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Bible verses about Judgment on House of God
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Ezekiel 20:37-38

Notice that the sheep pass under the rod. Besides being an instrument of both offense and defense—the rod was, in effect, a two-foot club—it also functioned as a tool, under which the sheep passed. What does this picture? First of all, it pictures counting. The shepherd would count the sheep in his flock to make sure they were all present and accounted for.

It pictures something else too. As the sheep passed under the rod—a symbol of the Word of God—they would undergo a close scrutiny. The shepherd would run his rod backward or across the grain, as it were, of the wool. The rod separated the wool, allowing the shepherd to look down onto the sheep's skin. He was then able to see both the quality of the skin and of the wool.

God is illustrating that by means of His rod, He is giving us careful, close scrutiny for two reasons: One, it gives Him the opportunity to evaluate the quality of His sheep. Two, it provides a means of separation. Quality and separation are the two reasons for His scrutiny of us.

Recall Matthew 25 and the separation of the sheep and the goats. The rod aids in identifying or making sure of possession. Sheep's ears were often bored through or distinctively notched as a mark of identification. Sometimes, since the shepherds could not always see that identifying mark due to several flocks being mixed together in the pasture, they would make the sheep pass under the rod. When they did, the shepherd would flip back the ear to see the mark of possession. Again, it also gave them a chance to evaluate and determine the relative health and quality of that sheep.

We are all under the rod right now. Now is the time of our judgment (I Peter 4:17), and we are under evaluation to determine to whom we really belong: God or Satan. Who is our shepherd? The rod is a vitally important instrument for a shepherd. No good shepherd would be without one.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Psalm 23 (Part 3)


 

Matthew 13:48-50

Jesus tells us that the bad fish are thrown into the fire. John the Baptist says this in a slightly different way in Matthew 3:12: "[Jesus] will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." This principle appears somewhat differently in the Parable of the Sheep and Goats (Matthew 25:31-46): Christ is Judge, and He sets the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left. He judges that the sheep can enter eternal life, while the goats receive the destructive judgment of fire.

Although a final judgment is coming for the world, the church is now under God's judgment (I Peter 4:17; Revelation 11:1-2). Not only is the sentence coming, but our conduct and growth are also currently being judged - Christ is evaluating whether we meet His high standards. Ultimately, everyone is judged the same way, according to the same standard, by the same criteria. The "bad fish" among us are not ours to judge, but Jesus, the righteous Judge, has promised to judge with equity (Psalm 98:9).

Matthew 13:50 says they are thrown "into the furnace of fire." A similar thing occurs in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares: At the end of the age, the tares will be gathered and thrown into the furnace (verses 30, 41-42). The emphasis in the Parable of the Tares is on the wicked and their evil works and their subsequent judgment. However, in the Parable of the Dragnet, instead of highlighting the wickedness, Jesus focuses on the process of judgment, not necessarily on condemning evildoers. Some people are condemned for doing wicked things, but others are saved and rewarded for doing the good works assigned to them. God's calling is first impartial, and then His judgment is absolutely fair. The wicked will get only what they deserve.

God's "catch" is the church, a chosen cross-section of the entire world; He casts a wide net. However, once those He calls accept Jesus Christ, God does show Himself partial to the "good fish" - those who love Him, obey Him, serve others, grow, and produce spiritual fruit. In the process of salvation, God judges whether we are good, useable fish or substandard fish fit only for the fire. He judges us according to how we measure up against His standard of righteousness, "the perfect man, . . . the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13). God throws His net into the world and drags us in, and if we are unwilling to comply with His holy standard, our eternal judgment will be to be discarded in the fire.

Presently, the church's function is not judicial but declarative. On the one hand, the church is responsible to warn sinners of the dire consequences of sin and of the time of God's judgment coming upon all humanity. On the other hand, we are to witness of God's way of life, as well as to proclaim Christ's return and the establishment of God's wonderful, benevolent government here on earth. That is good news!

