A 2-Stage, Populous Distinct, Chronology of Judgment
A Diversity of Judgments & the 1st Advent of Christ
In reflection upon the aforementioned workings of Old Testament judgment referenced by the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 4:17-18, we have need of some pause. This 2-staged form of chronological judgment is one of many existing forms in the diversity of judgments found in holy scripture, in the Old and New Testaments. Take, for example, the diversity exhibited in just 8 consecutive Chapters of the Gospel of John, Chapters 5-12.
The Lord Jesus Christ did repeatedly and masterfully use the word “judge” or “judgment”, depending on the circumstances. The word “judgment” was repeatedly used with diverse meanings all throughout the scripture, therefore it is no surprise that such diversity of meaning was used by the incarnate Son of God. For example, in John 5:22-30 Christ was referencing Final Judgment. In John 7:21-24, Christ was referencing the judgment or discernment of morality via the interpretation of the Law (incorrect judgment was “after appearance” and correct judgment was “righteous judgment”). Speaking in correlation to the senses of judgment mentioned in John 7:21-24, Christ did emphatically affirm that He does not judge and He does judge! He does not judge any man erroneously or after the flesh (“I judge no man” – Jn. 8:15), and, yet, He does judge all men righteously or after the Spirit and through the Father (“I have many things to say and to judge of you” – Jn. 8:16-18, 26). This meant that Jesus Christ held backsliders and sinners accountable to right and wrong according to God’s Word to the end that righteousness would be established in the Church. Furthermore, my reader, in another contrast of differing senses of judgment – let’s make no mistake about it! – Jesus Christ came into this world “not to judge” and “for judgment” (Jn. 12:47, 9:39), without contradiction! He said, “I came not to judge the World, but to save the World” (John 12:47), and, “For judgment I am come into this world” (John 9:39)!
The judgment exercised by Christ in John 9:39-41 was the same which was commanded by God through Paul in 1 Corinthians Ch. 5, a judgment which removes sinners from the Church in the establishment of righteousness. Even so, in John 9:39-41, Christ was gathering and saving the humble Israelites into a little flock, a Church (Lk. 12:32), and He was openly declaring the damnation of the proud Israelites by verbally and actually excommunicating them. Take note, He did this while uttering the divine ultimatums of judgment within the Church, saying, “Every plant, which My Heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone…” (Matt. 15:13-14), because, it was written of Christ, “He will throughly purge His Floor, and will gather the wheat into His Garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable” (Lk. 3:16-17).
The judgment which was unexercised by Christ in John 12:47-50 was, very specifically, the execution of the full scope of penal justice required by the Law, an aspect of justice which Jesus Christ was incarnated to absorb for guilty hell-deserving sinners! That which Christ came in the 1st Advent to absorb – the judgment of God in damning force – He did not then unleash, nor will He… until His 2nd Advent and at Final Judgment, that is! It is written of God the Father, that, “He hath appointed a Day, in the which He will judge the World in righteousness by that Man [Jesus Christ] whom He hath ordained” (Acts 17:31). Therefore, until the second coming of Christ, the meek and humble Savior, said, “I came not to judge the World, but to save the World” (John 12:47). This objective is gloriously obvious in the spirit by which Christ came to Israel (Lk. 9:55). He did not seek to kill the demon-possessed or the adulteress, for example, as the letter of the justice demanded (demon-possessed: Ex. 22:18, Lev. 20:6, 27, 19:31, Deut. 18:10-12; adulteress: Lev. 20:10, Deut. 22:21-24). No, Jesus Christ wielded a redemptive power instead of a damning power because His mission was that of mercy and not of penalty; in other words, and in the aforementioned cases, the Lord Jesus wielded the power to cast out devils instead of killing the demon-possessed, according to the letter of the Law. In this very specific way the purpose of Christ’s coming was not to enact the curse/justice of the Law, but to bear it, absorb it, and take it upon himself! It was not to bring a famine upon the Land to punish the wicked (Deut. 11:17, 28:23-24)… rather, it was to turn the dry land into a pool of water (Isa. 41:18) – this is the metaphorical thesis of Jesus Christ’s miracle ministry conveyed by prophetic language (see Matt. 8:14-17)! This one attribute of the Man, Jesus Christ – namely, The touch-able-ness of Human Redemption – was so notoriously spread abroad that when the multitudes gathered around Him (accounted in Matt. 12:15-21 & Mk. 3:6-12) He asked that He might find refuge in a boat to preach to the people from a removed location. He did this, “lest they should throng Him. For He healed many insomuch that they pressed upon Him for to touch Him, as many as had plagues. And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before Him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. And He straitly charged them that they should not make Him known” (Mk. 3:9-12). Note the Ceremonial Law-fulfillment of His Touch, my reader. As Jesus Christ went about Israel doing good, it became apparent that this Man was a body into which all sin would be imputed and absolved, from which all righteousness would be imputed and imparted to others. [For more information on this aspect of Jesus Christ’s ministry, see “What His Deeds Preached”.]
Gloriously, this constraint of penal justice and the subsequent administration of unmerited mercy was, yet again, another judgment! I mean, this is just what Jesus Christ declared in John 12:31, saying, “Now is the judgment of this world”. Amazing! In confirmation to this, it was written,
“And when He [the Holy Ghost] is come, He will reprove the World of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin… Of righteousness… Of judgment, because the Prince of this world is judged.” – John 16:8-11
This judgment was the real and substantial overthrow of Satan’s Dominion over fallen man as it had never happened before, not even in the Old Testament (Rom. 3:25, Heb. 9:15). Signifying what was accomplished by the death of Christ, which was, in turn, a judgment upon the Dominion of Satan which existed in the World (“the god of this world”-2 Cor. 4:4), the Lord said, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the Prince of this world be cast out” (John 12:31)! By means of death the Lord Jesus substantially spoiled fallen man from the Dominion of Satan and the Fallen Angels (Col. 2:15) because He, through death, destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil (Heb. 2:14-15). Indeed, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn. 3:8)! Speaking on this wise, the Lord said, “the Prince of this world is judged” (Jn. 16:11). This was no small event! Jesus of Nazareth said, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Lk. 10:18)! And what are the implications of this crushing defeat of Satan? It was to the end that “He shall shew judgment to the Gentiles” (Matt. 12:18) – even to them, the Gentiles, the heathen peoples of the World who, from ancient times, have walked “according to the course of this world, according to the Prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2)! The relocation of a soul from the Dominion of Satan to the Dominion of Christ is an act of judgment upon the captors of the imprisoned soul; and, Christ, who “led captivity captive” (Eph. 4:8), has now become their KING “who is set on the right hand of the Throne of the Majesty in the Heavens” (Heb. 8:1).
This being the case, that all true converts to Jesus Christ are such through this Dominion transfer (“To open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins…”-Acts26:18), they become willing subjects to a reigning King and Judge in a bona-fide Kingdom and Government (Ps. 2:6, 12, Heb. 4:13, Isa. 9:6-7). Isn’t this implied in what Jesus Christ said when He went about Israel doing good, affirming, “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God is come unto you” (Matt. 12:28)? Jesus is the KING, my reader. Now that saints of the New Testament are citizens of the Kingdom of God on earth, the Church (Lk. 17:21), they experience a special manifestation of God’s judgment beyond all other peoples that are upon the earth, that is for sure, because the King exists to exercise judgment in the establishment of righteousness by the eradication of evil.