Judgement -Part 21

If you were convinced that Jesus would return tonight, how would you feel? What would you do? Where would you go?

On October 22, 1844, tens of thousands of Christians waited for the Lord’s return.

They gathered in groups on mountaintops, in churches or in their own homes.

In the months prior, believers across North America and other parts of the world, began preparing in earnest for this great event.

They prayed and studied their Bibles like never before. Farmers left corn and potato crops unharvested in their fields.

Retailers closed the doors to their shops. This advertisement appeared on the front page of a United States newspaper,

If I owe anybody any money as a result of my business dealings and if I’ve not been faithful in paying it, please let me know so I can pay up my debts, because Jesus is coming October 22, 1844, and I want to ascend in the cloud and go with Him.” The Providence, Rhode Island Newspaper 1844.

To their great discouragement, Jesus did not come in 1844.

So what had gone wrong?

Years earlier, a Baptist farmer by the name of William Miller began studying prophecy. He came across a prediction in the book of Daniel that caught his attention. Daniel 8:14 states,

For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed”. Miller concluded that this prophecy predicted the date for the Second Coming of Jesus.

He did the calculations and determined that Christ would return in 1843 or 1844.

William Miller began a worldwide movement that came from Baptists, Methodists, Catholics and many other religions. At its peak there were over 3,000 ministers and up to 100,000 thousand followers waiting for the Lord’s return.

When Jesus did not return hopes were shattered. This event has gone down in history as the “great disappointment”.

So why didn’t Jesus return all those years ago? Did William Miller miss something? What is the “cleansing of the sanctuary”? Is there any connection between the sanctuary and God’s judgment?

And if there is, should we be fearful of the judgment today? In this study guide we will investigate the subject of the judgment. Amazingly, we will discover that the judgment is in session right now.

Q1 – HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL FACE THE JUDGMENT?

For we must ALL all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5.10

Judgment is not optional. All of us will face our Creator and be answerable for the decisions we have made in life. Some are afraid of this event
and don’t want to talk about it. But if we put our trust and confidence in Jesus there is no need to be nervous. We can even look forward to the judgment.

Q2 – WILL THE JUDGMENT TAKE PLACE PRIOR TO THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS?

 

And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work

Jesus will come with His reward “to give to every one according to his work”. A reward must firstly be determined before it can be given.

Therefore, there is a time prior to Christ’s return when the judgment takes place. This judgment determines who is saved and who is lost.

Like any court room there will be investigation of the evidence, followed by a verdict and sentence.

For the Christian, the sentence (or reward) is an eternity with our Friend and Saviour Jesus.

Q3 HOW DID THE PROPHET DANIEL DESCRIBE THE JUDGMENT?

 

I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of days was seated ...The court was seated, and the books were opened. Daniel 7:9,10

Daniel saw in vision the judgment in heaven’s sanctuary. God sat on His throne.

The court was seated. Millions of angels were present. The books were opened for investigation.

And the judgment began. Daniel portrays this scene as a major and spectacular event.

Q4 – WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE JUDGMENT?

But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever even forever and ever.’ Daniel 7.18

The judgment confirms who will be saved at the Second Coming.

The prophet Daniel saw in vision a barrage of attacks against God’s people throughout history.

He then saw the judgment as God’s solution to reward His people (Daniel 7:18,22). God’s heart desire is to save all humanity (2 Peter 3:9). A period of judgment alerts us to the fact that time is running out.

Now is the time to be sorry for our sins. Now is the time for complete trust and dependence on Jesus.

The judgment has epic consequences. In a bizarre twist, God is not just the judge, but also the one being judged (Romans 3:4).

The whole universe will see God’s judgments on every being throughout history. At the completion of the judgment there will be no doubt that God is love.

God is fair. God is righteous.The judgment is an integral step in solving the problem of sin.

Not just for now. Forever.

Q5 WHO ARE THE KEY PLAYERS IN THE JUDGMENT?

For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, John 5.22

Those involved in the judgment include:
• God the judge (Daniel 7:9)
• Satan the accuser (Revelation 12:9,10)
• Jesus our defender (1 John 2:1)
• Humans being judged (2 Corinthians 5:10)
• Angels as witnesses (Daniel 7:10)

The judgment is good news. The Father has given the role of judgment to Jesus. So Jesus, our lawyer (or advocate), will also be our judge. Imagine that! Jesus died in our place. He fulfilled the sentence for our sins. As a result, Jesus can be both just and gracious. If you put your complete trust in Jesus you will be cleared in the judgment.

Q6 -ON WHAT BASIS WILL WE BE JUDGED?

For God will bring every work work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12.14

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1
 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels Revelation 3:5

God’s law is the standard in the judgment. God records every thought and behaviour.

