Editorial – Unite or Separate

God does not inspire His prophets and apostles to emphasize things that are unimportant. The emphasis given to the judgment, mentioned several hundred times in the Bible, shows us that this is a subject that we should all become familiar with and understand. The judgment is far more important than whether you should die or not because, for the Christian, death is simply a temporary separation. The judgment, however, will either unite or separate people for eternity.

Below are five facts about the judgment:

  1. God’s judgment of mankind includes every single person who has lived on this earth. 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10; Jude 15. Some people will be “as though they had never been.” Obadiah 16.
  2. The first phase of any judgment is an investigation or court hearing. (If the person being judged is acquitted, that is the end of the judgment; but if he is convicted then there follow two more phases of judgment—the sentencing phase and finally the execution of the sentence when the convicted person must pay the imposed penalty.) In God’s judgment there is first an investigation. The Bible speaks about this repeatedly, and often in symbolic language. For example in Zephaniah 1:12, the Lord states through His prophet that He “will search Jerusalem with lamps.” Note that a search is an investigation. Notice also that this search comes when the day of the Lord is at hand (Zephaniah 1:7). A court battle with Satan as the prosecuting attorney and Jesus Christ as the advocate of God’s people is described in Zechariah 3. In this judgment scene the salvation of God’s professed people is dependent on their walking in God’s ways—keeping His commandments (verse 7) and having their iniquity removed. Although the people being judged are God’s people on earth, this judgment occurs in heaven (see Daniel 7:9–14). This judgment begins while the gospel is being preached and before the third angel’s message is proclaimed (see Revelation 14:6–12).
  3. No judgment can take place without a standard for making a decision for acquittal or conviction. The standard for God’s judgment is the law of God, the Ten Commandments. James 2:10–12; Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.
  4. Every action and word and thought and feeling of every person who has ever lived is reviewed in the judgment. See Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; Matthew 12:36, 37; Isaiah 66:18; Psalm 139; I Corinthians 4:5.
  5. If you are to be acquitted in God’s judgment, your name must be entered and remain in the Book of Life. Revelation 20:15; Revelation 13:8; Luke 10:17, 18; Revelation 3:5; Daniel 12:1, 2; Philippians 4:3; The book of life contains the names of all who have ever entered the service of God. The Great Controversy, 480. Exodus 32:33; Ezekiel 18:24; Acts 3:19–21; Matthew 10:32, 33.

If you are a professed Christian, your name has been registered in the book. How does your page in that book look today?