We’re going to be considering tonight the fifth in our series on the destruction of the nations. And if you have your Bible, you might turn to Matthew chapter 25. Matthew chapter 25 deals with the subject the judgment of the nations, the judgment of the nations. I’m going to make some introductory comments and then we’ll look at Matthew chapter 25. The Bible says, “Be sure your sins will find you out,” and thus is stated a very, very important fact: There is no way to escape the judgment of sin. It is inevitable; it is inescapable. In Romans 1:18, the Bible says, “For the wrath of God is revealed against all unrighteousness.” None escapes. Sin has its moment, but so does inevitable judgment.
In the Psalms, there are many statements to the same effect. In Psalm 90 and verse 8, the Bible says, “Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy face.” In Psalm 139 and verse 11 the Scriptures say, “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, even the night shall be light about me.’” If I think I can hide my sin in some darkness, in God's eyes it shall be light. In Psalm 140 and verse 11, it says, “Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth. Evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him. There is no escape.” In Provers chapter 13, verse 21 says, “Evil pursueth sinners, but to the righteous good shall be repaid.” Evil pursueth sinners. In Isaiah chapter 3 and verse 11, the Scripture says, “Woe to the wicked. It shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands shall be given him.” Those are just a few suggestions of the biblical principle “be sure your sins will find you out.” There is no way to escape judgment. With God, there is no such thing as unfinished business, and God always deals with sin, for he’s a holy God. And as we are living in the end of the age by all the signs that we can see around us, we see that not only is judgment is impending but at the same time sin is speeding up in its great climax.
And man if we were to characterize him, we might say is like somebody who is on a runaway train, and the train is plummeting down a mountainside. The brakes have gone out. There’s nobody really in control. It keeps getting faster and faster with increasing speed, and inevitably at the bottom there is going to be a terrible crash. And the Bible says that in the last days civilization is going to be like a runaway train and that men’s sin will increase and increase. Evil men shall become worse and worse. The mystery of iniquity, that is sin as it’s never been seen before, will mount and mount until the train of humanity plummets faster and faster toward the inevitability of the judgment of God. It’s interesting though as you look around the world, everybody on the train seems to be having a party. It seems to be that men have no idea of how fast they’re going toward judgment. They have no thought of restraint, of holding back. They don’t realize what is inevitable, and yet the Bible says, “Judgment always comes. You’ll never escape it, because God always finishes his business, and his business with sin is always judgment.”
Now the climax of all of this judgment that man is racing toward is the return of Jesus Christ. Christ is going to come back to execute final judgment. This is even indicated as far back as the Psalms in the Old Testament. We’ve read a couple of verses; let me just take your attention to a couple more. Psalm 96:13, “Before the Lord for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth. He shall judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with his truth.” Verse 9 of Psalm 98, “Before the Lord,” closing off verse 8, “for he cometh to judge the earth. With righteousness shall he judge the world and the peoples with equity,” equality. The Old Testament then says, “The Lord will come in judgment.” There is no escape from sin.
Now tonight we want to look in our study at this coming judgment. The judgment when Jesus Christ returns to earth is the final feature of really the times of the gentiles, or the history of the nations. Now we have discussed many things about the destruction of the nations. We’ve discussed the times of the nations. We’ve discussed the ruler of the nations, this great one coming that is called Antichrist. We’ve discussed the religion of the nations, how there’s going to be a false church. And we’ve discussed the alignment of the nations and the war of the nations and we went into Armageddon and what’s going to happen in detail last time. Now tonight we want to talk about the judgment of the nations. Everything peaks out when Christ returns. We covered last time how that Armageddon is going to happen, and at the close of the time known as the tribulation, the great battle of Armageddon takes place. At the end of that battle, Christ comes, and when he comes he comes in judgment. The judgment of the nations then occurs at the end of the tribulation period. The church is going to be taken out of the world. Seven years of terrible tribulation, then Christ returns to set up his kingdom, and he comes in judgment.
Now I want you to notice five things tonight about this judgment. The judge, the time of judgment, the place of judgment, the subjects of judgment, and the judgment itself. We’ll begin with the judge. And in your Bibles, look now at Matthew chapter 25 and let’s see the judge. There’s coming a great judgment. Who is going to be the judge? Matthew 25 beginning at verse 31, “When the Son of Man shall come in his glory,” and we’ll stop right there. Now this is going to be the time of judgment. It says, “When the Son of Man shall come,” down in verse 32 it says, “he shall separate the nations.” In verse 34, “He shall introduce some into his kingdom.” In verse 41, “He shall introduce some to judgment.” Now the judge clearly in this situation is the Son of Man, “When the Son of Man shall come in his glory.”
Now turn in your Bible for a moment and I want you to go to this passage 'cause I want to show you some things, to John chapter 5, John chapter 5. Now we know that the judge is the Son of Man, or Jesus Christ, as he was called the Son of Man. Verse 22 of John 5 says, and these are the words of Jesus himself, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” Now go down to verse 26, “For as the Father hath life in himself, so he hath given to the Son to have life in himself, and hath given him authority to execute judgment also because he is the Son of Man.” Now here Jesus says that it is he who has been granted by God the right to be the judge. Now I want you to notice an interesting thing, and I think there’s a lot of doctrine in it; it’s implied. Verse 27 says that he was given the right to judge because he is the Son of Man.
