"Seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger." Zeph. 2:3
Popular Christian novels that flood the bookstores today prey on people's fears and sensationalize the horrors of those who are left behind in the tribulation of the Judgment Day. The apparent motive is to either scare the sinner into repentance, or provide the reader a feeling of self-satisfaction that they are saved from such eventual torment. It is all important to remember, however, that these novels are fiction.
Sincere Christians will not spend their time subjecting themselves to the vivid imaginations of misinformed writers. Further, they would never revel in the idea that God will be taking out vengeance upon His creation. Proper examination of the Scriptures will clearly show these popular theories are not honoring of God's character, but make Him appear to be sadistictaking delight in tormenting His unruly children. The mind that grasps only the idea of anger, inferring divine malice, seriously errs.
Mercy Enduring Forever - Psa. 106:1
How differently did the prophets and apostles regard that promised day of judgment! Note the exultant prophetic utterance of David: "Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, the Lord reigneth. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein. Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord, because he cometh to judge the earth. O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever." (1 Chron. 16:31-34) This exclamation of the coming judgment upon the earth is certainly cause to rejoice!
Of the same day, the Apostle Paul assures us that it will be a glorious and desirable day. He states that the whole creation is presently groaning and travailing in pain together, eagerly waiting for the great Judge to deliver and to bless the world, as well as to exalt and glorify the Church. Rom. 8:19-22 NAS
The Day of Jehovah
Among the greatest of the blinding influences which Satan has devised to keep men in ignorance of the truth regarding God's loving plan have been the errors surrounding the Judgment Day or Day of Jehovah. This day is so named for that period of time in which God's kingdom, under Christ, is to be gradually set up, while the kingdoms of this world are passing away, and Satan's power and influence over men is being bound. This period is also called the Day of Vengeance of our God, and the Day of Wrath. (Isa. 61:2; 63:1-4; Psa. 110:5) It is described as a dark day of intense trouble and distress and perplexity upon mankind. It is to be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation no, nor ever shall be. (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21,22) This wrath of God results from man's disregard of His counsels, and the consequence of unrighteousness.
We find Peter's symbolic prophecy of the Day of Wrath in perfect accord with the above testimony of the prophets. He states: "The world that was, being overflowed with water, perished. [Not the literal earth and literal heavens ceased there, but that arrangement of things existing before the flood.] But the heavens and the earth which are now by the same word [of God] are kept in store, reserved unto fire [destruction]..." (2Pet. 3:7) The water was intended to cleanse the earth of the evil which had consumed the people. Just so, fire is used repeatedly throughout the Scriptures as a picture of cleansing. "But who may abide the day of his coming? ...for he is like a refiner's fire, and like a fullers' soap..." Mal. 3:2
During this day of trouble, Christ, as Jehovah's representative, will be taking charge of all the affairs of earth, subduing all things, and afterward, as the Prince of Peace, blessing all in God's kingdom. "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." Luke 1:32-33
Only The Wise Shall Understand - Dan. 12:10
"The Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night [without observation], in the which the heavens [Satan, 'the prince of the power of the air'] shall pass away ... the earth [social order] also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up. The heavens [the false ecclesiastical systems] being on fire shall be dissolved and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens [the new spiritual powerGod's kingdom] and a new earth" [earthly society organized on a new basison the basis of love and justice, rather than of might and oppression]. 2 Peter 3:6, 7, & 10-13, Eph. 2:2
The trend of events in this Day of the Lord will be completely hidden to those not Scripturally informed. It will come suddenly, as fire consuming chaff (Zeph. 2:2), but not suddenly as a flash of lightning from a clear sky, as some erroneously expect. These anticipate that all things written concerning the Day of the Lord will be fulfilled in a twenty-four hour day. No, it will come as a thief in the night, in the sense that its approach will be stealthy and unobserved by the world in general. This Kingdom is a transition period, as spoken by the prophets: "In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom." (Dan. 2:44) Before a new building can be set up, the old must be torn down, and this is the shaking being felt throughout the earth today.
