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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

When and Where Is The Judgment?


The Day of Judgment


1 John 4:17(NIV):
17 In this way, love is made complete (
perfect) among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.
John tells us that we will have confidence on the day of judgement because we have the righteousness of Christ in us.  We stand in His righteousness alone - justified by faith alone. However,  He is also transforming us into His image with ever-increasing glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).  It is not our righteousness that transforms us, but it is God in us that transforms us and causes us to will and to act according to His purpose (Philippians 2:13).  He gives us His Spirit, who dwells in our spirit.  Then, He transforms our soul.  Finally, on the day of Christ, our body will also be redeemed.  We will stand before Him fully sanctified (1 Thessalonians 5:23).  Paul tells us that on the day of Christ Jesus we will be perfect as we stand in His presence (Philippians 1:6).

John 6:39-40:
39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that
I shall lose none of all that he has given me (the elect), but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
The judgment and the resurrection take place on the last day.  On the day everyone who has looked to the Son and believed on Him will be raised to life.  On the day He appears, we will also appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:4).
When will He appear?  On the last day!  While those who did not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus “will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (1 Thessalonians 1:9), those who recevie the gospel will share in His glory (Romans 8:17; 1 Peter 5:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:14).  When will this happen? On the day He comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed” (2 Thessalonians 2:14).

John 6:44 (NIV):
44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 11:54:
54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.  John 6:54 (NIV)

John knew that Christians will appear before the judgment seat on the last day, judgment day.  This is the same day that all men are raised from the dead (John 6:39, 44, 54; 11:24).  John’s desire is for Christians to be “confident and unashamed before him at his coming (1 John 2:28) on the day of judgment (1 John 4:17).   Paul We know that the wicked will also be raised at this time and judged along with the righteous (John 12:48).

John 12:47-48:
47 “As for
the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.  48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.

The wicked will also be judged on this day - the last day
Acts 17:31(NIV):
For
he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

Luke tells us in Acts 17:31, “God has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed.”   This verse tells us that God has appointed Jesus to be the judge of all the world.   The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son.” (John 5:22)

Acts 10:42:
He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 

Not only has God appointed a specific man to judge the world, but He has set a specific day on which He will judge it.   He has given proof of this by raising Jesus from the dead (Acts 17:31).  This is the message Paul preached: God has appointed Jesus as judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42).

Romans 2:5-6 (NIV):
But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will give to each person according to what he has done.


Paul tells us that those who refuse the gift of God’s grace given us through His Son, Jesus Christ, and suppress the truth of God by their wickedness, will not escape God’s judgment (Romans 1-2).  Even more, Paul tells them that “because of their stubbornness and unrepentant heart” these wicked individuals are “storing up wrath” against themselves “for the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed.”


Hebrews 6:26-31 (NIV)
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.  28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?  30 For we know him who said, It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.   31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The writer of Hebrews warns that those “who deliberately keep on sinning” after hearing the Gospel.  As we read earlier in the chapter, they are “in danger of being cursed(Hebrews 6:8).  By doing so, they are rejecting the message of God’s forgiveness  and “trampling the Son of God underfoot” (Hebrews 6:29).  When they treat “the blood of the covenant” as an unholy thing, there is “no sacrifice for sins” for those who reject Christ.  Disobedience, without repentence, hardens the heart and leads to unbelief.  We must continually confess our sins to God if we are to remain in Christ.  We have the Holy Spirit (who works through His Word - both law and gospel) to keep us in the faith.

2 Pet. 3:7 (NIV):
By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

Peter tells us that the ungodly will be destroyed along with the present heavens and earth on the day of judgment.  It is implied that the ungodly will be destroyed with the same fire by which the present heavens and earth are being reserved.

This is the same “day of judgment” that is referred to above when the love of Christians will be made complete (1 John 4:17).

Peter elsewhere refers to God is holding the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while he continues their punishment in the present age (2 Peter 2:9).  
      

2 Peter 2:9 (NIV):
If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.

Peter, tells us that God is able to rescue the godly from trials.  Paul reveals just when and how God will rescue the godly from  their “persecutions and trials” in the next passage:


2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 (NIV):
4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 5 All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.  6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.  8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
Listen to Paul’s words: “God will pay back trouble to those who trouble you...when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire.”  The ungodly will be “punished with everlasting destruction on the day He comes...” (2 Thessalonians 2:9) by “raging fire that will consume the enemies of God(Hebrews 6:27),


Matt. 11:22 (NIV):
But I tell you,
it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.  (Jesus condemns Korazin and Bethsaida)

Matt. 11:24 (NIV):
But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.(Jesus condemns Capernaum)

Matt. 12:41-42 (NIV):
The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.

Jesus, during His earthly ministry, prophesied that the day of judgment would be “more bearable” for wicked cities like Tyre, Sidon, Sodom, and Gomorrah than for some cities in which he preached the gospel (Matthew 11:22-24).  He also tells us that the men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South would rise (from the dead) at the judgment and condemn those living at the time of Jesus because they rejected their Messiah.

Matt. 12:36 (NIV):
35 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.  But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.

Jesus says men will have to give account for every careless word they have spoken on the day of judgment (Matthew 12:36).  Notice, there are no qualifiers here.  “Every careless word” be every man and woman who ever lived - whether righteous or wicked will be judged on this day.  When will this day come?  On the day of judgment - the last day of history!

2 Timothy 1:7-8 (NIV):
7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner.  But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God 

Paul exhorts Timothy to “not be ashamed to testify about our Lord(2 Timothy 1:7).  We should all be willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel, because Jesus tells us, if we acknowledge him before men, He will acknowledge us before His Father (Matthew 10:32-33).  There will be two kinds of people present at the judgment - those who acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Christ, and those who “disown him” by their words and actions, or lack thereof (Matthew 25:31-46).


Matt. 10:32-33 (NIV):
Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. 


Revelation 3:5 (NIV):
He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

Jesus’ words in the Revelation remind us that those who suffer trials and tribulation and overcome will “be dressed in white.”  Their names are written in the book of life.  Jesus says He will “acknowledge his name” before his Father (Revelation 3:5).  In his first epistle John tells us every spirit that acknowledges Jesus is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus’ true nature and divine origin is not from God (see below: 1 John 4:1-3).


Luke 12:8-10 (NIV):
8 “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. 9 But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

1 John 4:1-3 (NIV):
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,  3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.


Mark 8:34-38 (NIV):
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels. 

Another place we see this truth is when Jesus compares those the one “who wants to save his life” with the one “loses his life” for Jesus and the gospel.  Jesus reminds us that it is useless for a man “to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul” and there is nothing that a man can give “in exchange for his soul” (Mark 8:36-37).  Our sin requires that a debt be repaid.  We either let Jesus pay the price for us with His life, or we will have to pay the price with our life!  No amount of good works can repay God for the debt we owe - “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:26) and our debt must be repaid in blood.  Jesus concludes by saying, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words...the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes... (Mark 8:38).


2 Timothy 3:1-17 (NIV):
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—  5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires,  7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.  8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.  9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone. 10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,  11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.  12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,  15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Paul warned Timothy “in the last days” there would people who would not  be “lovers of the good.”  These people are “never able to acknowledge the truth” and “as far as the faith is concerned are rejected” (2 Timothy 3:7-8).  He instructs Timothy that these “evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13), while “anyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).  In other words, those who refuse to “acknowledge the truth” will go from bad to worse, but those who stand on the Word of God, without adding or taking away from it  “will be persecuted” by those who “oppose the truth” (2 Timothy 3:8).  It is important that we as Christians do not neglect the study of Gods Word, because it is “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).  

We can never be afraid to suffer for the truth of God’s Word.  “If we shrink back, God will not be pleased with us” (Hebrews 10:37-39).  It is better to fear God “who can destroy both body and soul in hell” than to fear men “who can kill the body,” but cannot touch the soul.

If our emotions are hurt, or if we suffer loss of status, riches, or some other form of gain for the sake of Christ, we will be rewarded when the Chief Shepherd appears.  Even if we lose our very lives, we have not lost, we have only gained because we have not denied the name of Christ, but have been faithful to His Word (Revelation 3:5).

Sometimes we may even endure opposition from fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  Paul spent much of his ministry dealing with divisions within the body, as well as those who opposed his ministry.  But if we all stand firmly on the word of God (2 Thessalonians 2:15), with “the belt of Truth around our waist” (Ephesians 6:14), and continue to “examine the Scriptures every day(Acts 17:11), then “even if on some point we think differently, God will make that clear to us(Philippians 3:15).  Our goal is that we would all “contend as one man for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).  

When we consider ourselves to be superior to one another, and put ourselves above one another, we only cause division and strife (1 Corinthians 3:1-3), but when we stand “united in mind and thought,” (1 Corinthians 1:10) by allowing God’s Word to shape us and direct us into His truth, we are “transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2).  Then, as we speak “the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) to one another, we “grow up” in both truth and love, into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18), and will no longer be infants tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind and wave of teaching (Ephesians 4:14).


2 Tim. 4:1-4 (NIV):
1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:  2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encouragewith great patience and careful instruction.  3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Paul continues to exhort Timothy in the following chapter to “Preach the Word” and to always be prepared to “correct, rebuke and encourage” others with the Word.  He warns Timothy that there will come a time when men will try to substitute their own thoughts for that of Scripture.  They will even gather “a great number of teachers” around them, which serves to insulate them, so that they don’t have to deal with the truth.  This is why John tells us to “test the spirits to see if they come from God(1 John 4:1)

It is too easy to substitute our own thoughts for God’s Word, we are all fallen creatures.  We must ask for God’s wisdom in discerning the Scriptures (James 1:5), because the message of Scripture is a message of wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:6) that can only truly be discerned by those who are mature (Hebrews 5:14, Philippians 3:15).  Those who are mature “have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14), right from wrong, truth from what is false.  They are singularly focused on seeking the kingdom of God first and foremost (Matthew 6:33), “living for righteousness” (1 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 5:13, 1 Peter 2:24).

If we are not growing in the truth of God’s Word, we are ignoring it.  If we continue to ignore it, or substitute our own thoughts for God’s, we are in danger of, perhaps, “refusing to acknowledge the truth(2 Timothy 3:7).  At the very least, if we refuse to go on to maturity and are content with only “the elementary teachings” of our faith, we will, in fact, need to learn these elementary teachings all over again (Hebrews 5:12).  It is a dangerous thing to be content with where we are at in our walk with Christ, and not to “strive for maturity(Philippians 3:12).  The elementary teachings of Christ and baptism (justification) are meant to spur us on toward maturity - the “teaching about righteousness”(sanctification) and that can only come from spending time studying and meditating on God’s Word, and putting it into practice in our lives.

If we refuse to “grow up in our salvation(1 Peter 2:2) and become mature, we will be disobeying God.  The author of Hebrews says, “Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.  8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. (Heb. 6:7-8; see Matthew 13:22 NIV)

This is a message that meant to inspire perseverance.  After scaring “the tar” out of these believers, Paul then says, “We are confident of better things in your case—things that accompany salvation (obedience) (Hebrews 6:9)



2 Corinthians 5:4-10 (NIV):
4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  7 We live by faith, not by sight.  8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.  10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 

What happens when we die?  Paul does say that when we die we will be with the Lord, but do we immediately face the judgment?  Let’s see what the Scriptures say.  First, Paul says that “when we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord” and “when we are away from the body” we are “at home with the Lord.”  Paul also considers the future judgment to be a very motivating factor for living in obedience to Christ (sanctification), because he says, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

As we have seen before, this judgment has to do with whether or not we have acknowledged Christ as Savior and Lord.  If we have acknowledged him before men, he will acknowledge us before His father and the angels, but if we have not acknowledged Him, we will not be acknowledged.  Once again, if we are ashamed of Him, He will be be ashamed of us, but if we lose our lives for Him, we will gain eternal life with Him.

Zepheniah 2:1-3:
1 Gather together, gather together, O shameful nation, 
2 before the appointed time arrives and that day  
   sweeps on like chaff, before the fierce anger of the  
  LORD comes upon you, before the day of the 
  LORD’S wrath comes upon you. 

3 Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who  
   do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek 
   humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of 
   the LORD’S anger. Zephaniah 2:1-3 (NIV)

But when does this judgment take place?  Is this judgment immediately after our death, or does it take place “on the day of judgment”?  I think we can say, from what we have already seen, it is on a certain day which “God has set...” in the future (Acts 17:31, Zephaniah 2:1-3) in which He will judge the world with justice by His Son Jesus, our Lord.  We have proof of this because God raised Him from the dead (Acts 10:42).

1 Corinthians 15:50-57 (NIV):
50 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed  52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?” 
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Earlier in 2 Corinthians 5, Paul tells us,“we are clothed with our heavenly dwelling so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life(2 Corinthians 5:4).  We have His Spirit, guaranteeing “what is to come” (2 Corinthians 5:5).  To fully understand this we must look at other verses in Scripture.  Paul deals with this subject in greater detail in 1 Corinthians 15 - The Resurrection Chapter. 

 In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” because it is perishable - it is corrupt (Note: In Genesis 6  The Hebrew text reveals that the word “corrupt” means “mortal.”  God destroys the world and everything in it because it is corrupt or “mortal” due to sin, and he “restores” the earth through Noah, whose name means “rest” or “restoration.”)

Paul explains, “The perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.” When this happens, “Death will be swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:53-54).  We know this has not happened yet, because the Resurrection has not taken place, nor have received our new, immortal, incoruptible, heavenly bodies.  

1 Corinthians 15:42-49 (NIV):
42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;  43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;  44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. 

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.  45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.  46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.  47 The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven.  48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.  49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

Paul says, “Just as we have born the likeness of the earthly man (Adam), so we shall bear the likeness of the man from heaven (Jesus)” (1 Corinthians 15:49).  This will occur at “the resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:42) when are bodies are raised “imperishable,” “in glory,” and “in power” as “a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:43-44).

1 John 3:2 says, “...when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.   Paul tells the Philippians:

Our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,  21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. 

Our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,  21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. 

