28th December 2008, mgh
This Article: (6 Pages)
1) Understanding God's Judgment
Most Christians today are very focussed on God's love and mercy, which is indeed abundant, but very little attention is given to one of the most dominant themes in the Bible, which is Justice and Judgment. This article will explore the nature of judgment as presented in the Bible in its various phases. For a full understanding of God's purpose with humans, it would be unwise to ignore the theme of Judgment, as it exists throughout the whole Bible. Today, this topic has serious implications for this present generation, as they will see the final Judgment.
Disobedience and Judgment: Adam
Judgment is a fundamental theme of the Bible and occurs in a number of different forms. The opening chapters of the Bible instituted judgment. For the disobedience of Adam and Eve, who failed to obey God's instructions not to eat of the tree in the midst of the Garden of Eden, there was immediate judgment. From that time all mankind were subject to their punishment, which is death. At the same time there was provision made for forgiveness and the promise of life beyond the grave, on specific conditions. The first condition is obedience.
The following verses contain the purpose of creation. A way was introduced by which humans could obtain redemption and forgiveness of sins. It was clearly demonstrated that the first requirement was obedience to the laws and commands of the Creator.
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou have done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shall thou go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shall bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shall thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shall eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art , and unto dust shall thou return. (Genesis 3:14-19)
The serpent, was punished. The serpent became a symbol for the power of sin, the liars that destroy humans and condemn them to death.
In this case the sin was specifically disobedience to God's instructions. Adam and Eve were tempted by the lust of their eyes, and, the promptings of the temptation caused by the lie of the serpent that they would not die.
Sin was to be overcome in Jesus, the “seed”, that is a descendant, of the woman, through his sinless and obedient life. Jesus was the first to gain eternal life. The power of sinful men, who are figuratively the seed of the serpent, crucified Jesus. The phrase “bruise his heel”, indicates a non-fatal wound and Jesus was raised from the dead because he was sinless. Jesus had destroyed the power of sin by overcoming sin and in a figurative way had “bruised the head of the serpent”.
Adam and Eve both received the judgment of God. They were condemned to a life of hardship and then death. Their redemption and the hope of all mankind would come through the 'seed' of the woman, who would be sinless and be sacrificed to redeem mankind from their sins.
Wickedness, Violence and Judgment: Noah
Noah and his family were saved from God's judgment on the world of his day. By the time of Noah, the earth's population had become wicked and violent and 'had corrupted his way upon the earth'. A new beginning was required, as the people had turned away from the Creator. God destroyed the people and began a new phase in the plan of redemption, with Noah's family as the foundation of a new era in man's history.
The Genesis account demonstrates that wickedness and violence will be judged. The flood of Noah's day brought judgment on that generation and showed the principles that must be found in those worthy of redemption. Added to disobedience that was seen in Adam and Eve, the violence and wickedness in the earth in Noah's time were additional aspects of man's behaviour condemned by God. In contrast, Noah revealed the character that was required by God. We are told that Noah was 'just' and he 'walked with God'.
And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repents me that I have made them.
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.(Genesis 6:6-12)
God promised that He would never again destroy all mankind. However, in the course of history it has been recorded in the Bible that some nations have been destroyed for their wickedness and idolatry and for “corrupting” God's way on the earth.
2) Laws, Punishment and Judgment: The Israelites
Abraham was found to be a faithful believer in the Creator and he was promised a seed that would be a nation. His descendants were to become the nation of Israel, and would be subject to God's Laws.
The punishment for not Knowing and Obeying the law
The laws that were given to the nation of Israel and known as the Law of Moses established punishment for those who broke those laws. Judgment and justice was the responsibility of the priests of Israel and sacrifices were required of those who sinned and broke the laws. If the nation of Israel failed to respect and obey God's laws, great judgments would come on that nation.
For the nation of Israel, it was imperative that they know the Law of God and his commandments. They were to instruct their children in these Laws and statutes. If they did not obey these laws and if they turned to other gods the nation would be punished. The following verses reveal the importance of the Laws. All the Israelites had to know and obey their Laws. Parents were commanded to instruct their children and they were not to add to or subtract from these Laws.
Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them , that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:1-2)
Obedience to the commandments and Laws is repeated many times, as demonstrated in another chapter in Deuteronomy.
Now thesearethe commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou might fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.
Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it ; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you, in the land that flows with milk and honey.Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shall love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shall teach them diligently unto thy children, and shall talk of them when thou sit in thine house, and when thou walk by the way, and when thou lie down, and when thou rise up. And thou shall bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shall write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.(Deuteronomy 6: 1-9)
The demonstrated Power of God
When the Laws were given to the Israelites, the power of God was seen by all the congregation. The people were exceedingly fearful and trembled at the sight of God's great power.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever touches the mount shall be surely put to death: There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount. ...
And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.(Exodus 19: 9-13, 16-18)
Yet despite the demonstrated power, the nation failed to keep the laws and were sent into captivity.
When Israel returned to their homeland after the captivity of the Israelites in Babylon, the people were made aware of the sins and failure of the nation before their God. The people wept and mourned before their God when the Law was read to them. Their mourning was turned to joy as they re-instated the worship as proclaimed in the Law.
And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. (Ezra 8: 9-10)
Despite the rejoicing of those who returned to the land of their fathers, the following centuries saw the decline of the Israelites' worship of God. Judgment was to again come on the nation. In Ezekiel 5: 11-17 there is the culmination of God's judgment on Israel following centuries of warnings by the prophets.
Wherefore,as I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all your abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee ; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity.
A third part of you shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of you:
and a third part shall fall by the sword round about you;
and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.
Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them. Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations ...So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that are round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the LORD have spoken it. When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you:..So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave you; and pestilence and blood shall pass through you; and I will bring the sword upon you. I the LORD have spoken. (Ezekiel 5: 11-17)
In AD70, the nation of Israel was destroyed by the Romans and those who survived the Roman attack were scattered among the nations of the world. After 1948, the nation of Israel was reborn as proclaimed by the prophets and God has yet to complete his plan with the earth as promised to the Patriarchs of Israel. This will follow a major upheaval and judgment on all nations. And this will involve the whole earth and all mankind.
3) Nations and Judgment
Throughout history nations have risen and fallen and many have been subject to God's punishment and judgment. These nations include Egypt, Babylon, Tyre, Moab, Amon and Idumea.
Egypt Judged until today
The prophets make mention of Egypt on a number of occasions. The most well known event was when the Israelites escaped out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses.
For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. (Exodus 12:12)
A later prophecy in Ezekiel states that Egypt would always remain a base nation. The early glory and greatness of Egypt would be replaced by Egypt's subjection to other nations as history has shown. From the time of the Greek and Roman Empires to the French and British dominance of the twentieth century, it can be affirmed that Egypt has been a base nation and has not ruled over other nations.
And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries. Yet thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered: And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom. It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations (Ezekiel 29: 12-15)
Ezekiel again describes the fate of Egypt and its desolation. The power and pride of Egypt would be broken.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Howl ye, Woe is the day! For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the nations. And the sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be broken down.
Ethiopia, and Libya, and Lydia, and all the mingled people, and Chub, and the men of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword. Thus saith the LORD; They also that uphold Egypt shall fall; and the pride of her power shall come down: from the tower of Syene shall they fall in it by the sword, saith the Lord GOD. And they shall be desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities shall be in the midst of the cities that are wasted. And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have set a fire in Egypt, and when all her helpers shall be destroyed. (Ezekiel 30: 2-8)
The Nations destroyed by God
Some ancient nations, that today most people remain in ignorance of, were condemned by God to judgment and desolation. Their sins included idolatry and their agression against ancient Israel. Amon, Moab and Idumea are specifically named in the following quotations.
For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. For the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea....And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness. For it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.(Isaiah 34:5-8)
Behold, therefore I will deliver you to the men of the east for a possession, and they shall set their palaces in thee, and make their dwellings in thee: they shall eat thy fruit, and they shall drink thy milk. And I will make Rabbah a stable for camels, and the Ammonites a couchingplace for flocks: and ye shall know that I amthe LORD.
For thus says the Lord GOD; Because thou hast clapped thine hands, and stamped with the feet, and rejoiced in heart with all thy despite against the land of Israel; Behold, therefore I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and will deliver thee for a spoil to the heathen; and I will cut thee off from the people, and I will cause thee to perish out of the countries: I will destroy thee; and thou shall know that I am the LORD. ...
