The Hour of God's Judgment Is Come

The Hour of God's Judgment Is Come: Concluded

The Adventist interpreta­ion of the judgment of Revelation 14:7 has empha­sized in particular that phase known as the investigative judgment of the saints. But does the hour of God's judg­ment have yet a wider scope? Does the period beginning in 1844 have universal significance in terms of judg­ment? What does God mean by it? Exactly what is embraced in this judgment? Is it concerned only with the saints and nothing more?

Professor of Systematic Theology, Andrews University

THE Adventist interpreta­ion of the judgment of Revelation 14:7 has empha­sized in particular that phase known as the investigative judgment of the saints. But does the hour of God's judg­ment have yet a wider scope? Does the period beginning in 1844 have universal significance in terms of judg­ment? What does God mean by it? Exactly what is embraced in this judgment? Is it concerned only with the saints and nothing more?

It is interesting to note that in the suc­ceeding chapters of the book of Revelation following verse seven of the fourteenth chapter, time and again the work of God's judgments is referred to. God is proclaimed worthy and righteous because His "judg­ments are made manifest" (Rev. 15:4). "Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus" (chapter 16:5). "Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments" (verse 7). "After these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous are his judgments" (chapter 19:1, 2). "I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faith­ful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war" (verse 11).

The prophet John uses the word "hour" quite frequently in these latter chapters of the book of Revelation. By it he points to that essential time and part of Christ's min­istration which brings to a close the reign of sin on the earth and establishes the reign of righteousness. The question is: Does God intend that in addition to the investigative judgment concept we should see still more of God's work of judgment prior to the consummation of all things? There is no contradiction of our previous position, but a widening of the perspective. Is this what God has in mind when He sets forth again and again His work of judgment from the heavenly sanctuary in connection with the final message to the world prior to His second advent?

Obviously, from the book of Revelation, God's work of judgment does not cease un­til all things are subjected unto Him, until all sin is overcome and eliminated. For judgment is the work of God in these last days, through the millennium, and at its close, by which our Lord and our God and the saints of God of all ages are fully vindi­cated before the entire universe. And it is because the final work of Christ from the sanctuary accomplishes all this that it is called the work of judgment. Is it not this that restores the sanctuary and the throne of God to its rightful place?

It is important to notice that the central issue in all these scriptures concerned with the work of judgment is the justification and vindication of God, not of man. The great concern is that God is declared right­eous. Only as this becomes true can the saints be proclaimed righteous. It is the vindication of God and His throne that alone guarantees the triumph and vindica­tion of the believer.

The Hebrew meaning and the Revised Standard Version translation of Daniel 8:14 takes on a wider meaning in the light of this picture. Actually, Daniel 8:14 is concerned with the justification of God and His sanctuary. In this chapter it is the little horn that has defiled the sanctuary, trod­den down God's law, blasphemed His name and character, and persecuted God's peo­ple. So terrible has been its power that it appears that the advantage is with Satan and his system. But the prophecy declares that at the end of the 2300 days, beginning in 1844, the judgments of God will be mani­fest as seen in the book of Revelation. All opposition and counterfeits in this last great struggle will be overthrown. God and His people will be vindicated.

One of the main causes of difficulty in Biblical interpretation is that the great issues of salvation, judgment, and the kingdom of God, the great controversy between Christ and Satan, are constantly being treated amateurishly and superficially. We narrow the work of God to this little world and from the perspective of our own per­sonal piety. We treat the great themes of God, apart from universal or eternal per­spectives, with little more than a parochial range of concern.

But if one reads the books of Daniel and Revelation aright, the great controversy in­cites questions and thinking from the stand­point of God's grasp of the universal issues. The inability to grasp the universal issues may lead to an ecclesiastical egoism, a naive and tacit assumption that God has no more to do than defend as an apologist the limited views held by His people. It is easy to become egotistic in one's religion, to believe that the only question is whether God loves me and mine. The real issue is whether God, through His work of salva­tion and judgment, has the power to sub­due all things to Himself, including our own hearts and minds, and to restore the absolute sovereignty of God throughout the universe, to make His throne forever secure. We all triumph or perish by this.

"Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all ene­mies under his feet" (1 Cor. 15:24, 25).

