Calvary Road Baptist Church

“The Judgment of the Great Day

Unto the Judgment of the great day (Jude 6).

(Adapted from a sermon by Asahel Nettleton)

My text for this evening is Jude 4-6:

 

4      For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

5      I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

6      And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

 

Jude, the inspired writer, and the half brother of the Lord Jesus Christ, is announcing in this passage the certain destruction of the wicked in his day. And he illustrates his pronouncement with an example from the past and a prophecy of the future.

Focus your attention, if you will please, on our text for today, Jude 6, wherein mention is made of the fallen angels. These criminals as yet have had no formal trial, but they are reserved in chains until all things are ready for the solemn event they are bound over for. Notice the text again. “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”

The great day that Jude refers to is the Day of the Lord. Not a 24 hour day, but an extended period here on earth during which time Jehovah and His concerns are in the ascendancy. First mentioned in the small Old Testament book of Joel, the Day of the Lord begins with a time of great spiritual darkness following the Rapture that is known as the tribulation, the 70th week of Daniel (denoting its seven year duration), and the time of Jacob’s trouble. But this is only the beginning of the great day. A day, even a prophetic day that lasts more than 1000 years, that always in Scripture begins with darkness, does not remain darkness. Light always dawns. And after the darkness of the tribulation period will come the dawning of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in clouds of great glory, and the establishment of His millennial kingdom. Then, at the very end, as time gives way to eternity, is the judgment of the great day that is known in the Revelation as the great white throne judgment.

Rather than cut this topic up into pieces for dissection, let us consider the entire Day of the Lord as a unified whole, as we focus within that unified whole on the judgment of the great day. The great day, then, will take place when the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him. Then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory. Unto this day, the fallen angels which kept not their first estate, those who believed not when the Lord delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage, those ungodly men crept in unawares in Jude’s day, and you if you are not converted, are all reserved. This is the judgment of the great day.

Here are some of the particulars in which the Day of Judgment will appear to be a great day:

 

First, THE JUDGE WILL BE GREAT

 

The Son of Man will appear in His Own glory, and in the glory of His Father, according to Luke 9.26. Referring to His Own glorious return, Jesus said He would “come in his own glory, and in his Father’s.”

His glory will cover the heavens, Psalm 8.1. It is the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, Titus 2.13. And He will be seated on a great white throne, as emblematic of His majesty, dominion and power. Revelation 20.11 reads “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.” Yes, the Judge will be great.

 

Second, THE CONCOURSE, OR THE CROWD, WILL BE GREAT

 

Christ will call all the inhabitants out of heaven that attend Him down to this world. He will call all them living on the earth, and all the dead out of their graves, and summon all nations before Him. “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God . . . and the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them,” Revelation 20.12-13.

Every intelligent being which we have ever heard of, of every rank and station you could imagine, will be there. In short, all the inhabitants of three realms, heaven and earth and Hell, will be there. It must be a great day to excite the attention of so many realms. Amen? Heaven and Hell will be emptied of all their inhabitants to attend with those here alive on earth at that time.

You will be in attendance on that great day. I will be in attendance on that great day. Everyone will be in attendance on that day.

 

Third, THE TRANSACTION WILL BE GREAT

 

. . . and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works . . . and they were judged every man according to their works,” Revelation 20.12-13.

Yes, it will be a day of great transaction. You see, we consider it a matter of great importance in our own time when a life and death court case is tried. But on the great day it will be the souls of men that will be tried, tried in that decisive day for their works.

 

Fourth, THE DURATION SHALL BE GREAT

 

My friends, it will be a long day. Time, as we reckon it and understand it now, will have come to an end. “And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer,” Revelation 10.5-6. And the present state of things that we are familiar with will be ended. The sun, and moon, and stars shall all disappear. They shall all be darkened and disappear. When that happens there will come to an end all the happiness of the wicked, and God will no more cause His sun to rise on the earth or the moon and the stars to shine in the night. The seasons of the year will even cease. Alternate times of work and rest will be of no further use. As well, the bodies of both saints and sinners will be altered for a radically different environment. You see, when sinners return from the judgment of the great day they will not return to their houses, their families, their friends, or their former life.

The description of that great city Babylon will be literally true of the whole world. “And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee,” Revelation 18.22-23. Of course, we cannot determine just how long the day of judgment will be, but the events of that day will almost certainly continue for some years, as we now calculate time. That’s why I think the capacities of both saints and sinners may then be greatly expanded. People will probably be able to recollect and communicate ideas with far greater precision than at present. And that is good, since it will be necessary. There are 6 billion people on this earth at present. If it took only one second’s time to judge one soul, calculating only from those who are presently alive on earth and not counting all the multitudes who have lived throughout history, then judgment must take almost 200 years as we presently reckon time. Now, owing to the fact that the Lord will not be hasty in His judgment, but very deliberate, you can see that the day of judgment will, no doubt, be a very long day.

