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Doug Batchelor - The Great Judgment Day - Part 1

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    Doug Batchelor - The Great Judgment Day - Part 1
TOPICS: Judgment, End times

Did you know about 5,000 stars can be seen with the naked eye? Yet, with a small telescope you can see hundreds of thousands of stars. The largest telescopes on earth reveal millions of galaxies packed with stars, whereas the Hubble Space Telescope might be able to see over a billion galaxies. Keep in mind, it's estimated that each of these galaxies contain over 200 billions stars. And, it's now believed, over two trillion galaxies exist in the universe. Looking at the sky on a clear night, all the stars we see are in the Milky Way galaxy, a fiery spiral of stars over 100,000 light years across.

Such awesome statistics give us a small concept of the greatness of God and it stirs within us a yearning for space travel. But, did you know the Bible teaches that the redeemed will have this opportunity? Join me today as we look at some fascinating Bible facts about the incredible future God has planned for His people.

In our presentation this evening, we're going to be talking about the great judgment day. Let's begin with a little amazing fact from history. I don't know how many of you have heard of Baron Fabian von Schlabrendorff. His whole name was Fabian Ludwig George Adolf Kurt von Schlabrendorff. How'd you like to be his mother calling him when you're angry? Probably called him 'Butch'. He was born in Germany in 1907, trained as a lawyer - very bright individual - and when the war was getting ready to break out, he was drafted but, because he was so bright and performed well, he was rapidly promoted.

Well, it didn't take him very long to realize that Adolph Hitler was crazy, destroying Europe, not to mention Germany, so he joined the resistance. Schlabrendorff was the one who, when Hitler came to visit an army base in Germany, he smuggled a time bomb onto Hitler's plane that was supposed to blow up and get rid of that cruel dictator, but it failed. Eventually they traced it back to him, he was arrested, he was tortured - he never did talk and give up any of the people that were part of the resistance - and, finally, they set a trial for him.

He was brought into the courtroom - this was now 1945 by the time it got to his trial - and courthouse was full - judges, jury - they all found him guilty of high treason and he was sentenced to be killed by firing squad. Because of the war effort, they didn't put you on death row and you did not have appeals.

They were marching him out of the courtroom to a wall where he was going to be executed, when the air raid sirens went off and one of the allied bombers scored a direct hit on the courthouse. Everybody in the courthouse was killed except Schlabrendorff who escaped. He later was recaptured and they put him in Dachau prison of war camp, but it wasn't long before the Allies came and he survived.

And guess what? He became a leading judge in Germany. The one who was being tried - what a reversal of fortunes - who had been condemned ended up being the judge. Wow. And he lived until 1980.

It makes me think about when Jesus stood before Caiaphas the high priest and Pontius Pilate and there they were, the church and the state, condemning Him and He said, 'Hereafter you will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven.' Talk about a big surprise, when they come out of their graves and they see the one they were judging is now the Judge of the universe. The Bible says we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Now, we're going to be looking at several chapters in the Bible, principally chapter 20 of Revelation that talks about this great judgment day and also talks about the millennium. It begins - and, if you have your Bibles, you might want to turn to chapter 20 of Revelation. Revelation 20, verse 1, "Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent called the devil, and Satan," - there you have it again, the same thing you see in Revelation 12 - has his titles - "and bound him a thousand years."

So this one-thousand-year period you hear referenced often is usually called the Millennium. The word 'millennium' is simply - it's a composite Latin word - 'mille' - thousand - 'annum' - years - it's talking about a thousand-year period. You principally find this in Revelation chapter 20. And it goes on to say, if you go in Revelation chapter 20, verse 4, "And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them." And so, there's this judgment that is given.

What events mark the beginning of the Millennium and the great judgment day? So let's look at this timeline in the final events of prophecy. You read, for instance, in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, verse 6, "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, and" - it says - "the dead in Christ shall rise first." So this one-thousand-year period begins with the coming of the Lord and a resurrection.

Now, in our study this evening, we're actually going to be talking about four different groups of people. When Christ comes you've got the good that are alive - or saved, I should say, that are alive, and the evil that are alive. You've got the saved that are dead, and the evil that are dead - the lost. Everybody who's ever lived falls into one of those categories, isn't that right? You've got the living and the dead, the good and the bad, and all of them are addressed in this study tonight, so this is relevant for everybody in one way or another. And it says, "They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."

Those who are resurrected - the dead in Christ - rise. Those of us who are alive and remain, we're caught up, we meet the Lord in the air, and we live and reign with Christ. Some churches teach that the one thousand years we spend here on earth where the righteous are reigning over the wicked - we have eternal life but they don't, so I guess they're living, breeding and dying, but we're immortal and we don't get married and have children. First of all, I don't know about you but I don't want to reign over the wicked - and that Christ is here on earth. But - and then the other group of Christians believe that we go up and we live and reign with Christ in glory during the one thousand years.