Seventh-day Adventists have no final des­tiny but to share in bringing about the ulti­mate sovereignty of God in the world. Ours is no policy of entrenchment, maintaining the status quo. We all need God's perspec­tive and a personal concern for the estab­lishment of the worship of our righteous God everywhere. The tendency is to spend our time and energy on minor matters. The result is a so-called Christian life that lacks the victorious note of our victorious Christ.

Just what is the central issue in God's work from the throne room in the heav­enly sanctuary? Is it God's minute investiga­tion of His redeemed saints? True, it is this, but is it not much more than this? Is it not in His own self-vindication, the establish­ment of His throne?

Times without number Ellen G. White has made clear the issue. The issue was joined back in eternity when Satan charged God with being unjust; when Satan pro­ceeded to show that the principles of God's throne were unfair and untenable; that he had a plan based on his own principles by which he would overthrow the throne of God and establish his throne above the stars of God. This issue is not something done in a corner, for when the issue was joined, the universe took sides. A tremen­dous number of the angelic host joined the opposition, to threaten the very exis­tence and security of the throne of God.

The books of Daniel and Revelation reveal that the issue is fought over and from the throne of God in the heavenly sanctuary. The Christian church has not grasped seriously enough the tremendous scope of the controversy that is now coming to a close through the work of God from His throne. Is it any wonder that Ellen G. White declares that the sanctuary truth is the central pillar of the Adventist faith? This church owes its power and message to the revelation of the work of God as ministered from the sanctuary above. We as Adventists have the right to expect power and strength from God, not as we have pride of church and creed, but only as we become instruments of God in helping to bring about this glorious consummation by enlightening the world on the sanctuary truth.

The purpose of God from His throne is something more than to check up on His children here below. We are now being confronted with a far more terrible power of evil than we ever anticipated. The salva­tion of men and the triumph of God will be realized when we grasp and share with God the real issues involved and commit ourselves to the action of God now taking place in the sanctuary. The work of the church in Christ is not simply to justify men but to bring about the vindication of God and His character.

We speak of the investigation of the saints, and rightly so; but it is the final account that God gives of Himself in rela­tion to His work of judgment and salva­tion that brings about the final consummation. The cry to God of saints and angels in the book of Revelation is "Worthy, worthy is the Lamb." This response is not born of something within ourselves. It is God's triumph, God's vindication of His way with man, with rebellious angels, and with Satan that elicits the grand response of all created beings to worship God, our Creator, and Him alone. The climax of all this controversy is set forth in the great convulsive judgments beginning with the time of the end; it is this revelation of God's final movements from His throne that is the key factor in the triumph of God and of the saints.

We need the sanctuary truth to show that the main issue in the controversy is within the plan and government of God, con­nected with the sovereignty of His throne. We are thereby invited to discard super­ficial solutions, easy beliefs, and lukewarm

procedures. If we win it will be because we are caught up with God into His grand action for the consummation of the conflict.

Much of the present-day Protestant reli­gion is concerned with the subjective, with emotionalism and human sentiment. It has lost the grasp of the total situation from God's point of view for this hour of destiny. The total alienation of Satan from every soul, angel, or man; the victory of Christ's righteousness; the vindication of God; and the restitution of all things is the final goal of this generation and of this church.

Before this is achieved, the most terrible struggle will ensue. Satan will make his final bid with a religious world dictatorship in an endeavor to justify his rulership. He himself will be "converted, after the mod­ern order of things" (The Great Contro­versy, p. 588). There will be a great reli­gious revival, a counterfeit revival that will bring in a counterfeit millennium upon the earth (ibid., pp. 464, 588, 589).

Great catastrophes are now impending for the world. This is the hour of God's judgment, a day of judgment for the world, as well as for the church. How foolish it is to study the books of Daniel and Revela­tion and still believe that this world can escape the hour of God's judgment—such convictions are born out of the arguments of men. It is only as men grasp the activity of God from His throne in heaven that they can fulfill God's divine destiny for their own lives. The ground of our hope is in divine Scripture, the revelation of God guiding the affairs of men from His throne.

We know from this sanctuary truth that the justification of God, the vindication of God, is not to be found in some religious revival that will embrace the world in a happy state and usher in the millennium. It is to be found in the action of God from His throne, in His judgments and His re­demption, in the catastrophic ending of the world in the midst of the most severe crisis the world has ever seen.

