Judgment Newsletter Cover Art - A Study on God's Judgment
Below is the cover artwork for the Sep/Oct 2015 Newsletter on the topic of JUDGMENT. There are several scriptural references that are being alluded to with this cover. In the picture, we see a depiction of Christ standing in the Heavenly Courts. Behind Him two "windows" are opened, one into Eternity on His right and one onto eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire, or Hell, on His left. Kneeling before Christ is the figure of sinful, wicked man, inglorious and defeated before the majesty and the power of the Glorified Jesus Christ.
Paul warned the Greeks about this day, when he told them that Jesus had been appointed mankind's judge: "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).
One of the primary Scriptures for this image comes from Matthew 25:31-46:
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
This may be a depiction of Christ assuming His throne at the opening of the Millennial Reign after the Tribulation, or it could be a description of the Great White Throne Judgment depicted below in Revelation. One thing it is not is a description of The Judgment Seat of Christ, which does not concern salvation, but is where Believers receive rewards or punishments for their actions in this life. Another passage that informs this picture of God's Judgment concerning Salvation comes from Revelation 20:11-15:
"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:11-15).
This verse refers to the final Judgment upon mankind before God remakes the Heavens and the Earth as the inheritance of Believers.
God's Judgment upon the wicked is a very real thing. We should not try to "hide" this fact from the unbelieving world. God's Judgment is not "harsh" , "mean-spirited" , or "unfair." Those who fall under God's judgment will truly deserve it without any room for repentance because there is no room for repentance in their hearts.
God’s judgment of the world will begin when Jesus returns to “execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude 1:15),“and we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things” (Romans 2:2), for “the Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:41-42). “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29).
A Believer's attitude about God's Judgment should not be apprehensive, but expectant and joyful: “Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD, for He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in His faithfulness” (Psalm 96:12-13). Even so, Amen.