Wednesday: Vindication in the Judgment
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As Scripture has shown, God’s judgment is good news for those of us who believe in Him, who trust in Him, and who are loyal to Him, even though “we cannot answer the charges of Satan against us.”—Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 472. However, the judgment is not only for us. It also serves the purpose of vindicating God before the entire universe.

Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

How is God’s character presented in the following texts about judgment? Ps. 96:10, 13; 2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 16:5, 7; 19:2.

God’s character will be revealed in His judgment. What Abraham had already understood will, in the end, be manifest to all humanity: “ ‘Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?’ ” (Gen. 18:25, NASB). The different phases of judgment, with their open-book investigation, make sure that the angels (in the pre-Advent judgment) and the righteous (in the millennial judgment) can prove and be reassured that God is just in His dealings with humanity and that He has been merciful in each case.

Read Philippians 2:5–11. What amazing event do these verses depict?

Verses 9-11 predict the exaltation of Christ. The main two actions express the same thought: Jesus is Lord, and all creation will acknowledge Him as such. First, “every knee should bow” (vs. 10, NASB). The bowing of the knee is a customary act for recognizing the authority of a person. Here it refers to rendering homage to Christ, recognizing His supreme sovereignty. The dimension of the homage is universal. “In heaven and on earth and under the earth,” (NASB), comprises every living being: the supernatural beings in heaven, the living on earth, and the resurrected dead. Those who will pay homage don’t seem to be limited to the saved. Everyone will acknowledge His lordship, even the lost.

The second action is that everyone “should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (vs. 11, NASB). In the end, all will acknowledge the justice of God in exalting Christ as Lord. In this way all creation will acknowledge the character of God, which has been at the center of The Great Controversy, as just and faithful. Even Satan, the archenemy of Christ, will acknowledge God’s justice and bow to the supremacy of Christ (see Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 670, 671).

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Wednesday: Vindication in the Judgment — 9 Comments

  1. There is a term that is used in theological circles, theodicy, that dictionary.com defines as, “a vindication of the divine attributes, particularly holiness and justice, in establishing or allowing the existence of physical and moral evil.” In other words theologians recognize that the vindication of God includes more than just His judgment of us.

    When the sin problem started in Heaven and the questions about God were raised by Satan we weren’t involved in the controversy yet. Because of that the questions obviously couldn’t have been about how God judges us. We can see the kind of questions Satan was raising by looking at His dealing with Eve at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

    Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Gen 3:4-5 NKJV).

    We need to see here that not only did he say that God was lying but that God was also keeping something good from her. In short he was suggesting that God was not what He said He was. That is what needed to be vindicated and how God judges is only a small part of that whole question.

    Theodicy is about dealing with God’s relationship to sin. Does God have something to do with sin? Is He the source of it? While such questions may seem obvious to us, to those who had to deal with such things prior to the revelation of God that was shown on the cross it wasn’t so easy. We only have a very dim view of the immense difficulty the inhabitants of Heaven had over this whole matter to the point that opinions were pretty much divided over the issue until everyone could see the stark difference in governments displayed at the cross.

    Even after the cross there were still questions that had to be answered before a fair judgment could be made which I have said before is the reason why the formal beginning of the judgment had to be held off until after the reformation. There were questions about God’s involvement in the controversy with respect to His relationship to man that had to be looked into before a judgment could be made by those in Heaven. And yet other questions will be answered by the 144000 and even after the millennium.

    The great controversy is really the discovery of what God is actually like and what the nature of sin is and what it does.

    Like(11)
    • Tyler,
      I liked what you said about sin and what it does. Sin is what kills. Not God and that is a huge issue today (in what I see). Is God going to kill sinners in the end or do they just simply die because of the design template of love.Did he say in the Garden of Eden that he would kill or would they die? To start here and back out of the equation tells us the character of God. Is he a designer or a dictator? Is he love or is he love and justice. To me, this issue is foundational.

      Like(0)
      • Larry,
        Let us say all the prophets, including EGW were mistaken (if possible to conceive without sacrilege) on this point and kept saying God destroys and takes life when it was not actually the case. Explain then why a God who does not kill issue death penalty laws and instruct others to kill? Is He softer because He does not actually do the killing Himself?

        Like(1)
        • May I also give my opinion. The death that will come anytime to us is the CONSEQUENCE OF SIN. This death will come naturally as a result of sin.

          The death that will come at the third coming of Jesus is THE PENALTY OF SIN. What will cause the death here? It's the fire. From where is the fire?

          Like(0)
        • Hugh,
          These statements can be very compelling taken out of context.
          It just doesn't make sense to say to your loved one, "If you don't love me, I am going to take you out and burn you on the lawn." How does that win enemies?

          Like(0)
  2. "Every knee will bow" which part are you preparing to bow from?Our present decisions will dictate that.Think about it about it brethrens.

    Like(2)
  3. Excellent lesson indeed,have liked it.I ought to bow before Christ,the lord of lords and king of kings,hossana in da highest!!

    Like(1)
  4. Amen.......God worthy our worship.
    What a way to prove to the universe that He is Holy,Just
    Merciful,Kind,Gracious and full of Truth.
    His ways are best and will forever be!

    Like(1)

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