The aim of the great rebel has ever been to jus­tify himself, and to prove the divine government responsible for the rebellion. To this end he has bent all the power of his giant intellect. He has worked deliberately and systematically, and with marvelous success, leading vast multitudes to accept his version of the great controversy which has been so long in progress. For thousands of years this chief of conspiracy has palmed off falsehood for truth. But the time has now come when the rebel­lion is to be finally defeated, and the history and character of Satan disclosed. In his last great effort to dethrone Christ, destroy His people, and take possession of the city of God, the arch-deceiver has been fully unmasked. Those who have united with him see the total failure of his cause. Christ's fol­lowers and the loyal angels behold the full extent of his machinations against the government of God. He is the object of universal abhorrence.

Satan sees that his voluntary rebellion has un­fitted him for heaven. He has trained his powers to war against God; the purity, peace, and harmony of heaven would be to him supreme torture. His ac­cusations against the mercy and justice of God are now silenced. The reproach which he has en­deavored to cast upon Jehovah rests wholly upon himself. And now Satan bows down, and confesses the justice of his sentence.

"Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest." Every question of truth and error in the long-standing controversy has now been made plain. The results of rebellion, the fruits of setting aside the divine statutes, have been laid open to the view of all created intelligences. The working out of Satan's rule in contrast with the government of God, has been presented to the whole universe. Satan's own works have condemned him. God's wisdom, His justice, and His goodness stand fully vindicated. It is seen that all His deal­ings in the great controversy have been conducted with respect to the eternal good of His people, and the good of all the worlds that He has created. . . . The history of sin will stand to all eternity as a wit­ness that with the existence of God's law is bound up the happiness of all the beings He has created. With all the facts of the great controversy in view, the whole universe, both loyal and rebellious, with one accord declare, "Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints." . . .

Notwithstanding that Satan has been constrained to acknowledge God's justice, and to bow to the supremacy of Christ, his character remains un­changed. The spirit of rebellion, like a mighty tor­rent, again bursts forth. Filled with frenzy, he de­termines not to yield the great controversy. The time has come for a last desperate struggle against the King of heaven. He rushes into the midst of his subjects, and endeavors to inspire them with his own fury, and arouse them to instant battle. But of all the countless millions whom he has allured into rebellion, there are none now to acknowledge his supremacy. His power is at an end.—The Great Controversy, pp. 670-672.

In these graphic words the author lays bare the issue and the outcome—the vindication of God and the complete isolation and alienation of the originator of sin.

That is what God has been seeking to do all along. He could have forced a confes­sion from men and wicked angels long ago; but that is not God's method. He must wait in His wisdom until out of their own voluntary free will they will acknowl­edge the rightful sovereignty of Christ and the Father before all. Not one will be left to question this. Not a single person will have one doubt as to God, His character, and His righteous judgment.

The hour of God's judgment means that ultimately God will so reveal His righteous­ness in salvation and judgment that the un­righteous will confess and praise Him. Can God get the world to do this even from the very heart of its servitude to sin and Satan? If God can, and He will, then this will issue in the final vindication of God before all; and lost men and women and rebellious angels will in this last hour at the end of the millennium forget their lost estate and will praise God for His right­eousness and His justice.

Thus the sanctuary of God is then justi­fied and vindicated. His throne is forever secure.

III. The Investigative Judgment

1. Do the saints come into judgment?

Walter Martin asserts: "Since our Lord knows the disposition of 'cases' allegedly being reviewed in Heaven, what need is there for 'investigative judgment'? We be­lieve the Scriptures decidedly do not war­rant such a doctrine."—The Truth About Seventh-day Adventism, p. 182.

He also insists that there is no judgment of the saints now going on. He quotes John 5:24 saying, "the Greek deals a devas­tating blow to the Seventh-day Adventist concept of Investigative Judgment: 'He that hears my word and believes him that sent me has everlasting life and shall not come under judgment but is passed from death to life' (literal translation). Chris­tians, therefore, need not anticipate any Investigative Judgment for their sins."— Ibid., p. 178. "

When Martin appeals to the Greek, I presume he is referring to the use of the Greek word krisis. The word carries with it the meaning of the process of separa­tion by judicial procedure, a judgment that goes with a person, condemnation. Martin concludes from this that there is therefore no future investigative judgment of the saints. But the text does not bear out his position. It is doubtful that John is speak­ing of judgment in the eschatological sense at all. The verb is in the present tense. John is not speaking of final judgment as such, but rather with current Christian liv­ing as indicated by the phrase "is passed from death unto life." It parallels Paul's statement: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).

