discussing the final judgments of God’s elect.

We noticed that those who are called either pass forward into the ranks of the chosen, or else are driven from Christ’s Presence as being lazy, wicked servants, not worthy of the Kingdom.

The chosen are tested repeatedly to determine the degree of their faithfulness.

The faithful are entrusted with the crown of righteousness and life, the authority to govern the creation with the power of eternal, incorruptible resurrection life.

Now that we have considered the destinies of the elect we will turn our attention to the people of the nations of the earth who have not been called to be members of the governing priesthood.

The Final Judgments of the Nations

I trust we have made clear to this point that there are two groups of people who will be saved from destruction in the Day of Wrath. There are the members of God’s elect, and then there are the members of the nations of the earth whom God did not call to be members of the royal priesthood, of the elect.

Christian thinking often has it that people who are not members of the Church, the elect, are all cast into the Lake of Fire. If this were the case, Christ and His brothers would have no inheritance.

God did not call Abraham from Ur so he would go to Heaven and everyone else on earth would be thrown into everlasting fire. Rather God, perceiving that people never would be able to maintain Paradise on the earth were God to restore it to mankind, set about to call out, beginning with Abraham and Sarah, a Church, a group of people who would represent Himself to the rest of the world.

God is judging His household today, according to the fourth chapter of First Peter. God’s people are being dealt with concerning their love of the Antichrist world spirit, the lusts and passions of their flesh and soul, and their self-will and personal ambition. This judgment is taking place among the living elect and the dead elect as well. The dead elect are deceased as far as the physical body is concerned, but they live before God in the spirit realm.

But what about the majority of people, those who have not been called to be members of the royal priesthood? We now will address ourselves to the judgment of the nations.

The following event will take place, as we understand it, at the conclusion of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. It is part of the second resurrection, the general resurrection from the dead.

I have gone back and forth on the timing of the "sheep and goat" judgment, as some of my earlier writings will reveal. Sometimes I am convinced the sheep and goat judgment is the same as the general resurrection of the dead, which occurs at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. This concluding judgment often is referred to as the "White Throne" judgment. We must remember, however, the White Throne judgment is an integral part of the Judgment Seat of Christ even though it deals with people who are not part of God’s elect.

On other occasions I am convinced the sheep and goat judgment will take place at the next coming of the Lord to the earth. As I prayed and thought this afternoon about the placing of the sheep and goat judgment, I have decided that the sheep and goat judgment fits best at the final judgment at the conclusion of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

However, neither decision affects the thesis of the present essay, as I see it. It is all one judgment in any case!.

The characters present in the sheep and goat judgment are as follows:

The Lord Jesus Christ, the greatest of all Kings, on His massive throne.

Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, (John 5:22)

For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:31)

Seated with Christ on His throne are His brothers.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? (Revelation 6:2)

God the Father is present, but He is in Christ and in Christ’s brothers, so He is not seen. This was true when Christ was on the earth previously.

All of Christ’s angels are with him.

Standing before Christ and His brothers are the nations of the earth. Included would be every individual who was not raised at the first resurrection, the resurrection of the royal priesthood.

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. (Revelation 20:12)

The judgment of the sheep.

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. (Matthew 25:31-33)

The "sheep" are the people we have been referring to when we speak of those who are saved but not members of the royal priesthood.

Incidentally, there are not sheep and goat nations. The sheep are people drawn out from the nations and the goats also are people drawn out from the nations. I think the New International Version is correct when it states "he will separate the people one from another," rather than separate the nations one from another.

Two facts are of special interest: first, the sheep enter eternal life, not in the manner we usually think of when we picture people being saved, but on the basis of how they treated the Lord’s brothers. We have developed a specific formula by which people "accept Christ," but Christ can work in many different ways as we see here. Remember, Christ directed Saul to be an apostle before Saul took the "four steps of salvation."

We need to gain a greater breadth of understanding, and also a sense of God’s timing, when we concern ourselves with getting people saved.

The second fact of special interest is that of the reward given to those who had assisted the brothers of Christ.

Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." (Matthew 25:34)

The Kingdom of God is the Church, God’s elect, the new Jerusalem. This is what the sheep inherit. They will be admitted to the new world of righteousness and will receive eternal life from the members of the Body of Christ, who have become life-giving spirits.

