Home » Thursday: Judgment and the Character of God    


Thursday: Judgment and the Character of God — 23 Comments

  1. I struggle with the new vs old covenant.

    If the new covenant is "better" than the old, then those folks who lived under the old covenant, on judgement day, could say that if only they had lived under the new covenant, they would have a better understanding of the gospel and be saved.
    The covenant after the cross is certainly better since its the blood of Jesus and not a lamb.

    But shouldn't both covenants the same? or God would be considered unjust.

    what do you guys think?

    • I see the two covenants as the one mediated by Moses and the one mediated by Christ. The first is called the Sinai covenant, and was for Jews only! It set out the terms of life and death by obedience and disobedience. Christians never were and never are under or pretty to that covenant. The second is the New Covenant, prophesied by Jeremiah, but inaugurated by Jesus before his death. Persons of all races and cultures are invited to join.
      I hope this helps!

      • Jordan, I find your view really troubling because it makes God seem arbitrary and somewhat incompetent:
        For a while he saves people on the basis "obedience and disobedience."
        Then, when that doesn't work, He comes up with a new plan of "salvation by grace"? (By implication this doesn't seem to involve obedience or disobedience.)

        By contrast, Seventh-day Adventist believe that God does not change. He only ever had one way of saving people - and that was by grace through faith. See, for instance, Hebrews 11:1-40. The "grace covenant" is the same one as the "everlasting covenant" and the "new covenant." (It is called "new" because it was ratified after what Paul called the "Old Covenant" based on human promises, rather than God's promises.)

        Please check out William Earnhardt's recent post "The New Covenant Promises New Hearts to Keep an Everlasting Law"

        • Im not sure what confuses you. There is only one God, and one method of salvation. But the Old Covenant was not about salvation, but about "life" in their new territory. Also Christians are not "under the law of Moses" and never were. Whats confusing about that?

      • You could come to that conclusion when reading the book of Hebrews. It is essentially a treatise to convince Hebrew readers that Christianity offered something better than the Mosaic covenant. Rather than seeing it as two alternative covenants, I like to think of it in terms of a change in perspective.

        In many respects it's a bit like the change that has occurred in landscape photography and cinematography in recent years. For a long time most of us have had to be satisfied with photography at ground-level. The availability of relatively cheap photographic drones has changed the viewpoint of landscape photography completely and we now see landscape art from an entirely new perspective. The landscape itself has not changed, but our viewpoint has, and we are photographing those same objects in a very different light.

        The covenants can be considered as a perspective on salvation and with each renewal/restatement, we get a better perspective.

  2. Judgement day for most students is when the results are published. In my day as a student, there was no such thing as continuous assessment. You studied hard, sat the examination and then waited for the exams to be marked and for the results to be published. The final examinations for the London BSc in my day occurred after 2 years of study. We sat the examinations in June and had to wait till October for the results to be communicated back to us. Part of the problem was that we were sitting the examinations in Australia and the papers had to be marked in London. And in those days air-post was expensive, particularly for parcels.

    The question could be asked, when did the judgement take place? Was it at the examination, or when the examiners marked the paper, or when the results finally arrived in our hands? Or was the stage for judgement set when we made up our minds that getting a degree was something that we really wanted to do?

    Seventh-day Adventists have a fair bit to say about the judgement. We like to think we have the timing right, and we are fairly forthright in saying what the syllabus of the judgement is all about. But perhaps the question we need to ask ourselves is, "Is that salvation business something that is really worth going for?"

    My illustration should not be construed as meaning that we have to study hard in order to be saved. My point is that if we have a good relationship with God, then the mechanics of the judgement and its timing are not all that important.

    At the end of time, God is not running a lottery. He is fair and just. Those who believe in Jesus will be saved. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves if we are living s saved life now.

  3. I hope I have the honor to present myself before God with Jesus in the heart! Because nothing else of whatever I may think is mine (which is not) is valid. Jesus' love, life, flesh and blood are my only passport to eternity!

  4. EGW says that it was not "The Cross" that killed Jesus. She very clearly states that it was "Sin" that killed Jesus, "Our Sin." There is absolutely nothing in "The Law and The Prophets" that mentions "a cross" as having anything to do with our forgiveness. Jesus started bleeding for sin at the garden of Gethsemane even before there was any "cross" for Him. Jesus was already "Dead for Sin" when the spear pierced His heart there. If the spiritual leadership of Jesus' day had accepted Him He would still have spilled His Blood for sin but there would have been no "Roman Cross," for Him. The judgment spoken of in Revelation 14:7 is the same judgment spoken of in Revelation 18:10,17and 19. It is the "judgment of spiritual Babyon" that God pours upon her and her followers with "Seven Plagues."