Martin G. Collins
The Parables of Matthew 13 (Part Eight): The Parable of the Dragnet


 

Matthew 23:23

We tend to think of judgment as the eternal judgment and the sorting of sheep to the right and goats to the left at the return of Jesus Christ. While this ultimately comes into play, we first need to examine some elements of judgment in the "here and now" rather than the "there and then." For the converted Christian, judgment is now on the house of God (I Peter 4:17).

As used in Matthew 23:23 as a weighty matter, "judgment" is from the Greek word krisis, meaning "decision for or against" and suggesting a tribunal or formal judgment. It implies "justice." Justice has several meanings, the first of which is "impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or assignment of deserved punishment or reward." More simply, when a conflict arises among people, justice is administering what is just - "factual, reasonable, faithful, morally upright, good, fair, righteous, impartial, and legally correct."

The Pharisees took one element of that definition - the "legally correct" part - and based their relationships with others on it, conveniently deleting fairness, impartiality, reasonableness, etc. from their thinking. Christ wanted them to be legally correct, for it is part of proper decision-making, but there is more to it than that!

Staff
The Weightier Matters (Part 1): Introduction


 

Matthew 24:28

In addition to a wake of vultures being a symbol of God's judgment of shame, a gathering of vultures also indicates a diseased spiritual condition. In Revelation 18:2, Babylon the Great is described as being “a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird.”

Vultures are undoubtedly at the top of the list of unclean and hated birds! End-time Babylon is the focal point of demonic spirits, which are likened to unclean birds. Both of them prey on the sick and the injured, and they gather where death is.

Even so, our greatest threat is not the Tribulation at the end! As bad as it will be, far worse is being spiritually unprepared when Christ returns and being judged as unworthy to enter the Kingdom. This is what the Parable of the Ten Virgins and the Parable of the Wedding Feast describe. This is the substance of the warnings about Christ's return being like a thief in the night—coming when He is completely unexpected. This is why He warns us against neglecting so great a salvation and against being led astray by the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the pleasures of life. Jesus warns us to keep us on the path of life, so that we do not fall to the birds of prey that stalk the spiritually dying.

We are given the charge to come out of Babylon, so we do not share in her sins or in her judgment (Revelation 18:4). If we have a discerning heart, we should have a good idea of what will attract the vultures, as it will be giving off the smell of spiritual death. God gives us that discerning heart, so we can make good choices.

Do we really believe the scriptures about the swiftness of Christ's return? It is easy to look at world events and compare them to our understanding of prophecy; we know that things are bad and getting worse—but the end still seems to be just over the horizon. Because it is not here yet, it is easy to conclude, even subconsciously, that there is no need to become serious just yet.

However, this conclusion is filled with assumptions. One is that our understanding of end-time events is correct! A second assumption is that, even if we do have correct understanding, we will never lose it through deception. A third is that our faith will remain constant until the end. A fourth is that, when we do decide to get serious, that we will have ample time to build character, take on the image of God, and complete our sanctification. A fifth is that our Creator will go along with our agenda of pushing Him off until the last minute.

These are a lot of assumptions! If we are misjudging these things, we may hear those terrible words, “I never knew you; depart from Me” (Matthew 7:23)!

If we are delaying the time to start seeking God, the vultures may be eyeing us as ones who may not spiritually survive what lies ahead. Perhaps all of us have seen this happen to people we care about. If we are spiritually sick or injured, there is no time like the present to seek our Healer and Protector to beat off the hated birds!

In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the foolish ones thought they had more time. They were probably aware that their reserves of oil were not as full as they could be, but they may have assumed that they could always attend to that later. They did not count on falling asleep. They did not count on life happening, that something would prohibit them from taking care of preparations they had put off.

A lesson we can draw is that, if we are not putting everything we have into our calling right now, how much time is left does not matter. If that is the case, we may find ourselves, like the foolish virgins, suddenly awake and realizing we cannot get ready in time. What we claimed we wanted will have slipped through our grasp, one day at a time.

Judgment is coming on the world, but it is on the house of God right now (I Peter 4:17). A gathering of eagles—a wake of vultures—is a symbol of God's judgment on those who stubbornly resist coming into alignment with Him. Vultures will literally gather for those who rebel against God in the final battle (Revelation 19:17-21), and they are metaphorically already circling those who cannot tear themselves away from Babylon—those who are on such good terms with the world that they are giving off the scent of spiritual death.

