The judgment before the great white throne is, in
theological discussions, painted in colors different from those found in
the scriptures, and words are used, that cannot be found in the
scripture account. For instance, it is a white throne; Christ, the One
who died for the very ones who are being judged, (II Cor. 5:15), is the
Judge, (John 5:22); the word "punishment" is not found in the
story, (Un. 20:11-15); and the word "judgment" simply means
setting things right, and does not necessarily imply anger on the part
of the Judge.
There is no scripture that says anyone shall be
punished at that time, or at any future time between the present and the
judgment. A thousand years before the judgment under
consideration, nations that are judged adversely shall go away into
eonian chastening - not everlasting punishment, (Matt. 25:46). The
word used is kolasis, not timoria. The latter word is not found in
any passage which relates to the future. In Heb. 10:29 it occurs,
in relation to the Circumcision believer who tramples on the Son of God,
and deems the blood of the covenant by which he is hallowed common, and
outrages the spirit of grace. This was done in the past; but even
in that passage it is not said he shall be punished; it only asks of how
much worse punishment he is worthy, than were those who repudiated
There are two reasons why God will not punish.
First, the word means "value-lift," and, as humanity is part
of God's creation, to punish them would be to say they have no
value. To say this would be to bring reproach on Himself as the
Creator. In the second place, punishment is inflicted to satisfy
the one doing the punishing. If God should try to obtain
satisfaction by the sufferings of a mere human, He would be repudiating
the sufferings of Christ, which are supposed to have satisfied
Him. Christ is the offering God prepared, and if He cannot provide
an offering that will satisfy Himself, He is not worthy of His
Chastening; (kolasis), is inflicted to benefit the
one being chastened. Hence its use in Matt. 25:46. But even
that word is not found in the story of the judgment before the white
throne. The harshest words used there are "judged,"
"condemned," and "death."
Christ certainly is not going to disparage the value
of His own blood, by requiring that anyone at the judgment "pay the
penalty for sin." God will not require it of him. If
such were the case, the blessed Judge would, Himself, be on trial, and
condemnation would follow. If His blood, His death, His
sufferings, are of no avail, and sinners must suffer for their own sins,
then He would have to bow His head in shame and sit there, discredited
before the universe.
It was God's intention that man should know evil, as
a prerequisite to knowing good. This is why He planted the tree of
the knowledge of good and evil in the garden, and set the stage for
man's transgression. Keeping this in mind, we can understand why
believers are not to come into judgment, (John 5:24). Our faith
shows us the blackness of sin, and we feel indignant at ourselves, yea,
we are furious at ourselves, as we suffer affliction and distress
because we are sinners. Even as saints, we do not get rid of sin
while we live here. But God is not indignant at us; He is not
furious toward us; He is suffering no affliction and distress because we
are so imperfect. We are the ones who are indignant, furious,
afflicted and distressed, while He regards us as holy and flawless in
Christ (Eph. 1:4). Having learned the depths of evil, there is no
need for us to be brought into judgment. It could serve no good
purpose. We already have a profound respect for God's goodness,
and in the glory we shall fully respect it, and respond to His love, in
a way to satisfy His heart.
But unbelievers are in a different state. They
continue to live in sin willingly, because they have not yet learned its
awfulness. God is good to them, but they have no appreciation of
it. As they stumble blindly through life, the words of Christ
uttered on the cross concerning the Jews are true of them. They
are not aware of what they are doing.
This is why they must be brought to judgment.
Judgment will do for them what faith has done for us. When they
are judged in accord with their acts, and condemned in accord with their
acts. God will pay to them "indignation, fury , affliction
and distress," (Rom. 2:9). Not that God will be indignant and
furious toward them, any more than He will be in affliction and
distress. These emotions will be felt by them - not God!
They will feel an unspeakable indignation at themselves for having lived
in sin now that they know what sin really is. They will be furious
at themselves. They will be afflicted. They will be in
In other words, the great white throne judgment,
instead of being some horrible event that has never been equaled before,
will be just what saints have been experiencing ever since their spirits
were touched by the spirit of Christ. There is no reason to
believe there will be much greater suffering at that time, than I
endured when God showed me the horribleness of sin, and have endured
ever since, whenever I am conscious of wrongdoing on my part. I am
frequently indignant at myself. I am often furious at
myself. This brings me into affliction and distress.
The second death is for all in that judgment whose
names are not in the book of life. Well that is just death - the
very kind of death I shall die if the Lord delays his coming many
years. The second death is not spoken of as a punishment.
And, just as I will come from death into vivification when the Lord
comes in the air, so shall those in the second death come into
vivification when death is abolished. (I Cor. 15:22-28). And
just as God's dealing with me shall prepare me to fully appreciate good
when I am in His Presence in glory, so shall his dealing with
unbelievers prepare them to appreciate good when they, too
are vivified at the consummation of the eons.
Christendom thinks of God as trying, through Christ,
to remedy a situation that came about contrary to His intention, and as
eternally punishing, or eternally destroying those whom He is unable to
save. The scriptures reveal Him as operating the universe in
accord with the counsel of His will, (Eph. 1:11). Long before
there was any sin, grace to save sinners was given in Christ, and God's
purpose was formed in Him. This was before eonian times, (II Tim.
1:9). His word says He locks all up together in stubbornness, that
He may be merciful to all, (Rom. 11:32). All includes Adam.
Here is seen the reason for his transgression. Christendom knows
the world is in sin, but does not understand the import of the word
"stubbornness." The word in Greek literally means
unpersuadableness. Not knowing this, the "church"
is trying to do what only God can do. It is impossible for man to
be "persuaded." God, through faith, unlocks the door to
those who are to be saved in advance of the white throne judgment; He
unlocks the door to the others through the judgment.
"All is out of Him and through Him and for
Him," says His word, (Rom. 11:36). He is the Source, the
Channel and the Object of all. Sin, when viewed as an offense
against God and a transgression of His commandment, is bad. Sin,
when viewed as necessary in order that God's goodness may be fully
appreciated by His creation, is justifiable. Let it be remembered
that it is never said God justifies the one who is without sin; He
justifies the irreverent, (Rom. 4:5). And, as He is operating the
Universe in accord with the counsel of His will, There will not be one
whit more sin than will eventuate in His glory. He will justify
it; He will repudiate it; and through a knowledge of it, He will, by His
grace, prepare mankind to fully appreciate good.
And nothing He does is sin: nothing He does is a
mistake: He will never miss the mark.
THE WORD OF GOD
We are told in Psalm 138:2, that God magnifies His
word above His name. It should be admitted by all that the name of
God is the greatest name in the universe. If His word is more
precious to Him than His own name, certainly it is more precious than
the name of your denomination. Yet hardly a month passes that does
not see some one asking me to give up certain portions of the word of
God and go back to the denomination to which I once
The doctrine of Universal Reconciliation is
"fundamental." To say I could give it up and yet be
pleasing to God is to show a lamentable ignorance of how He regards His
I was privileged to worship with the ecclesia in
Deland, Fla., again the second Sunday in April. It is good to
witness the joy the saints there manifest in the evangel. They
are thankful for the financial aid given by others, to get the work
established there. Depending on the leading of the spirit, my
next objective is Graham, Ga. If anyone wishes to have part in
this mission, the way is open.
I modestly suggest to the saints that, inasmuch as
we are all stressing the importance of a pattern of sound words, it
would be well to call our worshiping assemblies, ecclesias instead of
classes. Why neglect Paul's pattern in this respect, and clamor
for it in others?
A few hundred are behind with their
subscriptions. If you have not paid recently, I suggest that you
either send a remittance, or ask me how your account stands.