If Dr. Martin means by his statement that there is no future judgment for the saints, then he is in plain disagreement with the truth of Scripture which declares: "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" (2 Cor. 5:10). Paul states, in­cluding himself: "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ" (Rom. 14:10). "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Eccl. 12:14).

It seems that Martin tries to build an argument from one Greek word without considering the whole meaning of the pas­sage, finding out whether John is speaking of the Christian's current standing before God or whether he has the eschatological aspect of judgment in mind. At this point Dr. Martin has failed to take into con­sideration other related texts that argue more strongly for a future judgment for the saints.

2. Complete representation before the throne of God

In His priestly office Christ offered Him­self a sacrifice to God upon the cross (Heb. 5:1; 7:26, 27; 8:3; 10:12). But Christ does not continue this function of offering Him­self upon the cross now. He did this once and He will not do it the second time. He does, however, continue His priestly func­tion in the heavenly sanctuary, for Christ is made "a priest for ever," He "continueth ever" as priest (Heb. 7:21, 24). Obviously, our Lord did not enter the heavenly sanc­tuary to do nothing. The complete ministry of our Lord is brought clearly to view, not only in the study of the types but also in the books of Hebrews, Daniel, and Rev­elation. This high priestly ministration of Christ corresponds to the twofold aspect re­vealed in the type and designated as the "daily" and the "yearly," or day of atone­ment ministrations. As He daily ministers, Christ's work is declared to be that of inter­cession (Heb. 7:25; Rom. 5:10; 8:34), of succoring His people (Heb. 2:17, 18; 4:14, 15). He appears as the sinner's advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1; John 16:26) and as the director of His church upon the earth (Rev. 1:1-3).

In His yearly ministration He is revealed in the books of Daniel and Revelation, and also in the typical services, as carrying out the work of judgment. The Jews through­out their history have recognized this two­fold ministration in relation to Israel as the people of God. Their yearly Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement ministration, is inter­preted by their leaders and scholars as God's great day of judgment as it affects His people. On what did they base their beliefs and doctrine? On the revelation given to Moses.

This twofold ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary reveals Christ's complete representation on our behalf be­fore the throne of God. As our High Priest, Christ represents man to God. Frequently in prophecies already referred to we see Christ coming to the Father (Dan. 7:13, 14; Rev. 5:6, 7). We see Christ standing on the right hand of God. This is a real com­ing, representatively on our behalf. This is no theory. Only in and through Christ does man have access to God (Eph. 2:16; 3:12). It is only as Christ comes to the Father that man has true and actual representation, whether in the work of intercession, suc­cor, or judgment. Christ is to us all of these in His priestly ministration. He is truly and actually our surety in the presence of the Father. Christ brings to bear the full benefits of a perfect man and a perfect sal­vation. He is our sufficient security, our ab­solute assurance of the salvation He has ac­complished. And in the judgment now go­ing on He confesses our names before the Father, as He has promised to do.

There is no action or status concerning the saints in the heavenly sanctuary but what it is ministered and represented by our blessed Lord. Christ will not and does not surrender any part of His high priestly function on behalf of His children, whether it be Redeemer, Intercessor, or Judge. Christ is their representative. Christ is one with His children and for His chil­dren in every act that decides the destiny and future of His saints, from the time of their acceptance to the time of their judg­ment and vindication. This relationship needs to be understood and followed all the way to final victory.

How has this representative work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary fared since His ascension? In the great contro­versy between Christ and Satan Scripture declares in Daniel 8 that the little horn has taken away the daily and has trodden un­derfoot the sanctuary of God. For more than a thousand years the papal power (the little horn) instituted and operated a counterfeit mediatorial system claiming the power to forgive sins and to decide cases.