So from these verses, we can surmise that our bodies will only be changed when at the time of the resurrection.  Then, immediately after that, will come the one universal judgment of all people.  When this day comes, Paul says, “we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and each of us will give an account of himself to God.  Paul, reminds us of the words of Jesus, which are recorded in the book of Isaiah, “Every knee will bow before me.”  Notice.  No one is excluded - every knee, whether that person is (or was) righteous or unrighteous will bow before our Lord on that Day.

Romans 14:10-12:
You, then, why do you judge your brother?  Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.  11 It is written: “ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.


Ezekiel 7:5-10 (NIV):
5 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Disaster! An unheard-of disaster is coming.  6 The end has come! The end has come! It has roused itself against you. It has come!  7 Doom has come upon you—you who dwell in the land. The time has come, the day is near; there is panic, not joy, upon the mountains.  8  I am about to pour out my wrath on you and spend my anger against you; I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices.  9 I will not look on you with pity or spare you; I will repay you in accordance with your conduct and the detestable practices among you. Then you will know that it is I the LORD who strikes the blow.

Ezekiel gives us a historical example, a foreshadowing of that event, when he records what happened in his day.  Because of Israel’s sins disaster came upon them through the nation of Assyria.  God judged them, repaying them for the way they conducted themselves, while living in the land he had given them.  They were unfaithful; therefore, he poured out His wrath upon them.
At the time of Ezekiel’s prophecy, it was not only Israel who was judged, but her neighbors as well.  All the nations around Israel were punished by the Lord, who worked through Assyria to carry out this judgment.  This judgment is a picture of what the future judgment will be like for the world of our day.

Revelation 20:12-13 (NIV):
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.  13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 

The book of Revelation gives us even more detail about this future judgment of all the world.  John is shown a throne-room and many books are seen in which are recorded all the deeds of every person who has ever lived.  When these books were opened, judgment is pronounced and carried out according to what was written in them.


Revelation 21:23-27:
23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.  24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.  25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.  26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.  27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Another book was opened, which was the book of life.  This book contained the names of everyone who have trusted in Jesus.  This is also called, “
The Lamb’s book of life.  Those whose names are written in this book are those who have acknowledged Jesus before men (Revelation 3:5), and have not worshiped the beast.  

Those whose names are written in the book of life are saved because they trusted in the blood of the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world and they enter into Mount Zion, Heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.  Anyone whose name is not found written in the book of life on the day of judgment is thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).

There is one more important point to be made here.  We should not think that the names of those written in the book of life are Jewish believers who go through the Tribulation.  Paul mentions in his letter to Philippi: “Clement and the rest of his fellow-workers,” in the Gentile church of Philippi, also have their names written in the book of life (Philippians 4:3).  A study of “the book of life” throughout the Scriptures reveals the continuity and unity of every book of the Bible.  It shows us there is only one book of life, and that book contains the names of all the one people of God.


In the book of Psalms, David prays that his enemies have their names “
blotted from the book of life(Psalm 69:19-28).  In Revelation, we are told that those who overcome the tribulation will be “dressed in white” and will never have their names “blotted out” of the book of life (Revelation 3:5).  The Lord tells Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book(Exodus 32:23).  

As the Israelites stood on Mount Gerizim and Ebal and heard the terms of the covenant read to them, along with all its blessings and curses, a warning was given them that if anyone has “a heart that turns away from the living God” and worships other gods, would have his name blotted out from under heaven.”  The Lord says, “I will never be willing to forgive him.  The Israelites were given a choice that day.   They could choose the blessings, or they could choose the curses.  They could choose life, or they could choose death. (Deuteronomy 29:18-1; Hebrews 3:18)

In summary, those who turn away from the living God, have their names “blotted out from under heaven,” but those who trust in Christ as their Savior and Lord have their sins “blotted out (Isaiah 43:25).  These are the people that have their names written in the book of life; they are Daniel’s people, saints of God, whom He will rescue in the rapture/resurrection (see Revelation 16:15) as Christ comes in His glory.  In his coming, He will destroy His enemies, and then He will reward His saints.

All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all
whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.  (Revelation 13:8 NIV)

The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come.  Revelation 17:8 (NIV)
The inhabitants of the earth, whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life from the creation of the earth, are not God’s elect.  Therefore, those whose names are written in the book of life are God’s elect. This implies that they were chosen before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).  Satan, of course, tries to deceive the elect by sending false prophets and false messiahs, but since their names are written in the book of life, they do not receive the mark of the beast (meaning they are not deceived by the three-fold force of the beast or the false prophet or Satan.

The elect also includes O.T. saints whose names are also in the book of life as well as N.T. saints. Only those whose names are written in the book of life can enter into the holy city, the New Jerusalem
(Revelation 21:2).  The New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven at the time in which the present heavens and earth passes away and the new heaven and earth come into existence (Revelation 21:1).  This, according to 2 Peter 3:4, 10-12 is the Parousia, which occurs on the day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:2), which also called the Parousia of the day of God (2 Peter 3:12).  Peter says, “That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:12-13). 

Therefore, in summary, first we have Satan being released to go and deceive the nations (along with the beast and the false prophet - see
Revelation 16:12-16: The sixth angel pours out his bowl on the great river Euphrates “and its water is dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.  John says, “Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet.  They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.”  This is war of Armageddon.  Jesus’ Parousia comes during this war.  We see this same war pictured in Revelation 6 when the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich and the mighty, and every free and slave man are “gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army” (Revelation 19:19).  When they see the cosmic signs in the heavens, they hide themselves  in the clefts of the rocks of the mountains,  because they know that the day of God’s wrath has come upon them.  They cry out for the rocks to fall on them and hide them from the coming wrath (Revelation 6:15-17).  This war is also pictured in Revelation 14:19-20 as the winepress of God’s wrath: “So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.  And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.”  This winepress is also seen in Revelation 19, which connects it to the previous visions seen by John.

The Parousia is also pictured in the scene of the great white throne.  Here again, we see the present heavens and earth fleeing from His presence
(Revelation 20:1) or passing away.  This is also seen in Revelation 6:14 which says, “the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”  Many of these visions are retelling the same story over and over again.  In the same way, Revelation 19 and 20 tell the same story.  The only difference is that Revelation 20 begins way back at the beginning of the millennium and speeds to the end.  Revelation 19 only pictures the Parousia and the great battle.

The beast, the false prophet, and Satan are thrown into the lake of fire at the end of the age at the Parousia (Revelation 19:20; 20:10), followed by those whose names are not writtlen in the book of life.  Then, we have the new heavens and the new earth followed by the judgment.

It should be noted that if the judgment occurred in AD 70 (as some suppose), then those not found written in the book of life are already in the lake of fire
(Mathew 25:41; 2 Thessalonians 1:9) and those whose names are actually in the book of life have already received their inheritance and are already in the kingdom prepared for them (Matthew 25:34).

If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15 (NIV)
One more thing concerning the election and the book of life.  Peter instructs the believers, “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things (that is, add to your faith these qualities), you will never fall, and you will receive                                                                                                                                                                into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11).  Who is Peter talking to?  The elect of God. These elect are  those who receive this “rich welcome into the eternal kingdom,” as we were told in Revelation 21:27 “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but “only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”  Also, recall what Jesus said, “I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day(John 6:39).  Peter is saying that we should strive to make our calling and election sure, so that on the day of judgment we will not be ashamed, receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom. 
Therefore, if this is true, there cannot be any elect after the day of judgment because the names found in the book of life have been revealed. Also, there cannot be any intermediate kingdom between the Parousia and “the eternal kingdom” because once we are in the eternal kingdom there is no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4), which happens at the Parousia when death is destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:25-26).

Psalm 51:1-9 (NIV):
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.  4  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.  6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sin and blot out all my iniquity.  
God is just.  If it were not for His mercy none of would be saved.  We need God to blot out our sin.  David talks about being cleansed here on the inside.  He is referring to his spirit when he says, “Cleanse my with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  When David speaks of his inmost place, he is speaking of his spirit.  Then he says let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  This is referring to his soul.  The soul is like the bones, but the spirit is more central to our being - the spirit is as the marrow of the bones (Hebrews 4:12). 

The Holy Spirit is given to us when we first believe and continues in us to strengthen us in our innermost man
(Ephesians 3:16).  He lives in us by His Spirit and is joined with our spirit.  Paul tells the Corinthians, “whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:17).  And His Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16).

Jeremiah tells us, “
I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.  Then, Paul adds, “He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:27).  In Hebrews we read, “The Word of God (which is “the sword of the Spirit” – Ephesians 6:17), is sharper than a two-edge sword, piercing even to the dividing of the soul and the spirit” (Hebrews 4:12) and then it says, “ Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account(Hebrews 4:13).  The reason God can justly judge us is because He lives in us and knows our attitudes (spirit) and thoughts (soul).  He is also able to intercede for us and “blot out our transgressions” as we saw above.

God has caused His Spirit to dwell within us and He “jeolously longs for the Spirit” who lives in our spirit (James 4:5).  James continues by saying, “God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).  Isaiah 66:1-2 says, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest?  All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.”  We are His house (Hebrews 3:6) and God lives in our spirit by His Spirit.
Isaiah 43:25 (NIV):
I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.


Daniel 12:1-2 (NASB)
“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.  2 “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. 
Daniel speaks of a time in whch His people would be delivered out of a time of distress.  He speaks of this deliverance as a resurrection of those whose sleep in the dust of the ground, awaking either to everlatsting life or everlasting contempt.  This lines up directly with what Jesus says in John 5, where we read:

“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice   and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned”
(John 5:28).  In the very next verse the Lord says, “I myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me” (John 5:29).  Why does Jesus speak of the judgment here? Because, the judgment follows the resurrection of the dead.  And this makes sense.  Jesus is the just judge who will judge all mankind at singular, “appointed” day of judgment (Acts 10:42; 17:31).  Although he began to “judge the needy with justice” during His earthly ministry, there will come a day He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth and slay the wicked with the breath of His lips (Isaiah 11:4).  Isaiah’s prophecy began to be fulfilled in Jesus’ ministry (Luke 4:18-19).  The Spirit rested on Jesus and He began to “judge with justice” as a righteous shepherd king who ruled (shepherded) His people (John 10:14-18).  During His ministry He fulfilled all righteousness and was crowned with glory and honor at His ascension (Hebrews 2:9).

In
Ezekiel 34:16 it says, “I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”  This is not some passage about a future millennial kingdom.  This passage was fulfilled during Jesus’ earthly ministry.  He was, and is, the Good Shepherd (John 10:14).  The prophet Micah foretold this time, he said, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2).  Two verses later, Micah says, “And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.  And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.  And he shall be their peace” (Micah 5:4).

It is worth noting that a shepherd has both a staff and a rod.  He guides His sheep using his staff. 
The Greek word for staff is hrabdos (ῥάβδος GK G4811), which can mean “stick, staff, or scepter.  The Greek word for rod is also (hrabdos (ῥάβδος GK G4811).  Very often a shepherd would use one end of his staff as a tool to guide his sheep and the other end as a rod to fend off enemies or to discipline his sheep.  Revelation 19:15 says when Jesus returns in His Parousia, He will “strike down the nations. “He will rule (ποιμαίνω  poimainō rule  GK G4477) them with an iron scepter” (hrabdos (ῥάβδος GK G4811),  He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.  Although the verb rule here means “to shepherd,” this does not mean that He will be guiding them.  This passage is speaking about what Jesus will do to His enemies.  He will trample them like grapes in the winepress of the fury of His wrath: “The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia” (Revelation 14:19-20).  Psalm 2:9 says,“You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

The parable of the sheep and the goats is a picture of a Shepherd King judging with justice between believers and unbelievers.  It says, ““When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and
he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left” (Matthew 25:31-33).  Ezekiel tells us something similar: “I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats….I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.  Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away,  I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another(Ezekiel 34:17, 20-22).  Ezekiel is speaking of Jesus’ earthly ministry when the Lord judged between his sheep and the unjust rulers (shepherds) of Israel (the fat sheep).

Ezekiel then says, “I will set up over them one shepherd,
my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken” (Ezekiel 34:23-24).  This is not a resurrected David.  This is Jesus Himself reigning over His sheep, beginning the lost sheep of Israel and then extending to his sheep among all nations.  Jesus told His disciples, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd(John 10:10-14).  This statement indicates that the gospel was intended not only for Israel, but for the Gentiles as well.  Through the seed of Abraham (Jesus) all the nations would be blessed.

Isaiah speaks of a time when “a throne would be established.”  He says, “in faithfulness a man will sit on it—one from the house of David—
one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness” (Isaiah 16:5).  This throne has already been established.  Psalm 45:6 says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. Some may say that this is speaking of a future millennial rule, but they would be wrong.  Why?  Because, the psalmist continues by saying, “You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy” (Psalm 45:7).  This prophecy was fulfilled at the ascension, as we see in the first chapter of the book of Hebrews.  In this section of Hebrews the author we have several citations from the psalms and one other passage concerning the messianic kingdom: Acts 2; 2 Samuel 7; Psalm 45; Psalm 102; and Psalm 110.  All of these prophesies are cited by the apostles to show that Jesus began His reign at the time of His ascension, when “after he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (Hebrews 1:3).

In
Isaiah 42 describes how the Messiah would bring in this kingdom: “Here is my servant, whom I uphold,my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.  A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.  In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope” (Isaiah 42:1-3). 

Matthew reveals that Jesus is God’s Servant, on whom the Spirit rests and He has brought justice to the nations through the preaching of the gospel
(Matthew 12:18-22).  He did not falter or fail in His mission.  He brought justice to victory in the cross and His resurrection.  Therefore, God exalted Him to the highest place (Philippians 2:9).  He is now Prince and Savior (Acts 5:31). He is both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36).

Revelation 11:18 (NIV)
The nations were angry; and
your wrath has come.  The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and greatand for destroying those who destroy the earth. 
This passage tells us about the coming judgment of God upon all who do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Lord’s annointed.  John is here referencing Psalm 2 where the psalmist says, “Why do sthe nations rage and the peoples plot in  
 vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together,against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us” (Psalm 2:1-2) and then later in the psalm he says, “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and His wrath flare up in a moment” (Psalm 2:10).

John is telling us the time of God’s wrath and the time for judging the dead has come.  The time for rewarding the saints and for destroying the wicked.  This shows that the righteous and the wicked will be judged together.
Romans 12:19 (NIV)
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.