Now why is he called the Son of Man? In verse 25, he is called the Son of God. It says, “Verily, verily I say unto you the hour is coming and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live.” Let me give you a simple illustration of why I see the Son of God in verse 25 and the Son of Man in verse 27. In verse 25, it speaks of his ministry of resurrection. Now that takes a divine miracle, doesn’t it? That takes the intervention of deity. And so when the Bible speaks of resurrection, it speaks of Christ as the Son of God, emphasizing that he has the power to do the miraculous, raise men from the dead. But when it speaks in verse 27 of judgment, it doesn’t emphasize his deity. Why? Because judgment requires no particular miracle. You say, “What do you mean by that?” I mean this, that in the case of judgment Christ really doesn’t have to do anything. The Bible says, “Whatever a man sows that he reaps.”
The Bible says, “The soul that sinneth it shall die.” And the implication of Scripture is this: That if a man just lives his life the way it’s going in sin, God doesn’t get involved at all. He merely brings upon himself the inevitable consequence of sin. God doesn’t have to do anything. God merely pronounces the verdict that the man himself has brought to pass in his own life by his own sin and rejection of Christ. So it never says that Christ has been given judgment and he’s going to kill people and he’s going to do all these things actively. It simply indicates that he as the Son of Man pronounces a verdict, and that verdict is based upon what man himself has done, and therefore God does not need to exercise any miraculous power. We’ve illustrated this before from Romans and other portions of the New Testament where you have statements about the wrath that comes on sin, and very often it doesn’t even attach to God; it just says, “The wrath, the wrath.” And what it seems to be indicating that there is a principle in the universe that when a man violates he throws himself into chaos. Now if I jump off a 15-story building, God doesn’t have to kill me; that’s the point, the fall will do fine. If I take a gun and put it to my head and blow my brains out, God doesn’t have to be involved at all. And the same thing is true in terms of the moral law. Just like there are physical laws that take over, so there are moral laws. And if a man lives a life in violation of moral law, he brings on himself the consequences of that life. And so we see Christ portrayed as the Son of Man in so far that he does not have to be active deity and perform a miracle of judgment. There’s no miracle to it; the man lived in sin, he’ll die in sin. “That soul that sinneth it shall die.” God doesn’t even need to be involved. God is involved in redemption.
Now all judgment then has been committed to the Son of Man who is Jesus Christ. In the upper room the night before his death, Jesus told his disciples he was going to go away. But he said, “I’m not going to stay away, I’m going to return.” He came back after the resurrection. He went up on a mountainside and he ascended into heaven. And two angels stood there and said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus you have seen taken up from you shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.” Jesus kept saying, “I’m going but I’m coming back. I’m going but I’m coming back.” Do you believe he keeps his promise? I believe it. He’s going to come back first as a bridegroom. Who’s his bride? The church. Then he’s going to come back as a judge.
We talk a lot about the love of God. We talk a lot about the grace of Christ. We talk about the joy of the Holy Spirit, but tonight we have to talk about judgment. And when Jesus comes back the first time, it says, “A loving bridegroom to gather his bride.” But when he comes back for those that are not a part of his church, it’s in flaming judgment, isn’t it? And I want to show you some Scripture passages. I know that you need to know them because God put them in the Word of God; listen to them. Just jot them down; don’t try to follow. Jude 14 and 15, listen to this, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam,” – that’s a long time back – “prophesied of these saying.” This is Enoch, here’s the first prophesy ever recorded. You know what it was about? Listen, “Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.” The first prophesy ever made was the prophesy of the coming of Christ in judgment. “He comes,” verse 15, “to execute judgment upon all and to convict all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Now there’s a lot of ungodlies in there, four of them. The first prophesy ever given in Scripture was given in terms of a direct prophesy. There’s an implied prophesy in Genesis 3:15, but the first direct prophesy was given and it’s not even recorded in the Old Testament; here it’s alluded to, was given about the coming of Christ in judgment, when he’s going to come against ungodly men.
I want to call to your attention another passage in the Old Testament, in Isaiah. It’s chapter 63, one of the most fearful passages you’ll ever read in your life. Listen. “Who is he that cometh from Edom with dyed garments? This that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength. I who speak in righteousness mighty to save.” And here God has a dialogue with himself. He says, “Who’s coming, who’s coming? And he says, ‘It’s I. Why art thou red in thine apparel and thy garments like him who treadeth in the wine fat. While I have trodden the winepress alone and of the peoples there was none with me. For I will tread them in mine anger and trample them in my fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled on my garments and I will stain all my raiment.’” The question is why do you look like you’ve been stepping on grapes? Why are you so covered with that blood color? And he says, “I’m coming to stamp out judgment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed has come. And I looked and there was none to help, and I wondered that there was none to uphold. Therefore, mine own arm brought salvation unto me. In my fury, it upheld me. I will tread down the peoples in mine anger and make them drunk in my fury. I will bring down their strength to the earth.” That’s severe language. I don't know if there’s any more severe language than that in all the Bible. It’s difficult for me to even think about it, to even read about it and to know that men and women will suffer the judgment of God in rejecting Jesus Christ.
