So far, I have shared my understanding of some of the divisions in God's Word that must be made if we want to be "rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). I have addressed the seven dispensations, the eight covenants, the two Advents of Christ, and the two phases of His Second Advent. Today, I want to cover the different judgments of God. There are many judgments of God mentioned throughout the Word, but there are five that need our special attention:
1. The Cross of Christ
Isaiah 53:6 says, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. John 1:29 says, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, (Who) taketh away the sin of the world." 1 John 2:2 says, "And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
2. The Self-judgment of Believers
1 Corinthians 11:31-32 reads, "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world." 1 John 1:8-9 says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
3. The Judgment Seat of Christ
The Book of 2 Corinthians was written to believers, and we read in 2 Corinthians 5:10, "For we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." This judgment is described in more detail in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15.
4. The Judgment of the Nations
This judgment occurs when the Lord returns to establish His Millennial Kingdom, right after the Tribulation, and is based upon how each nation treated Israel during their seven-years trial. We know this because this period is also known as the Time of Jacob's Trouble (Jer. 30:7). This judgment is described in Matthew 25:14-46. First, Israel itself will be judged for their faithfulness (v. 14-30), and then the rest of the nations (v. 31-46).
5. The Great White Throne Judgment
This is the final judgment of all unsaved people who have ever lived. It is described in Revelation 20:11-15 and in 2 Peter 3:7. The books (the records of one's life) are opened and all are found guilty, but if their name is found in another book, the Lamb's Book of Life, their sins have been forgiven. Those not found in the Lamb's Book of Life are cast into the lake of fire.
Tomorrow, I hope to discuss the two resurrections found in the Bible, if the Lord wills it.