Deut. 32:39-41 (NIV):
39 “See now that I myself am He!  There is no god besides me.  I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.  I lift my hand to heaven and declare: As surely as I live forever, 41 when I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me. I will make my arrows drunk with blood, while my sword devours flesh: the blood of the slain and the captives, the heads of the enemy leaders.” Rejoice, O nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land and people.


Isaiah 61:1-3:
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.  
  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, 
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, 
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair. 
  They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
Jesus’ ministry began the year of the Lord’s favor.  He gave comfort to those who mourned in repentance.  He gave a crown of beauty,  gladness and praise to all who received Him instead of ashes and despair.  This year of the Lord’s favor is the day of salvation.  Paul addressses this in his letter to the Corinthians.  He says, “For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2).  This is a verbatim quote from Isaiah 49:8.  Isaiah 49 pictures the Servant who would raise up the tribes of Jacob, and bring back the preserved of Israel.  He would be a light to the nations to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:6). In other words, His salvation would reach to the ends of the earth. 

There is another day for those who reject the Lord Jesus as their Messiah.  It is called the Day of the Lord.  It is a day of vengeance.  

Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43:
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
    27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
    28 “ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. 
  “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
    29 “ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” 

36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 
    He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
    As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.  
This parable lays out in perfect order the sequence of events that will occur at the end.  First of all, the world is described as a field in which God had sown good seed (the righteous or “the elect”) but then an enemy came along and sowed evil seed (the wicked).  This distresses the harvesters (the angels) so they ask the Lord if they should go and pull up the weeds.  What is the Lord’s response?  “Let both grow together until the harvest” (Matthew 13:30).  Jesus identifies the harvest as “the end of the age” (Matthew 13:39).  It is also worth noting that when the end of the age arrives, He tells his angels, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned…” (Matthew 13:30b).  Why is this important?  Because it shows that God pours out His wrath on the wicked first, before He gathers His own into the barn (that is, His House).

In
Revelation 14:14-16 it seems that the righteous are harvested first.  However, if we consider 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 we see something that Revelation does not show us - the “catching up” of the saints.  Isaiah 26:20 says, “Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.  The prophet goes on to describe the coming of the Lord: “For behold, the LORD is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain” (Isaiah 26:21).  Isaiah 27:1 says, “In that day the LORD with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.  All this is describing the end of the age and the destruction of the wicked by the fire of the Lord.  All the wicked who have followed Satan and his servants will be killed, then raised to stand before the Lord in judgment.  After this they are thrown into the lake of fire along with Satan, the beast and the false prophet.  Zephaniah 1:18 says, “In the fire of his jealousy, all the earth shall be consumed; for a full and sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.”  There are No Survivors!  Zephaniah goes on to say, “ “Therefore wait for me,” declares the LORD, “for the day when I rise up to seize the prey.  For my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out upon them my indignation, all my burning anger; for in the fire of my jealousy all the earth shall be consumed” (Zephaniah 3:8).

There are other places in the Scriptures that show us that the day of vengeance (or wrath) is when Christ will come and burn up the chaff (the wicked) with unquenchable fire. 
Matthew 3:12 says, “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.  A winnowing fork is used to separate the wheat (the good seed) from the chaff (the weeds and debri).  This separation is the same thing we see pictured in the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31ff).  It is also seen in the parable of the net full of good and bad fish (Matthew 13:47-50).  The book of Jude compares “the judgment of the great day” to Sodom and Gomorrah which underwent “a punishment of eternal fire(Jude 6-7).  2 Peter 3:12 says that on that day “the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!  Peter also says the ungodly will be destroyed on this same day: “the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly” (2 Peter 3:7).  And when does this happen?  At the Parousia of the Lord (2 Peter 3:4); otherwise known as “the parousia of the day of God(2 Peter 3:12).  The author of Hebrews states that the enemies of God can expect to see “a fury of fire” that will consume them (Hebrews 10:27).  Paul tells us that when Jesus is “revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire.”  In this way He will ‘inflict vengeanceon His enemies – “those who do not know God and those who do not obey the gospel our our Lord Jesus Christ(2 Thessalonians 1:8).  According to Paul, this is called “the punishment of eternal destruction” away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His might” (2 Thesalonians 1:9).  This is the day when He comes to be glorified in His saints and marvelled at by all who have believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:10).  Paul calls this day “the Parousia of the Lord” when we are gathered to Him (2 Thessalonians 2:1).  It is “the appearing ( ἐπιφάνεια epiphaneia G2015) of His Parousia” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Luke 17:26-35:
 26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark.  Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
    28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
    30 It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. 32 Remember Lot’s wife!  33 Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.  35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.’”
Luke says that the coming of the Son of Man will be like the days of Noah and like the day Lot left Sodom.  The flood brought sudden and swift destruction upon the whole earth.  The fire rained down on Sodom and destroyed them all.  This was not just “day of the Lord” language.  These were real historical events.  The water really did destroy the earth.  The fire really did destroy the cities of Sodom and Gommorah and all it’s people.  Their were No Survivors except those who of “the elect” – those whom God chose to be saved.  Paul says it will be the same on the last day.  He states: “You yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape(1 Thessalonians 5:2-3). 

Peter says essentially the same thing: “
the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.  In Revelation we learn  that the earth and the heavens will flee from his presence, and there will be no place for them (Revelation 20:11).  Why is this so remarkeable?  Why do we think that this is not a real historical, visible event?

In
Psalm 33:6-9 we read “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.  He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses.  Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!  For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”  Then, in Isaiah 11:4, the prophet says that He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

Isaiah 30:33 speaks of “a burining place” that is made ready for the king (of Assyria).  Its fire pit has been made deep and wide, with an abundance of fire and wood the breath of the LORD, like a stream of burning sulfur sets it ablaze.”  Then, in Isaiah 40:7-8 the prophet says, “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

The point of these passages is not that everything should be taken literally, word for word; it is to show that the Lord is the Creator and Redeemer of mankind.  Will Jesus come in His Parousia, riding a white horse with a sword coming out of His mouth?  Or will He come with the clouds?  Both.  This is picture language that is meant to convey meaning.  The point to see is that everything lies in His hands. His “breath” is the Word of God which creates life.  This same Word also renders judgment upon to all men.  Before Him we are like grass, but only His Word lasts forever.  His Word is like a consuming fire that destroys His enemies.  With justice He makes war on His enemies (Revelation 19:11).  He puts on righteousness as a breastplate and he wears a helmet of salvation.  He wears vengeance as clothing, but to those who turn from their transgression, He is a Savior and a Redeemer (Isaiah 59:15-19).

Matthew 24:37-44:
37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
    42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
This passage is much like the one above, except that here Matthew conveys the imagery of the suddeness and unexpectedness of the Parousia.  He tells us that we need to be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour we do not expect Him.  He tell us “you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”  Therefore, keep watch.  Like the owner of a house must keep watch over his possessions, we too must guard what we have received with the help of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us (1 Timothy 1:14).  Notice, although Jesus tells his disciples that they do not know when He will come, apparently the owner of the house does know that the thief is coming.  Luke adds another detail.  He tells the parable of Jesus in which the servant are waiting for their master to come home from a wedding feast.  He recalls Jesus’ words: “If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!”  The point is, whether it is  a servant waiting for their master, an owner of a house expecting his house to be broken into, a pregnant woman who is expecting a child, or a virgin waiting for her bridegroom to come, the message is clear.  We are to be ready and waiting, not falling asleep.  We are to be sober and alert, for we don’t know the time of His Parousia.
Luke 21:28 (NIV):
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. 
Luke, more than any other gospel account, gives us the first century perspective of the coming of the Son of Man to judge Jerusalem.  He gives us the same imagery as Matthew, but he also tells us that Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies – referring to the Roman armies.  Jesus tells his disciples, when you see this, know that its desolation is near.  Jesus told his disciples that this was a sign that they should flee to the mountains.  He goes on to say, “these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled(Luke 21:22).  What things?  Everything?  No.  Clearly, this does not mean everything that was ever prophesied.  If this was the end of the prophetic word there would not be anything left to say concerning the Gentiles who would be brought into the church.  Luke is only speaking of “those things” concerning that event.    The gospel continued to go to the Gentiles even after the destruction of Jerusalem - the times of the Gentiles was not fulfilled in AD 70.  The fulness of the Gentiles had not, and still has not, come in.  There are more to come, because the Gentiles are still coming in, and Israel is still hardened in her heart.
When Jesus was baptized it was to fulfill all righteou
sness (Matthew 13:15).  When Jesus was beginning His ministry, He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15), He was not saying that everything was fulfilled, but that the kingdom had arrived in the person of Jesus.  This was not the full extent of prophecy, but just the beginning.  Jesus did many things to fulfill the Scriptures concerning himself.  The destruction of Jerusalem is just one more thing that is necessary to fulfill what is written concerning the Christ.  We have seen the Scriptures, which spoke of the sufferings of Christ, fulfilled  We have seen the Scriptures concerning the resurrection and ascension fulfilled.  But we have not seen the Scriptures fulfilled concerning “the glories that should follow” (2 Peter 1:11).  Yes, we have a foretast of these glories, but not the fullness.  We have not yet experienced “the grace that will be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).  This is our hope in which we glory.  The hope of sharing in His glory at the Parousia.  We have the hope, but we do not have what we hope for (Romans 8:24; 1 Peter 5:12; Thessalonians 2:9-12).  Our hope is that all God’s enemies will be destroyed (especially the last enemy - death 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54; Isaiah 25:7-8).  Our hope is that we will be raised from the dead and will stand before Him pure and blameless in His presence.  Paul told the Philippians, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work within you, both to will and to act according to His purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).  We are to strive by the power of God within us to live righteously (not so that we can have a righteousness of our own), but so that we can boldly stand before Him and say, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).  It is not our righteousness that will save us, but His righteousness will come through and be seen in our lives as we remain in the Word.  The author of Hebrews stresses the importance of going on toward perfection (Hebrews 6:1), to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…and run with perseverance the race marked out for us”…as we “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).  Continuing in the same thought, he says, “We want each of you to show this same diligence (σπουδή  spoudē GK G5082) to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.  We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (Hebrews 6:11-12).  We have not inherited what has been promised yet.  We only have the deposit of the Spirit, guaranteeing that inheritance.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 (NIV):
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers,  2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come.  3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for [that day will not come] until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
In this passage Paul speaks of our being gathered to Him.  This is the same gathering of “the elect” that we see in Matthew 24:31.   This is the gathering of the wheat into His barn after He has separated out the chaff (Matthew 3:12; Matthew 13:30; Luke 3:17).  The nations from which “the elect” are gathered are said to be from  “the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”  Another way to say this is to speak of “the four corners of the earth” (1 Samuel 2:6-19; Job 24:28; Psalm 2:8; 22:27; Revelation 7:1; 20:8) or “from the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 45:22; 49:6; 51:10; Jeremiah 16:19; Micah 5;4; Zechariah 9:10; Acts 1:8; 13:47), meaning the entire world.  Before this day of the Lord comes, however, Paul tells us their will be a falling away, a rebellion.  This rebellion begins with Satan being released from his prison, the bottomless pit (ἄβυσσος abussos G0012).  The Abysos, according to Paul is the place of the dead (Romans 10:7; Psalm 106:26), the place of demons or evil spirits (Luke 8:31) and the beast (Revelation 11:7; 17:8).  Satan is released from there, along with the beast and the false prophet.  John sees three demonic spirits, one from the mouth of the beast, one from the mouth of the false prophet, and one from the mouth of Satan Himself. This is how Satan is able to deceive the nations and gather them to “the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon” (Revelation 16:12-14). This is the sixth bowl judgment.  In this same vision we see the Euphrates River dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.  The sixth trumpet also has something to do with the Euphrates River.  We see an army of horselike creatures with the head of a lion.  They breath out three plagues (fire, smoke and sulfur) and kill a third of mankind.  Apparently, these also come out of the Abysss.  This, I believe is the same deception that occurs in the sixth bowl judgment. 

The Euphrates River is seen as a barrier between the demonic world and the natural world.  At the sixth trumpet Abraham’s ancestors came from there, and God called him out of this land to a new country
(Joshua 24:2-4).  Balaam, son of Peor, came from there (Numbers 22:5).  When Israel finally entered the promised land, Joshua told them, “Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14).  When God uprooted Israel, he punished them by scattering them beyond the Euphrates (1 Kings 14:15).  The land of Megiddo is the place where many wars were fought in the past.  It is also said to be the place where the final battle will take place.  Whatever kind of battle this is, it is sure to be a spiritual battle in which the enemies of God are slain.

In Revelation 9:14 the sixth angel with his trumpet is told to release the four angels who are bound at the great River Euphrates.  This seems to be symbolic of the release of demons who are released to kill a third of mankind.  Just how related this is to the sixth bowl judgment and the release of demonic spirits is uncertain, but it certainly connected with Satan’s deception and his gathering of the nations to Armageddon.  In 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12, Paul says, “And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness mis already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.  And then nthe lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.  The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,  in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” For certain, God is in control, but He allows this one last deception at the end to make known His just and righteous deeds.
Zephaniah 3:8:
Therefore wait for me,” declares the LORD, 
for the day I will stand up to testify.  I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them—all my fierce anger.  The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger 
This prophecy speaks of God’s wrath being poured out on the whole world (אָֽרֶץ ʾaretz GK H00824).  As seen above, in Zephaniah 1:18, “In the fire of his jealousy the whole earth will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live on the earth.  Is this just a local pouring out of God’s wrath?  Or does it point to something more?  Hebrews 12:29 says that our God is a consuming fire.  In the context of this passage it speaks of the shaking of the heavens and the earth (that is, “created things” or “things that have been made”) and the receiving (present tense) of a kingdom that cannot be shaken.  Created things will be removed, and the kingdom will remain.  This is similar to what we have in the parable of the wheat and tares.  Everything that causes sin and all who do evil (Matthew 13:41) are removed and the righteous remain (Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37).  How are they removed?  With fire!  This is not new.  God has done it before.  When Nadab and Abihu offered unauthorized fire, “fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them (Leviticus 10:2).  When the people of Israel “complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes, and when the LORD heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them…” (Numbers 11:1).  The Lord’s presence was a consuming fire on the top of Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:8).  Psalm 68:1-3 speaks of the wicked melting like wax before the fire of God.
Malachi 3:2:
But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. Malachi 3:2 (NIV)
In Malachi 3 the prophet speaks of a messenger that will come, who will prepare the way for Him.  According to Jesus, this messenger was John. He prepared the way for the first coming of the Lord and His earthly ministry by calling the people to repentence,  Malachi also states that “the desired messenger of the covenant” would come sudddenly to His temple (Malachi 3:1).  Jesus’ first visit to Jeruslaem after his baptism was for the Passover.  Here he cleansed the temple for the first time. Malachi states, “But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years” (Malachi 3:2-4).  Is Jesus’ cleansing of the temple the purification that Malachi refers to?  It is uncertain.  Or could this be a reference to His second coming?  If the prophet is speaking of the Parousia, it makes sense that he would say, “Who can endure the day of his coming?  Who can stand when he appears?  Paul tells us the Lord Jesus will be “revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels” (2 Thessalonians 1:7).  Is this the refiner’s fire that Malachi wa speaking about?  Perhaps.  However, Paul is very clear about the fire.  This fire will consume His enemies - “those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:8).


