Calvary Road Baptist Church

THE SECOND OF CHRIST’S JUDGMENTS, THE JUDGMENT OF OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS

John 5.22

For the sake of simplicity, the study of Biblical prophecy necessarily requires that certain assumptions be made by those seeking to understand what God’s Word teaches about future events. Of those who study God’s Word and take serious note of those passages that were predictive prophecy at the time they were written, they generally fall into two camps of interpreters. The characteristics of the two camps of interpreters can be described in various ways. Considered as a function of their rules of interpretation, one camp applies different rules of interpretation when studying prophetic passages of Scripture than when examining non-prophetic passages, while the other camp embraces the conviction that both prophetic and non-prophetic passages should be subject to the same rules of interpretation.1

Considered as a function of their understanding of covenants, one camp holds as central to their theological system explaining prophetic passages of the Bible the conviction that God established a covenant of works with Adam that was violated when Adam sinned, leading to a covenant of grace that has held sway since then. That camp also believes the covenant God established with Abraham was abrogated when the Jewish people rejected their Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, and that the Church is the new beneficiary of the covenant originally established with Abraham. For these reasons this camp of theologians is referred to as Covenant Theologians. “Covenant theologians teach that Old Testament Israel and the New Testament church are one people, one being the continuation and successor of the other.”2

The other camp are usually referred to as Dispensation Theologians. I am in this second camp. “The basic test of a dispensational interpreter is his willingness to distinguish, via normal reading of the Scriptures, the difference between Israel and the church.”3 This camp where I am found does not normally make reference to anything like a covenant of works because there is no mention or intimation of such a covenant in Genesis chapters two and three prior to the fall of Adam. On the other hand, this camp that I occupy recognizes a number of covenants explicitly mentioned in the Old Testament, of two types: One type of covenant is the unconditional covenant that God establishes and that God assumes complete responsibility for fulfilling. This would be the Noahic Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Davidic Covenant, etc. The Mosaic Covenant is a conditional type of covenant, whereby God’s blessings are dependent upon the other party in the covenant, the nation of Israel, complying with God’s will and enjoying His blessings or rebelling against His will and suffering the consequences. The Christians of this present era that we live in, on the other hand, are not subject to the Law of Moses because we are a distinct people, not to be considered as being dealt with by God in the same manner as the nation of Israel, as is evidenced by the fact that the Law was not given to us and we are in no wise subject to it.4

I set these considerations before you so that you will clearly distinguish in your minds what is clearly distinguished in God’s Word during this present era in which we live. Of those of this present era who are dead in trespasses and sins, alienated from God and existing in a state of rebellion toward the Lord Jesus Christ, there are two types of unsaved people; Jews and Gentiles. Of those who are reconciled to God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, there is only one type of person (who was formerly either a Jew or a Gentile), the now converted child of God, the now believing Christian, that one who has turned from his sins to Christ in faith believing and who is destined for heaven and “the general assembly and church of the firstborn,” also described by Paul in First Corinthians 10.32, where he writes,

Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.”

Covenant theologians, who generally speaking embrace amillennialism, postmillennialism, or covenant premillennialism (and among those just mentioned would include those who believe in a partial Rapture, those who believe in a midtribulation Rapture, as well as those who hold to a posttribulation Rapture) do not consistently recognize that Israel is not the Church and the Church is not Israel. However, among those of us who are consistent dispensationalists, who agree that God’s dealings with Israel are distinct from His dealings with the Church Age believer in Jesus Christ, there is genuine cause for our convictions about the way we think the future will soon unfold.

Please turn in your Bible to Daniel 9, where we will read the most important passage bearing on our immediate future to be found in the Bible, verses 24-27:

24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

If you apply the same principles for interpreting this passage that you use to discover the meaning of any other passage found in God’s Word you will join us in arriving at a consensus of meaning that includes the following:

#1 The weeks referred to by the angel Gabriel who here spoke to Daniel is a reference to weeks of years and not weeks of days. Thus, a grand total of 490 years are referred to by the angel Gabriel in God’s dealings with the nation of Israel.

#2 This passage refers to the judgment visited upon Israel that is of the temporal kind, having to do with God’s chosen people while they are alive here on earth rather than after they pass into eternity. I made passing reference to this type of judgment when dealing with the Judgment Seat of Christ.

#3 The seventy weeks are here divided into three groups, with the first being seven weeks, the second being sixty-two weeks, and the final being a single week. With the beginning of these weeks commencing with “the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem,” verse 25, and the arrival of “the Messiah the Prince,” a total of 69 weeks or 483 years had already passed. That prediction was fulfilled, by the way, by Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.5

#4 However, verse 26 informs us that the Messiah was to be cut off, obviously a reference to our Lord’s crucifixion and a prediction just as obviously fulfilled.