The whole of heaven is aware of what we do, even if our sins are done in secret.

So how can a just God declare a guilty person not guilty?

The Bible says the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

We are guilty. We deserve to die. But Jesus took our sentence and died in our place.

Since He is the One we sinned against, He is the only One who can take the punishment for our sins.

When we confess our sins two things take place:
• We are declared not guilty
• We are declared righteousJesus justifies us “freely by His grace” (Romans 3:24).

 

Our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. That means we are saved. In the judgment, Jesus promises His followers that He will not blot their names out of the Book of Life. On the contrary, it will be the record of their sins that will be blotted out (Acts 3:19).

But consider this. You may wonder why a God of love and mercy does not take everyone to heaven. After all, doesn’t He want everyone there?

God will take to heaven everyone who would be happy there. Heaven is more about a friendship with Jesus than a mansion up in the sky.

To the believer seeing the face of Jesus will be the pinnacle of life. To the unbeliever it will be torture (Revelation 6:14-16).

If we don’t enjoy time with God on earth, we certainly would not enjoy it in heaven. God respects our choices.

It is the same mercy that keeps some people out of heaven, as it is that allows others into heaven.

Q7 – WHEN DOES THE JUDGMENT BEGIN?

For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed. Daniel 8.14

The book of Daniel covers the big issues in the great conflict between Christ and Satan. In chapter 7 the prophet saw the rise and fall of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. He then saw the “little horn” power of the Medieval church.

Once this power fell (which occurred in 1798), Daniel saw the judgment take place (Daniel 7:9-11). So we know the judgment would occur some time after the year 1798.

In chapter 8 the timing of the judgment becomes very specific. Daniel once again saw the large superpowers of world history (including the antichrist power). They were attacking God’s people and ruling the world.

Daniel responded by asking “how long” all these attacks would last.
Daniel was told that all the conflict and apostasy would last for 2,300 days before the “sanctuary would be cleansed”.

This literally made him sick with anxiety (Daniel 8:27). It was clear that this prophecy was a long way off because the prediction would come to fulfilment “many days into the future” (Daniel 8:26).

Daniel likely knew that a prophetic day was a year, and so as he looked down the barrel of 2,300 years, he went to his knees in prayer.

Daniel’s heartfelt prayer is found in the next chapter, Daniel 9. In fact, the key to understanding the time frame of Daniel 8:14 is to recognize that Daniel 8 and 9 are part of the one vision and prophecy. In the original Scripture manuscripts there was never a division made between the chapters.

Daniel prayed earnestly for his city and people, asking forgiveness and cleansing. God responded to Daniel’s prayer by sending His angel Gabriel (Daniel 9:20-22). Gabriel was the same angel “seen in the vision” of chapter 8 “at the beginning” (Daniel 9:21).

Throughout chapter 8 Gabriel identified the beast powers and described the event that would take place at the end of 2,300 days (the cleansing of the sanctuary). The only thing missing was the starting date for the 2,300 day prophecy.

In chapter 9 Gabriel provides the starting date and provides further details of the vision that relates specifically to Daniel’s city and people; Jerusalem and the Jews (Daniel 9:24-27 – this prophecy is outlined in detail in the study guide “The Mystery Man of Prophecy”).Gabriel said this section of the vision is “determined” (literally means “divided” or cut-off”) from the total timeframe of 2,300 days (Daniel 9:24).

As a result we can be certain that the starting date for the 2,300 day prophecy is exactly the same as the starting date for the Messiah prophecy of Daniel 9. They are both sections of the one prophecy.The starting date of this prophecy was a command allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their city (Daniel 9:25).

This decree, found in Ezra 7, was made by King Artaxerxes in the seventh year of his reign, in 457BC.

This starting date of 457BC is verified in history through the writings of the Greek historian Herodotus, through Babylonian records and through the Alexandrian astronomer Ptolemy (Canon of Ptolemy).

Counting 2,300 literal years from 457BC brings us to 1844, the start of the cleansing of the sanctuary.

William Miller’s study had been extensive. He had the timing correct. But the event was wrong. Miller did not understand the meaning of the “cleansing of the sanctuary”.

He thought it meant the cleansing of the earth by fire at the Second Coming of Jesus.

So what is the “cleansing of the sanctuary”? And why does Daniel connect it to judgment?

The best way to answer this question is to review the cleansing of the sanctuary on earth.

This event points very clearly to the work of judgment by Jesus in heaven’s sanctuary.

 

Q8 WHEN WAS THE EARTHLY SANCTUARY “CLEANSED”?

Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. Leviticus 25.23

For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. Leviticus 16:30

As animal sacrifices were offered each day the priest took the blood and sprinkled it inside the Holy Place of the sanctuary.