1 Corinthians 3:10 (NIV):
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.  11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,  13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.  14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.  15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
Here again, Paul speaks of the Parousia as a day of judgment, in which Go will bring to light the quality of each man’s work.  Although Paul only speaks of the judgment of the righteous in this passage, he does mention that some will only be saved “as one escaping through the flames.”  What does this mean?  First of all, it reveals that one is saved by faith alone.  Even though a person loses everything he has built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, He will still be saved because He has faith in Jesus Christ.  This seems the more likely of Malachi’s reference to the refiner’s fire above.  Secondly, it tells us that faith is more precious than gold because, when tested, it results in praise, glory and honor (1 Peter 1:7).  Suffering makes our faith stronger because through it we develop perseverance.  It perfects our faith (James 1:3-4).  Paul says that on the day of Judgment our faith will be revealed with fire.

The Parousia of the Lord is described as a blazing furnace (Malachi 4:1).  It will purify the righteous and destroy His enemies.  The Psalmist says, “
Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you. You will make them as a blazing oven when you appear. The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, and fire will consume them. You will destroy their descendants from the earth, and their offspring from among the children of man” (Psalm 21:8-10).  Malachi prophesies, “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace.  All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.  But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.  Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the LORD Almighty.”
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Matthew 3:11-12 (NIV) 
In this passage John the Baptist not only references the baptism of the Holy Spirit that would come at Pentecost.  He also speaks of the Parousia and the judgment.  The righteous will be gathered into His barn and the chaff will be burned up with unquencahable fire.

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 
Luke 3:16 (NIV)

Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. Malachi 4:1 (NIV)
The Scriptures often speak of the wicked as stubble that is consumed by God’s burning anger (Exodus 15:7) or as grass that soon withers and dies (Psalm 37:1-2; 92:7-8; Isaiah 40:6-8). 

In 1 Peter 1:22-25, the apostle cites Isaiah 40:6-8.  He compares those who are born of the flesh to those who are born of the living and abiding Word of God.  The Word of the Lord remains forever, but flesh will perish. 

1  Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.  2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.  
3  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers. 4  Not so the wicked!  They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
Ecclesiastes says, ““God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.” (Ecclesiastes 3:17).  Jeremiah states, “ “‘The LORD will roar from on high, and from his holy habitation utter his voice; he will roar mightily against his fold, and shout, like those who tread grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. The clamor will resound to the ends of the earth, for the LORD has an indictment against the nations; he is entering into judgment with all flesh, and the wicked he will put to the sword, declares the LORD” (Jeremiahs 25:30).

In the first psalm the righteous and the wicked are  compared.  The righteous does not wither because they are planted by streams of water (the Word of God) and meditate on it day and night.  However, the wicked are like chaff that the wind blows away.  They will be brought before the Lord for judgment, but they will not stand.


John 16:8-11 (NIV):
8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. 
The world is guilty in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment.  In this passage Jesus points out three aspects of this guilt.  First, there is guilt in regard to sin because men do not trust in Christ.  In Mark 16:16, Jesus states “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”  In John 3:18, He states that the person is “condemned already” because of unbelief.  They are under a state of condemnation because of the state of their heart.
Just as the world was condemnened in unbelief in Noah’s day, it is condemned today in the days of the Son of Man
(Hebrews 11:7).

Second, the world is guilty in regard to righteousness because Jesus was worthy to ascend to the Father.  He was worthy because He fulfilled all righteousness.  In Hebrews we read, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.  And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek”
(Hebrews 5:8).  As our perfect, High Priest, He has entered into the inner place behind the curtain as a forerunner on our behalf.  He has become our hope – the anchor for our soul (Hebrews 6:19-20).   Through Him we have access to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).  His obedience became our obedience (Romans 5:19).  In Him we became the righteousness of God.  The world, on the other hand, is unable to please God, because the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:8).  Therefore, they fall short of the glory of God because they are still “dead in their sins” – that is, they are still dead in their own trespasses and their own disobedience (John 8:24; 1 Corinthians 15:17; Colosisans 2:13).
The third way in which the world is guilty is in regard to judgment, because Satan now stands condemned.  Paul tells us “the prince of the power of the air” now works in those who do not believe”
(Ephesians 2:2).  He is called “the prince of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11) or “the god of this age, who has blinded the minds of unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4:4). 

 Before His departure, Jesus told His discples about the coming of the Holy Spirit.  He says, “I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father…”
(John 14:28).  Why would they rejoice?  Because, as He said, “I will come to you.”  How would He come to them?  In the person of the Holy Spirit.  This would happen after Jesus ascended to the Father and poured out His Spirit on them at Pentecost (Acts 2:33).

After Jesus tells them that He would come to them in the person of the Holy Spirit, He continues by saying,“
I will no longer talk much with you, for “the prince of this world is coming(John 14:30-31).  When Jesus ascended to the Father, there was a war in heaven and Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels.  Then, “the great dragon – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray, …was hurled down to the earth, and his angels with him (Revelation 12:7-9).
Because the devil has been cast out of heaven does not mean that he has no power.  He still has power, but his authority to use that power is limited.  He can still sow bad seed in the field (the world), which is God’s kingdom (Matthew 13:38-39).  He still prowls around like a lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).  He still blind the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4).  He is the master of deceit and distraction.  He never stops taking away the word of God from their hearts (Luke 8:12).  He causes men to focus on the things of men, instead of the things of God (Matthew 16:23).  Then the cares of this life choke out the Word of God (Luke 8:14; 21:34).  However, Satan cannot prevent the power of the gospel from saving God’s elect (Romans 1:16).  The gates of hell will not prevail against the kingdom of God (Matthew 16:18).

The pronouncement of condemnation of this world is the application of the future judgment in the present.  The world and the flesh are condemned because of their unbelief, their disobdience, and their alliance with Satan.  We do not boast or rejoice in the flesh, because
our flesh was crucified with Christ.  We only “boast in Christ” and we “put no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).  Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). 

Although we are still “in the flesh,” as Paul says, but “the flesh counts for nothing”
(John 6:63).  It was crucified and sin was condemned in the flesh (Romans 8:3).  When Christ took our sin upon Himself.  He bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24).  Even though He had no sin, He became a sin offering on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

It is important for us to note that ONLY those who are crucified with Christ and who have faith in Christ, who receive the benefit of being crucified with Christ.  Some have wrongly assumed that Scripture teaches a form of universalisalism.  They mistakenly believe that because Paul says in Galatians that “
the world was crucified to us and we are crucified to the world(Galataian 6:14), that all the world receives the benefits of God’s grace.  But Paul also tells us that it is only those who have been “circumcised by Christ” through faith (Colossians 2:11), which have put off the flesh and have forgiveness of sins.  Yes, Christ “is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2), but it is only by faith that we are justified in the sight of God.


Revelation 22:12 (NIV):
“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
This passage shows that the Parousia is when God will reward His servants.  This is the day of Judgment when he will give to everyone acording to what He has done.  The righteous will be rewarded according to they have done and the wicked will receive the wages of sin which is death, and eternal condemnation.  This is not speaking of salvation - the righteous are already saved.  This is referring to the fruits of one’s faith or their unbelief.

“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10 (NIV)
It is by faith that we do good.  Paul tells us that if we persist in doing good (by faith) we will receive glory, honor and immortality (Romans 2:7).  Those who have faith should walk in the Spirit.  When we walk in the Spirit, we do good to others, because the Spirit fills our heart with His love (Romans 5:5) and causes us to love others as He does.  If we do not have the desire or the ability to love others, all we have to do is ask (Mark 11:24; John 16:24), and God will give us both the will and the ability to act according to His purpose (Philippians 2:13).

11 One  God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, 12 and that you, O Lord, are loving.and that you, O Lord, are loving.  Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done. Psalm 62:11-12 (NIV)


24  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. Matthew 16:24-27

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
1 Pet. 5:4 (NIV)

7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. Ephesians 6:7 (NIV)



23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  
25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.  Colossians 3:22-25 (NIV)


Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,  13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV)




 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.  Heb. 4:6-13 (NIV)



37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;  38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 
40 “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.  41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.  42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” Matt. 10:37-42  (NIV)


14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
    19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
    21 “His master replied, ’Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
    22 “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’
    23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
heart.  

As we spend time in His Word, meditating on it day and night, and seeking His Kingdom first, the Spirit works faith in our heart and fills us to overflowing.  When we allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify us through and through (1 Thessalonians 5:23), by the Word that is within us (John 17:17, 1 John 2:14) we become thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Obedience begins in the heart.  The book of Hebrews tells us that nothing is hidden from God.  The Word of God is called “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17).  It penetrates to the deepest part of us (our spirit) and lays everything bare in the sight of God to whom we will give account on the day of judgment.  This is why the writer of Hebrews tells us to “make every effort” to not be disobedient.  We must fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12).  We must run the race, but we must also “throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles” (Hebrews 12:1).


The Christian life demands sacrifice.  We must be willing to suffer loss, and to lay down our lives, if needed.  To be unwilling to take up the cross of Jesus Christ and to deny our self is not an option in the kingdom of God.  


God has entrusted us, his servants, with the message of his kingdom.  What we do with it depends partly on us.  Notice, the parable says he gave to “each according to his ability” (Matthew 25:15).  We cannot say to God, “I didn’t know how to use my gift,” or “I was afraid that I would fail,” because the results depend on God.  We are only required to exercise our faith, according to the ability we have been given.   Trouble is, many do not know what they are capable of, because they are frozen with fear.  They are like the servant who says, “I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground” (Matthew 25:25).  They would rather give God back His gift than be responsible with it.

The apostle Paul knew that Timothy was reluctant to use his gift.  Perhaps, he thought to himself, “I am too young, no one will listen to me.”  Paul knew this fear.  He was accused of being “unimpressive” and his enemies said, “his speaking amounts to nothing” (2 Corinthians 10:10).  But Paul knew that God was able to make him bold, even when he was afraid.  Someone has said, “Courage is not a lack of fear, but rather fear that is under control.”  We would also say, “Perfect love casts out drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).  We are not bold, because we are confident in our own ability, we are confident because we know the God we serve is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).
24 “Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
    26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
    28  “ ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  Matthew 25:14-28 (NIV)


Luke 12:48 (NIV)
 From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. 

2 Peter 1:3:
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV):
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

1 John 5:14 (NIV):
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.    

John 12:12-14 (NIV):
12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. 


Eph. 4:7-13 (NIV):
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.  8 This is why it says: 

  When he ascended on high, 
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.” 

9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?  10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)  11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,  12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 




Matthew 5:6 (NIV):
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mark 11:24 (NIV)


2 Corinthians 5:9-11 (NIV):
9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.  10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
11
Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.  

Heb. 10:35-39 (NIV):
35  So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  

37 For in just a very little while,
           He who is coming will come and will not delay. 
 38 But my righteous one will live by faith.  
  And if he shrinks back,
       I will not be pleased with him.” 

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. 

Ephesians 4:7-12:
The key to obedience is to ask God for the wisdom, ability, and skill to carry out His will (Exodus 31:3).  When God fills us with the Spirit of God He gives us the gifts and abilities to minister to others

Ephesians 4:10:
One of the primary purposes of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to equip us for ministry.  God fills us with His Spirt “in order to fill the whole universe” with His glory (Ephesians 4:10), beginning with His Body and extending to the world.  In other words, when we are filled “to the whole measure of the fullness of  Christ” we will be Christ to the world around us.

But how are we filled?  Here again, we see the Scriptures tell us that to be filled, we must ask God.  Jesus tells us, If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:13 (NIV).  When we trust in Christ, we are filled with the desire to do His will, and so we ask God for the knowledge of His will (Colossians 1:9, Romans 12:2) and the ability (Philippians 2:13) to do His will “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).  Having asked in faith, we receive.

As the servants of God we must be willing to suffer and die, if necessary, for the will of God.  This is what it means to “take up one’s cross” (Matthew 16:23).  Peter tells us, 

1 Since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.  2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. (1 Peter 4:1-2).  John tells us, “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.  1 John 2:17 (NIV)

The man who fears God and knows that one day “we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” is not only concerned with doing God’s will, but he also tries to persuade men (2 Corinthians 5:11), because we want “all men to be saved, and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:4).

Because our Lord is coming, and we know we will all stand before His throne of judgment, we are even more eager to do His will.  “We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed,” but of those who persevere in faith, doing the will of God, because we want to please Him.  We want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
47 “That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.  Luke 12:42-48 (NIV)

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?  13 “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” 14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.  Luke 16:10-15 (NIV)

7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.  8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:7-9 (NIV)


I do not accept praise from men, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.  44 How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?  John 5:41-44 (NIV)


Luke 19:11-27  (NIV):
11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.  12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’
    But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’
    He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.
    “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’
    “ ‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’
    “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’
    “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’
    “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’
    “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’
    “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’
    “ ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’
    “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’” 


Luke 19:28-44 (NIV):
28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.  29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them,  30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
    Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them.  33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 
    They replied, “The Lord needs it.” 
    They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.  36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. 
    When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: 
    “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
The Day of Judgment

1 John 4:17(NIV):
17 In this way, love is made complete (
perfect) among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.
John tells us that we will have confidence on the day of judgement because we have the righteousness of Christ in us.  We stand in His righteousness alone - justified by faith alone. However,  He is also transforming us into His image with ever-increasing glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).  It is not our righteousness that transforms us, but it is God in us that transforms us and causes us to will and to act according to His purpose (Philippians 2:13).  He gives us His Spirit, who dwells in our spirit.  Then, He transforms our soul.  Finally, on the day of Christ, our body will also be redeemed.  We will stand before Him fully sanctified (1 Thessalonians 5:23).  Paul tells us that on the day of Christ Jesus we will be perfect as we stand in His presence (Philippians 1:6).

