Derek Prince - We Don't Like To Talk About God's Judgment Anymore
Hebrews 12:25-29. See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven. Whose voice then shook the earth, but now He has promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not only the earth but also heaven. Now this: yet once more, indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear; for our God is a consuming fire.
And then we need to turn briefly to the passage from which those words were quoted, which was in Haggai chapter two, verse six. And I read them for a special reason. That’s Haggai 2:6, and the beginning of verse 7: For thus says the Lord of hosts: Once more it is a little while, I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land. And, he adds what is not stated exactly in Hebrews: I will shake all nations. So God says: I will shake heaven, and earth, the sea, the dry land, and I will shake all nations. That’s a tremendous theme to contemplate. Our imagination can scarcely take in what is involved in the outworking of that statement, that heaven, and earth, the sea, the dry land and all nations are to be shaken by the power of God.
Before I go into the theme, I want to ask you a question. which is based on Scripture. The question is this, and you don’t have to give me an out loud answer. Do you believe in the judgment of God? Because, in my experience as I travel around and meet a lot of Christians in different places, and attend a lot of different conferences and meetings, very, very little is said today in most places about the judgment of God. The attitude almost seems to be: Well it’s not nice to talk about God’s judgment. Let’s stay away from that painful subject. In fact, I think a lot of Christians really almost have reservations about presenting God as a judge. It’s almost as if that will offend people or frighten people. We won’t be able to get them to listen to the gospel if we talk about the judgment of God.
In John 16:8 Jesus said: When He, the Spirit of Truth has come, He will convict the world [of three things] of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. As I see it, those are the three eternal, unchanging realities on which all true religion is based. Sin, righteousness and judgment. And if we ask what sin is, the Scripture says all unrighteousness is sin. So there are just two possibilities in every action and every life: sin or righteousness. And if a thing is not righteous it is sinful. It is, in a way, easy to define what sin is. As if I were asked: what is crooked? All I would have to do is hold up a straight line, and say that anything that departs from that, whether by a little or by much, is crooked.
And the same is true with righteousness and sin. God has held up a line of righteousness, it is Jesus. And anything that departs from that, little or much, is sin. And, on the basis of how we have lived, whether by sin or by righteousness, we will face the judgment of God. There is one appointment that every one of us here will inevitably keep, it’s the judgment of God. Not one of us can escape. There are two different judgments. There’s the judgment of condemnation, and there’s a judgment for those who have received Jesus and lived for Him, which is an assessment of reward. But, every one of us will stand before the judgment of God. I think it’s foolish to live as if that were not so. And I think, in a way, it’s unjust to the unconverted not to confront them with the reality of God’s judgment.
In what I’m going to say this evening, if I succeed I will paint a picture of some very terrible and frightening things that are going to come quite soon over the whole earth and all humanity. I could wonder if when these things begin to happen the unconverted will not say to you and me: Why didn’t you ever warn us that this was going to happen? You see, the same person who is the savior is also the judge. His name is Jesus. It’s interesting that when the apostles presented the gospel to people from a non-Jewish background, they always presented Jesus as both savior and judge.
For instance, in Acts chapter 10 when Peter went to the house of Cornelius and began to tell them about Jesus, he said in verse 42 and verse 43: And he commanded us to preach to the people and testify that it is He, that is Jesus, who was ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that through His name whoever believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins. In actual fact, Peter put judgment before forgiveness. He said the same one through whom you can receive forgiveness of sins is also the one who’s ordained by God to be the judge of all.
And then when Paul was preaching in Athens, again he was preaching to people who were mainly not from a Jewish background. He said in Acts 17:30 and following: Truly these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent. There are no omissions and no exceptions. God requires all men everywhere to repent. And then he gives a reason: Because God has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. So the man whom God raised from the dead, Jesus, is the one who is God’s appointed judge of all men. He’s just as efficient, just as thorough and just as faithful as a judge, as He is as a savior. As a savior He omits nothing, and as a judge, likewise, He omits nothing.
There’s a parable in Luke 19, it’s called the parable of the pounds or minas. It’s about a... a wealthy ruler who took a journey and committed to his servants certain money to handle on his behalf. He gave to each of them a mina which they say is about three month’s salary. And then he came back after a long while and reckoned with them. He said: What have you done with my mina? And the first one said: I’ve made ten more minas. The lord said: Well done, good and faithful servant. Have authority over ten cities in my kingdom. The second servant, he said: What have you done with my mina? And he said: I’ve made five minas. And he said: Well done. But he didn’t say good and faithful. He said: Have authority over five cities.
So, it’s very clear the principle is, according to the faithfulness with which we serve the Lord in this age, we will be apportioned our sphere of authority in the coming age. There will be no favoritism. But then there was one other servant who made nothing. He said: I was afraid of you, so I just went and hid your mina and here it is; I’m giving it back to you. And the lord said: You wicked and lazy servant! How many of you realize that laziness is also wickedness? We have such an unbalanced scale of values in the church. If a man gets drunk we think that’s awful, and certainly it’s not good. We wouldn’t have a drunkard in church.
But, how many lazy people do we have in church, people who never really take time to study the Bible or to get down in prayer? People maybe who you can’t even rely on to do a thorough job anywhere. And the Bible calls them wicked. But I want you to see the end of this parable. Because when this man went away to get his kingdom in return, his citizens sent a message after him saying: We don’t want this man to rule over us. And when he returned at the end of the parable, the final words are these: But bring here those enemies of Mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before Me.
I was shocked when I felt the impact of those words because the man is a picture of Jesus. He says: Those who rejected My rule, bring them here and slay them before Me. He is just as thorough and faithful as judge, as He is as savior. He’s both. The same one whom God has made a Savior, He has also made a Judge. Now let me come back more closely to the Scripture that we began with, the prophecy that God was going to shake all things that can be shaken. Nothing that can be shaken will eventually be left unshaken.
Some years ago, not very long ago, the Lord, I think, spoke to Ruth and me about His judgments at the close of this age. He said, I believe (this is my understanding of what He said) His judgments will come in three phases: preliminary, intermediate and final. Now, my personal reading of the situation of the world today is that the preliminary judgments have already begun. I don’t believe we’ve come to the intermediate; certainly we have not yet come to the final judgments of God.