You know when you read something like that, immediately some people are shocked, and they always contemplate Christ as a very gentle, meek, lowly Savior, kind of the babe-of-Christmas thing. And you don’t think about him as a coming judge. Believe me, friends, the marvel, the wonder is not that he comes as judge; the wonder is that he came as Savior to sinful men. I could read you Isaiah chapter 34, maybe I’ll just read you a couple of verses. Again, a fearful passage. Isaiah 34, verse 2, “For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations. His fury upon all their armies. He hath utterly destroyed them. He hath delivered them to the slaughter. Their slain also shall be cast out and their stench shall come up out of their carcasses, and the mountains shall be melded with their blood. And all the hosts of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together like a scroll. And all their hosts shall fall down, all the stars. As the leaf falleth off from the vine, like a falling fig from the fig tree,” speaking also of the demons. “For my sword shall be bathed in heaven. Behold it shall come down upon Edom.” God's first going to judge heaven, the demons. Then earth. Then upon the people of my curse to judgment. “The sword of the Lord is filled with blood. It is made fat with fatness and with the blood of lambs and goats and the fat of kidneys of rams, for the Lord hath a sacrifice and a great slaughter.” God is coming in judgment. Jesus Christ is the judge.
In Daniel chapter 2, we call our attention to two verses, 34 and 35. Remember the image that symbolizes gentile world power? It says, “Thou sawest until a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon its feet that were of iron clay and broke them to pieces. Then were the iron and clay and the bronze and silver and gold broken to pieces together and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floor, and the wind carried them away that no place was found for them. And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” You say, “What’s all that?” Jesus Christ is seen as a stone who comes and smashes the world empires and takes and sets his kingdom up, which fills the whole earth. Judgment. In the New Testament, we find the statements of the apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians chapter 1, verse 7, “And to you who are troubled, rest with us. When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now there you have the criterion regarding judgment, “them that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul said at the end of Corinthians that God wanted us to know that if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ let him be anathema. “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.”
In Acts chapter 17, verse 29, “For as much then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like gold or silver or stone carved by art and man’s device,” – don’t worship idols – “times of this ignorance God overlooked but now commands all men everywhere to repent.” Why? Because “he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained.” And who is that man? It is that man who has been raised from the dead, Jesus Christ.
The coming judge is described in detail; turn to Revelation 19. Revelation 19:11, and here is a portrait of the judge. “And I saw heaven opened.” The last time heaven opened was in chapter 4, and you know what happened then? All the saints went in. Now it’s going to open again, they’re all coming back. Two times heaven opens in the book of Revelation, once for the rapture and once for the second coming. “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.” The idea of a white horse is really significant. Roman generals whenever they would win a great battle would always return from conquering an army, riding on a white horse with all their legions behind them and they would come up the Via Sacra, right straight up the main street of Rome, which ran from the forum to the Temple of Jupiter, which was on Capitoline Hill. And this was the great procession, the conqueror riding the white horse. And here comes Jesus Christ, the conqueror. He’s called Faithful and True. Why? Because he keeps his promise and tells the truth, and he’s coming to judge and coming to make war.
You remember back at the Red Sea in Exodus chapter 15 when God destroyed Pharaoh and his horses and chariots and the whole thing? You remember what the children of Israel cried? “The Lord is a man of war.” When judgment comes, God will judge. Look at verse 12 and see something else about the judge. “His eyes were like a flame of fire.” You say, “What does that signify?” Penetrating, probing into the deepest recesses of men’s hearts that he might judge rightly. He had many crowns. Why many crowns? Because he is king of kings, and what? And Lord of lords. And notice he had a name that no man knew, and verse 13 says, “He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood.” You say, “Where did that blood come from?” First of all, that’s the garment of war and that’s the blood of his enemies. You know this isn’t the first battle that the Lord has fought? There have been many. They have been stained with blood throughout the years. The battle of the cross stained his garments with blood; they’ll be stained again. His name is the Word of God, and that tells us who it is, Jesus Christ. “And the armies that were in heaven followed him upon white horses clothed in fine linen white and clean.” That’s us and the Old Testament saints. “Out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword that with it he should smite the nations.” What is the sword of his mouth? It’s simply his Word. “For the Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword.” It’s his Word. It’s his spoken Word which he speaks in judgment.
Isaiah 11:4 says, “And he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” So he comes in judgment, and then he rules with a rod of iron, absolute unyielding judgment, and like crushing grapes he treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of almighty God. And he hath on his vestures, thigh a name, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” There’s the judge. The judge is Jesus Christ.
Now secondly, what is the time of judgment? When does this tremendous and fearful vengeance happen? When does this judgment take place? If you’re back in Matthew 25, you’re in the right spot. Matthew 25:31 gives us a couple of time designations, “When the Son of Man shall come in his glory.” All right, we know when it’s going to be. It’s going to be “when the Son of Man comes in his glory.” When is that? It’s not the first time he came, right? The first time did he come in glory? No, he came in humiliation. The second time he comes he comes in glory. The first time he came in humiliation. But you know there was a judgment the first time he came. Only the judgment the first time was on him. The judgment the second time will be by him. What was the first judgment? The cross when he bore sin. He’s coming a second one, when he returns to the earth. And I believe this is the consummation of the times of the gentiles, the times of the nations. We’ve been talking about the world is going to fall into a final phase of the revived Roman Empire, the European confederacy. Daniel and Revelation both indicate a ten-nation confederacy; we see that happening around us. The great Battle of Armageddon is going to begin to focus. We see that what we told you last week is all coming to pass in the Mideast War, the king of the south, Egypt fighting against Israel, the king of the north, Russia coming down against Israel. The great armies to the east coming in. And we see all of this. This is all going to come together at the end of the tribulation, and we’re seeing the previews now and they’re pretty real. But at the end of the tribulation, all of this, the revived Roman Empire with a ten-nation confederacy, the great nations moving to battle at Jerusalem, it is at that time exactly that he comes. And you have to go back to Revelation 19 again to see this.