John 6:39-40:
39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that
I shall lose none of all that he has given me (the elect), but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
The judgment and the resurrection take place on the last day.  On the day everyone who has looked to the Son and believed on Him will be raised to life.  On the day He appears, we will also appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:4).
When will He appear?  On the last day!  While those who did not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus “will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (1 Thessalonians 1:9), those who recevie the gospel will share in His glory (Romans 8:17; 1 Peter 5:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:14).  When will this happen? On the day He comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed” (2 Thessalonians 2:14).

John 6:44 (NIV):
44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 11:54:
54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.  John 6:54 (NIV)

John knew that Christians will appear before the judgment seat on the last day, judgment day.  This is the same day that all men are raised from the dead (John 6:39, 44, 54; 11:24).  John’s desire is for Christians to be “confident and unashamed before him at his coming (1 John 2:28) on the day of judgment (1 John 4:17).   Paul We know that the wicked will also be raised at this time and judged along with the righteous (John 12:48).

John 12:47-48:
47 “As for
the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.  48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.

The wicked will also be judged on this day - the last day
Acts 17:31(NIV):
For
he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

Luke tells us in Acts 17:31, “God has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed.”   This verse tells us that God has appointed Jesus to be the judge of all the world.   The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son.” (John 5:22)

Acts 10:42:
He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 

Not only has God appointed a specific man to judge the world, but He has set a specific day on which He will judge it.   He has given proof of this by raising Jesus from the dead (Acts 17:31).  This is the message Paul preached: God has appointed Jesus as judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42).

Romans 2:5-6 (NIV):
But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will give to each person according to what he has done.


Paul tells us that those who refuse the gift of God’s grace given us through His Son, Jesus Christ, and suppress the truth of God by their wickedness, will not escape God’s judgment (Romans 1-2).  Even more, Paul tells them that “because of their stubbornness and unrepentant heart” these wicked individuals are “storing up wrath” against themselves “for the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed.”


Hebrews 6:26-31 (NIV)
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.  28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?  30 For we know him who said, It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.   31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The writer of Hebrews warns that those “who deliberately keep on sinning” after hearing the Gospel.  As we read earlier in the chapter, they are “in danger of being cursed(Hebrews 6:8).  By doing so, they are rejecting the message of God’s forgiveness  and “trampling the Son of God underfoot” (Hebrews 6:29).  When they treat “the blood of the covenant” as an unholy thing, there is “no sacrifice for sins” for those who reject Christ.  Disobedience, without repentence, hardens the heart and leads to unbelief.  We must continually confess our sins to God if we are to remain in Christ.  We have the Holy Spirit (who works through His Word - both law and gospel) to keep us in the faith.

2 Pet. 3:7 (NIV):
By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

Peter tells us that the ungodly will be destroyed along with the present heavens and earth on the day of judgment.  It is implied that the ungodly will be destroyed with the same fire by which the present heavens and earth are being reserved.

This is the same “day of judgment” that is referred to above when the love of Christians will be made complete (1 John 4:17).

Peter elsewhere refers to God is holding the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while he continues their punishment in the present age (2 Peter 2:9).  
      

2 Peter 2:9 (NIV):
If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.

Peter, tells us that God is able to rescue the godly from trials.  Paul reveals just when and how God will rescue the godly from  their “persecutions and trials” in the next passage:


2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 (NIV):
4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 5 All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.  6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.  8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
Listen to Paul’s words: “God will pay back trouble to those who trouble you...when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire.”  The ungodly will be “punished with everlasting destruction on the day He comes...” (2 Thessalonians 2:9) by “raging fire that will consume the enemies of God(Hebrews 6:27),


Matt. 11:22 (NIV):
But I tell you,
it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.  (Jesus condemns Korazin and Bethsaida)

Matt. 11:24 (NIV):
But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.(Jesus condemns Capernaum)

Matt. 12:41-42 (NIV):
The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.

Jesus, during His earthly ministry, prophesied that the day of judgment would be “more bearable” for wicked cities like Tyre, Sidon, Sodom, and Gomorrah than for some cities in which he preached the gospel (Matthew 11:22-24).  He also tells us that the men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South would rise (from the dead) at the judgment and condemn those living at the time of Jesus because they rejected their Messiah.

Matt. 12:36 (NIV):
35 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.  But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.

Jesus says men will have to give account for every careless word they have spoken on the day of judgment (Matthew 12:36).  Notice, there are no qualifiers here.  “Every careless word” be every man and woman who ever lived - whether righteous or wicked will be judged on this day.  When will this day come?  On the day of judgment - the last day of history!

2 Timothy 1:7-8 (NIV):
7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner.  But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God 

Paul exhorts Timothy to “not be ashamed to testify about our Lord(2 Timothy 1:7).  We should all be willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel, because Jesus tells us, if we acknowledge him before men, He will acknowledge us before His Father (Matthew 10:32-33).  There will be two kinds of people present at the judgment - those who acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Christ, and those who “disown him” by their words and actions, or lack thereof (Matthew 25:31-46).


Matt. 10:32-33 (NIV):
Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. 


Revelation 3:5 (NIV):
He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

Jesus’ words in the Revelation remind us that those who suffer trials and tribulation and overcome will “be dressed in white.”  Their names are written in the book of life.  Jesus says He will “acknowledge his name” before his Father (Revelation 3:5).  In his first epistle John tells us every spirit that acknowledges Jesus is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus’ true nature and divine origin is not from God (see below: 1 John 4:1-3).


Luke 12:8-10 (NIV):
8 “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. 9 But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

1 John 4:1-3 (NIV):
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,  3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.


Mark 8:34-38 (NIV):
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels. 

Another place we see this truth is when Jesus compares those the one “who wants to save his life” with the one “loses his life” for Jesus and the gospel.  Jesus reminds us that it is useless for a man “to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul” and there is nothing that a man can give “in exchange for his soul” (Mark 8:36-37).  Our sin requires that a debt be repaid.  We either let Jesus pay the price for us with His life, or we will have to pay the price with our life!  No amount of good works can repay God for the debt we owe - “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:26) and our debt must be repaid in blood.  Jesus concludes by saying, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words...the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes... (Mark 8:38).


2 Timothy 3:1-17 (NIV):
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—  5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires,  7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.  8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.  9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone. 10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,  11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.  12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,  15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Paul warned Timothy “in the last days” there would people who would not  be “lovers of the good.”  These people are “never able to acknowledge the truth” and “as far as the faith is concerned are rejected” (2 Timothy 3:7-8).  He instructs Timothy that these “evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13), while “anyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).  In other words, those who refuse to “acknowledge the truth” will go from bad to worse, but those who stand on the Word of God, without adding or taking away from it  “will be persecuted” by those who “oppose the truth” (2 Timothy 3:8).  It is important that we as Christians do not neglect the study of Gods Word, because it is “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).  

We can never be afraid to suffer for the truth of God’s Word.  “If we shrink back, God will not be pleased with us” (Hebrews 10:37-39).  It is better to fear God “who can destroy both body and soul in hell” than to fear men “who can kill the body,” but cannot touch the soul.

If our emotions are hurt, or if we suffer loss of status, riches, or some other form of gain for the sake of Christ, we will be rewarded when the Chief Shepherd appears.  Even if we lose our very lives, we have not lost, we have only gained because we have not denied the name of Christ, but have been faithful to His Word (Revelation 3:5).

Sometimes we may even endure opposition from fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  Paul spent much of his ministry dealing with divisions within the body, as well as those who opposed his ministry.  But if we all stand firmly on the word of God (2 Thessalonians 2:15), with “the belt of Truth around our waist” (Ephesians 6:14), and continue to “examine the Scriptures every day(Acts 17:11), then “even if on some point we think differently, God will make that clear to us(Philippians 3:15).  Our goal is that we would all “contend as one man for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).  

When we consider ourselves to be superior to one another, and put ourselves above one another, we only cause division and strife (1 Corinthians 3:1-3), but when we stand “united in mind and thought,” (1 Corinthians 1:10) by allowing God’s Word to shape us and direct us into His truth, we are “transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2).  Then, as we speak “the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) to one another, we “grow up” in both truth and love, into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18), and will no longer be infants tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind and wave of teaching (Ephesians 4:14).


2 Tim. 4:1-4 (NIV):
1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:  2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encouragewith great patience and careful instruction.  3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Paul continues to exhort Timothy in the following chapter to “Preach the Word” and to always be prepared to “correct, rebuke and encourage” others with the Word.  He warns Timothy that there will come a time when men will try to substitute their own thoughts for that of Scripture.  They will even gather “a great number of teachers” around them, which serves to insulate them, so that they don’t have to deal with the truth.  This is why John tells us to “test the spirits to see if they come from God(1 John 4:1)

It is too easy to substitute our own thoughts for God’s Word, we are all fallen creatures.  We must ask for God’s wisdom in discerning the Scriptures (James 1:5), because the message of Scripture is a message of wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:6) that can only truly be discerned by those who are mature (Hebrews 5:14, Philippians 3:15).  Those who are mature “have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14), right from wrong, truth from what is false.  They are singularly focused on seeking the kingdom of God first and foremost (Matthew 6:33), “living for righteousness” (1 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 5:13, 1 Peter 2:24).

If we are not growing in the truth of God’s Word, we are ignoring it.  If we continue to ignore it, or substitute our own thoughts for God’s, we are in danger of, perhaps, “refusing to acknowledge the truth(2 Timothy 3:7).  At the very least, if we refuse to go on to maturity and are content with only “the elementary teachings” of our faith, we will, in fact, need to learn these elementary teachings all over again (Hebrews 5:12).  It is a dangerous thing to be content with where we are at in our walk with Christ, and not to “strive for maturity(Philippians 3:12).  The elementary teachings of Christ and baptism (justification) are meant to spur us on toward maturity - the “teaching about righteousness”(sanctification) and that can only come from spending time studying and meditating on God’s Word, and putting it into practice in our lives.

If we refuse to “grow up in our salvation(1 Peter 2:2) and become mature, we will be disobeying God.  The author of Hebrews says, “Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.  8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. (Heb. 6:7-8; see Matthew 13:22 NIV)

This is a message that meant to inspire perseverance.  After scaring “the tar” out of these believers, Paul then says, “We are confident of better things in your case—things that accompany salvation (obedience) (Hebrews 6:9)



2 Corinthians 5:4-10 (NIV):
4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  7 We live by faith, not by sight.  8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.  10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 

What happens when we die?  Paul does say that when we die we will be with the Lord, but do we immediately face the judgment?  Let’s see what the Scriptures say.  First, Paul says that “when we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord” and “when we are away from the body” we are “at home with the Lord.”  Paul also considers the future judgment to be a very motivating factor for living in obedience to Christ (sanctification), because he says, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

As we have seen before, this judgment has to do with whether or not we have acknowledged Christ as Savior and Lord.  If we have acknowledged him before men, he will acknowledge us before His father and the angels, but if we have not acknowledged Him, we will not be acknowledged.  Once again, if we are ashamed of Him, He will be be ashamed of us, but if we lose our lives for Him, we will gain eternal life with Him.

Zepheniah 2:1-3:
1 Gather together, gather together, O shameful nation, 
2 before the appointed time arrives and that day  
   sweeps on like chaff, before the fierce anger of the  
  LORD comes upon you, before the day of the 
  LORD’S wrath comes upon you. 

3 Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who  
   do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek 
   humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of 
   the LORD’S anger. Zephaniah 2:1-3 (NIV)

But when does this judgment take place?  Is this judgment immediately after our death, or does it take place “on the day of judgment”?  I think we can say, from what we have already seen, it is on a certain day which “God has set...” in the future (Acts 17:31, Zephaniah 2:1-3) in which He will judge the world with justice by His Son Jesus, our Lord.  We have proof of this because God raised Him from the dead (Acts 10:42).

1 Corinthians 15:50-57 (NIV):
50 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed  52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?” 
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Earlier in 2 Corinthians 5, Paul tells us,“we are clothed with our heavenly dwelling so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life(2 Corinthians 5:4).  We have His Spirit, guaranteeing “what is to come” (2 Corinthians 5:5).  To fully understand this we must look at other verses in Scripture.  Paul deals with this subject in greater detail in 1 Corinthians 15 - The Resurrection Chapter. 

 In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” because it is perishable - it is corrupt (Note: In Genesis 6  The Hebrew text reveals that the word “corrupt” means “mortal.”  God destroys the world and everything in it because it is corrupt or “mortal” due to sin, and he “restores” the earth through Noah, whose name means “rest” or “restoration.”)

Paul explains, “The perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.” When this happens, “Death will be swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:53-54).  We know this has not happened yet, because the Resurrection has not taken place, nor have received our new, immortal, incoruptible, heavenly bodies.  

1 Corinthians 15:42-49 (NIV):
42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;  43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;  44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. 

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.  45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.  46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.  47 The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven.  48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.  49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

Paul says, “Just as we have born the likeness of the earthly man (Adam), so we shall bear the likeness of the man from heaven (Jesus)” (1 Corinthians 15:49).  This will occur at “the resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:42) when are bodies are raised “imperishable,” “in glory,” and “in power” as “a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:43-44).

1 John 3:2 says, “...when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.   Paul tells the Philippians:

Our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,  21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. 

Our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,  21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. 

So from these verses, we can surmise that our bodies will only be changed when at the time of the resurrection.  Then, immediately after that, will come the one universal judgment of all people.  When this day comes, Paul says, “we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and each of us will give an account of himself to God.  Paul, reminds us of the words of Jesus, which are recorded in the book of Isaiah, “Every knee will bow before me.”  Notice.  No one is excluded - every knee, whether that person is (or was) righteous or unrighteous will bow before our Lord on that Day.