    • Whenever Christians seriously refer to "the Cross" as being "saving," they/we use it as a symbol to refer to the sacrificial death of Christ in our behalf - the death He died, burdened by our sin.

      Although there are plenty of Old Testament prophecies pointing to Christ's sacrificial death, they do not generally indicate just how He died. Paul refers back to Deut 21:23 in Gal 3:13 which hints at the cross. Isaiah prophesied that He would be beaten with "stripes" (Isa 53:5) which occurred just before the crucifixion. Psalm 22:16 refers to the "piercing" which occurred on the cross, as does Zech. 12:10 (cf. John 19:34, 37)

      As an example of using references to the cross symbolically, see "In the Cross of Christ I Glory."

  5. The Part in Hebrews 8:10-12 that says that no one will be teaching their neighbor to "know the Lord" because everyone will "know the Lord" was in Paul's day still future. This is still future for us too even now. Also the part of Jesus' parable in Matthew 22:1-14 about the wedding garment I see absolutely nothing about any so called "investigative judgment." What kind of "investigative judgment" is it that would have as guests that were both "Good and Bad" and then the only one that gets "cast out of there" is one who is not wearing the "wedding garment?" And the original Greek word used there for when the King comes in to see the guests is not a word that is the same as to "inspect" or "investigate," is is just a word that means "to view" the guests. But isn't it also interesting how that the casting out of that reception hall had nothing to do with "good or bad" but just simply the not wearing what the guests were supposed to be wearing? And God does not need to investigate anyone to know who is wearing His Son's Righteousness by faith.

    • Those to be "investigated" are all of the professing Christians, and based on our past behaviour, we are indeed a mix of the "good" and the "bad." The wedding garment is the imputed righteousness of Christ, which is "worn" by all who truly believe in Him, who are also, without fail, being "conformed to His image," according to God's promise.

      You may not think it fair that the only ones cast out will be the ones not wearing this garment, but that's the "outrageous" grace of God.

      As for God needing to investigate anything, that's His open, transparent way of dealing with things. What else is happening in Daniel 7? And why should any sincere Christian mind having his or her sincerity investigated? Our hope is in Jesus, not in ourselves.

  6. It is unclear to me how the Feast of Trumpets bridges to the Day of Atonement (1844 to present), from the perspective of the individual on earth.

    The Feast of Trumpets (described in Lev 23) require the individual to observe a 'day of rest'/ Sabbatical type experience. Numbers 29 states that the individual must also have an extra sin offering (goat).

    For the Day of Atonement, the Leviticus 16 texts focus largely on the High Priest's "Heavenly sanctuary" activities and "corporate" sin offerings (not individual sins).The Numbers 29 texts seem to parallel the Feast of Trumpets Sabbatical experience and the individual's sacrificial offerings (that include sin), but also adds the mandate for the person to 'humble' themselves. The Day of Atonement in Leviticus 23 text has its focus on the individual's observance of "a Sabbath" experience of 'not doing any work'.

    EG White writes:
    "We are now living in the great day of atonement. In the typical service, while the high priest was making the atonement for Israel, all were required to afflict their souls by repentance of sin and humiliation before the Lord, lest they be cut off from among the people. In like manner, all who would have their names retained in the book of life should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart. The light, frivolous spirit indulged by so many professed Christians must be put away."

    So....here's the question. Historically and escatologically, how was the Feast of Trumpets (which preceded the Day of Atonement) fulfilled prior to 1844, being that the only clear Biblical difference of these two Feasts, in terms of sacrifice and experience, was that of "humbling" self?

    • Good question, Jeff. Without doing a lot more research right now, I'll share my current understanding.

      Trumpets were always used to announce an important event or feast in Israel. The Feast of Trumpets occurred just before the Day of Atonement and in direct conjunction with it.

      I believe that it was fulfilled by the "Great Awakening" that preceded 1844 not only in America but in other lands. Chapter 20 in The Great Controversy, entitled "A Great Awakening" tells some of the story. (The chapter title links directly to the text.)

    • Jeff, Romans 5:11 is very clear that in Jesus we have "The Atonement." Jesus fulfilled all that was symbolized by "The Day of Atonement Feast" once for all. Jesus was the bullock and The Lord's Goat that was offered by the OT High Priest once a year to symbolize what Jesus did at Calvary "once for all." Once for All he was a perfect and sinless sacrifice, and Once for All He became sin for All. Jesus was and is The Lamb of God and also The Lord's Goat, He was and is also Our Eternal High Priest that ascended to Heaven and has been at His Father's Right Hand interceding there for us since then. 1844 was foretold by Jesus in the Parable of the 10 Virgins. They were all expecting Jesus to come but then there was an "apparent delay" and He did not show up so here we are still 10 virgins waiting for His soon coming. But did Jesus delay His coming in 1844? No! The Apostle Paul had already indicated that He that would come, would come and would not tarry.

    • You can only have that question if you ignore what the book of Hebrews says about the Day of Atonement.

      Accordingly, all the symbolism and typology of Yom Kippur has already been fulfilled in the ministry, death, and ascension of Jesus to the Holy of Holies 2000 years ago. Jesus began his work as High Priest in AD 31, not in 1844. The "cleansing"by Christ's blood has already occurred when he ascended to his Father and entered heaven for us.

      This is the clearest thing you can read in the Book of Hebrews.

  7. My comments will always focus on the bigger picture. Reading through the Scripture references, the following thoughts came to mind:
    2Cor.5:10ESV”For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.’

    Rom.3:22 - What does it mean that the righteousness of God is revealed “through faith in Jesus, to all and on all who believe”? Is it God's righteousness imparted and revealed to us through living the Gospel of Christ by faith? Gal.2:16KJV; Rom.3:22KJV; Rom1:17KJV; Rom.4:5KJV.

    Rom.1:16 - The Gospel of Christ is the “power of God to salvation for everyone who believes."

    I believe it is the one overarching theme of our salvation to desire and learn to love God with all of our heart and our fellow man as He has shown us when He walked among us. We ought not to loose sight of the practical implementation of the Gospel of Christ which, when we walk His ‘Way’ by faith, shows in our life our love and faith in our Savior and the Father who sent Him to show us the right Way.
    I think that our future judgement and the character of God are revealed as we *walk His Way of Truth, Light, and Life by faith*. He reveals to us and manifests through us His Spirit of creative, restoring Love, increasing His Love in us manyfold to facilitate more and more love and compassion for our fellow man – against such acts there is no law! Gal.5:22-24NKJV.

  8. Daniel 7 does not teach any "investigative judgment" unless you consider that the little horn's activities needed to be investigated. The court scene is about the ascent of Christ to the Father and the demotion of the little horn. There its no investigation of the saints.

    While the Bible in some places implies a pre-Advent judgment, shortly before the Parousia of the Son of Man, the idea of a general investigative judgment is an ill-founded idea, based on mistranslations of certain texts. The majority of passages include the idea of a judgment occurring AFTER Christ returns, when the "sheep" and "goats" are interviewed and separated.

    According to the NT we must all "appear" before the judgment seat of Christ, but the investigative judgment theory states that this occurs in absentia. Not until Christ returns and holds court will there be any judgment.

    • If we are to take the Prophecies of Daniel and somehow connect them to the Prophecies of Revelation in reference to an investigative judgment then where Daniel says that there were "books" and "thrones," then we should go to Revelation where it also says "books" and "thrones" and the only place in Revelation that mentions books and thrones is during the 1,000 year millenium where it is the lost wicked that have been raised that are investigated and judged. The saved do not need to be investigated and judged, Jesus has taken their sins to Himself and suffered our judgment at Calvary 2,000 plus or minus years ago. The saved are spared an investigative judgment because of Jesus' spilled blood for them.

    • It's not general. Only professed Christians are investigated. You seem to forget that the little horn is a professedly Christian power, and the individuals carrying out its activities are doing so in the name of Christ. God is about to intervene on behalf of His saints against their persecutors, but first He transparently investigates who really belongs to Jesus and who is playing the hypocrite.

      Again, I cannot see how an investigation of the Christian's sincerity could be a problem for those who put their faith in God, and not in themselves.

      • The little horn is also "Spiritual Babylon" who is judged by the seven last plagues and also destroyed by them and also all false Christians who worships its mark and its image.


Please leave a comment long enough to say something significant and considerably shorter than the original post. First and last name required.

Your email address will not be published.

Please leave a comment long enough to say something significant and preferably significantly shorter than the post on which you are commenting.

HTML tags allowed in your comment: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>