The multitude of warnings and prophecies means that it is a possibility for us, because it is a certainty for some. Yet, with all that God makes available, there is no good reason for that judgment to fall on us.

David C. Grabbe
Where the Eagles Are Gathered


 

Luke 12:13-14

Even our Lord and Master Jesus Christ would not go beyond the area of His authority that God had specifically given Him. He was supposed to live His life a certain way, as a man like us, to preach the gospel and found the church, and then to give his life in sacrifice as our Redeemer. But within all these responsibilities, within his sphere of influence, he had not been given at that time the responsibility or the authority to be a judge or an arbitrator in matters such as these.

Therefore, He refused to go beyond the powers and the authority that He had been given.

Had He done this, He would have taken someone else's job. He would have been meddling in the affairs of, say, a justice of the peace, an elder at the gate, or some other person who had been legally entrusted with the job to arbitrate or judge matters such as inheritances. Jesus had no purpose, no right, to put his finger in that pie because God had not given Him that as part of His sphere of influence.

We are told in other places that He has been given the responsibility and authority to be Judge of all. We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. But when did that appointment take place? It occurred once He was received up into heaven. It began at that point, legally, because He had qualified to be our Judge. That, however, was after the scene in Luke 12, and it will come into its fullness in the judgment. He is judging us right now; judgment is now on the house of God (I Peter 4:17). But in Luke 12, He had not been given the responsibility to judge. So if He had stepped outside of His given responsibility and authority, He would have been guilty of sin, taking another's responsibility, meddling.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
What's So Bad About Busybodies?


 

Hebrews 4:12-13

The Word of God is always an issue in our lives. The greatest gift a human being can be given is to hear this message, the Gospel Message, because around it our belief system is to be conformed. The Word of God becomes an issue because it tests a person's life and sets the standards of acceptable behavior and attitudes.

Verse 13 contains a very vivid picture in "all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." In Greek literature, this illustration alludes to two things. First, it pictures a priest prepared to sacrifice an animal, so he has turned the head of the animal to put it into a position to cut its throat. In other words, the animal had to look into the eyes of its executioner, and he in turn had to look into the eyes of the animal.

The second, in some ways, is even more vivid. It is drawn from the Olympic games, in which wrestling played a significant part. In this picture, one of the competitors is about to be pinned. His opponent has a grip on him that has placed the loser's shoulders on the mat, and his face has been turned up so that he has to look directly into the eyes of his conqueror.

Everybody has to face God's Word directly. We can think of the Word of God as being the living Jesus Christ, since judgment of us has been committed to Him. We all must pass before the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10). We are under it right now because judgment is on the house of God (I Peter 4:17).

What are we doing with the message? How is it affecting our lives? Is the world having such an impact on us that it is creating its fruit in us, perhaps apathy toward the things of God and great interest in the things of this world? As Revelation 3:17 suggests, the Laodicean is not lazy. He is rich in the wrong things, expending his energy on the wrong things. He even tells God, "I have need of nothing." Are we allowing the Word of God to transform us into His image?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Hebrews: A Message for Today


 

Hebrews 10:26-31

Most Protestants believe their salvation is assured once they accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Many call this doctrine by the very familiar phrase, "once saved, always saved." To them, this means that God's grace eternally covers them, and thus they have eternal security that God will save them. God is bound to accept them and to give them salvation no matter what occurs after they accept Jesus. In his worldwide crusades, evangelist Billy Graham has popularized the Protestant hymn, "Just as I am, Lord," which sings the praises of this doctrine.

To us, this idea of "eternal security" is a completely ridiculous concept. God is pure and holy (I Peter 1:15-16). He will not accept people who are not as He is. He forsook His own Son, Jesus Christ, when the sins of the world were placed on Him (Matthew 27:46)! Why would He accept us, who are far more personally sinful, if we failed to repent of our sins and came before Him demanding Him to save us "just as we are"?