In Revelation 19:17, it tells us, “I saw an angel standing in the sun and he cried with a loud voice saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, ‘Come and gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God.’” Here the angel calls together the birds of the air, carrion birds. “That you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses, of them that sit on them. And the flesh of all men free and enslaved, small and great.” There’s going to be a feast for birds. “And I saw the beast, or the Antichrist, and the kings of the earth, all the nations gathered at Armageddon. And their armies gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.” That’s a rather futile war. “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. And both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” Verse 21, “The remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat on the horse, which sword proceeds out of his mouth, and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” That’s how the Battle of Armageddon ends, Christ comes down and all the armies are slaughtered right there.
Now that has to be at the second coming of Christ. He didn’t do that the first time he came; he has to do it the second time he comes. “When he shall come in his glory.” In Psalm 2, we have a most-interesting preview of this. Verse 1, Psalm 2, “Why do the nations rage and the people imagine a vain thing?” Why is there all this mess in the world? How do you explain the mess the world’s in? Here’s how: “The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed.” You know why the world is in a mess? Because they are ungodly and they’ve rejected Christ. “Let us break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us.” All the nations are going to fight God, take counsel against the Lord, and destroy God's power and break God's bands and so forth and so on. And what is God's reaction? Verse 4, “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh,” and it doesn’t mean funny. It means that God treats it as foolishness, can they believe that they can do that, “For he shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath and vex them in his great displeasure.” And watch what he does. He says, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” “You do what you want, world. You do what you want, nations, to fight me. I will set my king on the Mount of Zion to rule and to reign.” And who is the king? Jesus Christ. God says, “I’ll set him there, whatever you do.” The Lord said, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee,” – this is the Father talking to the Son – “Ask of me and I’ll give you the nations for your inheritance and the uttermost part of the earth for your possession. You’ll break them with a rod of iron. You’ll dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.” He says, “Fight all you want, world. Christ is going to reign. He’s going to return to reign; you can’t stop him.”
And then God warns, I love this verse, grace is here. Listen, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you perish from the way. Blessed are all they who put their trust in him.” You know God just – it isn’t in his nature to give a message of judgment without a message of hope, did you know that? He doesn’t give judgment without giving grace. But the nations can do what they want. I’ll never forget a Russian cartoon that I saw. It showed a rubble of churches all blown up and wiped out and smashed. And then from the rubble of all these churches – and I understand this is available to be seen somewhere in Russia from what I hear. But all these churches are smashed and there’s a ladder going up into heaven, and up in the heaven in the clouds is supposed to be the Trinity: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit sitting in heaven. And there’s some guy climbing up the ladder with a big giant hammer, and the caption says, “Having destroyed this God business here on earth, we are now going to destroy it in heaven.” And God says, “Go ahead and attempt your foolishness. Try to make war with me but I’ll set my King on his holy hill. And he’ll rule with a rod of iron and he’ll dash rejecting men to pieces like a broken pot.” This is judgment, and the time is at the return of Jesus Christ.
Now I want you to notice in Matthew 25, verse 34 says, “Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” That tells us that it’s right before the kingdom, doesn’t it? Whoever is in this judgment is going to go either into the kingdom or out of the kingdom, so it happens right at the time of the kingdom. Christ returns to set up his kingdom, and it is then that he judges the world.
Now just a footnote, if I may have that opportunity, from Luke chapter 12, verse 35. Remember this story? Listen to it. “Let your loins be girded about and your lamps burning,” which means you know get your belt on 'cause you’re going to need to move, and get your lamp lit. “And you yourselves like men that wait for their lord when he will return from the wedding, that when he cometh and knocketh they may open unto him immediately.” Get ready. “Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when he comes shall find watching. Verily I say unto you that he shall gird himself and make them to sit down to eat and will come forth and serve them.” He says, “Now you people get ready, 'cause when the Lord comes if you’re really ready, you’re going to have a terrific banquet.” “And if he shall come in the second watch or come in the third watch and find them so blessed are those servants who were ready. And this we know that if the owner of the house had known what hour the thief would come he would’ve watched and not have permitted his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also, for the Son of Man cometh at an hour when you think not.”
Let me say this. We know when he’s coming. He’s coming at his second coming at the end of the tribulation, but here is a message to Israel. Luke 12 is not about the rapture; it’s about the second coming. He says the general time is set aside in Scripture. The very moment you’ll never know. It may be in the second watch of the night. It may be in the third watch of the night. “Be ready all the time,” he says to Israel. Don’t get caught in judgment. So the time in general, the end of the tribulation. The time in specific, “In an hour that you,” what, “think not.” That doesn’t apply to the rapture. That applies to the second coming of Christ. That’s a message to Israel. So we see the judge and we see the time of judge.
