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NPS Photo by Michael Quinn (Grand Canyon National Park, Cape Royale). Use of this photo in no way indicates the owner’s approval of the content of this blog.
Daniel 7:9-10 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
When I see pictures of the Grand Canyon I see a lot of rugged beauty. I also see an awe-inspiring display of the power of large amounts of water. But, one thing this amazing natural wonder reminds me of is God’s wrath on sin. As the waters receded from the high country of northern Arizona and its environs, this spectacular gorge was formed deep into the earth. That water primarily came from the run off of the Genesis Flood, and the Flood was God’s judgment upon sinful man.
In thinking about God as the Judge, I think that this aspect of His nature is one reason that sinful man tends to resent and even hate Him. Because God is the Creator, because He has put certain cause-and-effect laws into place, ultimately He has the right to judge His creation. He made it, He made the rules, and He has the right to be the Judge. This rubs sinners all the wrong way. The natural man does not want to acknowledge that he/she will someday give account before God Almighty, even though this consciousness is obviously present in all mankind. In order to try to “escape” it, many devices are used – false religions to salve the conscience, denial of God and His rights as Creator, willful ignorance, imaginary alternate scenarios, etc. But, they cannot escape by these. This world in on a one was street to a meeting with God, and there is only one way to escape the righteous judgment of God – a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who already met the requirements of the Judge.
Psalms 50:4-6 He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.
God Is The Judge
It also occurred to me that God is THE Judge. There are not many judges when it comes to the final judge. There is only one and He is the Lord God Almighty, the great I AM. He is not fickle and capricious as the Greek gods. He is not irrationally vengeful like the gods of many religions. He is not ignorant and half informed as most human “gods” tend to be.
Humans like to be judges of many things. There are the mob vigilantes who attack “villains” through social media, picketing and worse. There are kings and popes and men in high places who want to manipulate the history of the world for their own evil ends. And there are many, many people in between. People feel empowered by the ability to judge others. People also feel threatened by those who judge them, whether unjustly or not. This is one reason why so many tend to beat each other over the head with Matthew 7:1, Judge not, that ye be not judged; while ignoring John 7:24, Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
Judgment is a very touchy subject, there is no getting around it. Many things have been named “The Judge”, a movie, a T.V. show, a gun, etc. “Appearing before the judge” is meant to strike fear into people. But the most offensive Judge to human pride and sin is The Judge of all the earth.
The first mention of the Lord by this name is in Genesis 18:25, That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Here Abraham was pleading for Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of his nephew Lot who lived there. He was reminding God that slaying the righteous with the wicked was not something that a righteous judge would do, and he calls Him “the Judge of all the earth”. This is a point that causes “all the earth” a lot of irritation and angst because they don’t want a righteous Judge to be the final and only Judge who will determine their eternal destiny.
Again, the Lord is called “the Judge” by Jephthah in Judges 11:27, Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me: the LORD the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon. He was rebuking the children of Ammon for trying to start a war with Israel at the time.
We see in several places in scripture where people asked that the Lord judge between them and someone else as Jephthah did. Another example is when David was speaking to Saul after he had cut off the skirt of Saul’s garment in the cave and was trying to prove to Saul that he was not seeking to kill him. 1 Samuel 24:12 The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee… 15 The LORD therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand. Placing such situations in the hands of the righteous Judge is a wise thing to do if you know you are not in the wrong.
We read in Psalms 75:7, But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another. For those that do not have peace with Him through Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1), this is a very disturbing fact. In fact, this is a problem for some who claim Christ because they want to be “set up” as something important on their own terms, not the Lord’s. It is hard to be “put down” when we think we deserve a more important place in our world.
Paul specifies again for us that the Lord is the righteous judge. This is so important to remember in this world of distorted justice. 2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
And, finally, we see that He is the Judge of all. Hebrews 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
The Hope of A Righteous Judge
As mere humans we have no power against so many of the evil things that are in this wicked world. Jehoshaphat prayed in 2 Chronicles 20:12, O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee. Our only hope amidst so much evil is the righteous Judge. This judgment may be now in some current form, if God so wills, or we may have to wait to see it in the final judgment. For those who are the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ, the hope of judgment by the Judge of all the earth should be a great comfort. The fact that He is righteous and there will be no corrupting of justice with Him should explain to us why He has told us through Paul, Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Romans 12:19
We read in Psalms 9:7-8, But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. This is a powerful statement, but it is also one of the things that most frightens fallen mankind, because somewhere inside them, they know they don’t have what it takes to stand in that day of judgment before God Almighty. I believe this is one reason we see so much hate and thrashing about trying to change the rules and make a different “plan”. It is fear of the truth about who God is and His power to judge them and their works.
Here are some more passages regarding God’s judgment on sinful mankind.
1 Samuel 2:10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed. (Hannah’s prayer)
Psalms 94:2-3 Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud. LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?
Psalms 10:17-18 LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress. This is a wonderful hope! The day is coming, and perhaps not far away, when there will be no more oppression by man! A wonderful, wonderful promise!
Isaiah 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us. Though we may suffer in this life, ultimately we are on the side of the Judge of all the earth and He will even all scores, He will avenge His children. He will save us.
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
Psalms 98:7-9 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.
Acts 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (That man is the Lord Jesus Christ.)
John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
Psalms 82:8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.
God Deals with His Own
Ezekiel 18:30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
One last point that we should not fail to remember is that God will also judge His own. He will not judge them in the same way that He judges the world but, as Christians, we still have to answer to Him for our lives both now and at the judgment seat of Christ where our works are judged.
Romans 14:10-12 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
A particular word of sober warning is given to husbands and wives in Hebrews 13:4, Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
1 Peter 4:17-19 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? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
The fact that God is the Judge of all the earth, the righteous Judge and the final Judge should give us peace, confidence of deliverance in His right time, hope of a better future, and it should inspire us to …walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:12
Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.