"And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them." Revelation 20: 11
THE Millennial reign, which is to succeed the judgment of the living nations, can be imagined in its broad outline only. Its details are difficult and in many respects, impossible of conjecture. Since the last enemy of all to be destroyed is death, one presumes that death or translation will operate and, if so, then marriage and birth. Certainly the period will he characterised by the rule of the rod of iron, that is to say, inflexible justice and strict obedience. Satan being bound, human nature will not be provoked. But at the end of the 1000 years Satan is to be loosed out of his prison. He will go forth to deceive the nations in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog. The binding and loosing of Satan is mysterious. It may be that the binding is for the purpose of bringing even Satan to some sort of reflection and perchance, submission. The loosing may be for proving him or for demonstrating that the evil will within him is incorrigible. Whatever the reasons, he shows himself to be as of old, and liberty is but opportunity for fomenting rebellion against the Most High. Nor is he unsuccessful in the effort. After 1000 years of peace and prosperity there are found many who are willing to be deceived and to enlist under his banner. Once again the fair Garden of Eden is wrecked by the incredible response of man to his deceptions. The armies of Gog and Magog compass the beloved city, but they are speedily vanquished," for fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them."
One fact will be abundantly clear: apart from the grace of God, man is utterly unable of himself to sustain and maintain any period of peace and prosperity on the earth. Such a condition was possible when Satan was bound, it is proved to be utterly impossible when he is at liberty.
Looming up before the Seer, appeared the great white throne. How it came to be he does not say, but it is presented before his gaze to be forgotten in the contemplation of Him Who sits upon it, from Whose face the heaven and the earth fled away. Since the Father has committed all judgment to the Son, the identity of the Glorious Being is established. Not now in the body of humiliation, despised and rejected of men, but in a glory transcending even the magnificence of His appearing to the nations. Heaven and earth, the work of His hands, disappear forever. Hereafter shall be new heavens and a new earth. The dead, small and great, stand before God. No trumpet sound has called them forth. Whence they come the Seer does not say, but he sees them there. The earth upon which they depended has departed. These are they whose satisfactions were wholly in time and sense. Lust in its various forms dominated their passions and satisfied their cravings. They lived in very truth on the earth, and that by which they were sustained is departed. The source of their satisfaction is gone forever.
They stand before a throne, having neither altar nor blood and therefore having no hope. It would not seem that any words are spoken as the books are opened. No argument is needed to bring home conviction, no advocacy for mercy could be effective. These are the dead who desired to be judged by their works. The atoning blood was despised, mercy was declined. They are the dead in body and soul, with all powers of response to God withered, with every desire for repentance perished! They are judged according to their works, for the evil they have knowingly committed. They express no surprise at their condemnation; they realise its justice all too well. It is well to note this is the judgment of the unsaved and it is for works done. There is no judgment here for original sin. There is no condemnation of little children for not being baptised! We may thank God that there is nothing but eternal love and mercy for all little children; they are safe in the arms of Jesus.
At this tribunal nothing is concealed. God has ever been willing to cover sin adequately. The covering Adam and Eve made for themselves was superseded by the provision God made for them with the skins of animals. Ever since then God has been in mercy seeking to cover man's sin and to save him from its penalties. " I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sin." Where the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is refused, there is no covering for sin. Without that blood no sin can remain concealed.
Many things today provide a superficial covering for sin: money, respectability, hypocrisy, but they are coverings of time only. When the books are opened in which every man's record will be inscribed, there will be but one effectual blotting out: the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without that covering, every sin will be manifest.
The Book of Life will be opened! A sign that those before that dread tribunal could have been saved but they would not. Their destiny is no hapless fate, no cruel sentence of a vindictive Majesty, but the choice of their own self will. The Book is opened by the pierced hand of the One on the Throne. He was the Author of Mercy, He is the final judge. There is no weeping, no sighs, no cries, nothing but silence! God never abandons a soul until that soul has finally abandoned itself.
One would not wish to dwell upon the scene, but it is necessary its lessons should be learned. Life is a matter of the gravest concern: " God will bring every work into judgment with every secret thought, whether it be good or whether it be evil." Unhappily in these days the pulpit is largely silent on this great fact of judgment. The conviction is widespread that, if we cease to talk about hell, it will cease to be a fact. It is the policy of the ostrich! When God declared his coming judgment on the earth to Noah, the patriarch believed him. For 120 years, while he was building the ark, he warned men, but nobody believed him. Scepticism did not keep back the flood! It came because it was Divinely decreed. The despised ark was the condemnation in the day of the flood. Every man and woman perishing in the waters could have been inside had they believed. The atoning work of Christ on Calvary is to-day despised; it will yet appear in judgment upon those who reject its message and grace.
The preacher who keeps back the fact of judgment takes upon himself a solemn responsibility. It is for every minister, on his knees, to know the whole counsel of God upon this momentous fact. What shall be said of the man who is content to ignore the subject and to be silent? It is for the preacher, by every winning word of love, to plead with the unsaved that his own conscience may at least be clear of the blood of all men.
If the reader is not yet trusting completely and only in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, then he or she may be sure that at that day every word of mercy will rise up in judgment. The example of godly parents, the pleadings of a faithful teacher, the witness of a consecrated life in office or workshop, even the testimony of this little book, all will play their part. They were the avenues of mercy to woo to Calvary, but despised they become the agonies of judgment for a lost soul!
"He that despised Moses' law died without mercy, under two or three witnesses : of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing and bath done despite unto the spirit of grace." So the writer to the Hebrews envisaged the solemn responsibilities laid upon us by the Cross. God grant we may not be insensible to the peril of trampling upon the love of God in Jesus Christ His Son!
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