Thirdly, the place of judgment. Verse 31 of Matthew 25, “When the Son of Man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with him,” – that’s going to be a mob – “then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” Now he’s going to judge from a throne, so if we can find out where the throne is, we know the place of judgment. You say, “Where is it?” I think it’s on earth; I think he’s going to judge on the earth. Listen to Jeremiah 23:5, I’ll quote it, “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous branch, and the king shall reign and prosper,” – now watch – “and shall execute justice and righteousness,” – here are the three words to get – “in the earth.” I believe that the throne spoken of of his glory is the throne of David on Mount Zion in the city of Jerusalem. I believe he’s actually going to reign in his kingdom from the city of Jerusalem. You say, “Oh you’re a literalist?” That’s right. I think that if God said something, he meant it, and there’s no sense in me trying to confuse what he said. Remember what we just read in Psalm 2:6? “Yet have I set my king upon his holy hill of Zion.” Now you can all you want spiritualize that, but there is a place and it’s called Mount Zion, and that’s where David’s throne was and that’s where the promised judgment of Christ is going to be, in the earth. Not above the earth, not around the earth, right in it.
Now I believe he’s coming to the earth. If you listened when I read Revelation 19 a minute ago, he actually destroys men on the earth, doesn’t he? Now I want to show you some passages that corroborate this. In the Old Testament, Zachariah, which is next to the last book. The last book is Malachi; Zachariah is next to the last. Chapter 14, just two back from Matthew. Listen to 14:1, “Behold the Day of the Lord comes and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I’ll gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle,” – and this is Armageddon – “and the city shall be taken.” You know that Jerusalem is going to get sacked during Armageddon? Didn’t I tell you last week that that’s the purpose of the nations, they want to go and fight God and destroy God's people and get rid of Israel, 'cause they blame them for all the problems. Satan always wanted to get rid of God's people, because then if God doesn’t have any people, when he returns he hasn’t got any subjects for his kingdom, right?
All right, so they go in there and the city is taken. The house is rifled. The women are raped. Half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth. Right after the sacking of Jerusalem, here comes the Lord. “And fight against those nations as when he fought in the day of battle.” Now we know when it’s going to be. We know that it’s going to be after Armageddon, and we know where it’s going to be. It’s going to be right at Jerusalem, isn’t it? I believe that is the place of the judgment, right there in Jerusalem.
Look at verse 6, this is fantastic. Listen to this. “It shall come to pass in that day,” – the day that he comes – “that the light shall not be clear nor dark.” Now we’re used to daylight or night. It’s going to be 24 hours of twilight. “But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day nor night. But it shall come to pass that at evening time it shall be light.” When it should be dark, it’s going to be sort of a 24-hour twilight. You say, “What’s going on?” You remember reading in Matthew 24 about it. Let me read you two verses; this is interesting. Matthew 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation,” – uh oh, now we know where we are for sure. “Immediately after the tribulation shall the sun be darkened and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars shall fall from heaven and the powers of the heaven shall be shaken.” God actually turns out all the lights in heaven, and then God turns on kind of a mystic twilight. “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and he’s going to come with great glory.” And we’ve talked about the fact that his glory is light, isn’t it? God turns out all the lights in the universe for the whole day. It’s not dark and it’s not light. He leaves it in a terrible mystical haze so that the world is focused on the sky, and out of that haze comes the blazing glory of Jesus Christ in his glorious return. And he comes to the earth.
Now go back to 4 and 5 in Zachariah. We’re moving. Verses 4 and 5, “When he comes in this twilight and he sends his great glory,” – watch what happens – “his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives.” You say, “Oh, but God doesn’t have feet.” No, but Jesus Christ does. You say, “But oh I thought he was spiritual?” No, he went up to Thomas and he said, “You want to check on who I am? Check these nail prints,” didn’t he? “Thrust your hand in my side and be not faithless but believing.” He’s the same. You know that’s exactly what the angels said, “This same Jesus.” I told you one time my dad went to see a guy who claimed to be Jesus. His name was Father Divine. He died and said he passed on his deity to his wife. But anyway, he died and my dad was in seminary and kind of a brash guy. And so he said – they were all leaving Father Divine’s church and he just told him that he was the Son of God and my man stopped the people in the door with his arms out like this and everybody stopped and he pointed to Father Divine. He said, “If you’re the Son of God, show me your nail prints.” He didn’t have any. “This same Jesus.” I like that, don’t you? We’ll know him when he gets here. He’ll be the same.
“And so he’s going to come and his feet,” – he has feet – “are going to stand in that day on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east.” And that’s exactly where it is. I read an interesting thing, I forget where I read it, that there is a rift, there is a terrible fault in the Mount of Olives. And they have ceased to build a particular kind of hotel on that fault, because it’s already there. Interesting. God doesn’t need a fault; he could do it without one obviously. All right. So it’s before Jerusalem, and on the Mount of Olives shall cleave in its midst toward the east, toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley. When he hits the Mount of Olives, the whole deal splits open and an instant valley is created. And half of the mountains shall remove toward the north and half of it toward the south. Isn’t that fantastic? You’ve always had a problem irrigating Jerusalem 'cause it was so high. And then you know what happens? It gets so beautiful down there that rivers begin to flow into it. Later on it tell us, it’s fantastic, waters begin to flow into this thing. And you know what happens? It begins to blossom like a rose, but that’s kingdom stuff; that’s in a few weeks. We’ll get to that. But here at least he hits it and splits it.