The priest has the power of the keys, or the power of delivering sinners from hell, of making them worthy of paradise, and of changing them from the slaves of Satan into the children of God. And God himself is obliged to abide by the judg­ment of his priests, and either not to pardon or to pardon, according as they refuse or give absolution, provided the penitent is capable of it.—Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, Dignity and Duties of the Priest, p. 27.

When St. Michael comes to a dying Christian who invokes his aid, the holy archangel can chase away the devils, but he cannot free his client from their chains till a priest comes to absolve him.—Ibid., p. 31.

The priest holds the place of the Saviour himself, when, by saying "Ego te absolvo," he absolves from sin. . . . But what only God can do by his om­nipotence, the priest can also do by saying "Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis;" for the forms of the sacra­ments, or the words of the forms, produce what they signify.—Ibid., pp. 34, 35.

Were the Redeemer to descend into a church, and sit in a confessional to administer the sacra­ment of penance, and a priest to sit in another con­fessional, Jesus would say over each penitent, "Ego te absolvo," the priest would likewise say over each of his penitents, "Ego te absolvo," and the penitents of each would be equally absolved."—Ibid., p. 28.

Thus the uniqueness and exclusiveness of the mediatorial ministry of our Lord in the heavenly sanctuary is usurped. Instead of God's operating directly from His holy sanctuary, God is said to operate through sacraments ministered by human priests. The human instrument now takes the place of the divine. This human factor be­comes the determining factor in man's sal­vation either to pardon or not to pardon. It is to men that lost sinners are looking for forgiveness, salvation, and decision in judg­ment. They believe men are saved by re­ceiving the sacraments, not by receiving the Holy Spirit direct from the living Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. All this separates men from the active priestly ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5).

The prophecy of Daniel 8:11-14 states that not until the end of the 2300-year period will the ministration of Christ be restored to its rightful place, and justified. The leading prophecies of both Daniel and Revelation that deal with this great con­troversy between Christ and Satan point out that through all these centuries the true saints of God have been persecuted and killed by the very institution that claims to minister salvation and decide cases for weal or for woe. From outward ap­pearances it appears that everything is against the true children of God. Here we are confronted with an amazing spectacle —a counterfeit religious system that actu­ally decides against the true saints of God and exercises judgment to destroy them while at the same time designating others as the children of God.

What is the solution to this counterfeit system? Where is it to be found? The Bible points the believer to the work of Christ our High Priest in His mediatorial minis­tration in the heavenly sanctuary. He alone is the one mediator between God and man. He alone has the power and the right to de­cide cases. He alone is the judge of who the true saints are.

How vital, then, is the knowledge of Christ's mediatorial ministry in all its as­pects? Millions of people have looked to the church of their day with assurance of sins forgiven and eternal life, but only in the heavenly sanctuary are the true records of men's lives to be found; only here are the divine decisions and judgments made and recorded; here is the only court of ap­peal. It is through Christ's ministration alone that men receive forgiveness and suc­cor. It is in the judgment from the sanc­tuary alone that cases are decided, no­where else. All this must be taught and understood in the justification and restora­tion of the heavenly sanctuary. The sanc­tuary truth is part of the final message to the world. It is here alone that men can understand the closinsr events of this world's history, the ultimate judgment and vindication of men; for the Bible teaches that it is Christ alone who is our Interces­sor, our Mediator, and our Judge.

3. The meaning of the phrase "investi­gative judgment"

The use of the term "investigative" needs to be carefully interpreted. The doc­trine of an investigative judgment is not to be conceived as God's poring over the record books in order to figure out the ac­counts. "The Lord knoweth them that are his."

This term has meaning in light of the Biblical teaching on the keeping of the rec­ords of all men's lives, thoughts, and deeds. That such records are kept even to the minutest detail is clearly taught in the Bible; and that men will be judged ac­cording to what is recorded in the books (Dan. 7:10; Rev. 20:12). That God would make and keep records of the saints is in­credible unless they had some future refer­ence. A number of references are made to the opening of the book of life, which con­tains the names and records of the saints. Daniel pictures the books being opened in judgment. He declares in Daniel 12:1 and 2 that "every one that shall be found writ­ten in the book" shall be delivered. This takes place when "Michael stands up." The similarities between this passage and the one dealing with the judgment in chapter 7:9 to 14 are striking. The coming of Christ to the Father to receive dominion and the kingdom, and the standing up of Michael appear to be part of the same over-all ac­tivity. The result of all this is that domin­ion is given to Christ. The saints share in the judgment because the kingdom of God is declared to belong to them. Michael stands up and speaks for His saints because their names are found in the book of life.