Now, you remember when Jesus says, in John chapter 14, ‘I go to prepare a place for you' - right? He's gone – ‘I will come again, receive you unto myself that where I am, you may be.' He's taking us to where He is going. Isn't that clear in the language?

So what direction do we go when Jesus comes? Up. We are caught up. So, when we live and reign with Him, it's in that New Jerusalem that later comes down. We're not living and reigning over the wicked here on earth. It's not happening here. Absolutely. So they live and reign with Christ for one thousand years and then it tells you what happens to the rest of the dead: "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection."

In other words, the dead in Christ are the first resurrection, the rest of the dead, they don't live again 'til when? The end of the one thousand years. And so, here you've got the thousand-year period - it's like bookends, you can separate it with first resurrection - righteous - second resurrection - wicked - and they're spread apart. And this fits with what Jesus always taught.

Number two: What else will happen at the first resurrection? It says, "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a the last trump:" - by the way, 1 Corinthians 15, verse 51 - "For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." - this mortal - when are we changed? When Christ comes. We'll be changed - "for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." And then it says, in Philippians 3:21, Jesus, when He comes, "Who shall change our vile body," - these bodies that have aches and pains and they get old and - "that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body."

Now, what kind of bodies do the redeemed have when they get a glorified body? Are they ghosts? When Jesus rose from the dead, was He real? Yes. Did He try to emphasize that He was real? He said - they were just shocked - He said, 'Touch Me. Handle Me. A spirit does not have flesh and bone as you see that I have.' And then He said, 'I’m hungry. You got anything to eat?' Not only did He say that in the upper room, He met them by the sea. He said, 'You guys got any food?' So was it God's original plan that Adam and Eve eat? Yes. Do ghosts eat? You know, ghosts don't eat. They're real people. And He's - the thing is, we have spiritual bodies.

See, the best way I can explain it, Adam and Eve, before sin, they lived in four dimensions. You and I live in three dimensions now. They had glorified bodies that had no aches or pains, where they could see angels. Then, after sin, the light went out and something changed. They lost a whole dimension. The whole spiritual dimension of our being will be added again in these glorified eternal bodies that we have. But they're real bodies. You learn later, when we're talking about heaven, it says, 'They plant vineyards and they eat the fruit of them, and they build houses and they go forth - and we're doing real things, we're not just, you know, people - heaven - I used to think we're up on clouds, we're fat little cherubs, naked, playing harps. And I thought, 'Boy, I don't - you know, hell sounds more interesting.’ When I was a teenager, that's what I thought. That's not it at all. We're going to be doing real things.

So we'll have what kind of body? Glorified. Glorious bodies like His body. Now there was one thing wrong with Jesus' body when He rose. Did He still have the scars in His hands? Yes. The Lord deliberately allowed that blemish to remain so that, through eternity, we would see the icon, the reminder of His sacrifice for us, so sin will never rise up again the second time. We'll never forget what He did to save us.

What happens to the wicked when the Lord comes? 2 Thessalonians 2:8, "And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord...shall consume with the brightness of His coming." and destroy with the breath of His mouth. It also goes on to say - Revelation 16 - "And there was a great earthquake such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great." And so there's a great earth-shaking earthquake and this is not, you know, 3 or 4 on the Richter scale - we have those in California, we just sort of shrug. This is talking about major, you know, 15 on the Richter scale - mountains and islands are being swallowed up in this earthquake. And it says, "Every island fled away, and the mountains were not found." It goes on to say that there was "A great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent." You know what a talent is? It's about 75 pounds. Wow. And so, if you can imagine hail stones with that weight, that's pretty amazing.

It goes on to say that Satan is then bound, at this time, in the bottomless pit. So what is this bottomless pit? The word that you find there for bottomless pit is 'abussos' and abussos means - well, you've heard the word abyss - abyss means 'emptiness; void'. You actually find that word describing the world before God created in Genesis in the Septuagint - the Greek version - talks about the world was void and without form. It was an abyss - it was dark. But the, you know, bottomless pit is really - it's a word - I don't know why the King James translators chose that word because you find the word other places in the Bible.

How many of you remember where it talks about this demoniac that was filled with devils - you read about it in Luke chapter 8 and Mark chapter 5 - and they begged Jesus, when Jesus was casting them out of the man, 'Please do not cast us out into' - exact same word - abussos. There, it's translated 'deep' - into the nothingness. You see, when the devil has nobody to tempt, possess, manipulate for him it's nothingness because the devil does his work - he's a spirit - by possessing living creatures. Even the devils in this story said, 'Please, let us possess the pigs - something - but don't cast us out into the nothingness.'