An analogy from the real world may be helpful. Just because a criminal is absolved of committing a certain crime does not mean that he will never again be guilty of another crime. For example, if the governor of a state commutes a murderer's sentence, but the criminal commits another crime later in his life, he is not innocent. The law says he is guilty of the later crime.

In the same way, a Christian who commits sin is guilty even though God's grace has covered him in the past. If he continues in the sin until it becomes a habitual way of life, he is in danger of losing the salvation promised to him. Notice Paul's quite concise statement in Hebrews 10:26: "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins."

This is plain. If we sin in rebellion against God, setting our will to go against God and His way of life, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ no longer applies. In essence, we have spit in His face. Paul continues by telling us what applies at that point (Hebrews 10:27-31).

Peter says, "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God" (I Peter 4:17), and if we live a life of sin, we will reap the punishment that those sins deserve. Our God is a God of justice. The idea of "eternal security," then, is foreign to the Bible. It is puzzling how theologians could develop such a doctrine when the Bible repeatedly comments, warns, and advises that we can lose it all through sin.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Do We Have 'Eternal Security'?


 

1 Peter 4:17

Most people regard judgment as something that occurs only at the end of the age. However, the Bible shows that Christians are being judged today. As in human courts, judgment is a process. Judges do not render decisions without getting the facts and pondering all the evidence. Today, God is putting Christians through trials and tests to see if they will be faithful to Him and His way of life.

Staff
Basic Doctrines: Eternal Judgment


 

1 Peter 4:17-18

God judges true Christians today by how well they live by His Word, and He will judge those who rise in the second resurrection exactly the same way. They will be given enough time to live a life of overcoming and obedience, just as God's firstfruits are doing in this age.

Martin G. Collins
Holy Days: Last Great Day


 

Revelation 6:9

After Christ opens the fifth seal, the apostle John sees "under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held" (verse 9). No galloping horses or deadly riders appear in this seal, and their absence immediately sets this one apart from the previous four. There is no inviting, "Come and see," or expectant, "And I looked, and behold," but just a plain narrative describing his vision. In fact, the tone is so matter-of-fact as to be somber, befitting its subject.

The first striking detail is "the altar" with the definite article. That it is not further defined suggests that it has already been mentioned or that the reader is expected to know what it is. However, this verse contains the first mention of an altar in the book of Revelation. An altar is mentioned an additional seven times in the book, and in six of them, it refers to the golden incense altar that stands before the throne of God in heaven (see Revelation 8:3-5; 9:13; 14:18; 16:7). The only exception to this appears in Revelation 11:1, in which John is told to "measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there," seeming to refer to evaluating the church, its ministers, and its worship in preparation for the work of the Two Witnesses. The "altar" of Revelation 6:9, with the prayerful souls of martyrs under it, conforms to the rule, not the exception.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Fifth Seal (Part One)


 

Revelation 11:1

Measuring is "judging against a standard." When we measure a thing, we take something with a fixed proportion - like a length or a weight that is known or standardized - and we compare it to whatever we are trying to quantify or measure. We see how it measures up: how long it is, how wide it is, how tall it is, how heavy it is, etc. We can also see if it fits a pattern or a template that is necessary for the item to do its part. In our case, one can see if he is fit for the Kingdom of God.

"For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God" (I Peter 4:17). We are being measured, judged, against a standard. "The house of God" is another way of saying "the temple of God," the phrase used here. Judgment begins at the house of God, and the Two Witnesses are given the responsibility of measuring the Temple of God. The two verses are saying basically the same thing. Note, the Two Witnesses are not actually doing the judging - Christ is, for that is His job. The Two Witnesses' responsibility is to explain the basis for the measurements. In other words, it is their job to show what the standard is, to let people know what they should be measuring up to.

Their job is similar to Amos' vision of the plumb line (Amos 7:7). The plumb line can be said to be slightly different because it is used to measure verticality - to see whether something is standing up straight, or to use a more "religious" term, to see if it is "upright." A plumb line is a weight suspended on a string. When it stops swaying like a pendulum, the string is perfectly vertical. When a workman puts it next to something like a wall or post that needs to be vertical, he can tell whether his wall or post is out of plumb or not.

