Some Judgment Day Surprises
The Bible teaches that the day of judgment is an appointed day (Acts 17:31; Heb. 9:27). It is certain to come (2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10; 1 Tim. 5:24). We can be sure that one day our sins will find us out (Num. 32:23). The judgment will be universal-every accountable person will have to give account for his or her life (Rev. 20:12; Matt. 25:31-32). Justice demands that there be a judgment, because the wicked are not always punished here and the righteous are not always rewarded in this life. There are a number of things about the judgment that will surprise a lot of people.
MANY WILL BE SURPRISED TO FIND THAT THE JUDGMENT IS A REALITY. The atheists, infidels, etc. will be surprised, as will those who do not believe that hell really exists. Jesus pictured the judgment in Matthew, chapter 25, and He earlier had said, "...there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known" (Matt. 10:26). We are told that "every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" will be brought before us at the day of judgment (Ecc. 12:14). David wrote, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Psa. 9:17). Evidently, many in the Lord's church do not really believe that the judgment is a reality, because they are unfaithful to the Lord, and we are told that such will face "a certain looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries" (Heb. 10:27).
THE TIME OF THE JUDGMENT WILL SURPRISE A LOT OF PEOPLE. Through the years there have been many time guessers who have set the very day for the Lord's return. Needless to say, all of these have failed, and they will continue to fail. Our Lord said, "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father" (Mk. 13:32). The angels are coming with the Lord when He comes in judgment (Matt. 25:31), but they do not know when it will be. Christ will be the Judge (Jno. 5:22; 27; Acts 17:31; Rom. 14:10) but while He was here on earth He did not know when the time would be. It is possible that the Father revealed this information to Him after He went back to heaven, but the Bible does not tell us that He did.
Concerning those who have set the time for the Lord's coming, reminds me of the false prophets in the time of Jeremiah of whom it is said, "The prophets prophesy falsely" (Jer. 5:31). Those who have set the time in the past failed, and those who set the time in the future will likewise fail. Of this we can be sure.
The premillennialists teach that the judgment will not take place when the Lord comes, but some 1,000 or 1,007 years later. However, the Bible uses two words that forever contradict this false doctrine. These two words are "when" and "then." Jesus said, "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" (Matt. 25:31). This does not leave room for their false theory at all. We are also told that "at his coming-then cometh the end" (1 Cor. 15:23-24). Words could not be plainer-yet many refuse to accept what inspiration has to say.
THE PURPOSE OF THE JUDGMENT WILL SURPRISE A LOT OF PEOPLE. The day of judgment will not be a day of inquiry, nor will it be a day of trial to determine one's guilt or innocence. The Lord already knows who are His (2 Tim. 2:19) and we are told that the unbeliever is "condemned already" (Jno. 3:18). Our eternal destiny is sealed when we depart this life. The day of judgment will be like a prisoner appearing before the judge to receive his sentence. He has already been tried and found guilty. The day of judgment will be the day of proper rewards, and it will be the end of all controversy.
THE STANDARD USED AT THE DAY OF JUDGMENT WILL COME AS A SURPRISE TO MANY. They will be surprised to find that the standard will not be human creeds, disciplines, catechisms, manuals, etc., nor will it be the religion of their parents, man's wisdom, morality, comparative excellency, honesty, sincerity, nor feelings. We will be judged by the Lord and His Word (Jno. 12:48).
Paul said that we will be judged by his gospel (Rom. 2:16), meaning, of course, the gospel that he preached. David wrote, "...for he cometh, to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth" (Psa. 96:13). John saw, as it were, a picture of the judgment, and he wrote, "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" (Rev. 20:12).
THE BASIS FOR JUDGMENT WILL COME AS A SURPRISE TO MANY. We will be judged by our works or deeds (Ecc. 12:13-14; 2 Cor. 5:10), and also by our words (Matt. 12:36-37). This makes what we do and what we say extremely important.
MANY ARE GOING TO BE SURPRISED AS TO WHERE JUDGMENT WILL BEGIN. Peter has told us that judgment "...must begin at the house of God" (1 Pet. 4:17). The "house of God" is the church (1 Tim. 3:15). Just because we are a member of the Lord's church does not guarantee us a home in heaven. The sooner we recognize that the better.
Many religious people will be turned away at the day of judgment, surprised (Matt. 7:21-23). They were religious-but religiously wrong. The Lord will say to them, "...I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matt. 7:23).
Remember - the judgment will be final -it will be eternal. There will be no "second chance" as some would have us believe. All opportunities to serve the Lord will be gone forever. NOW is the time to prepare for the judgment by obeying the truth. Those who fail to obey the gospel will be lost eternally (2 Thess. 1:7-9). Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Are you willing to repent of sins, confess your faith in Christ and be baptized for the remission of sins? If you will obey the Lord and be faithful unto death, you will receive that crown of life (Rev. 2:10). Make preparation for the judgment today - tomorrow may be too late!
By Virgil Hale
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