Romans 14:10-12:
You, then, why do you judge your brother?  Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.  11 It is written: “ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.


Ezekiel 7:5-10 (NIV):
5 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Disaster! An unheard-of disaster is coming.  6 The end has come! The end has come! It has roused itself against you. It has come!  7 Doom has come upon you—you who dwell in the land. The time has come, the day is near; there is panic, not joy, upon the mountains.  8  I am about to pour out my wrath on you and spend my anger against you; I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices.  9 I will not look on you with pity or spare you; I will repay you in accordance with your conduct and the detestable practices among you. Then you will know that it is I the LORD who strikes the blow.

Ezekiel gives us a historical example, a foreshadowing of that event, when he records what happened in his day.  Because of Israel’s sins disaster came upon them through the nation of Assyria.  God judged them, repaying them for the way they conducted themselves, while living in the land he had given them.  They were unfaithful; therefore, he poured out His wrath upon them.
At the time of Ezekiel’s prophecy, it was not only Israel who was judged, but her neighbors as well.  All the nations around Israel were punished by the Lord, who worked through Assyria to carry out this judgment.  This judgment is a picture of what the future judgment will be like for the world of our day.

Revelation 20:12-13 (NIV):
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.  13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 

The book of Revelation gives us even more detail about this future judgment of all the world.  John is shown a throne-room and many books are seen in which are recorded all the deeds of every person who has ever lived.  When these books were opened, judgment is pronounced and carried out according to what was written in them.


Revelation 21:23-27:
23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.  24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.  25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.  26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.  27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Another book was opened, which was the book of life.  This book contained the names of everyone who have trusted in Jesus.  This is also called, “
The Lamb’s book of life.  Those whose names are written in this book are those who have acknowledged Jesus before men (Revelation 3:5), and have not worshiped the beast.  

Those whose names are written in the book of life are saved because they trusted in the blood of the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world and they enter into Mount Zion, Heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.  Anyone whose name is not found written in the book of life on the day of judgment is thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).

There is one more important point to be made here.  We should not think that the names of those written in the book of life are Jewish believers who go through the Tribulation.  Paul mentions in his letter to Philippi: “Clement and the rest of his fellow-workers,” in the Gentile church of Philippi, also have their names written in the book of life (Philippians 4:3).  A study of “the book of life” throughout the Scriptures reveals the continuity and unity of every book of the Bible.  It shows us there is only one book of life, and that book contains the names of all the one people of God.


In the book of Psalms, David prays that his enemies have their names “
blotted from the book of life(Psalm 69:19-28).  In Revelation, we are told that those who overcome the tribulation will be “dressed in white” and will never have their names “blotted out” of the book of life (Revelation 3:5).  The Lord tells Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book(Exodus 32:23).  

As the Israelites stood on Mount Gerizim and Ebal and heard the terms of the covenant read to them, along with all its blessings and curses, a warning was given them that if anyone has “a heart that turns away from the living God” and worships other gods, would have his name blotted out from under heaven.”  The Lord says, “I will never be willing to forgive him.  The Israelites were given a choice that day.   They could choose the blessings, or they could choose the curses.  They could choose life, or they could choose death. (Deuteronomy 29:18-1; Hebrews 3:18)

In summary, those who turn away from the living God, have their names “blotted out from under heaven,” but those who trust in Christ as their Savior and Lord have their sins “blotted out (Isaiah 43:25).  These are the people that have their names written in the book of life; they are Daniel’s people, saints of God, whom He will rescue in the rapture/resurrection (see Revelation 16:15) as Christ comes in His glory.  In his coming, He will destroy His enemies, and then He will reward His saints.

All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all
whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.  (Revelation 13:8 NIV)

The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come.  Revelation 17:8 (NIV)
The inhabitants of the earth, whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life from the creation of the earth, are not God’s elect.  Therefore, those whose names are written in the book of life are God’s elect. This implies that they were chosen before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).  Satan, of course, tries to deceive the elect by sending false prophets and false messiahs, but since their names are written in the book of life, they do not receive the mark of the beast (meaning they are not deceived by the three-fold force of the beast or the false prophet or Satan.

The elect also includes O.T. saints whose names are also in the book of life as well as N.T. saints. Only those whose names are written in the book of life can enter into the holy city, the New Jerusalem
(Revelation 21:2).  The New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven at the time in which the present heavens and earth passes away and the new heaven and earth come into existence (Revelation 21:1).  This, according to 2 Peter 3:4, 10-12 is the Parousia, which occurs on the day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:2), which also called the Parousia of the day of God (2 Peter 3:12).  Peter says, “That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:12-13). 

Therefore, in summary, first we have Satan being released to go and deceive the nations (along with the beast and the false prophet - see
Revelation 16:12-16: The sixth angel pours out his bowl on the great river Euphrates “and its water is dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.  John says, “Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet.  They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.”  This is war of Armageddon.  Jesus’ Parousia comes during this war.  We see this same war pictured in Revelation 6 when the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich and the mighty, and every free and slave man are “gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army” (Revelation 19:19).  When they see the cosmic signs in the heavens, they hide themselves  in the clefts of the rocks of the mountains,  because they know that the day of God’s wrath has come upon them.  They cry out for the rocks to fall on them and hide them from the coming wrath (Revelation 6:15-17).  This war is also pictured in Revelation 14:19-20 as the winepress of God’s wrath: “So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.  And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.”  This winepress is also seen in Revelation 19, which connects it to the previous visions seen by John.

The Parousia is also pictured in the scene of the great white throne.  Here again, we see the present heavens and earth fleeing from His presence
(Revelation 20:1) or passing away.  This is also seen in Revelation 6:14 which says, “the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”  Many of these visions are retelling the same story over and over again.  In the same way, Revelation 19 and 20 tell the same story.  The only difference is that Revelation 20 begins way back at the beginning of the millennium and speeds to the end.  Revelation 19 only pictures the Parousia and the great battle.

The beast, the false prophet, and Satan are thrown into the lake of fire at the end of the age at the Parousia (Revelation 19:20; 20:10), followed by those whose names are not writtlen in the book of life.  Then, we have the new heavens and the new earth followed by the judgment.

It should be noted that if the judgment occurred in AD 70 (as some suppose), then those not found written in the book of life are already in the lake of fire
(Mathew 25:41; 2 Thessalonians 1:9) and those whose names are actually in the book of life have already received their inheritance and are already in the kingdom prepared for them (Matthew 25:34).

If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15 (NIV)
One more thing concerning the election and the book of life.  Peter instructs the believers, “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things (that is, add to your faith these qualities), you will never fall, and you will receive                                                                                                                                                                into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11).  Who is Peter talking to?  The elect of God. These elect are  those who receive this “rich welcome into the eternal kingdom,” as we were told in Revelation 21:27 “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but “only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”  Also, recall what Jesus said, “I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day(John 6:39).  Peter is saying that we should strive to make our calling and election sure, so that on the day of judgment we will not be ashamed, receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom. 
Therefore, if this is true, there cannot be any elect after the day of judgment because the names found in the book of life have been revealed. Also, there cannot be any intermediate kingdom between the Parousia and “the eternal kingdom” because once we are in the eternal kingdom there is no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4), which happens at the Parousia when death is destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:25-26).

Psalm 51:1-9 (NIV):
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.  4  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.  6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sin and blot out all my iniquity.  
God is just.  If it were not for His mercy none of would be saved.  We need God to blot out our sin.  David talks about being cleansed here on the inside.  He is referring to his spirit when he says, “Cleanse my with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  When David speaks of his inmost place, he is speaking of his spirit.  Then he says let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  This is referring to his soul.  The soul is like the bones, but the spirit is more central to our being - the spirit is as the marrow of the bones (Hebrews 4:12). 

The Holy Spirit is given to us when we first believe and continues in us to strengthen us in our innermost man
(Ephesians 3:16).  He lives in us by His Spirit and is joined with our spirit.  Paul tells the Corinthians, “whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:17).  And His Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16).

Jeremiah tells us, “
I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.  Then, Paul adds, “He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:27).  In Hebrews we read, “The Word of God (which is “the sword of the Spirit” – Ephesians 6:17), is sharper than a two-edge sword, piercing even to the dividing of the soul and the spirit” (Hebrews 4:12) and then it says, “ Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account(Hebrews 4:13).  The reason God can justly judge us is because He lives in us and knows our attitudes (spirit) and thoughts (soul).  He is also able to intercede for us and “blot out our transgressions” as we saw above.

God has caused His Spirit to dwell within us and He “jeolously longs for the Spirit” who lives in our spirit (James 4:5).  James continues by saying, “God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).  Isaiah 66:1-2 says, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest?  All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.”  We are His house (Hebrews 3:6) and God lives in our spirit by His Spirit.
Isaiah 43:25 (NIV):
I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.


Daniel 12:1-2 (NASB)
“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.  2 “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. 
Daniel speaks of a time in whch His people would be delivered out of a time of distress.  He speaks of this deliverance as a resurrection of those whose sleep in the dust of the ground, awaking either to everlatsting life or everlasting contempt.  This lines up directly with what Jesus says in John 5, where we read:

“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice   and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned”
(John 5:28).  In the very next verse the Lord says, “I myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me” (John 5:29).  Why does Jesus speak of the judgment here? Because, the judgment follows the resurrection of the dead.  And this makes sense.  Jesus is the just judge who will judge all mankind at singular, “appointed” day of judgment (Acts 10:42; 17:31).  Although he began to “judge the needy with justice” during His earthly ministry, there will come a day He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth and slay the wicked with the breath of His lips (Isaiah 11:4).  Isaiah’s prophecy began to be fulfilled in Jesus’ ministry (Luke 4:18-19).  The Spirit rested on Jesus and He began to “judge with justice” as a righteous shepherd king who ruled (shepherded) His people (John 10:14-18).  During His ministry He fulfilled all righteousness and was crowned with glory and honor at His ascension (Hebrews 2:9).

In
Ezekiel 34:16 it says, “I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”  This is not some passage about a future millennial kingdom.  This passage was fulfilled during Jesus’ earthly ministry.  He was, and is, the Good Shepherd (John 10:14).  The prophet Micah foretold this time, he said, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2).  Two verses later, Micah says, “And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.  And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.  And he shall be their peace” (Micah 5:4).

It is worth noting that a shepherd has both a staff and a rod.  He guides His sheep using his staff. 
The Greek word for staff is hrabdos (ῥάβδος GK G4811), which can mean “stick, staff, or scepter.  The Greek word for rod is also (hrabdos (ῥάβδος GK G4811).  Very often a shepherd would use one end of his staff as a tool to guide his sheep and the other end as a rod to fend off enemies or to discipline his sheep.  Revelation 19:15 says when Jesus returns in His Parousia, He will “strike down the nations. “He will rule (ποιμαίνω  poimainō rule  GK G4477) them with an iron scepter” (hrabdos (ῥάβδος GK G4811),  He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.  Although the verb rule here means “to shepherd,” this does not mean that He will be guiding them.  This passage is speaking about what Jesus will do to His enemies.  He will trample them like grapes in the winepress of the fury of His wrath: “The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia” (Revelation 14:19-20).  Psalm 2:9 says,“You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

The parable of the sheep and the goats is a picture of a Shepherd King judging with justice between believers and unbelievers.  It says, ““When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and
he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left” (Matthew 25:31-33).  Ezekiel tells us something similar: “I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats….I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.  Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away,  I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another(Ezekiel 34:17, 20-22).  Ezekiel is speaking of Jesus’ earthly ministry when the Lord judged between his sheep and the unjust rulers (shepherds) of Israel (the fat sheep).

Ezekiel then says, “I will set up over them one shepherd,
my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken” (Ezekiel 34:23-24).  This is not a resurrected David.  This is Jesus Himself reigning over His sheep, beginning the lost sheep of Israel and then extending to his sheep among all nations.  Jesus told His disciples, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd(John 10:10-14).  This statement indicates that the gospel was intended not only for Israel, but for the Gentiles as well.  Through the seed of Abraham (Jesus) all the nations would be blessed.

Isaiah speaks of a time when “a throne would be established.”  He says, “in faithfulness a man will sit on it—one from the house of David—
one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness” (Isaiah 16:5).  This throne has already been established.  Psalm 45:6 says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. Some may say that this is speaking of a future millennial rule, but they would be wrong.  Why?  Because, the psalmist continues by saying, “You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy” (Psalm 45:7).  This prophecy was fulfilled at the ascension, as we see in the first chapter of the book of Hebrews.  In this section of Hebrews the author we have several citations from the psalms and one other passage concerning the messianic kingdom: Acts 2; 2 Samuel 7; Psalm 45; Psalm 102; and Psalm 110.  All of these prophesies are cited by the apostles to show that Jesus began His reign at the time of His ascension, when “after he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (Hebrews 1:3).

In
Isaiah 42 describes how the Messiah would bring in this kingdom: “Here is my servant, whom I uphold,my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.  A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.  In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope” (Isaiah 42:1-3). 

Matthew reveals that Jesus is God’s Servant, on whom the Spirit rests and He has brought justice to the nations through the preaching of the gospel
(Matthew 12:18-22).  He did not falter or fail in His mission.  He brought justice to victory in the cross and His resurrection.  Therefore, God exalted Him to the highest place (Philippians 2:9).  He is now Prince and Savior (Acts 5:31). He is both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36).

Revelation 11:18 (NIV)
The nations were angry; and
your wrath has come.  The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and greatand for destroying those who destroy the earth. 
This passage tells us about the coming judgment of God upon all who do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Lord’s annointed.  John is here referencing Psalm 2 where the psalmist says, “Why do sthe nations rage and the peoples plot in  
 vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together,against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us” (Psalm 2:1-2) and then later in the psalm he says, “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and His wrath flare up in a moment” (Psalm 2:10).

John is telling us the time of God’s wrath and the time for judging the dead has come.  The time for rewarding the saints and for destroying the wicked.  This shows that the righteous and the wicked will be judged together.
Romans 12:19 (NIV)
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.




Deut. 32:39-41 (NIV):
39 “See now that I myself am He!  There is no god besides me.  I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.  I lift my hand to heaven and declare: As surely as I live forever, 41 when I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me. I will make my arrows drunk with blood, while my sword devours flesh: the blood of the slain and the captives, the heads of the enemy leaders.” Rejoice, O nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land and people.