And so, when the devil is bound on this earth with nobody to tempt and manipulate, that is the bottomless pit. The Bible talks about Jude - I read it to you earlier - in verse 6. The devil's being chained in darkness, but then they'll have nobody to tempt because the righteous are raised - dead righteous - those who are alive are transformed - we go up - the wicked who are alive are destroyed by the brightness of His coming.

How many living people does that leave on earth? None. So it describes this time when Satan is bound on this planet and he's got a thousand years, while we're living and reigning with Christ, to contemplate the results of his rebellion against God. Now the Lord is doing this deliberately because He's going to demonstrate to the universe that He has no alternative but to do what He's going to do to Lucifer and his followers.

So Satan's down here with all his angels - they've got to live with each other. They're going to all blame each other. They're going to be chasing Lucifer all over the planet and say, 'We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you.' He's got to put up with that for a thousand years. And so, they're in this dark prison during that time.

Who is raised - question 3 - in the second resurrection, and when will it take place? It says, in John chapter 5, verse 28 - Jesus speaking here - "All that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth: they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."

How many resurrections? Two. Two. You even read about that in Daniel chapter 12, 'Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.' You've got two separate resurrections - they've got a thousand years between them, and so, if, in the resurrection you come forth and you still have wrinkles, you're in the wrong resurrection. That's not good. Because we get glorified bodies at that point, right? Revelation 20, verse 5, "But the rest of the dead (the wicked) lived not again until the thousand years were finished." I read this but I want to re-emphasize it.

Before I move on, I’ve just got to stop and say something - hopefully you've caught it along the way, but there is a lot of confusion among Christians about what happens when a person dies. Walk through a Christian cemetery and churchyard cemetery sometime, you will see the confusion. You read the tombstones and one tombstone will say, 'Our beloved mother, resting in peace waiting for the resurrection morning'. Then you go two tombstones away it'll say, 'Our beloved mother, walking on golden streets'. So, is she resting and waiting for the resurrection or is she singing with the angels and walking on golden streets? And you'll see all - people are very confused. They say, 'Now, doesn't the Bible say to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord'? Yes.

That means, if you're a believer and you die, your next conscious thought, which will seem like the twinkling of an eye, will be the presence of the Lord and the resurrection of the righteous - but they're not there yet because the resurrection hasn't happened and the judgment hasn't happened.

The Bible is really clear that the dead are sleeping until the resurrection, but they don't know they're sleeping. There are about a dozen resurrections in the Bible. Jesus raised several people. You've got resurrections in the Old Testament.

Do you know, in every single resurrection in the Bible, none of those resurrected ever make one comment on what they experienced during death - none of them. Why? The dead know not anything, according to Solomon. They're sleeping a dreamless sleep. They do not die and go right to heaven; they do not die and go right to hell. So, when someone says, you know, 'I’m so thankful for my grandma because her next thought is the resurrection.' That's true. She's not there yet, though. Because you and I live in a dimension of time.

You realize God is not confined to time. Amen. God can go into the future, He can go into the past but, as far as the time we live in, they're not there yet. So the idea that your loved ones are in heaven spying on you or, if they're lost, that they're suffering in the lake of fire, that comes from paganism. That's not - let me give you some verses on that. Go with me to 1 Corinthians 15:21, "For since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order" - here's the order - very plain - "Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming."

When are they made alive? At His coming, which means, before His coming, they are not alive. And, if you're not alive, you're dead. The Bible doesn't have an in between. And so, people are not getting their rewards before the resurrection and the judgment. We've got a whole study on that; I wish I had more time to talk about.

What will the condition of the earth be left in during the one thousand years? What's it look like down here? Many of us have heard the popular Left Behind scenario of final events, where the righteous are secretly raptured, life continues to go on here on earth. There's 144,000 literal Jews that are converted - that are preaching everywhere. The seven last plagues fall. Some people may still be converted at the end of that seven years of tribulation, then Jesus comes back down here on earth with the righteous and we live and reign down here together for a thousand years. And then the wicked are destroyed at the end of that one thousand years, which really puts the destruction of the wicked another thousand years beyond the coming of the Lord.

In that scenario, is there ever a time when the earth is vacant? There's always something going on down here. But, if you read in 2 Peter chapter 3, it says, 'The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens pass away with a great noise, the elements melt with fervent heat, the earth and the things that are in it are burned up.'

