Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THE FIFTH OF CHRIST’S JUDGMENTS, THE JUDGMENT OF THE GENTILE NATIONS

John 5.22 

To date, we have surveyed four future judgments that will be conducted by the Lord Jesus Christ. Three of the judgments will be of those who at the time they are judged will have passed from this life to the next life. That is, they will not at the time of their judgment by the Lord Jesus Christ be in the state of natural life following natural birth, but will by then have died and been resurrected or will have been caught up in the Rapture to resurrection existence without having experienced natural death.

The first judgment in chronology will be the Judgment Seat of Christ, which will take place in heaven after the Rapture of Church Age believers in Jesus Christ, the era we are now in. Some of those caught up in the Rapture will have died, while some of those caught up in the Rapture will then still be alive.[1] It is clearly seen, since the Judgment Seat of Christ will occur in heaven after the Rapture, that Christ’s judgment will at that time be a judgment of works following the miracle of the new birth experienced by those individuals before they died or were Raptured and will not in any way be a judgment to at that time decide the eternal destiny of those who will be judged.

The second in this chronology of judgments will be the judgment of Old Testament saints. Since that era ended more than 2,000 years ago, it is quite obvious that Christ’s judgment of those individuals will take place following their resurrection. Further, it also seems that the Old Testament saints will be raised from the dead to be judged after the seven years of tribulation known as the 70th week of Daniel and the time of Jacob’s Trouble upon the occasion of the Lord Jesus Christ’s triumphant return to earth as our conquering king, but before the inauguration of Christ’s millennial kingdom here on earth. That judgment, too, will be a judgment of works following conversion and will not be an event in which the Old Testament saints are evaluated to their eternal destiny of heaven or the lake of fire. The matter of eternal destiny is always an issue decided while an individual is still in the natural state. The judgment of Old Testament saints will be an evaluation for rewards of the works engaged in by those Old Testament believers following their conversion and before they died.

The third judgment in chronology will be the judgment of Tribulation martyrs. Since that era will not begin until after the Rapture and will include only those saved and martyred during that future seven years that is bracketed by the Rapture at its beginning and Christ’s return at its ending, it is quite obvious that Christ’s judgment of those individuals will take place following their resurrection when Christ comes again to earth. Martyred Tribulation saints will be raised from the dead to be judged after the seven years of tribulation known as the 70th week of Daniel and also known as the time of Jacob’s Trouble upon the occasion of the Lord Jesus Christ’s triumphant return to earth as our conquering king, but before the inauguration of Christ’s millennial kingdom here on earth. That judgment, too, will be a judgment of works following conversion and will not be an occasion in which the martyred Tribulation believers are evaluated to their eternal destiny of heaven or the lake of fire. Again, that matter is always an already decided issue at the time of each person’s natural death. The judgment of Tribulation saints who are martyred will be an evaluation for rewards of the works engaged in by those Tribulation saints following their conversion until their martyrdom.

The fourth of our Lord Jesus Christ’s judgments will be the third of His judgments to take place after His second coming to earth in power and great glory, after His complete subjugation of rebellious mankind, and before His inauguration of the millennial kingdom. Unlike the Judgment Seat of Christ, the judgment of surviving Jewish people will not occur before the Tribulation, but afterward, soon after the judgment of the Old Testament saints and the judgment of Tribulation martyrs. Also unlike the Judgment Seat of Christ, the judgment of surviving Jewish people will take place here on earth, likely close on the heels of Christ’s judgment of the Old Testament saints and the judgment of Tribulation martyrs.

Unlike the Judgment Seat of Christ and the judgment of Old Testament saints and martyred Tribulation saints, Christ’s judgment of surviving Jews will be a judgment of those Jewish people who have not yet experienced physical death. They will not have died. As well, that judgment will also be a judgment of both saved and lost. Some of the Jewish people will be believers in Jesus Christ, while some of the survivors of the Tribulation will be Christ deniers, Christ rejecters, and Christ neglecters. Unlike the three previous judgments, the judgment of surviving Jewish people will not be an evaluation of works done in service to God. Neither will it be a judgment to decide the eternal destiny of those who will then be judged. Rather, it will be a judgment whose sole purpose is to expose the spiritual condition of those individuals Christ will then judge. The surviving Jewish people who are believers will be granted admittance to the millennial kingdom by the glorious King, Jesus Christ. The Jewish survivors who are unbelievers will not be given space to repent. They had seven years to repent. The judgment handed out to them by the Lion of the Tribe of Judah will be the death penalty, and they will be summarily executed.

