"For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." Ecclesiastes. 12:14.
To understand the judgment of God, we need to follow the historical aspects of God and the judgments that He has done in the past. You see, there are two basic judgments with God. The present, physical judgment; and the "End of Time" eternal, spiritual judgment. Both work on the same principle: justice.
In the Bible we have many historical accounts of God in the present, physical judgment. Based on these present, physical manifestations, we will be able to see the justice and the mercy of God in His end-time judgments. To begin, we start in Genesis.
In Genesis chapter two, verse 17, we have God laying down the truth to Adam and Eve, saying, "If you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will "surely" die". That is the truth. That was the command. Their eternal life depended on one thing: obedience.
When they sinned, God had to "judge" them and make a determination of their guilt or innocence and the just punishment. He did just what we find in a court of law today. He instituted the first phase by coming down and "walking in the garden in the cool of the day..." Genesis 3:8.
God came down, looked around and investigated the charge that, no doubt, Lucifer had brought against them. "Na, na, - They disobeyed you, just like me. Now what are You going to do about it?"
God came down and called court: Adam, "Where are you?" He wanted to hear their side of the accusation brought by Lucifer. Immediately they began to do what all sinners do, accuse each other or something else. (Remember your day in court?)
After investigating and hearing both sides, God made His decision. Then He executed that decision by removing them from the Garden of Eden.
The next investigation was a murder investigation. Abel was murdered and God came down to investigate. To Cain "the Lord said, 'What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground." Genesis 4:10.
After investigating and determining that Cain was guilty of murder, God passed sentence, and then executed that sentence.
The next investigation had to do with flood control and took place about
120 years before the flood. God came down again and looked around and "saw
how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination
of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time." Genesis 6:5.
God investigated, found man guilty and then gave Judgment: "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth..." Genesis 6:7. After giving judgment, He waited 120 years and then executed that judgment.
In every case of judgment, God always provides a way of escape. If we are righteous, He will save us. "Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God." Genesis 6:9. "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation." Genesis 7:1.
God, being the merciful and gracious God that He is, (in both Old and New Testaments) always gives man a way of escape. He gives probation (grace) to each man and woman. All are given time to repent, turn away from sin and come back into God's favor. By doing this, we become the righteousness of God. We let God's perfection, righteousness and sinless life dwell in us. By keeping that divine nature within us, we are declared righteous and the penalty that was determined against us will be dropped. We will then be pardoned and justified.
But if we neglect so great a salvation and refuse to repent, turn away from and cease sinning, then the divine sentence will be carried out and we will pay the full penalty for our sins: Eternal death! (Hebrews 10:26, 27).
The next investigation had to do with crowd control.
This is recorded in the Bible as the tower of Babel incident. Again, the "Lord came down to see the city and the tower that men were building." Genesis 11:5. Men were attempting to build a "One World" government.
God always is just. Like a parent, He simply wants what is best for His children. He is not arbitrary and demanding to our hurt. Everything He does is for our good. He loves us. He does not want us to sin since sin causes pain, misery, suffering and death. After looking around, investigating the crime scene, He determined that the people were guilty and passed judgment: "From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth." Genesis 11:9. Evidently, the work God did at the Tower of Babel was very good. Man did not need another investigation for quite some time. But again, man forgot who His creator and God was and became wicked. God again had to come down and investigate. In Genesis 18 verses 20 and 21 we are told, "Then the Lord said, 'The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached Me. if not, I will know."'
The whole purpose of God's investigations is for us, not Him. Our sins have no effect on Him. It is us they hurt. By hurting us they then hurt Him. He came down to Sodom and Gomorrah because good people were being hurt by those wicked people. The cries of righteous people were being heard and recorded in heaven. Justice compelled God to act justly.
After investigating, He found the cities guilty and passed judgment on them. Then He executed that judgment. He made a way of escape for all who wanted it. But only three accepted the way of escape. (Actual picture of Sodom)
The entire Bible is full of the "coming down" of God (Jesus) to investigate, finding for the right, then passing sentence, and carrying out that sentence.