 

Fifth, THE JOY WILL BE GREAT

 

First, the joy will be great for the holy angels. The holy angels have always been delighted with the glory of God in the plan of salvation. And they have always desired to look into these things. Jesus told us that they rejoice at the repentance of every sinner. And now their joy will be all the greater in beholding the unfolding wisdom of God’s plan of salvation, even in judgment. For you see, there will not be a single Christian in the audience who will not exhibit the character of Christ, in great contrast to those being judged. And because of God’s grace being evident in every Christian present, angels will admire the Savior. That’s one object of the day of judgment. Christ shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day.

The joy will also be great for the genuinely saved. Believers will all know beforehand the issue of the trial they are about to witness. Many believers by then will have been with Christ in heaven for thousands of years. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all who have died in the Lord will have already long been with Christ. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. They have long been before the throne of God, serving Him day and night in His temple. And their happiness will not be interrupted by the solemn events of the judgment of the great day. Their bodies will all be glorified bodies, and there will be nothing to disturb their joy. We can think of but one thing that would appear likely to trouble believers. It is thought by some that a public declaration by the wicked of all the sins of believers before the whole assembled universe, who will attempt to shift blame for their troubles and point fingers of accusation, would fill believers with such shame as would interrupt their complete bliss. But the sins of the saints are already recorded in the Bible, and Christians and even sinners can read of them every day. Be assured, then, that no attempt by the wicked to point the finger of accusation will have any effect on the saved. You see, we know that the foul crimes of believers are seen by all who read the Bible, and yet this will not interrupt our joy. The sins of Abraham and Moses and David and Peter are held up every Sunday to the view of thousands of congregations. Yet this will not interrupt our songs in heaven. Christians read of their sins, and how do we react? By admiring the riches of God’s grace in their salvation and in our own. If reading an account of the conversion of these men in the Bible excites so much interest in the hearts of Christians now, how much more thrilling will it be to hear them relate the wonderful story of Jesus forgiving their sins themselves, should they be called upon to rebut the accusations and attempts to shift blame by the wicked before the great white throne? Nor will it be hard for any other Christian to admit our own guilt and make public confession of all our sins. It is precisely what we did when we came to Christ, First John 1.9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Though a hard thing to do with an unhumbled heart, it is an easy matter for one who is humble. Moses and David and Paul had meekness and humility enough to record their own sins in a book which must be open to the world and read in public. And this is an evidence of their sincerity and humility which we can only admire. God’s grace is sufficient. What we now so much admire in them will exist in all Christians, in a far greater degree, at the day of judgment. This is already proved by facts which are before us every day. When a man falls into sin he is unwilling to acknowledge it in exact proportion to his lack of humility. Even when his sin is already known to the world it is hard for him to admit. But there is such a thing as being so spiritual and broken-hearted that you are unwilling not to confess your sins. In proportion as the Christian loves God, in the same proportion will he loathe himself. Christ by His sufferings has condemned sin in the flesh, and all whose hearts are united to Him and pleased with the plan of salvation, will vigorously condemn ourselves. All who are here today who now love Christ, love also to acknowledge their guilt and confess their sins to Him. However humiliating, it makes no difference. The more humbling the more desirable, and the more humble the more happy is the Christian. Christians rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And His glory is advanced by a confession of those sins which have been pardoned through God’s grace. Believers, on the Day of Judgment, will all be anxious to give glory to God. A sense of the justice and mercy and glory of God will dispel all fear of man. The Christian’s whole being will give glory to God in pardoning Hell-deserving sinners. Their wonder and admiration will be so much increased that they will think less and less of themselves and more and more of what shall be done to glorify God in their salvation. If others can so admire the wonderful grace of God in pardoning such sinners, much more may such a recipient of God’s grace wonder at himself. At the Day of Judgment, I think we will be given a complete history of the work of redemption. Every particular will be heard and attended to with deep interest. And as God’s recounting of history continues all the holy angels and all the saved will be enthralled. And our joy will rise higher and higher, from the beginning of that great day to the end, as we see God mete out justice toward those who despised Him by pouring out upon them His wrath.

 

Sixth, THE TERROR WILL BE GREAT

 

Everything which gives joy to Christians will be inexpressibly painful to sinners. You see, Christians rejoice to behold the face of their Redeemer. In His presence is fullness of joy. But all the wicked tremble at the sight. They fear the gaze of Him Whose eyes are as a flame of fire. Then shall they begin to say “to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6.16-17. As the testimonies of the saints’ conversions are given on that day of judgment, to corroborate the record of lost men’s sins in God’s books, everything said and read will be grating to the sinners. Even now a Christian’s praise of God and testimony of salvation sounds harsh, it disturbs them, they do not wish to hear it. But at the judgment of the great day everything of this nature will be still more dreadful to every unrenewed soul. The joy of saints will tend to greatly aggravate the distress of the damned awaiting their hearing and sentence. And the sight of one believer rejoicing will be exceedingly painful to that one who is under conviction of sin. And there all sinners will be under conviction, under the deepest conviction of sin. Every hardened sinner will at that time be under deeper conviction than any conviction ever witnessed on earth. As Jude writes, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince 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.” What grief and envy the lost awaiting judgment will feel when they see former friends and loved ones rejoice while they are in horror. They will then feel as if those Christians did not care if they went to the lake of fire. They will think it so hard of others to feel so joyful when their situation is so desperate.