The trouble of this day will be in spasms. It will be a series of convulsions more frequent and severe as the day draws on, until the final spasm. The Apostle Paul characterized these spasms as travail upon a woman. (1 Thess. 5:2,3) The relief will come only with the birth of the new order of things "a new heavens [the spiritual control of Christ] and a new earth [reorganized society] wherein dwelleth righteousness" (2 Pet. 3:10, 13) in which justice and love will be the law.
Travail in the Great "Time of Trouble"
World War I kills millions 1914
Communist revolution in Russia 1917
Flu epidemic kills 20 million 1918
Soviet Modernization kills millions 1920
Market Crash/Great Depression 1929
Spanish Civil War 1936
World War II kills millions 1939
Holocaust kills over 11 million starting 1939
Japanese attack Pearl Harbor 1941
US drops two atomic bombs 1945
Greek Civil War 1947
Communists take over China 1949
1950 Korean War
1958 Chinese revolution kills 20 million
1961 Berlin Wall built
1962 Cuban Missile crisis
1965 Vietnam War/India & Pakistani War
1969 Trouble in Northern Ireland
1970 Pol-pot kills 2 million
1973 Major famine in Ethiopia
1979 Invasion of Afghanistan by USSR
1980 Famine in East Africa/Iran-Irag War
1986 Chernobyl nuclear power disaster
1990 Persian Gulf War/Yugoslavian Civil War
This list since 1914 does not include the countless tragedies which have occurred on an unprecedented scale in the 20th Century, such as the bombing in Oklahoma City, the slaughter at Lakewood High, the Earthquakes in Turkey, the floods of Mexico, the mudslides in South America, the AIDS epidemic, etc. ...
The Day of Judgment
"GOD hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness..." (Acts 17:31). The popular view is that Christ will come to earth, seated upon a great white throne, and that he will summon saint and sinner in rank and file before him to be judged. This view paints a picture that amidst great convulsions of nature earthquakes, opening graves, rending rocks and falling mountains the trembling sinners will be brought from the depths of everlasting woe to hear their sins rehearsed, only to be returned to an eternal and merciless doom. According to this theory, all receive their final and unalterable sentence or reward at death, and the entire time allotted to this stupendous work of judging billions is a twenty-four hour day.
On close examination, however, the term judgment (in the Greek, krisis) signifies more than simply the rendering of a verdict. It includes the idea of a trial, as well as a decision based upon that trial. And the term day, both in the Scriptures and in common usage, though most frequently used to represent a period of twenty-four hours, really signifies any definite period of time, such as Noah's day, or Luther's day. The Day of Judgment applies to the 1000 year Millennial age. In reference to this judgment period, 2 Peter 3:8 states: "...be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years..."
The first great judgment (trial and sentence) was at the beginning of the seventh creative day in Eden, when the whole human race, as represented in its father, Adam, stood on trial before God. The result of that trial was a guilty verdict for disobedience, and the penalty inflicted was death "Dying thou shalt die." (Gen. 2:17) Since that time, "in Adam all die." (1Cor.15:22) This may be seen in every funeral procession. Every tomb is a witness to it. It is felt in every ache and pain we experience. All of this sorrow is the result of the first trial and sentence the righteous sentence of God. Mankind lost the privilege of life and the blessings originally provided for Adam while he was obedient and perfect in God's likeness but not forever. The world will soon be recovered from the sentence of that first trial, through the one sacrifice for all, provided by the great Redeemer. Jesus Christ, "by the grace [favor] of God, tasted death for every man." Having provided a ransom for Adam's race, Jesus, with his own life, can justly give a new offer of life to all in due time. 1Tim. 2:3-6; Rom. 14:9; Heb. 10:16; Jer. 31:31
Only the true Church, those who give their lives unreservedly to Christ now in this present evil world, are in any sense saved now. The Church is considered "the firstfruits [firstborn] unto God and unto the Lamb." (Rev. 14:4) The due time for all others will be during that 1000 year Day of Judgment.