You say, “Well where is he coming?” I know where he’s coming, he’s coming right there. And you know what? You say, “Well I’d like to see that.” You’ll be with him. That’s right, you’re part of that army that’s coming with him. Let me show you something about the valley that he makes there. When he gets to that place and he hits that mount and splits it open and it becomes a big valley. Joel 3, listen to this, terrific. Joel 3:13. Joel is right before Amos. For what it’s worth, right? Joel 3:13, “Put in the sickle,” – the sickle was for harvest – “for the harvest is ripe. Come, get down, for the press is full. The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great.” Time for judgment. Now watch this one: “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision.” You want to know what valley he created there? The valley of decision. You know where the nations of the world are going to be judged? In the valley that Jesus creates when he hits the earth. “For the Day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” Yes, it’s that same day. “The sun and the moon shall be darkened. The stars shall withdraw their shining.” It’s that same day, isn’t it? “The Lord shall roar out of Zion, utter his voice from Jerusalem. The heavens and earth shall shake.”
God just can’t resist being gracious, but he says, “The Lord will be the hope of his people and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain. Then shall Jerusalem be holy and there shall no strangers pass through her anymore.” Christ’s feet are going to stand on the Mount of Olives, beloved, and he’s going to create a valley. And into that valley – watch this. You say, “Who’s going to be there? I thought he destroyed everybody in Armageddon.” No, he destroyed the armies of the world. Anybody left who wasn’t destroyed in that army, any gentile from all over the world left is going to be immediately transported by some miracle to that valley and gathered there. The mass of the remaining world is going to be gathered into that massive place.
I think it’s fantastic when it says the sole of his feet touched the Mount of Olives. You know why? You remember when God brought Joshua into the Promised Land, he said to them these words: He said, “All the land is before you, and every place that the sole of your foot shall touch shall be yours.” The touching of the sole of the foot signified possession, and Jesus Christ is going to possess the earth. Creates a valley. He gathers all into that valley who have not been destroyed in Armageddon. All of those living gentiles. This is living gentiles, not dead ones, living ones. The judgment of the living gentiles. So I don’t think there’s any question about where it is, do you? The judge, Jesus Christ. The time, at the end of the tribulation. Specific time, “In an hour you think not.” The place, “A valley created east of Jerusalem.”
Fourth, the subjects of the judgment. Who is going to be judged? And that is clearly stated in Matthew our same chapter 25, verse 32. Listen. “And before him shall be gathered all the nations.” Now everybody gets confused because they put the word nations in here, and we think this is, “Okay, let’s see, Poland you go over there, Canada you’re over there.” That is not it. The word is ethne, and it simply means people! Listen, no judgment of God is ever such in the end that it is national; it is always individual! These are individuals being judged, not countries you see. But that word “nations” messes up people; it’s just ethne, peoples. So all the peoples, whoever is still alive. Now there’s going to be lots of death going on in the tribulation, isn’t there? You know that a third of the earth is going to be killed, don’t you, by the army from the east. Before that, a fourth of the world is going to die in the plagues that God himself brings, right? Revelation 6. Not only that, all of these gentile nations that happen to have their armies at Jerusalem they’re all going to be slaughtered. So remaining in the world are believing and unbelieving gentiles.
Now all these living gentiles, believing and unbelieving, will be instantly transported to the valley of decision. You know that God's got a super-group of evangelists in that time, the 144,000 Jews. And you know that God put a seal on their foreheads so that nobody could kill them. So he’s had 144,000 apostle Paul’s. Can you imagine? And they’ve been romping all over the earth, and so many gentiles have been saved that Revelation 7 says that the multitude of them couldn’t be numbered, of every kindred and tongue and people and nation. And they were all there because they received Christ. You know those people are going to be at the judgment of the living nations, 'cause they didn’t get killed, if the beast didn’t get them. If they didn’t die, they’re going to be there, and so are the unbelieving gentiles. Both are going to be gathered, all the living people still remaining who are gentiles. Now the living Jews they’ve got their own judgment. God's going to purge out the rebels, right, Ezekiel 20, and God's going to take care of them. But this is gentiles. The judgment on Israel, watch this one, it’s separate; it’s in verses 1 through 30 of Matthew 25. They have their own thing. God deals with them in a separate sense, not by separate morality. Same rules, just a separate judgment. And he calls them either wise or foolish virgins, or either good or unprofitable servants. And in verse 30, it says, “Cast the unprofitable servant to outer darkness.” So the Jews have their judgment, but here he’s describing that of the gentiles. You say, “Then who is involved?” Gentiles, all the ethne, people, gentiles individually are going to be judged.
Now you say, “What about the judgment?” And we’ll close with this, and this is simple. You say, “What’s the judgment going to be?” Well before we go into detail here, let me add a footnote that it’s just an absolutely-unbelievable sequence of events. Before they’re ever gathered into this valley, all of these living gentiles have seen the dissolution of the whole world system. Little by little during the time of the tribulation, everything disintegrates, doesn’t it, in terrible, terrible ways. Finally, you know they have this false church and finally what happens to the false church? The Antichrist destroys it and sets up the only god, himself, and he builds a super-materialistic economic system. You say, “Where is that?” It’s in Revelation 18, and you’ve got to look at this because it’s absolutely fantastic what happens to this system, this big super-duper economic system. You know by the time they’ve destroyed their own false religion that they’ve created, it’s all wiped out. All they’ve got left is economics, materialism, and they go crazy on materialism. In fact, it’s even called Babylon; this is a kind of an economic Babylon. Verse 1 of chapter 18 of Revelation, “After these things, I saw another angel come down from heaven having great power. And the earth was made bright with his glory, and he cried mightily with a strong voice saying, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, become the habitation of demons and the hold of every fowl spirit, cage of every unclean and hateful bird.’” So he says the whole world system is going to be inhabited by demons.