We now come to the fifth of our Lord Jesus Christ’s judgments, the judgment of the Gentile nations. As has been our previous pattern, there are five main points under which I will gather my comments: 

First, THE TIME OF CHRIST’S JUDGMENT OF THE GENTILE NATIONS 

The judgment of the Gentiles will come after the Tribulation, again when all the posttribulational judgments seem to occur. As with the judgments other than the Judgment Seat of Christ right after the Rapture, this one will occur during the 75 days of Daniel 12.11-12. It is before the messianic reign of Christ, which begins when He inaugurates His millennial reign and begins to sit upon the throne of His father, David, in Jerusalem. Consider Joel’s description of this judgment in Joel 3.1-2, recognizing that while there have been short term fulfillments of this prediction, it will be when Christ returns that this prediction will be ultimately and completely fulfilled: 

1  For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,

2  I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. 

Notice, in passing, that Jehovah here clearly refers to that region as “my land.” This land does not belong to any people, tribe, or group. The land referred to here is said by the God of Israel to be “my land.”

In the Olivet Discourse the Lord Jesus was specific that the occasion of this tribunal is after His Second Coming, Matthew 25.31-33: 

31 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:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 

Two observations related to this event that takes place following Christ’s return seem significant to me: First, notice that those gathered for judgment will be “all nations.” The Greek word translated “all nations” is the single Greek word ethnos, from which we get our word ethnic. The point that I seek to make here is that the Lord Jesus Christ will not at this judgment display any noticeable concern for anyone’s ethnicity. One’s tribe, skin color, eye shape, language, body type, hair texture, national heritage, or any other aspect of physicality or culture will be a complete irrelevancy to Him. First Corinthians 10.32 shows us the Apostle Paul recognized only three types of human beings: Jews, the Church, and everyone else. So, if you are not a believer in Jesus Christ and you are not Jewish, then you belong to that mass of humanity who will be subject to Christ’s judgment when He comes again if you are still alive. Next, of that great mass of humanity who will then be judged by the Lord Jesus when He returns, there is only one matter of interest to Him. Is the person standing before Him a sheep or is the person a goat? Therefore, this is not a judgment to decide one’s destiny but to discover one’s spiritual condition, or to display one’s spiritual condition. And the difference between a sheep and a goat? Listen to our Lord’s words from John 10.27-28: 

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 

Next, THE PLACE OF CHRIST’S JUDGMENT OF THE GENTILE NATIONS 

The prophet Joel puts the location of this judgment as the valley of Jehoshaphat, Joel 3.2. The problem, of course, is that no one knows for certain which valley this refers to. It could be the Kidron Valley east of Jerusalem, between the Temple mount and the Mount of Olives. It is unlikely to be the Valley of Berachah between Jerusalem and Hebron, where King Jehoshaphat celebrated his victory over the Moabites, Ammonites and Edomites, Second Chronicles 20.26. The late J. Dwight Pentecost has a completely different take on the valley of Jehoshaphat. Turn to Zechariah 14.4, where we read what happens when the Lord Jesus Christ comes and sets foot on the Mount of Olives: 

“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” 

Pentecost thinks the great valley that will then be formed when King Jesus returns is the valley of Jehoshaphat and will be where this tribunal takes place.

The name Jehoshaphat itself means Jehovah judges and derives from this future judgment. Therefore, it is impossible to find a historical basis for the site with any certainty. Wherever it happens to be, you can be sure the King of glory will have no trouble finding it. 

Third, THE PARTICIPANTS IN CHRIST’S JUDGMENT OF THE GENTILE NATIONS 

Those who will be judged on this occasion are very obviously the living Gentiles who emerge from the Tribulation in their natural, unglorified bodies. The prophet Joel speaks of the Gentiles in Joel 3.2 using the Hebrew word goy (giving us the word goyim, meaning Gentiles), and Matthew does as well in Matthew 25.32, using the Greek word ethnos.

Therefore, the reality is that this judgment will be of individuals and not nations as blocks of humanity. It will concern Americans, not America; Germans, not Germany, and the like. Once more, Pentecost has several good reasons why this is thought to be so. I mention his four reasons, plus one of my one: 

#1 The people will be judged by their reception or rejection of the Gospel of the kingdom. The good news of the impending kingdom will demand a personal response, and no response is a personal response.

#2 No unsaved person will be permitted to enter the kingdom, as the Lord Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3.3, 5. This will not be the case if nations as blocks of humanity are judged. Many unsaved people could hypothetically be swept into the kingdom if their nation happened to be adjudged a sheep nation.

#3 If the judgment is corporately national, the basis of the judgment would have to be works. Nations as such cannot believe on the Lord Jesus. There is no such thing as corporate saving faith. And when a king decides on Christianity and brings his entire nation from paganism to Christendom there is no necessary conversion of individuals taking place. Therefore, the basis of a corporate judgment must be something other than faith. It would have to entail a works salvation of some sort, and this is inadmissible according to the uniform theology of Scripture.

#4 Christ’s other judgments we have examined are on a personal or individual basis. The parallel descriptions of this judgment are also individual in scope (e.g., the draw net with its good and bad fish, Matthew 13.47-50 and the wheat and tares, Matthew 13.24-30).