And I will execute judgments upon Moab; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them; Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword. (Ezekiel 25: 4-7, 11-13)
The maritime power of Tyre was destroyed. Its great wealth had resulted in its powerful position as a trading nation and God brought judgment on Tyre for its pride and its belief in its greatness and invincibility. The destruction of Tyre occurred in two stages through the invasion of Babylonian and later Greek armies.
Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God: Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from you: With your wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: By your great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches:
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God;
Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shall die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas. Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee. Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.(Ezekiel 28: 2-10)
Babylon, once believed by the doubters to be a mythical city found only in the Bible, was discovered by archaeologists in the twentieth century. This once great and powerful city had been immersed in idolatry. It had oppressed and spoiled other nations and in turn was spoiled. The nation was judged by God and the once great city was destroyed.
Thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hinders...Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirs up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Yet thou shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? ... For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD. I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts. The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: (Isaiah 14: 4-17. 22-24)
The prophet Jeremiah also writes of God's judgment that would come on Babylon.
Wherefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will do judgment upon her graven images: and through all her land the wounded shall groan. Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify the height of her strength,
yetfrom me shall spoilers come unto her, saith the LORD. A sound of a cry cometh from Babylon, and great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans: Because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered: Because the spoiler is come upon her, even upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken: for the LORD God of recompences shall surely requite. And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.
The "perpetual sleep" is eternal death
Thus says the LORD of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire (Jeremiah 51: 52-58)
4) The Psalms and Judgment
Laws, commandments and judgment are prominent themes in the Psalms. In the following Psalm, the Psalmist states that the wicked personally will be judged.
The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me. Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God tries the hearts and reins. My defence is of God, which saves the upright in heart. God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he has bent his bow, and made it ready. He has also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordains his arrows against the persecutors. (Psalm 7: 8-13)
On a much wider scale, the Psalms say there will be judgment of the world.
But the LORD shall endure for ever: he has prepared his throne for judgment. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. (Psalm 9: 7-10)
Those who oppress others will be judged and peace will be established in the earth.
Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man : seek out his wickedness till thou find none. The LORD is King for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land. LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress. (Psalm 10: 15-18)
He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. (Psalm 72: 2-5)
Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shall inherit all nations. (Psalm 82: 8)
The Psalmist looks forward to a time when following God's judgment on the world there will be peace and joy on the earth.
Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. (Psalm 96: 10-13)
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.(Psalm 98: 4-9)
In Psalm 119 the word 'judgment' occurs twenty- two times. The opening of the Psalm associates precepts, statutes and commandments with righteousness and judgment. This pattern is maintained throughout the entire Psalm.
Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. (Psalm 119: 4-8)
The Psalmist prophesies of a future judgment of the nations, which will be carried out by the “Lord at thy right hand” who will remove the kings and leaders of countries. Only then can righteous rule be established on the earth.
The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the nations, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head. (Psalm 110: 5-7)
5) Future Judgment on the Nations of the World
There is yet to be a major judgment on the present nations of the world which refuse to accept the Creator as the all powerful ruler and saviour of man. They will be judged for their godlessness, wickedness and immorality. In the early books of the Bible, the Israelites are clearly shown the power of their God. The book of Deuteronomy vividly described the anger that would be poured out on those who are adversaries to God's will.
See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy. Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people. (Deuteronomy 32: 39-43)
The prophet Isaiah describes the ultimate peace that will be established on the earth and the just and righteous laws that will proceed from the future government in Jerusalem.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2; 2-4)
When the day or time arrives when the God of Israel establishes his house in Zion and his word goes out from Jerusalem, the nations will have been abased and judged. They will have to submit to God's laws. In the same chapter Isaiah reveals that the nations will be humbled and the earth will shake in that day.
The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: ...
when he arises to shake terribly the earth.
In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he arises to shake terribly the earth. Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of? (Isaiah 2: 11-12, 17, 19-22)
And again in Isaiah 24.
The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously. (Isaiah 24: 19-23)
There will be a judge to enforce God's commands.
The new righteous Judge
The following quotation, also from the prophet Isaiah, describes the judge, clearly the Messiah, Jesus Christ., as revealed in the New Testament..
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. (Isaiah 11: 2-5)
And again in Isaiah 42.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Nations. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. (Isaiah 42: 1-4)
The prophet Micah also refers to this kingdom that will be established in the “last days”. The place is the same: the mountain, Zion and Jerusalem.