Now why is he going to destroy this system? Verse 3, “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. The kings of the earth committed fornication with her. The merchants of the earth are grown rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” The Lord is going to begin to destroy the whole economic system of the world. Verse 5, “Her sins have reached the heaven, and God remembers her iniquity.” Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works, and the cup which he hath filled to her double. In other words, the world has become double-godless and the world is going to get double-punishment. She’s glorified herself. She’s lived luxuriously, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. She said in her heart, “I am a queen,” and she doesn’t know she’s a widow. She has nothing. Her plagues are going to come on her in one day. Verse 8, death, mourning, famine, utterly burned with fire. God's going to just wipe out somehow this whole economic system. I won’t go into any more detail, just to say that. It’s fantastic.
Verse 10 says in one hour that whole economic system is going to crash. And what happens? What’s the reaction? Verse 11, “All the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, for nobody buys their goods.” Instead of looking to their own lives and determining whether God is in judgment, they cry because nobody’s buying anything. And that’s not all, the merchandise of gold, silver, precious stones and peals, fine linen, purple silk, scarlet, kinds of wood and vessels of ivory and vessels of precious wood and bronze and iron, marble, cinnamon, and it goes on and on and on. All these things are going to come to nothing. At the end of verse 14, “Thou shalt find them no more at all. And the merchants of these things who were made rich by her shall stand afar off with the fear or her torment weeping and wailing.” So you see before they ever get gathered in that valley, they’ve already seen the destruction of their whole system. They’ve got nothing. They’re wiped out. The world is wiped out. “In one hour,” verse 17, “so great riches are come to nothing. And every shipmaster and all the company and ships and sailors as many as trade by sea stood afar off and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning say, ‘What city is like unto this great city? Our whole system, what a great thing it was and it’s all fallen apart. And oh alas, alas, the great city in which were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness, for in one hour she made desolate.’”
You know one of the biggest things going in the world today is music. The industry alone is unbelievable, but everybody’s saturated by it. From the time you get up in the morning ‘til you go to bed at night, all you do is hear music. And so much of it is demonic, and it’s an attempt of Satan to capture your minds, but it’s a tremendous force. But I want you to see what happens in verse 22: “The voice of harpers and minstrels and flute players and trumpeters shall be heard no more at all.” Nothing to sing about. “And no craftsman of whatever craft he be shall be found anymore in thee, and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee. And the light of a lamp shall shine no more at all in thee, and the voice of the bridegroom and the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee.” No more weddings. Why? No more happiness, no more love, no more nothing. And so you see the whole system, the world, is going to collapse. And after that collapse it is then that our Lord appears in the next chapter in chapter 19. It is then that they all enrage. The world’s system is collapsed, and all these nations blame God and they blame Israel and they all come converging at Armageddon. And that’s when Jesus comes, and that’s when judgment comes.
Now I want you to see what happens when they get there, verse 32, Matthew 25: “And before him shall be gathered all the nations, and he shall separate them one from another,” – all the peoples – “as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.” And if you’re ever in Israel, you see guys all the time with sheep and goats, and they had to divide them. “And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, the goats on the left.” The sheep symbolize those that are just; the right hand was the hand of blessing. Remember when Jacob was going to bless his two grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh, and they were going to pull a little trick on him and whoever he touched with the right hand would be the blessed ones. And so they switched the kids, and old Jacob didn’t miss and went like that, crossed his hands. Because the right hand symbolized blessing, and so those on the right hand are to be blessed. “And then shall the king say,” verse 34, “to them on his right hand, ‘Come ye blessed of my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’” Hey, isn’t it exciting to know there’s going to be a great number of those gentiles that are going to be sheep, that are going to go into the kingdom. This is talking about the real kingdom.
You say, “You believe in an earthly kingdom?” I sure do. “Come, ye blessed of my father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” When did he prepare it for you, from the what? From the foundation of the world he’s had the plan all along. You say, “What qualified him? How’d they get in there?” It says right here, “For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came unto me.” You say, “Are you kidding? That’s salvation by works!” I mean if you’re good to your neighbor, give to the community chest, clothe people who are naked, give away food you’re going to get in the kingdom? No. No. You say, “Well that’s what it says.” No, it doesn’t. Listen. Verse 37, “Then shall the righteousness answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry? And when did we feed you or thirsty and gave you drink? Or when saw we a stranger and took thee in or naked and clothed thee? Or when did we see you sick and in prison and come to you? When did we do all that?’ And the king answers and says unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, in as much as you’ve done it unto one of the least of these my brethren you’ve done it unto me.’”
Now watch this, watch this. You say, “John, is that salvation by works?” No, because the Bible says, “By grace are you saved through faith. That not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works lest we should all boast.” You say, “Well if it isn’t salvation by works, what is it?” Listen to this, friend. The beast, the Antichrist, has set in his mind during the tribulation to slaughter all the Jews, right? To slaughter the Jews. In the midst of this, there’s going to be 144,000 Jews preaching everywhere, right? And the beast would want them dead, and it’s going to be rough for them. Now it says in Revelation 13 that during this period of time, this tribulation, if you don’t have a mark on your hand or on your head, you can’t what? You can’t buy or sell. So if you don’t have the mark, you can’t shop; you can’t live. Now if you’ve got 144,000 at least who don’t have the mark and you’ve got a gob of believing Jews who don’t have the mark and you’ve got a pile of believing gentiles who don’t have the mark, how are they going to eat? How are they going to have sustenance? Where are they going to sleep? Where are these 144,000 itinerant preachers going to land? Somebody’s going to have to open their home, right? Give them food, give them drink, give them lodging, give them clothes, everything. And you know what he says here? “You people are the ones that did it.”
