THE JUDGMENT OF THE NATIONS

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    [Isaiah:11:10-16]; [Matthew:25:31-46]; [Luke:19:11-27]; [Luke:22:28-30]; [Philippians:2:9-11]; [Revelation:20:1-6].

    Lesson No.: 
    167
    Class: 
    Junior
    Memory Verse: 

    “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).

    Notes: 

    “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
    “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
    “And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
    “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
    “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
    “Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
    “Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
    “When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
    “Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
    “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
    “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
    “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
    "I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
    “Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
    “Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
    “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew:25:31-46).

    The Revelation of Christ having taken place, and the great battle of Armageddon having been fought to the complete defeat of those who rose up against Christ and the armies of Heaven, the next step in the chain of great events in God’s plan of the ages will be the setting up of Christ’s Kingdom on earth. This Kingdom is called the Millennium, or the Golden Age. It is 1,000 years in length and will be a time of great joy, especially for the redeemed, for the curse will be lifted and Satan will be bound. He will not be able to deceive the nations any more until the thousand years are finished. It will be a time when judgment will be righteously administered. And this judgment, of which Christ is the head Judge and His overcoming saints who may be called “associate judges,” is called the Judgment of the Nations.

    The Judgments in God’s Plan
    The expression “general judgment” is not to be found in Scripture. Its use by some has caused a great deal of misunderstanding and has resulted in some opinions and teachings that are contrary to the teachings of the Bible. But there is a sense in which the term may be used correctly. The judgments of God are general in the sense that all will be judged (Romans:14:10; II Corinthians:5:10), but not in the sense that all will be judged at the same time.

    It is not compatible with normal reasoning to say that the saints who are taken to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and the Tribulation saints who are resurrected at His Revelation, in glorified bodies and sitting with Christ on seats of judgment, will stand with the abominable, the murderers, the defilers of mankind, the drunkards, the liars, and all who do iniquity, to be judged. The saints of the First Resurrection will not be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. Some teach, with reasonably good Scriptural authority, that these saints will, instead, sit on the judgment seat with Christ at the Great White Throne Judgment, to judge the sinners appearing there. Therefore, we can see that at least those believers who have been resurrected or raptured and who sit with Christ on thrones and seats of judgment and authority are judged at a time previous to the Great White Throne Judgment.

    Believers, as sinners, are judged in Christ. When Christ died He took the penalty of every man’s sins upon Himself. When His Blood is applied to a heart, and the sins of that person arse washed away, that person is no longer under judgment ([1 Timothy:5:24]). Christ has taken his sins away. They were atoned for in the death of Christ, since Christ has suffered the penalty of sin for us all. And as long as that newborn Christian stays under the Blood of Christ, and does not return to sin, he is free from condemnation, or judgment ([Romans:8:1]). [Read also [John:5:24]; [John:3:17-19], bearing in mind that the literal interpretation of the words condemn and condemnation in Scripture is often judge or judgement.]

    “And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
    “He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
    “And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
    “But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
    “And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
    “Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
    “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
    “And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
    “And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
    “And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
    “For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
    “And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
    “Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
    “And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
    “(And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
    “For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
    “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me” (Luke:19:11-27).

    There will be a judgment of the saints, according to their works. This will not necessarily take place on earth. It probably will be one of the great events at the time of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, for the saints will return with Christ in official position. Scripture seems to indicate they will already be vested with authority. They will be assigned places of responsibility during the Millennial reign of Christ ([1 Thessalonians:4:13-18]; [2 Thessalonians:1:6-10]; [Revelation:5:9-10]; [Revelation:19:11-16]). The judgment for the pardoned sins of these saints is past. That judgment, we have seen, took place on Calvary (Hebrews:9:28). The giving out of rewards to the saints for their righteous acts and deeds will take place before “the judgment seat of Christ,” no doubt at the time of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

    The people of the nations who are on the earth at the Revelation, and who are not destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming, as were those who rose up to oppose Him, will be judged during the Millennium, which, especially for the living nations of non-Christian people, will be one continuous time of judgment ([Revelation:2:27]; [Revelation:19:15]). Christ is Judge of the quick [living] and the dead ([Acts:10:42]; [2 Timothy:4:1]; [1 Peter:1:3-5]). The Church, or overcoming saints, having been caught up in the Rapture, will come with Christ to execute judgment upon the world or living nations ([1 Corinthians:6:2]; [Jude:1:14-15]; [Matthew:13:4-43]). This is the judgment of the quick, or living, upon the earth. The Apostles will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

    “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.
    “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;
    “That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke:22:28-30).

    Those who are killed in the battle of Armageddon, and those who die later, unsaved, will stand before the Great White Throne with all the others, the living and dead of all ages who have not been judged before that time of final judgment. But the Judgment of the Nations is different from the Great White Throne Judgment in that it is a continuous judgment extending through the whole Millennial period and apparently is not a single stroke of judgment as is that of the Great White Throne.

    The Parallels Between God’s and Man’s Judgment Procedure
    In our civil administration we have several different courts that take care of the varied branches of our civil and criminal affairs. A person may appear in court for many different purposes. He may go to determine the validity of a law, to ascertain what his obligations are under a law, or to test the effectiveness of a law for the benefit of others. He may be called before a court to answer to charges against him if he has erred in some way or committed a crime. At these various kinds of sessions he either is sentenced, fined, punished, instructed, or commanded, according to the nature of the charge or purpose that brought him before the bar.