On other occasions the priest ate part of the flesh of the sacrifice. Both services symbolised the transfer of sin and death from the animal into the sanctuary.

On one day each year a special event took place. On the Day of Atonement the High Priest entered the Most Holy Place, into the very presence of God and His law.

As animal sacrifices were offered each day the priest took the blood and sprinkled it inside the Holy Place of the sanctuary.

On other occasions the priest ate part of the flesh of the sacrifice. Both services symbolised the transfer of sin and death from the animal into the sanctuary.

On one day each year a special event took place. On the Day of Atonement the High Priest entered the Most Holy Place, into the very presence of God and His law.

This was a day of judgment. The people of Israel would “afflict their souls” by making sure there were no specific sins that were unconfessed or unforsaken.

On this day, those who refused to confess their sins were judged guilty and cut off from God’s people (Leviticus 23:29).

 

Q9 – HOW WILL THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY BE CLEANSED?

Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens (the earthly sanctuary) should be purified with these (the blood of animals), but the heavenly things themselves (the heavenly sanctuary) with better sacrifices than these ( the precious blood of Jesus ) (Note: words in brackets inserted for explanation) Hebrews 9.23

The cleansing of the sanctuary predicted by Daniel cannot refer to the earthly sanctuary. The Jewish temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD and has never been rebuilt.

The events and symbols of the earthly sanctuary point to Jesus and the sanctuary in heaven. So what is happening in heaven?

It may seem strange that a perfect heavenly sanctuary should be “cleansed”; but the record of our sins is in the sanctuary.

The cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary is the removal of the record of our sins from the books of heaven (Daniel 7:10).

 

It is the judgment. Can you imagine how good it will feel to go to heaven and see none of your sins recorded there?

Before our sins are blotted out, God looks into the books to determine who has accepted the free gift of salvation.

There will be some who believe they are Christians, and yet have not fully accepted Jesus or committed their life to Him (Matthew 7:22,23).

Those who have not fully accepted Jesus will have their names, not their sins, blotted from the Book of Life (Revelation 3:5).

Q10 – WHAT IMPACT SHOULD THE JUDGMENT HAVE ON OUR LIFE?

Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” Revelation 14.7

Living at our time in earth’s history is not “business as usual”. God’s judgment has come. Not may come. Not will come. But has come. The judgment is now in session.

It is time for a spiritual revival and reformation. It is time to worship the Creator God. It is time to live a Spirit filled life.

It is time to be free from the guilt and power of sin.God is patient. He is passionate about saving people.

He has waited for many years for people to repent, but soon time will run out. Jesus will return so we can live with Him forever. If you have not already committed your entire life to Him, then why not do so today?

Three points to remember:

•The judgment began in 1844

••Jesus is both our advocate and judge

••• Now is the time to accept Jesus as our Lord and
Saviour

The Story:

Karen was raised in a Christian home. Her father’s friend, Robert, remembers Karen as a bright, bubbly girl.

She loved to go on church camps and get out into nature.

It seemed to Robert that Karen didn’t have a care in the world.

When she became a teenager Karen began experimenting with alcohol and drugs. Over time the impact of sin took hold of her life. She became a heroin addict.

A prostitute. Her whole life was a mess. She became pregnant to a man she met on the street.

When Karen named her new baby, she called her “Hope”. Possibly she wanted hope in her own life and she saw the baby as a symbol of hope.

Karen’s life went further into a nosedive.

She went to jail for stealing and prostitution and left her young child in the hands of her parents.

After many years Robert was told that Karen was coming home and would finally be able to be reunited with young Hopey (as her grandparents called her).

When Robert saw Karen walk into the room after so many years he couldn’t believe his eyes. Her face was marked and ugly. She was so thin she appeared ill.

She looked haggard and sin worn. Words could not describe how repulsed he was at the sight of this girl who had ruined her life.Then Hopey saw her mother.

Her reaction was different. She took one look at Karen and said, “Oh look at Mummy – isn’t she beautiful?”

She didn’t see a woman affected by sin. She saw a loving and lovable mother.

You may also feel at times that you have ruined your life with sin. However, in the judgment when God looks at you He doesn’t see a hopeless case.

He sees Jesus standing in your place and covering your life. You are not worthless. You are a child of God who has infinite value.

How do you feel when you realise that Jesus accepts you and loves you just as you are?

Relational questions

1. What would you say to someone who feels they are not “good enough” to face the judgment?

2. Why do you think Jesus is the ideal advocate in the judgment?

3. What do you find is the most effective way to overcome sin?

Your response:
The judgment is now in session. Will you decide to accept Jesus today and ask Him to be your advocate in the judgment?

In Lesson 22 we take a look at Why so many churches?

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