The purpose of the ascended Christ in giving gifts and ministries to us is that we might build each member of the Body of Christ to the stature of the fullness of Christ.

The purpose of bringing each member to the stature of the fullness of Christ is that God might have a vehicle for bringing His Presence and will to the sheep of the nations and to give them eternal life. This is why the Holy Spirit and the members of the Bride of the Lamb invite the sheep to come and drink freely of the incorruptible Life of Christ.

The nations will stand before Christ and His saints. The people whose names are found written in the Book of Life will be admitted to the new world of righteousness, as we have stated, and will be governed and blessed by the members of the royal priesthood. They are our inheritance. It is for their good, the good of the sheep, that God has called us from their ranks and dealt with us until we become His witnesses, His Presence and covenant among mankind.

The judgment of the goats.

Then he will say to those on his left, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41)

Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (Matthew 25:46)

The above two verses are the main reason I have on occasion placed the "sheep and goat" judgment after the thousand-year Kingdom Age, that is, at the time of the general resurrection of the dead. It seems difficult to me to think of people being cast into the eternal fire prior to the final judgment. I have felt rather that prior to the final judgment the wicked are sent to Hell, or into the outer darkness. Entrance into the Lake of Fire, except for Antichrist and the False Prophet, would not take place until the final judgment, according to my thinking at times.

If, however, we place the sheep and goat judgment when the Lord next appears, then there will be people led away into the eternal fire at that time. They would be put there in their bodies, as also will be true of Antichrist and the False Prophet.

Notice, in connection with this:

"From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me," says the LORD. "And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind." (Isaiah 66:23,23)

"Look upon the dead bodies"!

The wicked will be thrown into the eternal fire in their bodies!

What great wickedness have the goats practiced? They have not assisted the Lord’s brothers when they were in distress.

This fact reveals we do not understand how God judges. People are thrown into the eternal fire for no reason other than not assisting Christ’s witnesses.

We have our own ideas of what constitutes wickedness. Usually we think of murder, rape, and the molesting of children. These indeed are great sins. However, they are the chains of darkness that bind the flesh of human beings—who themselves are little more than intelligent dust.

The major transgressions in God’s sight have to do with speaking evil of the Holy Spirit, or not assisting the King when He has need.

There are many people who behave righteously. They tell the truth, are honest in their business practices, and are devoted to their families. But they have no place for Christ in their lives. God cannot accept this type of person. He is his own god, and God will not have another god in the universe. God knows this individual is a potential Satan.

God can forgive every kind of sin and perversion, because we inherited these chains as the result of the disobedience of Adam and Eve. God readily can forgive these and deliver us from their power when we call on Him in Jesus’ name.

But when a person says to God, "I do not need You, I am able to conduct my own life in a satisfactory manner," then God is helpless; for God will not violate the will of any individual.

He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward. (Matthew 10:40-42)

Whoever gives a disciple a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, it is as though he gave it to Christ Himself; and he shall be rewarded appropriately. This is because the individual, though he himself is not a disciple, respects God and God’s servant. God sees that attitude and values it. He will bring that person into His Kingdom.

So the sentence passed on the goats may seem unnecessarily harsh, in light of the fact that their only transgression was to not assist God’s ambassadors. But by this neglect they were showing their contempt for God. The only place for such is the eternal fire; for were they to be brought into the new world of righteousness they, as Satan did, would soon be setting their will against God. Then others would follow them. Before long we would be back to every form of corruption, agony, insanity, and death—that which has characterized the history of the world since the days of Eden.

God knows precisely what He is doing. He gave His Son to die on the cross for our sins. What more can He do?

In His love He has offered us a place in His palace as sons and daughters. He also has developed a plan that will save us from the destruction caused by those who think they are wiser than God.

The concluding judgment of the world.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 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. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)

According to my understanding, every individual except for the members of the royal priesthood, who were raised previously at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, will now stand in his or her body before the throne of Christ and His saints.

He or she will stand on some sort of spiritual support, for the earth and sky have fled from the Face of Christ.

It often is taught that every person who stands before Christ in the concluding judgment of mankind will be lost. The reasoning is, that since each individual was judged according to what he had done, and "no person can be saved by works," therefore all who are raised at this time will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.

