2. Previous Judgments
We have shown in The Judgment Now that God's judgment is
the articulation and public display of His judgments, His characteristics,
the essence of His being. The final judgment has been typified by
many occasions in which God has condemned sin and justified the
righteous. Each of these types shed light on the final judgment
to which we stand related. Where and when and in what exact chronological
detail this last judgment will occur is not so important; what is
crucial for our eternal future is that we understand the principles
which will be articulated in it.
In passing, note that in all the following types of judgment, Angels
feature prominently- as they will in the final antitype.
Adam in Eden (Rom. 5:16-18)
He heard the call / invitation of God to judgment
(cp. Mt. 20:8; 22:3; 25:6; Lk. 14:17; 16:2; 19:15).
The Angel came for him in the spirit / whirlwind
(Mt. 13:39; 25:31)
The presence of the Lord
Adam had no place to hide, although he sought
it. Likewise the sinful deeds of the rejected will not be hid
at the judgment (1 Tim. 5:25- surely an allusion to Adam's attempt
to hide). Israel likewise wanted to hide from God but were searched
out in His day of judgment (Am. 9:3). This corresponds with the
foolish virgins not wanting to go to judgment.
Nakedness (Rev. 16:15)
Realization of their condemnation just by the
very invitation to judgment
Questioned about his sin (Mt. 25:42)
Made excuses (Mt. 25:43)
Specific punishment given to Adam and Eve, appropriate
to the failure of each of them, with an explanation (Mt. 25:42)
Sent forth from God's presence
Driven out- as if there were two stages.
This is commented on under 'Sheep and goats'
Lot's Deliverance From Sodom
If Lot and Noah had not been saved, they would have perished in
the judgment to come upon Sodom / their surrounding world. And so
it seems the unfaithful will meet their end in the same way.
The Red Sea
This is described as the judgment of God, the day of the Lord etc.
because God's people exited from the world whilst judgments came
upon it; the Name of God was revealed through this process (Ps.
76:6-9; 103:6,7). Israel were brought out by "great judgments" (Ex.
6:6; 7:4), i.e. by God's stretched out arm (6:6). The way He acted
was a manifestation of His judgment principles.
The Babylonian Invasion (Jer. 1:15,16;
Their captivity would lead to men being humbled and Yahweh exalted
(Is. 5:12-16), using the very language which Isaiah elsewhere uses
about the final day of judgment (2:21). As Israel were "cast" out
of their land and into another country (Dt. 29:28) so the rejected
are cast out of God's presence. Zedekiah fled, was overtaken, wept
(Ez. 7:27), judgment was given upon him (Jer. 52:9), he was punished
in the presence of the king (Jer. 52:10), cast into prison (Jer.
52:11 cp. Mt. 5:25).
The Assyrian Invasion
When Sennacherib camped against Jerusalem and set up his throne
there, this was a judgment seat. The judgment seat was brought near
by Israel's sin (Am. 6:3). The faithful remnant had to go through
some of the final judgments. But Israel were removed out of God's
sight (2 Kings 17:18), rejected by God (:20).
The whole of Matthew 24, with its evident judgment and second coming
reference, can be applied to the events of AD70. The AD70 judgment
is described as the fiery trial which would try the saints, and
as judgment beginning at the house of God (1 Pet. 4:12,17).
The Lord plainly described His death as "the judgment
of this world" (Jn. 12:30-32). Because there was "no judgment",
therefore Jesus died on the cross (Is. 59:15,16). This was the ultimate
judgment of this world. There the Lord God, through His Son, acted
as judge in condemning sin (Rom. 8:3). The Lord "set his face" to
go up to Jerusalem and die there (Lk. 9:51), but in doing so the
record alludes to the way Hazael set his face to go up against Jerusalem
in judgment (2 Kings 12:17). The Lord's death was effectively Israel's
judgment. "The prince of this world" (sin, the devil?) was judged
by the victory of the cross (Jn. 16:11). There, in that naked, abused
body and infinitely tormented yet righteous mind, there was displayed
the judgments, the character, the very essence of God; and the utter
condemnation of the flesh, the devil, the prince of this world.
Those judgments were displayed in front of a world which stood before
it self-condemned. The prophecy of Zech. 12:10 concerning looking
on the pierced Messiah is quoted in Rev. 1:7 concerning the judgment
seat; and yet in Jn. 19:37 concerning the cross. Isaiah's vision
of "the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up" (Is. 6:1)
connects with the description of the crucified Lord high and lifted
up (Is. 52:13). This vision, John tells us, was of Christ in His
glory. And John combines his citation of this passage with that
of Is. 53 concerning the cross (Jn. 12:41,42). The Lord, high
and lifted up in glory, was the crucified Lord. There He was enthroned,
in God's eyes, in His throne of glory. When He comes again and sits
in the throne of His glory, He will be repeating in principle the
glorification of the cross. The very vision of the lifted up Lord
convicted Isaiah of his sinfulness, and steeled his faith in forgiveness
As unworthy people wailed before Him on the cross (Lk. 23:27- the
Lord knew they would be condemned in the AD70 judgment rather than
obey his words and flee the city), so they will wail (s.w.) before
Him at the judgment (Mt. 24:30). The cross and the judgment are
definitely connected. Men's feelings at the cross are a foretaste
of our feelings before the enthroned, glorified Lord. And hence
there is a connection between the breaking of bread, the judgment,
the crucifixion, self-examination... it all comes together. The
suffering Lord committed the keeping of His soul to the Father "that
judgeth righteously" (1 Pet. 2:23). He judged both His Son's righteousness
and the world's rejection of it at that time. The lifting up of
Christ on the pole resulted in all men being drawn unto him (Jn.
12:32); but this is taking language from Isaiah's prophecies of
how the Lord Jesus at His return would be raised up like an ensign
(s.w. pole, Num. 21:9), and all people would be gathered to Him
for judgment (Is. 5:26; 11:10; 18:3; 49:22; 62:10). There is evidently
a connection between the Lord's lifting up on the pole / cross and
gathering all men to Him, and the way in which all men will be gathered
to Him at His return. His cross was a foretaste of the judgment.
Our feelings before His cross now will be those we experience
before Him at the final judgment (see comments on the breaking of
bread in Foretastes Of Judgment). At His trial, the Lord
warned them that He would come again as judge (Mt. 26:64,65), as
if He realized that they were living out a foretaste of the final
judgment. The thief likewise understood the Lord's presence as being
the presence of the judge who would finally judge him (Lk. 23:44).
Harry Whittaker points out that the cross divided men: there were
women who followed and mourned insincerely, and the women who really
followed. There were soldiers who gambled over the Lord's clothes,
and one who really repented. There was a thief who repented and
one who wouldn't. There were those who mocked and others who watched