"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first
begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"
1 Peter 4:17.
THE FINAL JUDGMENT is taking place, and has been going on for some time. Now the LORD says, "...measure the temple...and them that worship therein" (Rev. 11:1). Remember when you are walking the streets about your business, God is measuring you; when you are attending your household duties, when you engage in conversation, God is measuring you. Remember that your words and actions are being recorded in the books of Heaven. Christ makes it plain that "...every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matt. 12:36). And "...God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Eccl. 12:14). This, my beloved, is a solemn thought. All who have ever accepted Christ as their personal Savior have been listed by name in the Lamb's book of life. Since the Father has "...committed all judgment unto the Son" (John 5:22), Christ has authority to say to the one who passes through judgment, "I will not blot out his name out of the book of life..." (Rev. 3:5). One may glean a couple of concepts from the foregoing text. Firstly, those who overcome sin will retain their names in the book of life and be saved from "executive judgment." Secondly, those who do not pass the "investigative judgment" will have their names removed from the book of life only to experience the plight of the wicked. All true Christians will be found secure in the Lamb's book of life with their faithful deeds chronicled.
"The names of all those who have once given themselves to God are written in the book of life, and their characters are now passing in review before Him. Angels of God are weighing moral worth. They are watching the development of character in those now living, to see if their names can be retained in the book of life. A probation is granted us in which to wash our robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. Who is doing this work? Who is separating from himself sin and selfishness? 'Ye are dead,' says the apostle Paul of the true followers of Christ, 'and your life is hid with Christ in God.' When we are alive to God, we are dead to self. May God help us to die to self. Whose names will not be blotted out of the book of life? Only the names of those who have loved God with all the powers of their being, and their neighbors as themselves." (Lift Him Up, page 326).
Those who have never entered the Christian walk are listed by name in the "book of
death." When the names of back-sliders are blotted out of the "book of life", their names are
transferred to the "book of death" accompanied by all their evil deeds. Of course, their
righteous acts are forever blotted from the book of life along with their name. In like manner,
when an individual has stood the test of the "investigative judgment," his evil deeds are
forever blotted from remembrance. "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their
sins and their iniquities will I remember
no more" (Heb. 8:12).
This process is viewed in Eze. 3:17-21 as follows:
"Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel...give them warning from Me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die...the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity...[unless he turns from his wickedness]...Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity...he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered...Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live...."
The wicked receive their execution "...whose end shall be according to their works" (2 Cor. 11:15) at the end of the thousand years (Rev. 20:5). This has been called "The Great White Throne Judgment" when "...death and hell were cast into the lake of fire...And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:14,15).
In this short study, we are concerned with the judgment of the righteous. And "There is...now no condemnation to them that are in Christ YAHSHUA, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. 8:1). "...but he that believeth not is condemned already..." (John 3:18). And those who are "condemned already" never have their names registered in the Lamb's book of life. Notice carefully that those without condemnation "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." This means they "walk as children of light" (Eph. 5:8). "For even hereunto were ye called...that ye should follow His steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth" (1 Peter 2:21,22). In order to pass the "investigative judgment" you must "walk, even as He walked" (1 John 2:6).
We can easily understand that God's judgment is not unlike that exhibited in the courts of earth. First there is an investigation [investigative judgment] to determine whether one is guilty of crime. Following, there is the sentencing and execution of the guilty [executive judgment]. Christ, the Innocent, has paid the price for all mankind. The penalty for sin is death, or separation from God, but no one should suffer this "second death" (Rev. 20:6,14; 21:8), because "...He that overcometh [sin] shall not be hurt of the second death" (Rev. 2:11). Note: the only parties requiring investigation are those recorded in the book of life and being accused of guilt by Satan. The others, listed in the book of death are "condemned already." The "righteous" must remain righteous in order to prove their innocence in the investigative stage of judgment. "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God" (1 John 3:9). Christ has instituted two phases of "investigative judgment." The righteous dead as far back in history as Adam's time up to the present must be judged. As each case is deliberated separately, this process would take considerable time. We know from the "sure word of prophecy" that THE FINAL JUDGMENT for the righteous dead began in the fall of 1844. We do not have space to study the specific prophecy here, but you may acquire information as to its precise calculation from Daniel by writing to the address at the conclusion of this tract. We have been expecting the investigation to pass on to the living saints for many years.