Isaiah 61:1-3:
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.  
  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, 
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, 
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair. 
  They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
Jesus’ ministry began the year of the Lord’s favor.  He gave comfort to those who mourned in repentance.  He gave a crown of beauty,  gladness and praise to all who received Him instead of ashes and despair.  This year of the Lord’s favor is the day of salvation.  Paul addressses this in his letter to the Corinthians.  He says, “For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2).  This is a verbatim quote from Isaiah 49:8.  Isaiah 49 pictures the Servant who would raise up the tribes of Jacob, and bring back the preserved of Israel.  He would be a light to the nations to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:6). In other words, His salvation would reach to the ends of the earth. 

There is another day for those who reject the Lord Jesus as their Messiah.  It is called the Day of the Lord.  It is a day of vengeance.  

Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43:
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
    27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
    28 “ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. 
  “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
    29 “ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” 

36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 
    He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
    As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.  
This parable lays out in perfect order the sequence of events that will occur at the end.  First of all, the world is described as a field in which God had sown good seed (the righteous or “the elect”) but then an enemy came along and sowed evil seed (the wicked).  This distresses the harvesters (the angels) so they ask the Lord if they should go and pull up the weeds.  What is the Lord’s response?  “Let both grow together until the harvest” (Matthew 13:30).  Jesus identifies the harvest as “the end of the age” (Matthew 13:39).  It is also worth noting that when the end of the age arrives, He tells his angels, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned…” (Matthew 13:30b).  Why is this important?  Because it shows that God pours out His wrath on the wicked first, before He gathers His own into the barn (that is, His House).

In
Revelation 14:14-16 it seems that the righteous are harvested first.  However, if we consider 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 we see something that Revelation does not show us - the “catching up” of the saints.  Isaiah 26:20 says, “Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.  The prophet goes on to describe the coming of the Lord: “For behold, the LORD is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain” (Isaiah 26:21).  Isaiah 27:1 says, “In that day the LORD with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.  All this is describing the end of the age and the destruction of the wicked by the fire of the Lord.  All the wicked who have followed Satan and his servants will be killed, then raised to stand before the Lord in judgment.  After this they are thrown into the lake of fire along with Satan, the beast and the false prophet.  Zephaniah 1:18 says, “In the fire of his jealousy, all the earth shall be consumed; for a full and sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.”  There are No Survivors!  Zephaniah goes on to say, “ “Therefore wait for me,” declares the LORD, “for the day when I rise up to seize the prey.  For my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out upon them my indignation, all my burning anger; for in the fire of my jealousy all the earth shall be consumed” (Zephaniah 3:8).

There are other places in the Scriptures that show us that the day of vengeance (or wrath) is when Christ will come and burn up the chaff (the wicked) with unquenchable fire. 
Matthew 3:12 says, “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.  A winnowing fork is used to separate the wheat (the good seed) from the chaff (the weeds and debri).  This separation is the same thing we see pictured in the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31ff).  It is also seen in the parable of the net full of good and bad fish (Matthew 13:47-50).  The book of Jude compares “the judgment of the great day” to Sodom and Gomorrah which underwent “a punishment of eternal fire(Jude 6-7).  2 Peter 3:12 says that on that day “the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!  Peter also says the ungodly will be destroyed on this same day: “the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly” (2 Peter 3:7).  And when does this happen?  At the Parousia of the Lord (2 Peter 3:4); otherwise known as “the parousia of the day of God(2 Peter 3:12).  The author of Hebrews states that the enemies of God can expect to see “a fury of fire” that will consume them (Hebrews 10:27).  Paul tells us that when Jesus is “revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire.”  In this way He will ‘inflict vengeanceon His enemies – “those who do not know God and those who do not obey the gospel our our Lord Jesus Christ(2 Thessalonians 1:8).  According to Paul, this is called “the punishment of eternal destruction” away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His might” (2 Thesalonians 1:9).  This is the day when He comes to be glorified in His saints and marvelled at by all who have believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:10).  Paul calls this day “the Parousia of the Lord” when we are gathered to Him (2 Thessalonians 2:1).  It is “the appearing ( ἐπιφάνεια epiphaneia G2015) of His Parousia” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Luke 17:26-35:
 26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark.  Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
    28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
    30 It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. 32 Remember Lot’s wife!  33 Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.  35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.’”
Luke says that the coming of the Son of Man will be like the days of Noah and like the day Lot left Sodom.  The flood brought sudden and swift destruction upon the whole earth.  The fire rained down on Sodom and destroyed them all.  This was not just “day of the Lord” language.  These were real historical events.  The water really did destroy the earth.  The fire really did destroy the cities of Sodom and Gommorah and all it’s people.  Their were No Survivors except those who of “the elect” – those whom God chose to be saved.  Paul says it will be the same on the last day.  He states: “You yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape(1 Thessalonians 5:2-3). 

Peter says essentially the same thing: “
the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.  In Revelation we learn  that the earth and the heavens will flee from his presence, and there will be no place for them (Revelation 20:11).  Why is this so remarkeable?  Why do we think that this is not a real historical, visible event?

In
Psalm 33:6-9 we read “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.  He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses.  Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!  For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”  Then, in Isaiah 11:4, the prophet says that He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

Isaiah 30:33 speaks of “a burining place” that is made ready for the king (of Assyria).  Its fire pit has been made deep and wide, with an abundance of fire and wood the breath of the LORD, like a stream of burning sulfur sets it ablaze.”  Then, in Isaiah 40:7-8 the prophet says, “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

The point of these passages is not that everything should be taken literally, word for word; it is to show that the Lord is the Creator and Redeemer of mankind.  Will Jesus come in His Parousia, riding a white horse with a sword coming out of His mouth?  Or will He come with the clouds?  Both.  This is picture language that is meant to convey meaning.  The point to see is that everything lies in His hands. His “breath” is the Word of God which creates life.  This same Word also renders judgment upon to all men.  Before Him we are like grass, but only His Word lasts forever.  His Word is like a consuming fire that destroys His enemies.  With justice He makes war on His enemies (Revelation 19:11).  He puts on righteousness as a breastplate and he wears a helmet of salvation.  He wears vengeance as clothing, but to those who turn from their transgression, He is a Savior and a Redeemer (Isaiah 59:15-19).

Matthew 24:37-44:
37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
    42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
This passage is much like the one above, except that here Matthew conveys the imagery of the suddeness and unexpectedness of the Parousia.  He tells us that we need to be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour we do not expect Him.  He tell us “you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”  Therefore, keep watch.  Like the owner of a house must keep watch over his possessions, we too must guard what we have received with the help of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us (1 Timothy 1:14).  Notice, although Jesus tells his disciples that they do not know when He will come, apparently the owner of the house does know that the thief is coming.  Luke adds another detail.  He tells the parable of Jesus in which the servant are waiting for their master to come home from a wedding feast.  He recalls Jesus’ words: “If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!”  The point is, whether it is  a servant waiting for their master, an owner of a house expecting his house to be broken into, a pregnant woman who is expecting a child, or a virgin waiting for her bridegroom to come, the message is clear.  We are to be ready and waiting, not falling asleep.  We are to be sober and alert, for we don’t know the time of His Parousia.
Luke 21:28 (NIV):
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. 
Luke, more than any other gospel account, gives us the first century perspective of the coming of the Son of Man to judge Jerusalem.  He gives us the same imagery as Matthew, but he also tells us that Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies – referring to the Roman armies.  Jesus tells his disciples, when you see this, know that its desolation is near.  Jesus told his disciples that this was a sign that they should flee to the mountains.  He goes on to say, “these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled(Luke 21:22).  What things?  Everything?  No.  Clearly, this does not mean everything that was ever prophesied.  If this was the end of the prophetic word there would not be anything left to say concerning the Gentiles who would be brought into the church.  Luke is only speaking of “those things” concerning that event.    The gospel continued to go to the Gentiles even after the destruction of Jerusalem - the times of the Gentiles was not fulfilled in AD 70.  The fulness of the Gentiles had not, and still has not, come in.  There are more to come, because the Gentiles are still coming in, and Israel is still hardened in her heart.
When Jesus was baptized it was to fulfill all righteou
sness (Matthew 13:15).  When Jesus was beginning His ministry, He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15), He was not saying that everything was fulfilled, but that the kingdom had arrived in the person of Jesus.  This was not the full extent of prophecy, but just the beginning.  Jesus did many things to fulfill the Scriptures concerning himself.  The destruction of Jerusalem is just one more thing that is necessary to fulfill what is written concerning the Christ.  We have seen the Scriptures, which spoke of the sufferings of Christ, fulfilled  We have seen the Scriptures concerning the resurrection and ascension fulfilled.  But we have not seen the Scriptures fulfilled concerning “the glories that should follow” (2 Peter 1:11).  Yes, we have a foretast of these glories, but not the fullness.  We have not yet experienced “the grace that will be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).  This is our hope in which we glory.  The hope of sharing in His glory at the Parousia.  We have the hope, but we do not have what we hope for (Romans 8:24; 1 Peter 5:12; Thessalonians 2:9-12).  Our hope is that all God’s enemies will be destroyed (especially the last enemy - death 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54; Isaiah 25:7-8).  Our hope is that we will be raised from the dead and will stand before Him pure and blameless in His presence.  Paul told the Philippians, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work within you, both to will and to act according to His purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).  We are to strive by the power of God within us to live righteously (not so that we can have a righteousness of our own), but so that we can boldly stand before Him and say, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).  It is not our righteousness that will save us, but His righteousness will come through and be seen in our lives as we remain in the Word.  The author of Hebrews stresses the importance of going on toward perfection (Hebrews 6:1), to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…and run with perseverance the race marked out for us”…as we “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).  Continuing in the same thought, he says, “We want each of you to show this same diligence (σπουδή  spoudē GK G5082) to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.  We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (Hebrews 6:11-12).  We have not inherited what has been promised yet.  We only have the deposit of the Spirit, guaranteeing that inheritance.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 (NIV):
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers,  2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come.  3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for [that day will not come] until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
In this passage Paul speaks of our being gathered to Him.  This is the same gathering of “the elect” that we see in Matthew 24:31.   This is the gathering of the wheat into His barn after He has separated out the chaff (Matthew 3:12; Matthew 13:30; Luke 3:17).  The nations from which “the elect” are gathered are said to be from  “the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”  Another way to say this is to speak of “the four corners of the earth” (1 Samuel 2:6-19; Job 24:28; Psalm 2:8; 22:27; Revelation 7:1; 20:8) or “from the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 45:22; 49:6; 51:10; Jeremiah 16:19; Micah 5;4; Zechariah 9:10; Acts 1:8; 13:47), meaning the entire world.  Before this day of the Lord comes, however, Paul tells us their will be a falling away, a rebellion.  This rebellion begins with Satan being released from his prison, the bottomless pit (ἄβυσσος abussos G0012).  The Abysos, according to Paul is the place of the dead (Romans 10:7; Psalm 106:26), the place of demons or evil spirits (Luke 8:31) and the beast (Revelation 11:7; 17:8).  Satan is released from there, along with the beast and the false prophet.  John sees three demonic spirits, one from the mouth of the beast, one from the mouth of the false prophet, and one from the mouth of Satan Himself. This is how Satan is able to deceive the nations and gather them to “the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon” (Revelation 16:12-14). This is the sixth bowl judgment.  In this same vision we see the Euphrates River dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.  The sixth trumpet also has something to do with the Euphrates River.  We see an army of horselike creatures with the head of a lion.  They breath out three plagues (fire, smoke and sulfur) and kill a third of mankind.  Apparently, these also come out of the Abysss.  This, I believe is the same deception that occurs in the sixth bowl judgment. 

The Euphrates River is seen as a barrier between the demonic world and the natural world.  At the sixth trumpet Abraham’s ancestors came from there, and God called him out of this land to a new country
(Joshua 24:2-4).  Balaam, son of Peor, came from there (Numbers 22:5).  When Israel finally entered the promised land, Joshua told them, “Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14).  When God uprooted Israel, he punished them by scattering them beyond the Euphrates (1 Kings 14:15).  The land of Megiddo is the place where many wars were fought in the past.  It is also said to be the place where the final battle will take place.  Whatever kind of battle this is, it is sure to be a spiritual battle in which the enemies of God are slain.

In Revelation 9:14 the sixth angel with his trumpet is told to release the four angels who are bound at the great River Euphrates.  This seems to be symbolic of the release of demons who are released to kill a third of mankind.  Just how related this is to the sixth bowl judgment and the release of demonic spirits is uncertain, but it certainly connected with Satan’s deception and his gathering of the nations to Armageddon.  In 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12, Paul says, “And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness mis already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.  And then nthe lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.  The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,  in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” For certain, God is in control, but He allows this one last deception at the end to make known His just and righteous deeds.
Zephaniah 3:8:
Therefore wait for me,” declares the LORD, 
for the day I will stand up to testify.  I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them—all my fierce anger.  The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger 
This prophecy speaks of God’s wrath being poured out on the whole world (אָֽרֶץ ʾaretz GK H00824).  As seen above, in Zephaniah 1:18, “In the fire of his jealousy the whole earth will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live on the earth.  Is this just a local pouring out of God’s wrath?  Or does it point to something more?  Hebrews 12:29 says that our God is a consuming fire.  In the context of this passage it speaks of the shaking of the heavens and the earth (that is, “created things” or “things that have been made”) and the receiving (present tense) of a kingdom that cannot be shaken.  Created things will be removed, and the kingdom will remain.  This is similar to what we have in the parable of the wheat and tares.  Everything that causes sin and all who do evil (Matthew 13:41) are removed and the righteous remain (Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37).  How are they removed?  With fire!  This is not new.  God has done it before.  When Nadab and Abihu offered unauthorized fire, “fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them (Leviticus 10:2).  When the people of Israel “complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes, and when the LORD heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them…” (Numbers 11:1).  The Lord’s presence was a consuming fire on the top of Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:8).  Psalm 68:1-3 speaks of the wicked melting like wax before the fire of God.
Malachi 3:2:
But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. Malachi 3:2 (NIV)
In Malachi 3 the prophet speaks of a messenger that will come, who will prepare the way for Him.  According to Jesus, this messenger was John. He prepared the way for the first coming of the Lord and His earthly ministry by calling the people to repentence,  Malachi also states that “the desired messenger of the covenant” would come sudddenly to His temple (Malachi 3:1).  Jesus’ first visit to Jeruslaem after his baptism was for the Passover.  Here he cleansed the temple for the first time. Malachi states, “But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years” (Malachi 3:2-4).  Is Jesus’ cleansing of the temple the purification that Malachi refers to?  It is uncertain.  Or could this be a reference to His second coming?  If the prophet is speaking of the Parousia, it makes sense that he would say, “Who can endure the day of his coming?  Who can stand when he appears?  Paul tells us the Lord Jesus will be “revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels” (2 Thessalonians 1:7).  Is this the refiner’s fire that Malachi wa speaking about?  Perhaps.  However, Paul is very clear about the fire.  This fire will consume His enemies - “those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:8).


