IS AN INVESTIGATIVE JUDGMENT BEFORE THE ANCIENT OF DAYS
OF THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS
SOUND DOCTRINE?
(Text excerpted from wwn5(00) "The Final Atonement - I)

The Gospel of John

In a very sharp contention with the Jews over Sabbath observance and His claim to equality with God, Jesus made two pronouncements which relate to the judgment. He declared:

The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment (κρισιν) unto the Son ... Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation (κρισιν - judgment) but is passed from death unto life. ... And (the Father) hath given Him authority to execute judgment (κρισιν) also, because He is the Son of man. (John 5:22, 24, 27)

What is Jesus saying? First, let us analyze these words:

1) "The Father judgeth no man." Then the question must be asked, is the "judgment" of Daniel 7:9-10, "the judgment of Him" as Revelation 14:6 can imply? However, the response to such a conclusion can also be in the form of a question, Why then are the books opened? However, a careful reading discloses that the "dead" are not judged out of "the books" until the judgment of the "great white throne" (Rev. 20:11-12). This then leaves the question still unanswered - why are the books opened in the judgment that "was set" in Daniel 7?

Into this picture, as noted previously, the prophecies of both Daniel and Revelation inject for consideration "another book" (Rev. 20:12; Dan. 12:1). This is "the book of life" (Rev. 20:12), which if one's name is found therein, he is "delivered" (Dan. 12:1). This "book" belongs to "the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8). It lists the names of those who "overcome" through "the blood of (that) Lamb" (Rev. 3:5; 12:11). This brings us to the second declaration of Jesus in John 5:22.

2) "The Father ... hath committed all judgment unto the Son," and a reason is given in verse 27, "because He is a Son man" (No article in the Greek text). First, what is meant by "all" judgment? It is obvious that two aspects of judgment are involved first a determinate involving those "who heareth (Christ's) word and believeth on Him that sent (Him)" (5:24), and secondly, an execution of judgment (v.27). Paul speaks of Christ's second coming as a time He will take "vengeance on them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thess. 1:8). Are these two "judgments" - determinate and executive - the meaning of "all judgment"? Or is "all" limited to the ones "that heareth" the word of Jesus and "believeth" in the Father? The context is the question of equality of "honor" to the Father and the Son (v.23). If this latter meaning is the intent, then those who "hear" and "believe" are placed in the Lamb's book of life, and "do not come into condemnation (κρισιζ - judgment, whether "determinate," or "executive"); but (have) passed from death unto life." It needs also to be noted that four verbs, or verbal forms in this verse, in the Greek, are in the present tense while one - "sent" (πεμπω) - is in the past tense, and the final verb, "is passed" (μεταβεβηκεν) is in the perfect. This linguistic factor cannot be overlooked in any analysis. If these words of Jesus in John 5 have any meaning at all in the "exploration" of the judgment, it is saying that the words of the hymn, "Safe in the arms of Jesus," is more than mere rhetoric.

Further, this pronouncement of Jesus in John 5 presents a major conflict with a long standing tradition. Jesus as the Son of man demonstrated His authority to make determinate judgments. To the thief on the Cross, who pled, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom," Jesus replied, "Verily I say to thee today, shalt thou be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:42-43). Jesus gave His judgment that day. The question arises, does that thief have to face an investigative judgment again? If indeed the blood of the Lamb blots out sin, then the thief's sins are no more, and neither his name nor his deeds can be found "in the books," but his name is in "the book."

What would apply to the thief would equally apply to Enoch, Moses, Elijah, and the "many ... saints" which arose at the resurrection of Jesus (Matt. 27:52-53). Also included in this picture are the "four living creatures" and twenty-four "elders" who pro-

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claimed of the Lamb - Thou "has redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev. 5:9). The question is simply, do these who have been redeemed have to face a second investigation to see if they can stay in heaven? This is placing them in double jeopardy. Dare we impute to God such an injustice? We dare not, for unto the Son all judgment has been "committed." When He gives the word - as to the dying thief - that word stands.

Further, there can be no question but the sequence which is emphasized in the prophecy of Daniel 7, points to the fact that the judgment pictured in verses 9-10, relates to the time indicated in Daniel 8:14, and that "the judgment," the "cleansing of the sanctuary," and the "final atonement" all focus on the same activity in the plans and purposes of God. It is left to us to carefully reconsider our tradition and bring it into line with all divine revelation involving judgment and the final atonement.

There is one important factor that is often, if not entirely, overlooked. Judgment must begin with the resolution of the issue over which sin began. The Scripture is clear that sin began with an angel whose responsibilities placed him at the very Throne of God (Eze. 28:14). It ultimately led to a part of the heavenly host, joining Lucifer in his rebellion against God (Rev. 12:4). Therefore, we must conclude as a starting point, that there is deep significance to the fact that the prophecy of Daniel 7 regarding the judgment begins with the assembling of the entire angelic host before the Ancient of days.

There is still more exploration to be made.

{For continuation of exegesis of the Judgment, see wwn6(00)}

Two Parables

In the Gospel of Luke there are two parables of Jesus recorded unique to his Gospel. The significance and meaning of one is obvious. We shall note it first. Jesus said:

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other. (Luke 18:10-14)

The message comes through clear and distinct. Justification is the free gift of God bestowed in answer to the prayer of faith which recognizes one's sinful condition. The question then follows, does the forgiven sinner return to his house to live as he lived before? The answer is, obviously not if he truly loathes the sin he confessed and appreciates the mercy of God which freed him from its guilt. The unmerited favor of God elicits a love that fulfils the law. But the question is: Does this endeavor to keep the law because of love constitute work merit toward one's salvation? In other words, is sanctification merely the extension of justification, being the contribution of man to his justification?

Here is where the second parable of Jesus enters the picture. He asked:

Which of you, have a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? (But) will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. [NKJV - "I think not"] So likewise, when ye have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. (Luke 17:7-10)

This is sanctification - doing that which it is our duty to do. Does this accrue merit? Never, because even in doing that which it is our duty to do, there is so much of self woven into our every act, due to the encumbering of our fallen nature, that we can only confess, we are still "unprofitable servants." Servants, yes, but sustained by the grace and mercy of God through the redemption in Christ Jesus we become sons of God.

This is the gospel given to Paul by the risen Lord te proclaim. In the Ephesian letter, Paul not only wrote:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (2:8-9).

But he also follows these verses with these words:

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For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (v.10).

We are no longer to walk after the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof, but after the Spirit to seek "the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14). This is sanctification - "a work of a lifetime" for one who has been justified by the grace of God. He has been "set apart," consecrated to God, which is the meaning of the word used in the Greek text.

ďAll that is in the world ... is not of the Father" (I John 2:16). But of those whom Jesus intercedes, He prays - "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." For these He sanctified Himself "that they also might be sanctified through the truth" (John 17:16, 19). Is their life then filled with "meritorious works"? No, just the things "which (is) our duty to do." We are still in this "vile body" awaiting the final redemptive act of our Saviour who shall give us a body, "fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself" (Phil. 3:21). He is "the Alpha and Omega" of salvation. He is "made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" (I Cor.1:30-31)