But this is not all of it. It will also be hard for impenitent sinners to confess their sins. Consider how hard it is for an unhumbled heart to fall before God and confess his sins now. How reluctant does a man feel to have others think evil of him. How many pains will he take to vindicate his character? And even when a man is known to be guilty, how reluctant is that man to admit and confess his guilt, even when it is in his best interest to do so? But all this reluctance, shame, and remorse of conscience will be greatly increased on that great Day of Judgment. You see, all restraints will then be taken off and every heart will appear in its native wicked deformity. The sinner will be completely selfish and unhumbled. No Christian motives will sweetly influence his heart. Spiritual grief and hatred of sin will not be present in him to make it easy. Love for Christ will not melt his heart or make it easy. The glory of God in pardoning sinners will not do it. The hope or prospect of obtaining pardon does not make it a pleasant duty now, much less when all hope of pardon has passed. At the judgment of the great day he must and will be made to admit and confess his guilt. Not to display the glory of God in his pardon and salvation, but to display His glorious justice in the man’s everlasting condemnation. This will be a part of his punishment, that his trial will make it appear to the whole universe that he deserves no pity whatsoever. Everything which in his case tends to the glory of God ends in his shame and everlasting contempt. The distress and horror of the wicked will rise higher and higher up to his final sentencing.

The judgment of the great day is called the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. When everything is settled and the Day of Judgment IS drawing to a close, then the judge will proceed to pronounce the final sentence. A summary of the final sentence on the righteous and the wicked the judge has left on record. This last and closing scene will be the most dreadful scene ever yet beheld. The final sentence will complete the horrors of the damned. Depart from Christ, from heaven, and from happiness forever! Depart accursed by the law, and the Gospel, and the Savior forever! Depart from the society of angels and all holy beings, with the company of devils and damned spirits into everlasting fire. “and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire,” Revelation 20.13-15. “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death,” Revelation 21.8. “Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty,” Isaiah 13.6. “Weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you,” James 5.1. Yes, the terror shall be great.

 

Seventh, THE SEPARATION SHALL BE GREAT

 

The Day of Judgment will be a day of great separation. “For these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” What an awful separation. Many who have been friends for a lifetime, who have lived together their whole lives, will be separated forever. Many who have walked into the house of God together, who have belonged to the same Church, and who have communed together at the Lord’s Table, will now part to meet no more forever.

Pastors and people will part. Some preachers, who have not been faithful to warn the wicked of his awful guilt and danger, will now turn and go away with the blood of souls on their hands. Others who, though they have declared the whole counsel of God, have never experienced the grace of God themselves, will lose their own souls. Many men who have lifted others into heaven will probably never enter themselves. And those who have been faithful to their own souls and the souls of their hearers may now enter heaven, while they observe the multitudes who heard them without response going away never to return.

Members of the same family will now separate. A spiritual father will now leave his ungodly wife and children while he ascends with Christ. A believing wife now leaves behind an ungodly husband to perish in everlasting fire. A child with faith will now part with his ungodly parents. While he ascends to heaven they sink down to perdition. Brothers and sisters, too, will now part to meet no more forever. The separation at death is nothing compared to the Day of Judgment. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

The saints shall all ascend and leave this earth, no more to return. Like the prophet Elijah, they shall all ascend. Every one of the saints like him shall be seen mounting up and leaving the world and all its wicked inhabitants behind to visit them no more. The great end for which this world was created is answered. The glorious plan of redemption is on schedule. The closing scene of this grand drama has arrived, and the stage of action must now be removed.

 

Eighth, THE RENOVATION SHALL BE GREAT

 

About this time the whole physical universe will undergo a great change. It does not appear from the Bible that the world will be annihilated. But its present form will be greatly changed. The Psalmist writes, “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shalt wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed,” Psalm 105.26-27.

It is evident not only that this world will be changed, but that it will be changed by fire. Isaiah 34.4: “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.” Zephaniah 3.8: “My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.” Psalm 50.3: “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.” Isaiah 66.15: “For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.” 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.” Malachi 4.1: “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts.” Second Peter 3.7: “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” Second Peter 3.10-12: “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”

 

God is real.

Sin is soul damning.

Hell is hot.

And judgment is coming. It will be the judgment of the great Day.

What more can I say? The scene is really beyond description. It is the judgment of the great Day. And who shall stand in that day? Who shall enter His holy place?

“He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart,” Psalm 24.4.

 

“Where now, O where shall sinners seek,

For shelter in the general wreck;

Shall falling rocks be o’er them thrown?

See rocks like snow dissolving down.

In vain for mercy now they cry;

In lakes of liquid fire they lie;

There on the flaming billows tossed,

Forever - oh! Forever lost!”



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pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org