1 Corinthians 3:10 (NIV):
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.  11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,  13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.  14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.  15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
Here again, Paul speaks of the Parousia as a day of judgment, in which Go will bring to light the quality of each man’s work.  Although Paul only speaks of the judgment of the righteous in this passage, he does mention that some will only be saved “as one escaping through the flames.”  What does this mean?  First of all, it reveals that one is saved by faith alone.  Even though a person loses everything he has built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, He will still be saved because He has faith in Jesus Christ.  This seems the more likely of Malachi’s reference to the refiner’s fire above.  Secondly, it tells us that faith is more precious than gold because, when tested, it results in praise, glory and honor (1 Peter 1:7).  Suffering makes our faith stronger because through it we develop perseverance.  It perfects our faith (James 1:3-4).  Paul says that on the day of Judgment our faith will be revealed with fire.

The Parousia of the Lord is described as a blazing furnace (Malachi 4:1).  It will purify the righteous and destroy His enemies.  The Psalmist says, “
Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you. You will make them as a blazing oven when you appear. The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, and fire will consume them. You will destroy their descendants from the earth, and their offspring from among the children of man” (Psalm 21:8-10).  Malachi prophesies, “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace.  All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.  But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.  Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the LORD Almighty.”
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Matthew 3:11-12 (NIV) 
In this passage John the Baptist not only references the baptism of the Holy Spirit that would come at Pentecost.  He also speaks of the Parousia and the judgment.  The righteous will be gathered into His barn and the chaff will be burned up with unquencahable fire.

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 
Luke 3:16 (NIV)

Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. Malachi 4:1 (NIV)
The Scriptures often speak of the wicked as stubble that is consumed by God’s burning anger (Exodus 15:7) or as grass that soon withers and dies (Psalm 37:1-2; 92:7-8; Isaiah 40:6-8). 

In 1 Peter 1:22-25, the apostle cites Isaiah 40:6-8.  He compares those who are born of the flesh to those who are born of the living and abiding Word of God.  The Word of the Lord remains forever, but flesh will perish. 

1  Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.  2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.  
3  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers. 4  Not so the wicked!  They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
Ecclesiastes says, ““God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.” (Ecclesiastes 3:17).  Jeremiah states, “ “‘The LORD will roar from on high, and from his holy habitation utter his voice; he will roar mightily against his fold, and shout, like those who tread grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. The clamor will resound to the ends of the earth, for the LORD has an indictment against the nations; he is entering into judgment with all flesh, and the wicked he will put to the sword, declares the LORD” (Jeremiahs 25:30).

In the first psalm the righteous and the wicked are  compared.  The righteous does not wither because they are planted by streams of water (the Word of God) and meditate on it day and night.  However, the wicked are like chaff that the wind blows away.  They will be brought before the Lord for judgment, but they will not stand.


John 16:8-11 (NIV):
8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. 
The world is guilty in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment.  In this passage Jesus points out three aspects of this guilt.  First, there is guilt in regard to sin because men do not trust in Christ.  In Mark 16:16, Jesus states “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”  In John 3:18, He states that the person is “condemned already” because of unbelief.  They are under a state of condemnation because of the state of their heart.
Just as the world was condemnened in unbelief in Noah’s day, it is condemned today in the days of the Son of Man
(Hebrews 11:7).

Second, the world is guilty in regard to righteousness because Jesus was worthy to ascend to the Father.  He was worthy because He fulfilled all righteousness.  In Hebrews we read, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.  And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek”
(Hebrews 5:8).  As our perfect, High Priest, He has entered into the inner place behind the curtain as a forerunner on our behalf.  He has become our hope – the anchor for our soul (Hebrews 6:19-20).   Through Him we have access to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).  His obedience became our obedience (Romans 5:19).  In Him we became the righteousness of God.  The world, on the other hand, is unable to please God, because the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:8).  Therefore, they fall short of the glory of God because they are still “dead in their sins” – that is, they are still dead in their own trespasses and their own disobedience (John 8:24; 1 Corinthians 15:17; Colosisans 2:13).
The third way in which the world is guilty is in regard to judgment, because Satan now stands condemned.  Paul tells us “the prince of the power of the air” now works in those who do not believe”
(Ephesians 2:2).  He is called “the prince of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11) or “the god of this age, who has blinded the minds of unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4:4). 

 Before His departure, Jesus told His discples about the coming of the Holy Spirit.  He says, “I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father…”
(John 14:28).  Why would they rejoice?  Because, as He said, “I will come to you.”  How would He come to them?  In the person of the Holy Spirit.  This would happen after Jesus ascended to the Father and poured out His Spirit on them at Pentecost (Acts 2:33).

After Jesus tells them that He would come to them in the person of the Holy Spirit, He continues by saying,“
I will no longer talk much with you, for “the prince of this world is coming(John 14:30-31).  When Jesus ascended to the Father, there was a war in heaven and Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels.  Then, “the great dragon – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray, …was hurled down to the earth, and his angels with him (Revelation 12:7-9).
Because the devil has been cast out of heaven does not mean that he has no power.  He still has power, but his authority to use that power is limited.  He can still sow bad seed in the field (the world), which is God’s kingdom (Matthew 13:38-39).  He still prowls around like a lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).  He still blind the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4).  He is the master of deceit and distraction.  He never stops taking away the word of God from their hearts (Luke 8:12).  He causes men to focus on the things of men, instead of the things of God (Matthew 16:23).  Then the cares of this life choke out the Word of God (Luke 8:14; 21:34).  However, Satan cannot prevent the power of the gospel from saving God’s elect (Romans 1:16).  The gates of hell will not prevail against the kingdom of God (Matthew 16:18).

The pronouncement of condemnation of this world is the application of the future judgment in the present.  The world and the flesh are condemned because of their unbelief, their disobdience, and their alliance with Satan.  We do not boast or rejoice in the flesh, because
our flesh was crucified with Christ.  We only “boast in Christ” and we “put no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).  Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). 

Although we are still “in the flesh,” as Paul says, but “the flesh counts for nothing”
(John 6:63).  It was crucified and sin was condemned in the flesh (Romans 8:3).  When Christ took our sin upon Himself.  He bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24).  Even though He had no sin, He became a sin offering on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

It is important for us to note that ONLY those who are crucified with Christ and who have faith in Christ, who receive the benefit of being crucified with Christ.  Some have wrongly assumed that Scripture teaches a form of universalisalism.  They mistakenly believe that because Paul says in Galatians that “
the world was crucified to us and we are crucified to the world(Galataian 6:14), that all the world receives the benefits of God’s grace.  But Paul also tells us that it is only those who have been “circumcised by Christ” through faith (Colossians 2:11), which have put off the flesh and have forgiveness of sins.  Yes, Christ “is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2), but it is only by faith that we are justified in the sight of God.


Revelation 22:12 (NIV):
“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
This passage shows that the Parousia is when God will reward His servants.  This is the day of Judgment when he will give to everyone acording to what He has done.  The righteous will be rewarded according to they have done and the wicked will receive the wages of sin which is death, and eternal condemnation.  This is not speaking of salvation - the righteous are already saved.  This is referring to the fruits of one’s faith or their unbelief.

“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10 (NIV)
It is by faith that we do good.  Paul tells us that if we persist in doing good (by faith) we will receive glory, honor and immortality (Romans 2:7).  Those who have faith should walk in the Spirit.  When we walk in the Spirit, we do good to others, because the Spirit fills our heart with His love (Romans 5:5) and causes us to love others as He does.  If we do not have the desire or the ability to love others, all we have to do is ask (Mark 11:24; John 16:24), and God will give us both the will and the ability to act according to His purpose (Philippians 2:13).

11 One  God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, 12 and that you, O Lord, are loving.and that you, O Lord, are loving.  Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done. Psalm 62:11-12 (NIV)


24  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. Matthew 16:24-27

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
1 Pet. 5:4 (NIV)

7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. Ephesians 6:7 (NIV)



23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  
25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.  Colossians 3:22-25 (NIV)


Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,  13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV)




 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.  Heb. 4:6-13 (NIV)



37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;  38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 
40 “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.  41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.  42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” Matt. 10:37-42  (NIV)


14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
    19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
    21 “His master replied, ’Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
    22 “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’
    23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
heart.  

As we spend time in His Word, meditating on it day and night, and seeking His Kingdom first, the Spirit works faith in our heart and fills us to overflowing.  When we allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify us through and through (1 Thessalonians 5:23), by the Word that is within us (John 17:17, 1 John 2:14) we become thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Obedience begins in the heart.  The book of Hebrews tells us that nothing is hidden from God.  The Word of God is called “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17).  It penetrates to the deepest part of us (our spirit) and lays everything bare in the sight of God to whom we will give account on the day of judgment.  This is why the writer of Hebrews tells us to “make every effort” to not be disobedient.  We must fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12).  We must run the race, but we must also “throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles” (Hebrews 12:1).


The Christian life demands sacrifice.  We must be willing to suffer loss, and to lay down our lives, if needed.  To be unwilling to take up the cross of Jesus Christ and to deny our self is not an option in the kingdom of God.  


God has entrusted us, his servants, with the message of his kingdom.  What we do with it depends partly on us.  Notice, the parable says he gave to “each according to his ability” (Matthew 25:15).  We cannot say to God, “I didn’t know how to use my gift,” or “I was afraid that I would fail,” because the results depend on God.  We are only required to exercise our faith, according to the ability we have been given.   Trouble is, many do not know what they are capable of, because they are frozen with fear.  They are like the servant who says, “I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground” (Matthew 25:25).  They would rather give God back His gift than be responsible with it.

The apostle Paul knew that Timothy was reluctant to use his gift.  Perhaps, he thought to himself, “I am too young, no one will listen to me.”  Paul knew this fear.  He was accused of being “unimpressive” and his enemies said, “his speaking amounts to nothing” (2 Corinthians 10:10).  But Paul knew that God was able to make him bold, even when he was afraid.  Someone has said, “Courage is not a lack of fear, but rather fear that is under control.”  We would also say, “Perfect love casts out drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).  We are not bold, because we are confident in our own ability, we are confident because we know the God we serve is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).
24 “Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
    26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
    28  “ ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  Matthew 25:14-28 (NIV)


Luke 12:48 (NIV)
 From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. 

2 Peter 1:3:
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV):
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

1 John 5:14 (NIV):
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.    

John 12:12-14 (NIV):
12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. 


Eph. 4:7-13 (NIV):
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.  8 This is why it says: 

  When he ascended on high, 
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.” 

9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?  10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)  11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,  12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 




Matthew 5:6 (NIV):
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mark 11:24 (NIV)


2 Corinthians 5:9-11 (NIV):
9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.  10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
11
Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.  

Heb. 10:35-39 (NIV):
35  So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  

37 For in just a very little while,
           He who is coming will come and will not delay. 
 38 But my righteous one will live by faith.  
  And if he shrinks back,
       I will not be pleased with him.” 

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. 

Ephesians 4:7-12:
The key to obedience is to ask God for the wisdom, ability, and skill to carry out His will (Exodus 31:3).  When God fills us with the Spirit of God He gives us the gifts and abilities to minister to others

Ephesians 4:10:
One of the primary purposes of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to equip us for ministry.  God fills us with His Spirt “in order to fill the whole universe” with His glory (Ephesians 4:10), beginning with His Body and extending to the world.  In other words, when we are filled “to the whole measure of the fullness of  Christ” we will be Christ to the world around us.

But how are we filled?  Here again, we see the Scriptures tell us that to be filled, we must ask God.  Jesus tells us, If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:13 (NIV).  When we trust in Christ, we are filled with the desire to do His will, and so we ask God for the knowledge of His will (Colossians 1:9, Romans 12:2) and the ability (Philippians 2:13) to do His will “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).  Having asked in faith, we receive.

As the servants of God we must be willing to suffer and die, if necessary, for the will of God.  This is what it means to “take up one’s cross” (Matthew 16:23).  Peter tells us, 

1 Since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.  2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. (1 Peter 4:1-2).  John tells us, “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.  1 John 2:17 (NIV)

The man who fears God and knows that one day “we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” is not only concerned with doing God’s will, but he also tries to persuade men (2 Corinthians 5:11), because we want “all men to be saved, and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:4).

Because our Lord is coming, and we know we will all stand before His throne of judgment, we are even more eager to do His will.  “We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed,” but of those who persevere in faith, doing the will of God, because we want to please Him.  We want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
47 “That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.  Luke 12:42-48 (NIV)

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?  13 “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” 14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.  Luke 16:10-15 (NIV)

7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.  8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:7-9 (NIV)


I do not accept praise from men, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.  44 How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?  John 5:41-44 (NIV)


Luke 19:11-27  (NIV):
11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.  12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’
    But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’
    He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.
    “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’
    “ ‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’
    “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’
    “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’
    “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’
    “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’
    “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’
    “ ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’
    “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’” 


Luke 19:28-44 (NIV):
28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.  29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them,  30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
    Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them.  33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 
    They replied, “The Lord needs it.” 
    They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.  36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. 
    When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: 
    “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 
    Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” 
    “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
    As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” 


John 12:12-16 (NIV):
12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.  
13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
Hosanna!’”
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the King of Israel! 
14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, 
    15 “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt. 
    16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.  s in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” 
    “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
    As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” 


John 12:12-16 (NIV):
12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.  
13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
Hosanna!’”
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the King of Israel! 
14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, 
    15 “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt. 
    16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him. 

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