This is a glib syllogism with no real support in scriptural truth.

Do you remember the earlier passage that I stated has been obscured by our theological acrobatics?

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. (John 5:28,29)

"Those who have done good will rise to live."

Those who have done good!

We have misunderstood the Apostle Paul, and the plan of salvation. Throughout the Church Age God has been bringing the elect to Christ for salvation, and then for training to become competent members of the royal priesthood. Their first "good" is to receive Christ. After that, their "good" is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as the Spirit conforms them to the stature of the fullness of Christ. Paul warned them, first the Jews and then the Gentiles, that they cannot look to the Law of Moses for their righteousness. They must be found in Christ if they are to be righteous, and the purpose of the Law is to bring them to Christ, not to serve as a supplementary righteousness.

But what about the rest of mankind, those who have not been born again; who do not have the Holy Spirit; to whom the Scriptures are a sealed vision? What about them? Are they all to be cast into the Lake of Fire?

No, assuredly not. They will be judged as to how they treated the brothers of the Lord. The remainder, probably the majority, will be judged according to their conscience. Our conscience is the moral law of God written in our personality.

All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, Since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. (Romans 2:12-16)

When we are speaking of the concluding judgment of the world, we are referring to "the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ."

At that time people will be judged according to whatever standards have been available to them. Noah was judged to be righteous, according to the Bible. What standard was available to Noah? Not the Law of Moses, because that came into existence a long time later.

On what basis, then, did the Lord judge Noah to be righteous?

The LORD then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. (Genesis 7:1)

By his righteousness Noah saved himself and his family.

But on what basis was Noah declared righteous?

By the Law of Moses? No!

By accepting Christ as his personal Savior? No!

On what basis was Noah declared righteous?

On the basis of his righteous behavior, as he obeyed the standards set by his conscience.

Therefore, when we state that all people raised at the concluding judgment of the world are judged according to what they had done, and therefore are thrown into the Lake of Fire because "we are saved by grace and not by works," we are claiming that every individual prior to the coming of Christ will be thrown into the Lake of Fire because there never has been a righteous person (according to our formula).

Such religious reasoning is contrary to the Scriptures, to common sense, and to our ordinary feeling concerning righteousness and fairness.

Fortunately, Christian teaching is incorrect in this instance.

The truth is, "If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

The language of the above statement indicates it will be a minority of individuals, the truly wicked of mankind, who will partake of that worst of all fates. They have ridden over the promptings of conscience until God finally has given them a mind void of judgment.

God says to such: "You are not worthy of being redeemed. I never want to see you again or hear your voice. You belong in the fire reserved for the devil and his angels."

The righteous will inherit eternal life because of their persistence in doing good.

God "will give to each person according to what he has done."  To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. (Romans 2:6-8)

When the concluding judgment of the world has been accomplished, and the self-seeking have been thrown into the Lake of Fire, those whose names were found written in the Book of Life (likely the vast majority) will be brought into the new earth. There they will be ministered to by the Lord’s trees of life, who will issue eternal life to them. God will be among them and will love and bless them.

However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. (I Corinthians 2:9,10)

What a wonderful new world will be all about them. Soon they will discover they can travel to the new Jerusalem, the city of God. There they can be healed and receive the Life of Christ. They will be governed by kings who have been conformed to the image of Christ. They have helped the King in His hour of need, and thus have inherited the Kingdom and eternal life.

The whole world will be lighted by the Light of Christ, just as was true in the first three days of the creation of the world, an environment fated to become the valley of the shadow of death, the crucible from which the sheep came. The Light of the Glory of God may be in the colors of the rainbow, for the Holy Spirit is as seven lamps burning before the Throne of God, the throne encircled by the rainbow resembling an emerald.

This is a world beyond all the utopian dreams of the most imaginative of dreamers, a fantastic environment that will surpass the original Garden of Eden to the extent that those found worthy to be sons of the resurrection will surpass in glory the intelligent dust of the animal forms of Adam and Eve.

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Whoever will choose to do so may press forward and upward into the fullness of inheritance, the fullness of God. Christ has made this possible for us by His death on the cross. Let us not be lazy and neglectful but diligent disciples, bearing patiently throughout our various trials until we hear that most desirable of all verdicts: "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter the joy of your Lord."