By Xiaomai, China
It’s recorded in the Bible that there will be judgment in the last days. Then how will God judge us when judgment day comes? What is judgment day? In a Bible study meeting, several brothers and sisters turned to Revelation 20:11–15 and read together, “And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” After reading these verses, they began to discuss.
Sister Dong put down the Bible in her hand and said, “In a revival meeting, I once heard the pastors speak of the scene of the Lord returning on judgment day. It will be earthshaking and majestic, and the earth and heaven will be swallowed up. At that point, the trumpets will sound, and thousands of angels riding on the winged horses will descend from heaven. It is so magnificent. All the people will awake with a start and be gathered together. Every unbeliever is trembling with fear and on their knees begging for mercy, while we believers will be raptured before the Lord’s throne. This is what will happen on judgment day.”
Sister Chen nodded a few times in succession and said, “Yes! When judgment day comes, God will set up a big table in the sky, on which a white tablecloth will be spread, with books and a book of life lying on it. The Lord will sit on the throne with a glorious golden crown on His head, and the angels will stand on either side waiting for His command. The Lord will first open the book of life to call the roll. All those whose names are called will be directly brought into the heavenly kingdom by the angels. As for those whose names are not on the book of life, the Lord will open the books and decide their destinations according to all the things they have done in the course of their life. When seeing the sins they committed, they cannot deny but only weep and gnash their teeth and beat their chests.”
Other co-workers echoed, “Yes! Such a scene must be spectacular! After the judgment of the Lord, all who do good will be brought into the kingdom of heaven and feast with God; all the evildoers will be cast into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the worms don’t die, and the fire is not quenched.”
Sister Wang shook her head. Looking at Sister Dong and Sister Chen, she joked, “The more you two say, the more incredible it becomes. You simply imagine the Lord’s judgment to be supernatural. Genesis 1:8 states, ‘And God called the firmament Heaven.’ With the sky full of air and our body so heavy, how could we ascend to the heaven? The balloon will burst when rising high above the ground, not to mention us. I think it is not realistic for us to be judged in heaven by the Lord.”
Another co-worker echoed, “Yes. There is nothing but air in the sky. How could we stand? My neighbor thinks what I imagine is crazy and always laughs at me, ‘You’re looking forward to ascending to heaven every day. Aren’t you afraid of falling from it?’” Hearing this, everyone laughed.
“You two think too much of it. How could you have no faith in the Lord? The Old Testament says that Jehovah God took Elijah up to the heaven with a whirlwind. The Lord is almighty. We needn’t worry about this.” Brother Fang said confidently.
Sister Ma said, “We can’t say anything casually. 2 Peter 1:20 says, ‘Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.’ As we can see, we should not interpret the prophecy literally or rely on our imaginations to say where the Lord will judge man in the last days. This will easily lead to misinterpretation of God’s work and resistance toward Him!”
When they were in dispute, Brother Zhang said, “Brothers and sisters, please calm down. Actually, in the past, I also thought the Lord would judge man in heaven. But recently when I looked up several verses, I found it was not as simple as we thought. The book of Revelation was written by John after he received God’s revelation on the island of Patmos. The verses in it are about the work God desires to do in the last days. They are visions, prophecies, and mysteries. Revelation 14:6 says, ‘And I saw another angel fly in the middle of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.’ Psalms 96:13 also says, ‘Before Jehovah: for He comes, for He comes to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth.’ Our imaginations that the Lord will commence judgment in heaven apparently contradicts what the verses say. God’s spirit is formless and amorphous. He is righteous and holy and does not tolerate man’s offense. What qualification do we sinners have to see the face of God? Therefore, I think in the last days God may carry out the work of judgment on earth, not in heaven.”
Sister Wang pondered the words said by Brother Zhang with a scowl. Suddenly something seemed to strike her and she slapped her forehead. “Alas! Why didn’t I think of that? The Lord’s Prayer says, ‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven’ (Matthew 6:10). Doesn’t it mean God will lead us on earth? Revelation 11:15 also says, ‘And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.’ If God descends to earth to give His judgment, then God’s will can be done on earth. But if His judgment is carried out in heaven, these verses will fall through.”
Hearing this, Sister Lin said cheerfully, “After listening to your fellowship, I think of the words in Revelation 21:3 ‘And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.’ ‘The tabernacle of God is with men’ means in the last days, when God comes, He will dwell with man and judge man on earth. Just as 1 Peter 4:17 says, ‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.’”
Sister Dong said with some excitement, “Oh! Through your discussion just now, I discover that there are so many mysteries in these verses. It’s inconceivable! In the past, I believed it was in heaven that the Lord would judge man when He returns; however, now when reading these verses again, I feel that’s not realistic and it’s quite likely on earth.”
Sister Wang said, “It’s true. In John 3:13 the Lord Jesus said ‘And no man has ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.’ The Lord Jesus has already plainly told us that no one has ascended to heaven but the Son of man. How are we still daydreaming everyday — yearning for ascending up to heaven? We’re so stupid.” After her words, everyone laughed.
“If what you’re saying is true, the Lord’s judgment in the last days will probably happen on earth. But how exactly will He do the judgment work?” Brother Fang looked at everyone, bewildered.
At this moment, Brother Zhang said, “I remember Psalms 50:3–6 says, ‘Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people. Gather My saints together to Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare His righteousness: for God is judge Himself. Selah.’ John 12:48 says, ‘He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.’ These verses suggest that the returned Lord in the last days will judge man with words, don’t they?”
Sister Lin nodded, “Yes. Listening to the fellowship of Brother Zhang, I remember in the Revelation there are seven verses saying, ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ From these verses, we can see during the last days God will speak to the churches. It is very likely that in the last days when the Lord returns, He will express words and truths to do the work of judgment. John 16:12–13 also says, ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.’ When the Lord Jesus worked, He said that He had lots of things to say to man, but man at that time had a small stature and couldn’t bear them. Only when the Lord comes in the last days, will He tell man many truths they don’t understand before. Combined with the verses above, I think the Lord will express words to judge man when He returns. Do you think so?”
“God will express words to judge man in the last days?” “When you put it like that, this is quite possible.” They all discussed it.
At this moment, Sister Dong nodded and said, “Your fellowship makes sense. These verses show that in the last days the Lord may express words to judge man on earth when He returns. Our understanding of prophecies based on the surface meaning of verses is from our imaginations. It is not realistic. As for how the Lord will judge man in the last days, we should treat it seriously and cannot listen only to pastors and elders. If the Lord really expresses words to judge man on earth, and we don’t seek but only draw conclusions according to our own imaginations and wait for the judgment before the great white throne in heaven, then we are prone to lose God’s salvation of the last days!”
Sister Lin also said, “Yes, our fellowships tonight are really enlightening. Revelation 3:20 says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.’ Only the wise virgins can welcome the Lord. If we, like them, pay attention to hearing the Lord’s voice and open the door when hearing His voice, we can welcome His return.”
Sister Wang said gladly, “Yes, the Lord Jesus once said, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’ (John 10:27). Therefore, if someone preaches that the Lord has returned and expresses words to judge man, we should listen out for the voice of the Lord like wise virgins. As soon as we hear the truth, we should investigate it immediately so as not to miss the opportunity to be saved by God!”
After hearing this, everyone nodded. This Bible study meeting concluded like this.
From: Grow in Christ
» Extended Reading:
Why Does the Lord Jesus Judge Man When He Returns? How Will He Judge Man?
By Li Li, China
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