Judgment is intrinsic to the everlasting gospel (Rev. 14:6, 7). "God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel" (Rom. 2:16). The redemp­tion wrought in Christ is both the salvation of men and the judgment of men. It is this unity of the gospel and judgment that proclaims the gospel as righteous in every respect.

Much of the world's religion would dis­pense with the judgment of God. Today the love of God is often divorced from His judgment. This type of religion ignores the holiness of God that issues in judg­ment. What this unstable world and society needs as much as anything else is not an easygoing love, but respect for God and His righteous will, a realization that God has a controversy with all men, that a day of divine reckoning and judgment will come for all men, good and bad.

God is not primarily a benevolent grand­father handing out forgiveness indiscrimi­nately. He is the Lord of the universe; and His sovereign and holy will must prevail if the universe is to endure. This truth must be seen when God seeks to bring about the consummation of all things. Revelation de­clares that both gospel and judgment go hand in hand. Nowhere is one for the saved and the other for the lost. In none of God's work or in His guidance in the af­fairs of men is judgment absent. Nowhere does the Bible teach that all are going to be saved; but it does say that "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ."

For the redeemed the true meaning of salvation bears the test of the judgment now proceeding. The fundamental issue in the judgment reveals men as either in Christ or out of Christ, in the book of life or out of it. This investigative judgment requires a right relation to God. All the deeds, thoughts, and motives of men are evaluated in the light of individual relation­ship to Christ. This is particularly true with regard to all those who profess Chris­tianity. Not all who make a profession are true saints of God. The separation between the true and the false within the church is not easily attained. There is one principal test applied to all who profess Christ—are their works of human devisings or are they the fruit of an indwelling Christ? Does their conformity to the ways of Christ indi­cate righteousness by works or righteous­ness by faith?

That such an investigation will be made prior to the return of our Lord is taught in the parable of the man without a wedding garment, in Matthew 22. Christ here likens the kingdom of heaven to a certain king who made a marriage for his son. Invita­tions were sent out, but some refused to attend. But for those who came to the feast, a special wedding garment was provided by the king. When all the guests were as­sembled, the king began an examination, or investigation, of the guests. Did all have on the special garment he had provided? No, one man had not. The king ordered him to be expelled into outer darkness. Christ is here teaching the necessity of wear­ing the garment of Christ's righteousness, so that when man is called to the marriage feast of the Lamb he will be acceptable. He also teaches that before the marriage feast takes place He will make sure that only those who have on this garment will be allowed to sit down to the feast. Does this not imply an investigation or a prior judg­ment?

Salvation is more than knowing that our sins have been forgiven. The status of ulti­mate salvation for each person will be chal­lenged by Satan himself. The consumma­tion of our own destinies will not pass without an outright denial of Christ's right to His children. In the face of Satan's desperate fight to take the entire human race with him to perdition, it is not likely that Christ's claim to sinners who have been redeemed will go unchallenged. Sa­tan's pattern of accusation is brought to light in Zechariah 3. It has been an essen­tial part of Satan's work through the cen­turies to castigate every sinner who seeks deliverance from his sins through Christ. The human heart and mind has been a bat­tleground, and Satan does not give up eas­ily. In Zechariah 3, Joshua the high priest stands clothed in the filthy garments of his own sinfulness, arraigned at the bar of God. That Satan has a legitimate case in every man goes without question. He has no need to build a case. The whole record of Satan's work reveals that he will relin­quish no man either personally or in the judgment without challenging God's right to grant him eternal life. In spite of all this, Christ intercedes for His child and clothes him with the white garments of His right­eousness. Satan is silenced. That battle be­fore God and man will go on over every soul.

Before Christ claims His children for His own, before resurrection or translation of His saints, the right of ownership will be disputed and established. The purpose is not merely to provide the saint with so many stars in his crown or acres in his heavenly vineyard. It is rather to place in perspective both Himself (as the righteous, holy God) and His redeemed children in the light of His righteous judgment, that all may be vindicated at last. This righteous declaration and vindication of His chil­dren is an essential part of the vindication of God Himself, of His everlasting gospel, of His divine government and direction of the controversy with Satan and with sin.

