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September 20, 2005

Ch. XXXI. Q. 165. What is the doctrine of the General Judgment?

THE DOCTRINE of the General Judgment is that our Lord, when He comes again, will judge all mankind openly and together, according to the deeds done in the body; and will send the wicked into everlasting punishment, and take the righteous into everlasting life (S. Matt. XXV. 31-46: Acts XVII. 31: Rom. II. 16:11. Cor. V. 10: Heb. IX. 27, 28: II. Thess. 11, 7, 8: II. Pet. III. 7-10: Rev. XX. 12-15). Pearson on the Creed, VII: S. Thos. Sum. Theol., HI. 59: III. sup. 87 vel 89-90 vel 92: Schouppe, VIII. 373: XIX. 186 etseq: Owen's Dog. Theol., XXXI. 3; Churton's Foundation of Doc., 283-290: Mason's Faith of the Gosp., XI. 5: A. H. Strong's Syst. Theol., 581-584: Percival's Digest., 180: Forbes' Nic. Creed, 243-250: Maclear's Introd. to the Creeds, 183-194.

2. It is of faith that the General Judgment will occur at a definite time in the future (Acts XVII. 31: XXIV. 25: Heb. X. 27: II. Pet. II. 4) and at the same time for all men (S. Matt. XXV, 32). It will follow immediately upon the second coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead (S. John V. 27-29). S. Thos., III. sup. 88 vel 90: A. H. Strong, 581.

3. The Judge is Jesus Christ our Lord, for (a.) as the Divine Word, He rightly exhibits the mind of God concerning the lives and characters of men: (b.) As Son of Man, He has been appointed to this Office by the Father (Acts XVII. 31: John V. 22, 26, 27): (c.) Having been touched with the feeling of our infirmities and having been tempted as we are, although without sin, He is a merciful as well as a just Judge (Heb. IV. 15): (d.) Having redeemed His people from the power of Satan, He is able to withdraw those who are worthy from the sphere of Satan's malice (Q. 118. 4). S. Thos., III. 59: III. sup. 90 vel 92: Forbes, 245-247: Pearson, 525-531: A.H. Strong, 583, 584.

4. All men will be judged (Matt. XXV. 32: Acts X. 42: II. Tim. IV. 1: Heb. IX. 27: I. Pet. IV. 5: Rev. XX. 12, 13), and angels (II. Pet. II. 4). The devil will be the accuser (Rev. XII. 10), the saints will concur in the Judgment (S. Matt. XIX. 28: S. Luke XXII. 28-30: I. Cor. VI. 2, 3: Rev. III. 21), and angels will execute it (S. Matt. XIII. 41, 42: XXV. 31). Pearson, 532-539: S. Thos., III. sup. 89 vel 91: Churton, 286: A.H. Strong, 584.

5. Men are to be judged according to the deeds done in the body, including every idle thought and word (Eccles. XII. 14: S. Matt. XII. 36, 37: S. Luke XII. 2-9: John III. 20, 21:1. