35. The Great Day of Judgment
JD

1. DOES GOD KNOW WHEN THE JUDGMENT WILL BE?

1JD Acts 17:30, 31 God isn't waiting until the wickedness of Earth gets so bad that He can't take it any more. He has already decided when the judgment will take place: the judgment will take place at a time which He has already set.

2. WHAT DOES THE ANGEL SAY ABOUT THE TIMING OF THE JUDGMENT?

2JD Rev. 14:6, 7 The message of the angel is that God's judgment has begun in heaven—while people are still living on Earth—because he says: "the hour of his [God's] judgment has come." [present tense].

In the Bible the word angel means "messenger." It can be used to describe a human messenger, celestial messenger, and from time to time it has been used of God Himself—as at the time when He appeared to Moses at the burning bush to bear a message of importance for His people [Ex. 3:2-6]. The angel in Revelation 14 represents people who bear a special message that God wants His people to preach to all the world before Christ's second coming. cf. vs. 14.

3. WHEN IS THE JUDGMENT TAKING PLACE IN THE SCENE THAT DANIEL DESCRIBES?

3JD Dan. 7:9-11 Daniel too sees the judgment taking place in heaven while people still live on earth. [cf. Heb. 1:3 Christ sits beside the Father "in heaven" NIV; and in Dan. 7:11 the beast power is still active while being judged]. Daniel describes two divisions of the work of judgment:
      • an investigation of the records [vs. 10]; and,
      • the execution of the sentence passed upon the guilty
        [vs. 11].

4. WILL GOD JUDGE EVERYBODY, WHETHER THEY'RE RIGHTEOUS OR WICKED?

4JD Eccl. 3:17 Solomon says that God will judge two kinds of people: the righteous and the wicked. [Jude 6 adds that He will also judge the evil angels.]

5. WITH WHICH GROUP DOES GOD BEGIN THE JUDGMENT?

5JD 1 Pet. 4:17 God begins the judgment by investigating the records of the righteous. It appears, in the Bible, that the righteous are judged before Jesus comes, for they will receive their reward at His coming [cf. 1 Thess. 4:16, 17; 1 Cor. 15:51-57].

6. WHICH OF THE HOLY DAYS WAS A DAY OF JUDGMENT?

6JD Lev. 23:26-30 On the day of Atonement, the earthly sanctuary was cleansed. It was also a day of judgment on Israel as the professed people of God. [NIV uses the word "deny," while the KJV translates the passage with "afflict your souls"—a phrase which indicates a process of judgment.] By the end of the day, all sin had to be confessed because all sin was carried out of the camp on the head of the scapegoat [Lev. 16: 21, 22].

7. CAN WE KNOW FOR CERTAIN WHEN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT WILL BEGIN?

7JD Dan. 8:14 Yes. The cleansing of the sanctuary refers to the Day of atonement, and points to the beginning of the great judgment day. In lesson 23 be found that the great Day of Atonement in the heavenly Sanctuary began at the end of the 2300-day prophecyin 1844. The cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary takes place between 1844 and the second coming of Christ. This is the same time period that the angel is describing as the "hour of God's judgment" [Rev. 14:7].

###8. AT WHAT TIME ARE THE DEAD JUDGED?

8JD Rev. 11:18, 19 The time for the dead to be judged began in 1844, and lasts until the coming of Jesus. It corresponds to the cleansing of the sanctuary on the day of atonement, and takes place in the second room of the heavenly sanctuary, where John sees the "ark of his testament".

NOTE: The work of God's judgment may be grouped into 4 distinct phases [see chart]:

1. The hour of His judgment during the closing era of human history, between 1844 and the end of time. During this period of time the cases of those who profess to be righteous will be decided.

2. The executive judgment of the righteous at the second advent of Christ. At this time the decisions that were made regarding the righteous will be carried out, and the saints will receive their reward of eternal life.

3. The investigation of the records of the wicked during the 1000 years that follow the second coming of Christ. During this period the amount of punishment due each of the wicked will be decided. [Cf. Rev. 20:4, with Rev. 20:12]

4. The executive judgment of the wicked at the end of the 1000 years. At this time the wicked will all stand before judgment seat of Christ to receive their sentence and their final punishment. [cf. Rev. 20:11-15] This is sometimes referred to as the "Great White Throne Judgment."

9. WHAT WILL BE THE STANDARD AGAINST WHICH ALL WILL BE JUDGED?

9JD James 2:11, 12 Everyone, both men and evil angels, are judged by the Law—the Ten Commandments.

10. WHAT DOES GOD JUDGE ABOUT EACH PERSON?

10JD Eccl. 12:13, 14 When we accept God's grace as a free gift—received only through faith ("not of works, lest no man should boast)—we will find that we naturally do the "good works" that God wants us to do [Eph. 2:8-10]. So if we follow the Ten Commandments now, through the grace of Jesus, we will have no need to fear the judgment. Instead, we can look upon the great judgment day as promotion day, for Jesus has promised to take all His faithful people with Him into His eternal kingdom [John 14:1-3, et. al.].