The temptation is toward a soft and ten­der type of religion, with an easygoing God and a forever-forgiving Christ. The hour of God's judgment speaks both of His love and His holiness. The investigative judg­ment of God is not to condemn men, not to make His people suffer the penalty for their sins when He already has borne that, but it is the evidence of God's righteous judgment, the final vindication of the saints before the universe. This hour is the crisis of all crises, the harvest of all harvests, the testing hour for both the righteous and the wicked. The redemption of the elect does not eliminate them from judg­ment; for they are part of it; and this judg­ment will reveal a righteous God and a judgment in favor of the saints.

There will be no appeal from this court now sitting. The final crisis of mankind is here. And only when it is revealed how all men stand before Christ, and in relation to Christ, will each man be finally judged. It is this fact that gives us the ultimate pur­pose of the great controversy. It is this that assures us that Christ will win at last. This is far more than forgiveness of sin; it is our righteous standing before all the universe that is revealed and declared. We believe in this hour of judgment because we be­lieve in a final crisis that will vindicate both God and His saints.

Thus we see the balance of redemption and judgment that has been God's purpose and righteous action all along.

The hour of judgment calls for the su­pernatural intervention of God in the af­fairs of men, for the action of God from His throne in the sanctuary. To preach merely some moral theories on the level of human operation is to miss the work of Christ.

The hour of God's judgment has come, and nothing can stop the work of God in the sanctuary above, nothing can shake the judgment that is now going on, the judg­ment that will issue in the final crisis of the world. For almost six thousand years the world has been under the control of Satan. Now we have come to the final account that must be rendered; and in the accounts of God, everything is manifest, even to the uttermost farthing.

At no other time and in no other period of this world's history has there been com­mitted to men so serious a responsibility as to proclaim the salvation and the judg­ment of God through Christ's closing minis­tration in the heavenly sanctuary. God asks our complete commitment to Him in or­der that we might proclaim this judgment-hour message that will issue in the eternal vindication of God and of His saints.

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

Professor of Systematic Theology, Andrews University

July 1961

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Pointers for Preachers

Theological and Other Jargon, Inviting Death, Stunted in the Spotlight,

Our Friends the Presbyterians *

The third of a series designed to acquaint our workers with ways that will bring better understanding between Seventh-day Adventists and their fellow Christians.

The tale of two churches

It may seem strange that the simple act of personal contact in the home would make such a great difference in the over-all record of a church. The importance of pastoral visitation should not be overlooked.

Jesus and the Trinity

Much confusion and misconception concerning Jesus has come about by a misapplication of the title Yahweh, applying it only to the Father, as though He were the one Being quali­fying as God. However, in ex­amining the more than 6,000 Scripture texts, it be­comes evident that the Being ordinarily re­ferred to by that title is sometimes Jesus.

Some Books I Can Recommend

Book recommendations by E. S. Humann.

What We Do We Must Do Quickly

Is the Lord disappointed with His church? Has it failed to preach with power the three angels' messages to the four corners of the earth in the time allotted?

Sunday Night Meetings in New York

"You can't carry a Sunday night program like this by staying at home and looking at television."

The Short Evangelistic Campaign

I am a strong believer in short-campaign evange­lism. That does not mean I do not believe in long cam­paigns; it simply means that I am very much in favor of the short ones. I think they are our greatest tool in en­abling us to obtain decisions.

An Evangelistic Field School at Emmanuel Missionary College

It was a venture of faith to conduct an evangelistic field school in South Bend, Indiana—the very heart of Roman Catholic intellectualism.

Preacher, Watch Your Weight!

Our reference in the title is not to physical weight but to that kind of "weight" known as influence. The power of the minister's influence cannot be overestimated.

Review of Basic Principles in Approaching Non-Adventists: Part III—The Rules of Correct Approach

Brethren, we have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go in our ap­proach to non-Adventists.

"Still, Still With Thee"

It is no mere coincidence that the com­mand to preach was accompanied by the promise, "Lo, I am with you." With Christ all things are possible; without Him, nothing.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - Healthy and Happy Family - Skyscraper 160x600