Using Israel as His tool of execution, He brought sentence upon the inhabitants of the land of Canaan. "In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure." Genesis 15:16. "After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, 'The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.' No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you." Deuteronomy 9:4.
However, the Israelites themselves needed to be disciplined over and over for their unfaithfulness. They refused to have faith in, and obey, the Ten Commandments of Jesus. In the meantime, God used them to punish the wicked nations around them who refused to keep His Ten Commandments.
Nation after nation was subject to the investigation, sentencing and execution of God's judgment. By reading the Old Testament you will become better acquainted with God's requirements for staying out of His judgments. The book of Jonah is a good example of this.
This disciplining culminated in one of the most severe judgments of Jerusalem and the temple. In Ezekiel we read where God came "out of the north" in a flying chariot. God came to Jerusalem to investigate it, pass sentence and then to execute judgment against it. "This is what the Sovereign Lord says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against My laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her. She has rejected My laws and has not followed My decrees." Ezekiel 5:5, 6.
"Alas! Because of all the wicked and detestable practices of the house of Israel, for they will fall by the sword, famine and plague." "I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices… "I will repay you in accordance with your conduct and the detestable practices among you." Ezekiel 6:11; 7:8, 9.
Jesus came to investigate, pass judgment and execute sentence. "Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, 'Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it."' Ezekiel 9:3, 4.
"As I listened, he said to the others, 'Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.' So they began with the elders who were in front of the temple. Then he said to them, 'Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go!' So they went out and began killing throughout the city. Ezekiel 9:5-7.
This symbolic killing in the spiritual sense represented the physical death that would come when Jesus sent Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem and the temple.
After passing judgment, Jesus, riding in His chariot throne, "rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple... Then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple... and stopped at the entrance to the east gate of the Lord's house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them." "The glory of the Lord went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it." Ezekiel 10:4, 18, 19; 11:23. (Yellow arrow points to the "East Gate" as seen from the Mount of Olives.)
The glory of God was being repelled from His own temple by the actions of the people. "And He said to me, 'Son of man, do you see what they are doing – the utterly detestable things the Israelites are doing here, things that will drive Me far from My sanctuary?" Ezekiel 8:6.
There will always come a day when judgment will come to the wicked. Jesus came in Ezekiel's time in an invisible chariot to judge the wickedness of Jerusalem. Then He departed and stood on the mountain east of Jerusalem and wept because of their wickedness.
Five hundred years later He came again, only this time in visible human form. He came and again stood on the same mountain east of Jerusalem, the Mt. of Olives. There He wept again over Jerusalem, the city He loved so very much. But what could He do. They again drove Him out of Jerusalem with their wicked deeds. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. Luke 13:34, 35. (Remember - it was tithe paying, Sabbath keeping, church-going people looking for the Messiah who put Christ on the Cross.)
As Jesus passed judgment on Jerusalem, so He will pass judgment on the whole world. Jesus predicted that Jerusalem would be destroyed and not one stone of the temple would be standing upon another stone.
Did that prophecy come true? "The Romans set up a local dynasty, the house of Herod to rule most of Palestine; Herod the Great (r.40-4 BC) rebuilt much of Jerusalem, including the Temple. The Roman governors, however, retained ultimate control. One of them, Pontius Pilate, authorized the execution of Jesus Christ. While suppressing a major Jewish revolt, the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in AD 70... After bitter fighting the Romans captured Jerusalem and burned the Temple in 70." (Grolier)
Jesus told us that He would come again and judge the world. When Jesus comes "all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned." John 5:28, 29.
Peter tells us, "By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." 2 Peter 3:7.
But in order for Jesus to condemn and destroy the earth and all the wicked on it, He must first investigate the cases of all men and decide who is to have eternal life and who is to be condemned. How will He do this? When will He do this and what is the "law" that He will use to judge all mankind?
Knowing that God is a God of justice, a God of law and order, it is imperative that we know what our lives will be judged by. Do not hide your head in a church and think that you are saved. The odds are, you are not! Listen and study so you will know the truth.