#5 A mistake that is frequently made involves misinterpreting the phrase found in the middle of verse 26, “the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” The people of the prince are the Romans, the destruction referred to here took place in 70 AD when Jerusalem was leveled and Herod’s Temple was destroyed, and the prince referred to here is not the Lord Jesus Christ, as you shall see.

#6 The “he” referred to three times in verse 27 is the prince mentioned in verse 26, and he is not the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the antichrist. Verse 27 bears reading again:

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

The confirmation of the covenant with many for one week is a reference to the 70th week of Daniel, which has not yet occurred but will take place after the Rapture. In the middle of the seven years of Tribulation the antichrist will violate the covenant he has made, will desecrate the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, and the 3½ years of Great Tribulation will commence.6

I rehearse these predicted events to you to establish for you who God deals with when. From the time of the Babylonian captivity until the arrival of the Lord Jesus Christ to Jerusalem and His triumphal entry was 483 years, 69 weeks, during which time God’s dealings were with the Jewish people as the centerpiece of His involvement with mankind. From the time of Christ’s passion, resurrection, and ascension 2,000 years ago, until the as yet future Rapture, God’s dealings during what we sometimes refer to as the Age of Grace, or the Church Age, has not been with the nation of Israel but with individual sinners who are confronted with the claims of Jesus Christ in the Gospel, and this done primarily by means of the Great Commission undertaken by Church congregations preaching to Gentiles. This Age of Grace is set between the 69th week of Daniel and the 70th week of Daniel.

When the Rapture takes place and Church Age believers dead and alive are caught up to meet the Lord in the air, the Judgment Seat of Christ will then take place in heaven. We dealt with that first judgment of Jesus Christ last week, which was His judgment of Church Age Christians. However, once the Rapture takes place the clock of Daniel’s seventy weeks of years that has been stopped at 483 years for now more than two millennia will resume, ticking off the last of the seven weeks of years. That last week of years, Daniel’s 70th week, is also referred to as the time of Jacob’s trouble, Jeremiah 30.7.

The reason the rest of Christ’s judgments take place seven years after the Judgment Seat of Christ is because the Judgment Seat of Christ is our Lord’s first judgment, the judgment of those who are most favored, the judgment of those of us who will comprise “the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven,” Hebrews 12.23. The Judgment Seat of Christ is the judgment of those who comprise the bride of Christ, the judgment of we who will reign with Him forever.

These things understood, we now advance the clock of Christ’s judgments seven years to consider the judgment of Old Testament Saints. As we proceed, be careful to understand that the means whereby one becomes a saint, whether during Old Testament times, or New Testament times, or in our day, or in the seven years of Tribulation, and even in the millennium, is and must be the same for all. When Enoch walked with God,7 when Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD,8 when Abram believed in the LORD and it was counted unto him for righteousness,9 when Jacob wrestled with the LORD,10 when Rahab and Ruth were saved,11 when young Samuel came to know the LORD,12 as well as when David and the all the others who populated Abraham’s bosom when they died,13 the means by which they came to be God’s people was faith.

Here is what happened to an Old Testament saint: At some point that individual came to believe in God’s future provision, as was the case with Abram. He lived out his life and in due course died, some individuals being under the Law of Moses, but others living and dying before the giving of the Law. Still others, like Job, being a Gentile, would not have been under the Law even if he had not been long dead when the Law was given. Whatever the situation, since the Law was not given to save anyone from his sins, God’s requirement was always faith. When the Old Testament saint died his soul was carried by angels to paradise, also referred to as Abraham’s bosom.14 There each Old Testament saint resided awaiting the fulfillment of his expectation. That day arrived when the Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood for the sins of those of faith already dead and those of faith not yet born. While our Lord’s dead body remained in the rich man’s tomb Christ’s spirit was in Abraham’s bosom, preaching to them all He had done in fulfillment of their expectation and anticipation, as Peter related in his letter, in First Peter 3.19:

By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.”

When came the time for His resurrection He led captivity captive, Psalm 68.18 and Ephesians 4.8, taking those who had been in Abraham’s bosom with Him to their long anticipated home in heaven. They have been in heaven for more than 2,000 years.

I think we are now ready for a consideration of Christ’s Judgment of the Old Testament Saints:

First, THE TIME OF CHRIST’S JUDGMENT OF OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS

Understand that this will be a posttribulational judgment. It will take place after the final regathering of Israel to the land promised to Abraham. It will also take place following the Lord Jesus Christ’s Second Coming.