#5 I would like to add a final reason to Pentecost’s reasons. This judgment of Gentiles by Christ will be individual rather than corporate and national because God is not a collectivist. He does not judge by skin color or ethnicity or social status. Neither does He judge a spiritual dissenter in a nation whose policies are wicked and sinful. He has never been a collectivist, and He never will be a collectivist. Neither is the Lord Jesus Christ, a collectivist. 

Fourth, THE BASIS OF CHRIST’S JUDGMENT OF THE GENTILE NATIONS 

The basis of the judgment of the Gentile nations will be their responses to Israel’s covenant status and Israel’s God. A proper individual response of faith in God and His promise to Israel will be characterized as blessing Abraham. Conversely, unbelief will be characterized as cursing Abraham, Genesis 12.3: 

“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” 

Those who are anti-Semites need to beware.

Joel’s words from God are I 

“will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel,” 

Joel 3.2. Notice, also, the end of the verse: 

“whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.” 

Notice that God holds unbelieving Gentiles throughout history to be responsible for scattering the Jews among the nations, for usurping their land rights, and for participating in the human slave trade where Jewish boys and girls were bought and sold cheaply by lottery, Joel 3.3: 

“And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.” 

Matthew notes similarly that the basis of this judgment is the treatment of the Lord’s “brethren” during the Tribulation period, Matthew 25.40, 45: 

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 

The “brethren” mentioned can only in context be understood to be Jewish kinsmen.

This is likely the 144,000 in Revelation 7 and 14 who prominently preach the Gospel of the kingdom during the last half of the Tribulation. Treatment of those preachers will indicate reception or rejection of the kingdom message, since such treatment is indicative of one’s attitude toward the God they serve, again Genesis 12.3.

The treatment of the Lord’s brethren, for ill or good, is neither a works salvation nor a secular Gospel. This is Old Testament type language the Lord is using wherein one’s obedience or disobedience concerning the revelation of God, especially the Law of Moses, betrays an individual’s saving faith or lack of it, Romans 2.12-16.

Giving the Lord’s brethren food and drink, hospitality, clothing, and a visit while sick and in prison, during the Tribulation, is described in Matthew 25.35-36: 

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 

Again, this is not a social Gospel, as many wrongly interpret the passage, but is simply our Lord’s description of the conduct of those who will have experienced the new birth, using Old Testament type language. 

Finally, THE RESULTS OF CHRIST’S JUDGMENT OF THE GENTILE NATIONS 

Notice what the unsaved, or “goats,” are told: 

“Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,” 

Matthew 25.41. As a result, 

“these shall go away into everlasting punishment,” 

Matthew 25.46.

On the other hand, the saved, the “sheep,” are told, 

“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in,” 

Matthew 25.34. As a result, the righteous will go into eternal life, Matthew 25.46, 

“but the righteous into life eternal.” 

It is clear from this verse that admission to the millennial kingdom is tantamount to eternal life. In Old Testament thought the kingdom was eternal, Daniel 2.44: 

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” 

Interestingly, it seems that the transition from the millennial phase of existence to the eternal phase of existence was a specific that was not revealed in the Old Testament, but is mentioned in First Corinthians 15.24: 

“Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.” 

I sincerely hope you are not being overwhelmed by the details of these future judgments. Remember that this sermon will be posted online, or you can request a printed copy to study and review by contacting the Church office.

This wraps up our consideration of the fifth of Christ’s judgments. First, there was the Judgment Seat of Christ, right after the Rapture and in heaven. Second, there is the judgment of Old Testament believers, occurring seven years later just after Christ’s second coming. Third, there is the judgment of Tribulation martyrs, occurring just after the judgment of Old Testament believers, shortly after Christ returns. These three judgments are all future, are judgments of believers who have died and been resurrected, with one occurring after the Rapture and the other two occurring after the Second Coming.

These last two are a bit different than the first three, in that they are judgments conducted by Christ of Jews who survived the Tribulation without dying and of Gentiles who survived the Tribulation without dying. In both cases, Christ’s judgment will be to display the spiritual condition of first the Jewish survivors and then the Gentile survivors of the Tribulation. Those discovered to be unsaved will be swiftly executed. Those discovered to be believers in Jesus Christ will be granted entrance into the millennium as its first citizens, qualified by the new birth, John 3.3 and 5.

What supreme lesson ought we to be learning through our studies of these judgments? Two for sure, and perhaps three: First, Jesus Christ will judge all. People’s opinions of Him will change in a heartbeat, I promise you. Next, there will be accountability. Be you saved or be you lost, you will be held accountable for your conduct someday. Mark it down. Third, less important than the previous two lessons, is that Christ’s judgments are judgments of individuals, always individuals. Run with the group and stay in the pack with a pack mentality all you want, but you will not be judged someday as a part of a group in the final analysis, but as an individual.

To emphasize that every intelligent being is accountable, Lord willing, we will next week consider Christ’s judgment of fallen angels.

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[1] 1 Thessalonians 4.13-18

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pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org