Now watch this, friend. The only person who would do that would be one who he himself had not taken the mark, right? For he had put his faith also in Jesus Christ. You got it? These are believers. They were not saved by this; this was merely the evidence that they were believers, do you see? Jesus says, “Because of your action toward these my brethren during this time, you’ve given evidence of your faith in me. Come, ye blessed of my Father. Inherit the kingdom which is prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Anyone who would befriend and care for those Jews would be an unmarked man, wouldn’t he? You imagine the price you’d pay, huh? Say you were going to care for the 144,000, say a handful of them came through your area and you took them in your house. Do you think you’d be a marked man? Boy, I’ll tell you one thing, you wouldn’t touch that thing with a ten-foot pole unless you had your faith in Jesus Christ and you believed what they preached, right? Absolutely. The only ones who would ever do that would be those who believed and received Jesus Christ, accepted the message.
Then to the ones on the left hand, verse 41, he says, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Beloved, did you know that hell is everlasting fire? And did you know that hell was never created for people? Did you know that? Who was it prepared for? The devil and his angels. “God is not willing that,” what? “That any should perish.” That’s why I say when men go away without God and when they go into an eternity without God, it isn’t God who sends them there, see? He never even prepared hell for men. It’s because they choose to go that way. And so he says, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire. It wasn’t even made for you. It wasn’t even prepared for you. For I was hungry and you gave me no food. I was thirsty and you gave me no drink.” In other words, you were part of the beast system. These are living gentiles who are part of the system. “I was a stranger you took me not in. Naked you didn’t clothe me. Sick and in prison you didn’t visit me.” And they’re going to answer and say, “When was all that going on? When did we do that?” And Jesus will say in 45, “In as much as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me. Listen, I watched what you did when my preachers came, and it’s obvious you didn’t believe. You were part of the persecuting system. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.”
You say, “What is the judgment here?” The judgment specifically is death, physical death. All of those living gentiles who did not profess faith in Christ and show it by the life they live died on the spot. This isn’t the final judgment. When is the final judgment? At the Great White Throne a thousand years later, and we’ll get into that. But this is physical death. All of those gentiles on his left hand die on the spot. You know what happens to the ones that are alive? They stay alive, and they enter into his kingdom alive. That’s why we say in the kingdom of Christ there are literal living Jews and gentiles, along with us glorified saints that come back. Well that’s a picture of judgment. The kingdom belongs to those who put their faith in Jesus Christ. That’s a simple thing, isn’t it? Aren’t you glad God didn’t make salvation complicated? Aren’t you glad that he said that accept you become as a little child, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. You say, “What do you mean by that, John?” I mean that you just strip off all of the complexities of religion and you just believe in Jesus Christ.
I picked up a magazine today that was written by the divine god by the name of hocus-pocus somebody from the orient; I don't know, some strange name. And I started to read the thing and I had no idea what he was talking about. He was talking about the super-sensitive divine consciousness that pervades the something or other and all strange words. And then I pick up my Bible and I think about the great theologian who one time was asked after years and years of studying in depth what’s the greatest thing you ever learned. And he said, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” That’s all it takes, isn’t it? You think about judgment and it’s fearful. No man ever needs to be there, that’s why Jesus died.
Let’s pray. Father, we thank you for the grace of Jesus Christ. Thank you for the blood that was shed on our behalf and the price that was paid to purchase our freedom. Lord God, we think about judgment, and it’s fearful. And like Paul, we want to persuade men because we know the terror of the Lord, and we know how your heart must break and grieve because you’re not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Father God, help us not only to examine our own lives to be sure that we know Jesus Christ, but to get a burden for the lost. God, give us a compassion. God, may we be saved from our own indifference. Lord God, help us to realize that there’s a world full of dying people who know not thee. Make us instruments of thy grace. Make us those kind of people who accept the responsibility as ministers of reconciliation, that we’d get on our knees if need be and beg men to be reconciled to God. And, Lord, I pray tonight that no one would leave this building who has not really settled the life issue with thee, who has not put their faith in the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
And while your heads are bowed, just as we close, we express to you the desire of our heart tonight that you might know Jesus Christ. Some of you are here tonight I know and you’ve never met Christ. You’ve never given your life to him. Maybe you’ve struggled with the issue and you’ve fought the battle and you just don’t know whether you want to give up yourself and your sin. And the Spirit of God has spoken tonight and you sense his moving in your heart and you do believe and you just are willing to say, “Christ, take over my life. I want all that you’ve provided to be mine.” If that’s so, just say that in your heart quietly. Just say, “Lord God, I believe Jesus Christ died for me. Forgive my sin. Take over my life.” That’s as simple as it is, and you’re transformed in a moment. I hope you prayed that prayer. If you did, God heard it, and he knows and it’s settled and it’s forever.
This article is also available and sold as a booklet.