In its teaching concerning the last things, Scripture has more to say about the judgment day than about anything else. Let us look briefly at that testimony.
First, Scripture teaches that there will be but one judgment. The judgments of the sheep and the goats (Matt. 25:31-46); of the great white throne (Rev. 20:11-15) and other judgments mentioned in Scripture, are not different judgments taking places at different times in history, but all one and the same final public judgment.
There is, of course, a certain judgment that takes places through history in God's works of providence and salvation and at death, but we are speaking here of the final, public judgment of every creature, men, angels and devils. There is only one such judgment, not many, as some teach (the Schofield Bible teaches seven).
It is not our purpose in these articles to refute in detail the contentions of the dispensationalists and premillennialists concerning multiple judgments. We give just one example to show the kind of flimsy argument that is used to support such teaching.
It is suggested that the judgment of Matthew 25:31-46 is a judgment which precedes the end of the world by 1000 years or so, and is a judgment of the then living nations in relation to Israel. These nations, so it is said, are judged only with respect to their treatment of Israel during the times preceding this judgment.
Not only does Scripture not speak of living nations in Matthew 25, but rather of all nations (vs. 32), but it clearly shows that this judgment is individual and according to works, just as the judgment of Revelation 20. Indeed, verse 46 speaks of righteous and the unrighteous, of everlasting punishment and of life eternal, just as do the other passages that speak of the final judgment (Jn. 5:26-29 - notice the one "hour" and the one general resurrection that take place along with the one judgment).
Not only that, but this judgment follows the coming of the Son of man in His glory, a coming which is also described in chapter 24:30-31 and which takes place at the sound of a trumpet, which can only be the trumpet mentioned in I Corinthians 15:51-53, Revelation 11:15-18, and I Thessalonians 4:14-17. It is a coming according to chapter 24:29-30 that is announced by the darkening of the sun and moon, is with clouds, and visible to all eyes, all of which describe in Scripture His final appearance at the end of all ages (Rev. 6:12-17; II Pet. 3:10-17; Rev. 1:7).
Clearest proof, however, for one final judgment is found in Scripture's emphasis on the fact that all shall be judged when Christ returns, not some now and some later (I Jn. 5:28), that there is but a single judgment, notjudgments (Matt. 5:21-22; 12:41-42), and on the fact that the coming judgment is described as a "day" (Acts 17:31; II Pet. 3:7).
Is it important to believe this? We believe it is, not only because it is bound up with one's view of Israel and of the resurrection and of the coming of Christ, but because it is for that judgment and that alone that we must prepare ourselves according to the Word of God in II Peter 3:10-11.
- Volume: 8
- Issue: 9
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002; Emeritus October 15, 2017Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
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