That idea is present here in Revelation 11:1. How close do we meet the standard? How upright are we? How fit are we for the Kingdom of God? Finding the answers to these questions is part of the Two Witnesses' job. Remember that the work of the church is essentially done by this time. This preaching of the standard is a work that the ministry of the church has been given to do in every time, but maybe not to this extent. In any event, the Two Witnesses, at this time of the end, are the only ones able to do this job in a major way.

It is possible that this part of their ministry begins, however, before the Seven Thunders cease. In fact, it is a pretty good bet that they will already be involved in ministry before the Tribulation begins. Then God will say, "Okay, now it's time for you to do your real job." They will then begin their prophesied ministry, which will be quite intense.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 2)


 

Revelation 11:1

"The temple of God" is simply a common symbol of the church. However, it is interesting that, here, it is not the Temple in its general sense. Christ uses an interesting word for it: naon. The naon is not the whole Temple but just the holy place, also called the sanctuary, where the priests are allowed to enter and offer incense on the incense altar, where they brought the shewbread to place the table, where the menorah was lit before God. This is the specific place that Jesus points out to measure—the sanctuary of the Temple. It excludes the courts that are outside. In verse 2, Jesus specifically says to leave them out.

Thus, He is speaking of the inner sanctuary—not the Most Holy Place, where God's throne, represented by the Ark of the Covenant, is, but the room just outside the veil—where the priests are allowed to come in and do their work. This room represents the true church, the wheat (as opposed to the tares), the elect. Christ is directing our eyes away from any hangers-on, mixed multitudes, tares, or anyone else among the church. He is speaking of the inner core—those who are truly called and converted. In addition, He is speaking generally, not individually. He means the whole true church, as in "the body of Christ."

Paul uses this same term, calling it "the holy temple in the Lord" (Ephesians 2:19-22) rather than "the temple of God"—but it is the same idea. Paul calls us "the temple of the living God" in II Corinthians 6:16.

The Two Witnesses are told here to measure the church (the called, the elect) in general—the entire true church, the body of Christ.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 2)


 

Revelation 11:1

Jesus also instructs the Two Witnesses to measure "those who worship there." This seems to repeat the Temple symbolism (referring to the church in general), but it does not. This phrase specifically targets the individual Christian. It is not just the whole church that needs to be measured but the individual Christian—the individual worshipper—also needs to be measured. A Christian will not ride anybody else's or the church's coattails into the Kingdom of God. Everyone has to be measured by the preaching, the message of the Two Witnesses. Some people do not like this word in this context, but this verse teaches that each one of us individually has to qualify—measure up—for our place in God's Kingdom.

The Temple, then, symbolizes the whole body of Christ, while the worshippers are individual Christians. What God is showing here is that He is concerned not just for the church as a whole but for the individual. Under the Old Covenant, remember, only the priests could enter the sanctuary—not the common Israelite. Now we can enter into, not only the Holy Place, but also the Most Holy Place (also called the Holy of Holies). However, we had better make sure, just like those in the Levitical system, that we are "clean" spiritually—those who were allowed to enter the sanctuary had to be perfectly clean physically to do so. In the type, they had to be "measured" against a standard (in this case, of cleanliness) before they could come there and perform their worship or their duty.

It is not enough to clean the church as a body; each individual within the church must also be cleaned. Some matters have to be engaged on a macro scales, and others on a micro scale. So, God has His overall purpose, and He has His individual purpose. He will ensure that everything is perfectly pure before Him. Both of these categories will be measured, corrected, and made to work properly.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 2)


 

Revelation 14:5

Verse 5 shows that the judgment of the 144,000 is complete; they have already "passed under the rod." Judgment is now on the house of spiritual Israel (I Peter 4:17). Christ comes back to reward the prophets and saints; their judgment will have been decided by the time He returns and changes them "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" (I Corinthians 15:52). He will sit in judgment only of those remaining alive (Revelation 11:18; 20:4-5).

Staff
Who Are the 144,000?


 

 




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