Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THE THIRD OF CHRIST’S JUDGMENTS, THE JUDGMENT OF TRIBULATION MARTYRS”

John 5.22 

The text in God’s Word that serves as a jumping off place for this series of messages about the Lord Jesus Christ’s judgments is John 5.22, where the Savior said, 

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” 

Before turning to the matter of the third of Christ’s judgments, the judgment of the Tribulation martyrs, I want to review the history of events that will take place during the Tribulation. After looking at two passages written by the Apostle Paul I will use as my source material the book of Revelation, the only book of the Bible that provides for its readers the outline of its contents. Please turn to Revelation 1.9, where we find a portion of what the glorified Lord Jesus Christ said to John: 

“Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” 

It is this verse which gives us the general outline of the entire book of the Revelation. This is the only place in the entire Word of God in which such an outline is given. By giving us this outline for the Revelation the Lord Jesus Christ is revealing to us how extremely important it is that we properly understand and interpret this great portion of Scripture. How important is this outline? Those who follow this key to interpreting the Revelation invariably believe that the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ for His Own will be both pretribulational and premillennial, which is to say before the Tribulation and before the millennium. Those who deviate from this outline come up with all kinds of prophetical schemes. Only when you follow this three-point outline can you have any hope of making sense of the Revelation, can you do justice to this great book. So, you can see how extremely important to your understanding this outline is.

The first point is concerned with the things John has seen and with the unveiling of Jesus Christ in His glory in chapter one. Therefore, John is functioning as a seer rather than a prophet. The second point covers chapters two and three and deals with the things that are; that is, the Churches of this present age. It is important to notice that in the Revelation the glorified Lord Jesus pointedly addresses individual congregations.

He does not deal with denominational organizations because such organizations have no Scriptural authority for existing. And neither does He speak to all of Christendom. This is because until after the Rapture takes place the notion of a universal Church is premature. Until the Rapture the New Testament recognizes only congregations.

The third point, referring to what is, by far, the lengthiest portion of the book of Revelation, has to do with those things that come after the Churches are gone from the earth. Of course, this will be when the Rapture of the Church Age believer occurs in the imminent future. These things said, let us look to Paul before I rehearse to you the events recorded in advance in John’s Revelation.

What will take place when the Rapture occurs? In First Thessalonians 4.16-17 the Apostle Paul describes what will happen with believers, both dead and alive, of this era when the Rapture occurs: 

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 

But what of those alive at the time of the Rapture who are not believers in Jesus Christ? What happens to you who are unsaved? Of course, if you are still alive you will be left behind. Every one of you who is alive but unsaved will be left behind. Immediately after the Rapture there will be not one living soul left on earth who knows the Lord. And you will be quite happy with yourselves, according to Second Thessalonians 2.1-12, where Paul calms the fears of concerned Christians about those left behind after the Rapture: 

1  Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

3  Let no man deceive you by and means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

4  Who opposeth and exalted himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

5  Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

6  And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

8  And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

9  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 

So you see, you who are so displeased with Gospel preaching and Church attendance will suddenly become very happy when the Christians are all gone, when the Spirit of God no longer works to make you feel guilty for wrongdoing, and in your strong delusion you will take great pleasure in your unrighteousness. Imagine. No Christians anywhere! You will be so very happy.

When the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit is removed, Paul informs us in Second Thessalonians 2.7-8 the antichrist will then reveal himself: 

7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

8  And then shall that Wicked be revealed 

He will make a covenant with the Jewish people and the Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Everyone will be so happy, and so godless. We now turn to the Revelation, where we are told that two types of catastrophes will occur. On the economic front astonishing inflation will drive the prices of basic necessities sky high, while leaving the cost of expensive items the same. It will be manipulated inflation, don’t you see, according to Revelation 6.6: 

“A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” 

One man will work one day to feed himself for a day. One woman will work one day to feed herself for one day. But what about the kids? So, it will be worldwide gradual starvation, such as is presently happening in Venezuela. But the oil and wine the rich people consume will be untouched by inflation.

The other type of catastrophes will be environmental. What the environmentalists are predicting will occur. It will begin with earthquakes, Revelation 6.12. But it will not stop there. The sun will turn black and the moon will become as blood. Water will become putrid and plagues will over spread mankind. One fourth of the human race will die. Then one third of the human race will die. Men will beg to die but will not be allowed to die. Thankfully, God will intervene with spiritual relief in the form of 144,000 young men, 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes in Israel. They are referred to in Revelation chapters 7 and 14, anointed evangelists who will reap a great harvest of souls amidst the death and suffering and devastation and starvation. Of course, there will be great opposition to them from the antichrist and from you who love unrighteousness, so much so that those brought to Christ by the 144,000 will face starvation and beheading for their refusal to take the mark of the beast and for refusing to worship him.