But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains... And many nations shall come, and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths": for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid:(Micah 4: 1-4)
The Judgment of the last days on the Nations
First there must be judgment of the nations. The nations, the “heathen” will be judged for their “wickedness is great”. The prophet Joel gives a vision of this time.
Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.
Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. (Joel 3: 9-13)
A very clear outline of events that will occur in those last days is given in the Bible. A confederation of nations will come against Jerusalem. These nations will be defeated and at that time there will be an earthquake that will split the mount of Olives asunder, creating a great valley. An earthquake of such magnitude will no doubt have widespread effects on many countries. Both Zechariah and Ezekiel are clear about these events and the nations involved in the invasion of Israel in the last days.
For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. (Zechariah 14: 2-5)
Zechariah speaks of the LORD going forth to fight in battle, as does Ezekiel
And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field... and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.
And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD. (Ezekiel 38: 18-23)
Those who fear the LORD of hosts, that is, Yahweh of armies, will be saved from that time which shall “burn as an oven” when the wicked shall be destroyed.
For, behold, the day comes, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that comes shall burn them up, says the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
And you shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, says the LORD of hosts. Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.This is very detailed, and it will happen on a certian day, as the prophet goes on,
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: (Malachi 4: 1-5)
Haggai also states that Yahweh will “shake all nations” and the “desire of all nations” will be to the LORD.
According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land ; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts. (Haggai 2: 5-9)
6) Judgment in the New Testament.
To those who claim to be worshippers of God there will also be a judgment to determine whether indeed they have been obedient to God's laws and worshipped him in truth and righteousness.
Quoting from Isaiah 42, Matthew affirms that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and the judge appointed by God to bring judgment to the Gentiles, that is the nations. This is a confirmation of Isaiah's prophecy and identifies the Judge.
Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall show judgment to the Nations. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break,.. till he send forth judgment unto victory.(Matthew 12: 18-20)
Sodom and Gomorrha were completely destroyed for their wickedness and the nations will face a similar fate in the “day of judgment”.
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. (Mark 6:11)
Jesus identifies his purpose in the future as being related to judgment.
And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. (John 9: 39)
And also, everyone who hears the gospel will be judged personally,
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believes on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 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 (John 12: 46-48)
Peter speaking to Cornelius states that Jesus would be the Judge of the living and the dead.
Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of the living and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believes in him shall receive remission of sins. (Acts 10: 40-43)
In Athens Paul explains who the true God is and that he will judge the world in righteousness at an appointed time.
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent: Because he has appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained; whereof he has given assurance unto all men , in that he has raised him from the dead. (Acts 17: 30-31)
The Apostle Paul frequently reminds his readers that Jesus Christ will judge the “quick and the dead”, who are those that are alive and those who have been resurrected.
In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. (Romans 2: 16)
Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5: 9-10)
I chargethee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.... Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2Timothy 4: 1-2, 8)
The following quotation reveals the severity of the judgment at that time.
But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that has said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10: 27-31)
The closing verses of Hebrews 12 emphasise the power of God.
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12: 28-29)
Peter states that judgment begins at the “house of God”. In AD70, judgment came upon the nation of Israel for their disobedience and failure to recognise their Messiah. Judgment will yet come upon the so-called Christian world.
As a sign that this judgment is near the nation of Israel has been revived. They are the witnesses, or evidence of God's promises, and their revival is a sign of the impending judgment to come on the nations.
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (1 Peter 4: 17-18)
When Paul appeared before Felix one of the issues he raised was that of judgment. Felix was so greatly disturbed, and troubled, that he confesses to trembling at Paul's words.
And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. (Acts 24: 24-25)
The prophecy given by Yahweh to his son Jesus and subsequently given to John and recorded in the book of Revelation is the prophecy for all ages since AD 96. This prophecy speaks of future judgment, of reward for the faithful and judgment of men according to their works.
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. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou should give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth. (Revelation 11: 15-18)
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. (Revelation 20: 12-13)
The ancient nation of Israel were given the following warning. They had a choice, either to wholly serve Yahweh, or, to not serve Him. This is no less applicable today.
Thou shall fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shall swear by his name. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. (Deuteronomy 6: 13-15)