Derek Prince - Two Types Of Judgements From God
It remains in this final session to deal with the final foundation doctrine, eternal judgment. Now, when we speak about judgment we need to realize, that there are two main ways in which God brings judgment on people. The first is His judgments in history; the second, which is the kind of judgment, we’re going to talk about, is His eternal judgments. Those judgments which confront us as we step out of time into eternity. It’s important to be able to distinguish the two types of judgments, otherwise we might be confused by what seem to be conflicting statements. The first judgment of God is in history and it involves bringing blessing, or punishment on succeeding generations according to the way, the first generation has responded to God.
In Exodus 20:4-6, we have a very clear example of God’s historical judgments. Exodus 20:4-6, which is part of what we call the Ten Commandments. You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is in the earth, beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them, nor worship them. For I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third, and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, of those who love me and keep my commandments. We see there that the sin of idolatry, which is the greatest of all sins, carries with it a judgment that extends to the succeeding three, or four generations. That’s a judgment in history and there are countless, examples of how that judgment has actually worked out in the history, of Israel and of other nations that have been involved in idolatry.
And then in Jeremiah 32 Jeremiah also deals, with this question of God’s judgment in history. And in a prayer that he prayed to the Lord, Jeremiah 32:18, he said: You show lovingkindness to thousands and repay the iniquity of the fathers, into the bosom of their children after them. The great, the mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts. Jeremiah says God repays, the iniquity of the fathers into the succeeding generations. This is again a judgment in history. This also applies to God’s blessing, on the righteous. In Psalm 103, David says in verses 17-18: But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting, on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant and to those who remember, His commandments, to do them.
There is a promise of God’s blessing, and righteousness to children’s children, to succeeding generations. So the way that we conduct ourselves and we relate to God not only, affects us, but it probably affects successive generations. That’s a very significant and important thought that we need to bear in mind. We are in some way answerable for either the blessing, or the suffering of succeeding generations. I think this is an obvious fact of experience. For instance, a child born to alcoholic parents starts, as they say, with two strikes, against him. It’s not his fault but the judgment of God on those parents, will naturally filter down through succeeding generations. We need to say that but we need to add there’s a different kind of judgment, of God which is what the writer of Hebrews calls eternal judgment, which is judgment that affects our destiny in eternity.
And there the principles of judgment are completely different. These are stated, by God to Ezekiel in chapter 18, verses 1-4, chapter 18, verses 1 through 4. Ezekiel says: The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning, the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? That’s saying the children are suffering for the sins of the father. As I live, says the Lord God, you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine. The soul of the father, as well as the soul, of the son is mine, the soul who sins shall die. We’re not talking about historical judgments, we’re talking about, the judgment of every individual soul as it steps out of time into eternity. There every soul bears responsibility only for the life that it has led. The soul that sins, it shall die. And that is repeated again in verse 20. Here God is still more emphatic. Ezekiel 18:20: The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father that of the son. The righteousness of the righteous, shall be upon himself and the wickedness of the wicked, shall be upon himself.
When we step out of time into eternity, we’re not any longer being judged for the sins or blessings of our parents, our forbears, we’re going to answer to God personally, only for what we did in life. The righteousness of the righteous, will be upon him, the wickedness of the wicked will be upon him. And it says in the book of Ecclesiastes, Where the tree falls, there it will lie. What condition you are in when you die will determine your condition, throughout eternity. This is eternal judgment, a very, very solemn thought. I’ve sometimes remembered with amusement, my Foundation Series originally came out as seven, separate, small volumes. Then it was brought together in three volumes, then in one volume. But in the days when we had seven volumes, the title of the last volume was Eternal Judgment. We would see these books displayed for people to buy them, and people would pick them over and buy the first six and somehow, they didn’t want to buy number seven. They didn’t like the title, Eternal Judgment. But, dear friend, whether you like it or not, it’s true. You really need to face up to this reality of eternal judgment.