    There are also courts that have the power of life and death over the persons brought before them who are charged with capital crimes. These courts can speak the words that deprive a person of his freedom and also of his life, if they deem that necessary. Such a verdict, when executed, is final, since the life is taken and the nation is freed from the dangers of association with the one who disregarded the rights of others and took another person’s life illegally.

    It is the same with God’s system of judgments, only in an infinitely greater degree. There will be a judgment for the believers in which commendations will be given, rewards will be passed out, and authority meted out as the earthly work and service of the saint recommends ([2 Timothy:4:8]). But there will also be judgments where sentences are passed upon men.

    Men suffer for their misdeeds during life, to a certain extent. This is merciful judgment, so to speak, in the lifetime of every one of us. God deals with us if we err, attempting to show us the error of our ways, and by this method tries to lead us to Him. He draws us with the cords of love that may administer punishment as a means to bring us, when we are wayward, to our senses. There is mercy in such immediate judgments.

    But immediate judgment does not prevent the coming of final judgments ([Hebrews:9:27]). God reserves the right to bring every man to judgment for his unrepented-of and unforgiven sins. This will take place at the last of the Millennium and is known as the Great White Throne Judgment, to which we have already made reference in this lesson. Its fact is taught in many passages of Scripture. Between the Revelation of Christ and the Great White Throne Judgment, in the Millennial period, the judgment of the living nations takes place. This judgment compares somewhat with the many acts of judgment and civil administration in our daily lives.

    The Judgment of the Living Nations
    “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
    “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.
    “And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
    “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” (Revelation:20:1-6).

    The beauty of the first creation of this earth, lost at the time of the fall, will not be seen again until the “manifestation of the sons of God” -– the resurrection of the saints to a glorified state. The world will then be delivered from the curse of sin and all the earth will be a living Paradise.

    Satan will be bound and cast into the bottomless pit for a thousand years and will not be able to tempt or deceive the people of the world during that whole time ([Revelation:20:1-3]). Christ will rule the nations with a rod of iron; nevertheless, it will be a righteous judgment of equity ([Acts:17:31]; [Revelation:19:15]). But if men, through willful choice and deliberate action of their very own, do rebel, they will be judged and punished ([Isaiah:28:17]). Such is the power of a judge in the affairs of a civil court of our nation, and the same will be true during the Golden Age, for Christ will be the absolute Power in the theocratic government of that day.

    For the first time since the fall, men will dwell in the world without temptation by Satan, who is now walking up and down like a roaring lion “seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter:5:8). There will be no more injustice, for Christ’s rule and reign will be right and just ([Jeremiah:23:5-6]). The rich, with their millions, will not oppress the poor, for right judgment shall go froth from Jerusalem ([Micah:4:1-4]). Men shall dwell in safety and security ([Ezekiel:34:25]). This will be one continuous day of judgment, of subjection to the living Judge of the quick and the dead ([Romans:14:10]).

    “And in that day [the day of the Lord] there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
    “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
    “And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
    “The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.
    “But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
    “And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.
    “And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt” (Isaiah:11:10-16).

    It is easy to see the just and righteous pattern of God’s wonderful ways when we look at His revealed Word through even our limited human eyes of mercy, love, and justice. If “the LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked,” if He “hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and [if] the clouds arse the dust of his feet” (Hahum:1:3), then we can be sure that during the thousand years when Satan is bound and Christ rules on this very earth He will act according to His just and righteous ways. There will be no more briberies, perjuries, falsifications of court records, destruction of incriminating evidence, perverting of justice, errors in discernment or administration, or other things because of which mankind now suffers.

    “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him [Jesus], 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” (Philippians:2:9-11).

    Christ, the righteous Judge, will be in full authority ([Zechariah:14:9]). He will know the secrets of all men ([Romans:2:16]). He will judge in righteousness ([Acts:17:31]). He will control all judgment ([Isaiah:45:23]; [John:5:22]; [Romans:14:10-12]; [Philippians:2:10]). He will give rewards to the righteous ([Psalms:58:11]). All will have access to a perfect knowledge of the laws under which they are judged, for those laws will be the Word of God ([Psalms:96:13]; [Isaiah:2:2-4]; [Zechariah:14:16-19]). (It was at the Feast of Tabernacles that the Israelites especially learned the Law of God.)

    This is a time to which we can look forward with joy and not with regret. It is the time for which all creation groans and for which the hearts of all men yearns, even though they are ignorant of what the reality is for which they strive, contend, and work ([Romans:8:18-23]). It will be a glorious time for the resurrected saints of God ([Isaiah:35:1-10]; [Isaiah:65:25]). They will have new bodies -– glorified bodies. The old bodies that knew disease, pain, disappointments, and infirmities will be gone. They will be like their King, for then shall the Lord and Saviour be seen face to face, and we shall know as we are known ([1 Corinthians:13:9-12]; [1 John:3:2-3]; [Romans:8:18-23]).