"The judgment of the dead has been going on, and soon the judgment will begin upon the living, and every case will be decided. It will be known whose names are retained upon the book of life, and whose are blotted out. Every day the the angels of God keep a record of the transactions of men, and these records stand open to the eyes of angels, and Christ, and God. Those who have manifested true repentance for sin, and by living faith in Christ are obedient to God's commandments, will have their names retained in the book of life, and they will be confessed before the Father and before the holy angels. Jesus will say, 'They are mine; I have purchased them with my own blood.'" (Signs of the Times, 06-02-90).
We can also know from "the sure word of prophecy" that the investigative judgment of the living began in 1988. During this present and last generation the "remnant of her seed" (Rev. 12:17) will be fitted for translation and sealed for Heaven. Scientists, without regarding the signs of Bible prophecy, are admitting that, at the present rate of oxygen depletion, life can not be sustained upon the earth more than another forty years. This means that, without question, we are living in the final moments of earth's history. THE FINAL JUDGMENT has begun for Christ's Church. "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for THE HOUR OF HIS JUDGMENT IS COME: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." (Rev. 14:6,7).
When our attention is turned to Ezekiel, chapter 9, the judgment of the living is
"And [YAH] said unto him, Go through the midst of the [church]...and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof (verse 4)...Then said He unto me, The iniquity of the [church] is exceeding great, and land is full of blood, and the [church] full of perverseness: for they say, [YAH] hath forsaken the earth, and [YAH] seeth not. And as for Me also, Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head." (verses 9 and 10).
The law of cause and effect is the principle in judgment. "Be not deceived; God is not
mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh
shall of the flesh reap [death]; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life
everlasting" (Gal. 6:7,8). YAH says, "...I will recompense their way upon their head" (Eze.
9:10). What is the great standard of judgment? "...He that said, Do not commit adultery, and
also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a
transgressor of the [Ten Commandments]. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be
judged by the law of liberty [Ten Commandments]" (James 2:11,12). "...love is the fulfilling
of the law [of Ten Commandments]" (Rom. 13:10). And YAHSHUA said, "If ye keep My
[Ten] commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's [Ten]
commandments, and abide in His love" (John 15:10). Peter's appeal in Acts 3:19 applies
to our day,
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing [investigative judgment] shall come from the presence of the Lord." (This period of time is also labeled "the times of [the restoration] of all things.") Acts 3:21.
It is during this time that the "latter rain" of Holy Spirit power is falling, and the saints are being totally restored to the image of Christ.
"Let everyone examine himself to see whether he be in the faith. Let the people of God repent and be converted, that their sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Let them ascertain wherein they have failed to walk in the way that God has marked out, wherein they have failed to purify their souls by taking heed to His counsels." (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, page 103).
There is a difference in the spiritual development of those who pass the investigative judgment of the dead and those of the living. For example, the thief on the cross died, but in the promise of eternal life. He had no opportunity for thorough sanctification; and thus, no prolonged time for spiritual growth into the full image of Christ. Yet he passes in the investigative judgment of the dead. Now we cite an example of one who passes the judgment of the living. "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death...[because] before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God" (Heb. 11:5). Enoch walked with YAH three hundred years without falling into sin. Every character defect was cleansed from him by his faith in the shed blood of Christ.
"[Enoch] was a representative of the saints who live amid the perils and corruptions of the last days. For his faithful obedience to God he was translated. So, also, the faithful, who are alive and remain, will be translated. They will be removed from a sinful and corrupt world to the pure joys of Heaven." (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, page 121).
"Many regard Enoch as a man to whom God gave special power to live a life more holy than we can live. But the character of the man who was so holy that he was translated to Heaven without seeing death is a representation of the character to be attained by those who will be translated when Christ comes in the clouds of heaven. Enoch's life was no more exemplary than may be the life of every one who maintains a close connection with God." (The Signs of the Times, 10-12-04).
So, those of us living in this most solemn period of earth's history, during "the times of refreshing", have a special work of purification to experience. "And [YAH] shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the [church], and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto [YAH] an offering in righteousness...And I will come near to you to judgment..." (Mal. 3:3,5). "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1).
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Heb. 9:27,28). "...so be ye holy in all manner of [behavior]" (1 Peter 1:15). And "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free..." (Gal. 5:1).
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