Turn to Daniel 12, where we will read verses 2, 3, 11, and 12:

2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

Verses 2 and 3 speaks of those during Old Testament times being judged. Those who awake to everlasting life are also mentioned in verse 3, the implication being that they will be rewarded for turning many to righteousness. Those who awake to shame and everlasting contempt will be dealt with in another judgment. Looking down to verses 12 and 13, there are two things a very keen eye will notice: First, 1,290 days is actually 30 days more than the actual length of the Great Tribulation. Then, added to the difference between the number of days in verse 11 and the number of days in verse 12, which is 45 days, gives an actual total of 75 days between the Second Coming of Christ to earth and the official inauguration of His millennial kingdom. Thus, there is a period of 75 days during which a number of events will take place that includes dismantling the old order and inaugurating the new order of Christ’s millennial kingdom. It is likely Christ’s Judgment of Old Testament Saints will be conducted during these 75 days.

Next, THE PLACE OF CHRIST’S JUDGMENT OF OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS

The place where this judgment is to be held is not stated but it could well be in conjunction with the judgment of living Jews who come out of the Tribulation. This might be in a place referred to by the prophet Ezekiel in 20.35:

And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.”

This is possibly the Kadesh Barnea area since God compares it to the judgment on Israel soon after the Exodus in Numbers 13-15, according to Ezekiel 20.36:

Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD.”

Third, THE PARTICIPANTS IN CHRIST’S JUDGMENT OF OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS

The participants in this judgment will include all believers up to the time God set aside the nation of Israel in His dealings and turned His attention to the era of the Churches in the Age of Grace. Was that when Israel rejected their Messiah and called for His crucifixion? Was that on the Day of Pentecost? I am not sure we will know the answer to that question this side of heaven with any precision.

Fourth, THE BASIS FOR CHRIST’S JUDGMENT OF OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly the basis for this judgment since those involved come from several dispensations, each comprising differing amounts of revelation. A broad statement of the ground for the judgment of these Old Testaments saints would be their faithfulness to their various dispensational responsibilities.

Daniel says simply that the basis is “they that be wise” and “they that turn many to righteousness,” Daniel 12.3: “They that be wise” carries the ideas of prudence and prosperity. It means to act in such a manner as to bring your task to a successful conclusion. “They that turn many to righteousness” is self-evident. Both criteria add to faithfulness and obedience to the commands and obligations imposed by God, including the necessity of personal saving faith.15

Finally, THE RESULTS OF CHRIST’S JUDGMENT OF OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS

Is it the angel Gabriel who is still speaking to Daniel, and who says that those who are rewarded at this judgment “shall shine as the brightness of the firmament” and “as the stars for ever and ever,” Daniel 12.3? Turn to Malachi 3.16-17:

16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

These expressions add up to places of privilege and responsibility in the great messianic kingdom, the final installment of the Old Testament believer’s walk with his God.

Though we cannot be precise with respect to every aspect of the Lord Jesus Christ’s judgment of the Old Testament saints, there is more detail provided in God’s Word about this judgment than most people are aware of. What three things might we take away from our consideration of Christ’s future judgment of Old Testament believers who came to saving faith before Christ was crucified, who then died and did not go directly to heaven but rather to Abraham’s bosom, but who were then taken to heaven when our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended on high?

First, our conviction that salvation is, has always been, and ever will be by means of faith is strengthened. Second, there is accountability for the life you live, no matter who you are and no matter when you are. We now recognize that every Old Testament saint will face his anticipated Savior after His Second Coming. Finally, just as Christians at the Judgment Seat of Christ will be rewarded, so the Old Testament saints will also be rewarded by their Savior.

Whether before the Flood or after, whether under the Law of Moses or not, no one who came to faith before the time of Christ, who lived for God and served Him, who suffered the slings and arrows of the Devil for being a believer, will, through the ceaseless ages of eternity, regret upon reflection a single instance of living for and loving his Lord and God.

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1 Paul Lee Tan, The Interpretation Of Prophecy, (Winona Lake, Indiana: BMH Books, 1974), pages 29-74.

2 Ibid., page 247.

3 Ibid., page 251.

4 Deuteronomy 5.1-3; Acts 15.5-29; Romans 3.19; Galatians 3.13

5 Luke 19.42

6 Matthew 24.15-21

7 Genesis 5.24

8 Genesis 6.8

9 Genesis 15.6

10 Genesis 32.26

11 Joshua 2.11; Ruth 1.16

12 1 Samuel 3.10

13 Romans 4.5-8

14 Luke 16.22

15 Rolland McCune, A Systematic Theology Of Biblical Christianity, Volume Three: The Doctrines of Salvation, the Church, and Last Things, (Detroit: Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, 2010), page 418.

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org