So what's the world going to look like during that time? And you look at this verse here in Isaiah 24, "Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty," - nobody here - "and maketh it waste." 'Behold, the Lord makes the earth utterly empty, He turns it upside down, the earth is utterly broken down.' Read this verse in Jeremiah chapter 4, verse 23, “I beheld the earth, and lo, it was without form, and void: and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled...there was no man," - it sounds like he's describing the world before creation, but keep reading - "and all the birds of the heavens were fled." that means they were there, but they're gone.

It says, "The fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down" - so there was cities, now they're broken down. By what? - "at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger." Pretty clear that here's the condition of the world where it says burned up, cities broken down, no man alive.

It goes on and says in another passage, 'The slain of the Lord cover the earth from one end to the other and there's no one to mourn, lament, or bury them.' And so, all through the prophecies it talks about this time after the judgement when the earth is a mess. You can look in Jeremiah - I’m still reading - "and the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other...they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried."

Where will the slain be during the 1,000 years, and what are they doing? Alright, so now we're talking about dead in Christ rise, we who are alive and remain - I would like to be one of those who are alive and remain, how about you? Amen. Caught up to meet the Lord in the air - and I think He's coming pretty soon. Yep - amen. Some of you here may die, but not a lot are going to die of old age. I think that Jesus is coming soon. Amen.

So what's going on during that time? You can read in John chapter 14, He said, I will come again, and receive you unto myself: that where I am, there ye may be also." We'll be with Him in the mansions that He's prepared in the new Jerusalem. And then it goes on in Revelation 20 and it says in verse 4, "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." So judgment is given unto the saints and we live and reign with Christ a thousand years.

Now read in 1 Corinthians 6:2 - I know some of you are taking notes furiously - "Do ye not know that the saints will judge the world?" - and it goes on to say, "Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" Now, obviously, we're not judging good angels, but does the Bible tell us there's a lot of fallen angels? We are not deciding whether they're saved or lost. We are actually endorsing - we're cooperating because Christ said, 'Look, I want to involve you with Me. Do you understand why we're going to judge them the way we're going to judge them?' And we affirm the judgments of God is really what we're doing. But there's going to be loss.

Now why is this happening? Someone said there's going to be four big surprises when you get to heaven - maybe it was three surprises. First surprise is that you're there. Second surprise is that there are some people that are not there that you thought would be leading the parade. And you're going to go to your angel and say, 'Where is pastor so and so?' 'Where is deacon elder' - 'Where's this sister or brother - they were just so spiritual - I don't see them anywhere.' And the angel said, 'Well, come with me.' And they're going to take you to the library - the Bible says everything's in the books. Everything - Jesus said every idle word - Matthew chapter 12 - every idle word that men speak you'll give an account thereof in the judgment.

So everything's in the books, and so the angels take you over to the books and say, 'We really wanted to save Deacon Herb' - hope nobody here's named Herb - but - and you see that, while he looked real good on the outside, there was some sin that he would not surrender to the Lord. And you'll see those things done in secret, Jesus said, will be shouted from the housetop. Only thing that's going to be hidden are those things under the blood. That's why I want to be saved, because I don't want you to see my book. Amen? Amen. I want it expunged.

Third surprise is there's some people there and you think, 'How in the world did they get here? I’ve often thought, can you imagine what it's going to be like when Stephen gets to heaven - and Stephen is in heaven, he's enjoying heaven and they're all, you know, giving him his crowns for his being the first Christian martyr and then they see this character is being carried on the shoulders of the angels and it's Paul.

And when Stephen knew him, his name was Saul and he was killing Christians. And Stephen's going to say to his angel, 'You guys normally do really good work, but there's something definitely wrong with this picture because last time I saw him, he was an accomplice in my murder. What's he doing here? I mean, I believe in forgiving and everything, but' - and the angel says, 'Stephen, wasn't your last prayer, 'Father, forgive them'? Well, the Father forgave him. And he was converted and he suffered much for the gospel and he was so sorry about what he did to you.'

So, during this one thousand years, there's a lot of questions. And it's like a thousand-year Sabbath - for six thousand years, from the time of Adam, to the coming of the Lord - and we don't know exactly when that is, but it's approximately that period of time, Christ has been sowing the seed of the gospel - then we are going to live and reign - it's like a thousand-year Sabbath.

Do you know, when the Children of Israel were carried off to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar, God took the survivors to this golden city? And the Bible says the land was desolate and it kept Sabbath while it was desolate. The planet is going to get a thousand-year Sabbath. God had a pattern in the Bible where, for six years you would sow the seed in the field, one year you would let it lay fallow - you'd let it rest. And then, God is going to create a new heavens and a new earth.
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