Reflect on it for a moment. The antichrist will make use of already existing technology to replace money for buying and selling. All you need do is allow a mark to be placed on your forehead or on the back of your right hand. Oh, wait! That is already happening, isn’t it? RFIDs inserted under the skin.[1] All pets on military installations have them. Some employees of businesses now have them. Many businesses use RFIDs to track inventory. Only after the Rapture the antichrist will make it legally required for anyone to buy and sell. But those brought to Christ after the Rapture will refuse the mark of the beast, and they will starve for their convictions. Still others will not live long enough to starve, but will be beheaded for refusing to worship the beast.

Of course, everyone worships someone. And those who refuse to worship Christ now will worship the antichrist then. The only exceptions will be those come to Christ after the Rapture, but for most of them it will cost them their lives. They will be martyred, you see. It is those who will come to Christ after the Rapture and who will die for their loyalty to Christ, either by slow starvation or by beheading, whose judgment we will consider at this time, Christ’s judgment of tribulation martyrs.

Five points to consider: 

First, THE TIME OF THE JUDGMENT OF TRIBULATION MARTYRS 

This judgment is also, obviously, a posttribulational judgment. As with the Old Testament saints judged by the Lord Jesus Christ, this judgment will likely take place during the 75 days between the Tribulation and the Millennium that I previously pointed out to you, in Daniel 12.11-12.

Consider Revelation 20.4-6: 

4  And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither has received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

5  But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 

Here we see that Christ’s judgment of Tribulation martyrs takes place after Satan is bound and incarcerated in his prison prior to the Millennium. 

Next, THE PLACE OF THE JUDGMENT OF TRIBULATION MARTYRS 

The place of the judgment of the Tribulation martyrs is not stated in God’s Word, but it could possibly also be in conjunction of the judgment of living Jews who emerge alive from the Tribulation. 

Third, THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE JUDGMENT OF TRIBULATION MARTYRS 

The Apostle John informs us that those in this judgment are 

“them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands.” 

These saints will have been resurrected for their reward, according to Revelation 20.4-6. In verse 4 mention is made that “they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Verse 5 declares,

“This is he that hath part in the first resurrection.” 

Fourth, THE BASIS OF THE JUDGMENT OF TRIBULATION MARTYRS 

About all that can be said in this regard is that the basis will be their faithfulness to the divinely imposed responsibilities that they will discharge during that brief time period. This will include responding in saving faith to the Gospel of the kingdom that will be preached in those days by the young Jewish evangelists mentioned in Revelation chapters 7 and 14.

The Gospel message they will respond to will likely differ only slightly from the message presented to us, and then only with regard to the good news of God’s saving grace in Christ Jesus in view of the impending millennial kingdom.

As with Abraham, with David, and with everyone else throughout God’s dealings with men to bring about their reconciliation, their salvation will be by grace through faith. 

Fifth, THE RESULTS OF THE JUDGMENT OF TRIBULATION MARTYRS 

The reward for these martyrs will be that it will someday be said that they “reigned with Christ for a thousand years,” Revelation 20.4.

It seems best to say that they will be part of an echelon of resurrected saint, in their glorified bodies, who are ranked slightly below the Bride of Christ, “the general assembly and church of the firstborn,” but above those saints still alive at Christ’s coming who enter the Millennium from the Tribulation in their natural, unglorified bodies. 

Salvation is always appropriated by means of faith, since the just shall live by faith. Though the Lord Jesus Christ will judge the works of the Tribulation martyrs, they become believers in Jesus Christ by means of faith and their works following their saving faith will be judged by the Savior. Thus, we have now considered three of the Lord Jesus Christ’s judgments. First, there was the Judgment Seat of Christ, the judgment of the Church Age Christian’s works immediately following the Rapture. Second, there was the judgment of the Old Testament saints immediately following Christ’s Second Coming. I am of the opinion that the judgment of the Tribulation martyrs will immediately follow the second judgment.

Will the Lord Jesus Christ judge works? Most certainly. However, His judgment of works is not to determine the eternal destiny of the person judged. Eternal destiny is a matter of faith and only faith. The judgment of works is not to ascertain anyone’s eternal destiny, but to evaluate and reward individuals whose eternal destiny has already been decided.

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[1] A Google search of “RFID” results in “Radio-frequency identification (RFID) uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically stored information. Passive tags collect energy from a nearby RFID reader's interrogating radio waves.” 8/22/2017

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