"Whom the Lord Loves He Disciplines" Heb. 12:6
Because God saw that through inherited weakness under the influence of Satan, most of mankind would not have a reasonable opportunity to respond to His counsels, He provided a merciful plan of salvation. God will not take senseless vengeance upon the already condemned sinner. With these, His justice will be exercised with the purpose of disciplining or teaching granting a generous period of trial before the final verdict. As a great surgeon must wound to heal, so has God permitted this night of sorrow to transform stoney hearts of sin and disobedience into new hearts like His own. Yes, the wrath of God is designed to guide away from the broad road which leads to destruction and toward the highway of holiness.
This lesson of humility will generate the desire to turn to God for deliverance. And then, the assurance is given that "when the judgments of the Lord are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." (Isa. 26:9) With hungry hearts, they will seek the full knowledge of the Lord, and assistance from the Church. They will have for the first time a reasonable opportunity to be brought to perfection and everlasting life. By the end of this powerful lesson, every reformed sinner will have the law of God written in his heart. Jer. 31:33
God's judgment and vengeance will be rightfully directed toward improper worldly institutions worthy of destruction because of their evil deeds. The revolutions, wars and anarchy among all nations that constitute this Great Time of Trouble will be the ultimate lesson to all of their inability to govern themselves.
"Saints Shall Judge the World"
When God gives to each person their individual trial, it will be under Christ as Judge, whom Jehovah will thus honor because of his obedience even unto death for our redemption. God has highly exalted him, even to the Divine Nature, that he may be a Prince and a Savior (Acts 5:31), that he may be able to recover from Adamic death and grant judgment to all whom he purchased with his own precious blood. God has committed all judgment unto the Son, and has given him all power in heaven and in earth. John 5:22
But, in addition, the Scriptures declare that "the saints shall judge the world." (1 Cor. 6:2,3) It is not while the Church is in the flesh, but after their glorification in the First Resurrection, that they are to be judges. The testing and perfecting of the saints in this Christian Age is the groundwork which must be laid before the world can receive the opportunity to walk up the highway of holiness. When the Church shall have proven faithful to their valuable lessons in this present evil world proven faithful even unto the death of the cross then they will be prepared to do the work of reigning with Christ, judging and teaching the world in righteousness. Jesus Christ and his Church will then turn their attention to fully binding Satan and resurrecting the remainder of mankind to a world of more favorable conditions for learning righteousness all having then had experience with sin and its results. Rev. 2:10; 1Pet. 1:7; Rev. 20:2-4
Vindicating God's Loving Character
God has provided a ray of hope on this troubled sea. His entire plan is to bring His intelligent creation back into harmony with Him again. Since such are the plain declarations of the Scriptures, there is nothing to dread, but on the contrary there is great cause for rejoicing on the part of all, in looking forward to the Judgment Day. The character of the Great Judge, Jehovah, whose mercy endureth forever, is a sufficient guarantee that the judgment will be both just and loving. Providing due consideration for the infirmities of all, He will bring the willing and obedient back to the original perfection lost in Eden.
With this grand outcome all the prophetic declarations agree. "With righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity." (Psa. 98:9) This coming judgment will be on exactly the same principles as the first. The same law of obedience will be presented, with the same reward of life, and the same penalty of death for disobedience. Man's second trial will be more favorable than the first, because of the experience gained under the results of the first trial. Unlike the first trial, the second trial will be one in which every man will stand the test for himself alone, and not for another. None will then die because of Adam's sin, or because of inherited imperfections. It shall no more be said, "The fathers have eaten a sour grape and the children's teeth are set on edge; but he that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge." "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezek. 18:4; Jer. 31:29, 30) Under the reign of Christ and his Church, mankind will be gradually educated, trained and disciplined until they reach perfection. After this generous and fair trial period, any who then fall short of perfect obedience will be cut off, being judged unworthy of life.
It will soon be God's due time for lifting the lost and dying race from the grave to set them on the path to righteousness. (Isa. 35:8-9) God's plan of the Ages has been to vindicate His Divine character and government, showing that the permission of evil, past and present, is educational and preparatory to the ushering of Mankind into His glorious Kingdom. At that time, all the families of the Earth will be blessed with a full knowledge of God and a full opportunity for attaining everlasting life through the Redeemer, who then will be the great restorer and life-giver. Acts 3:19-21 Rev. 22:17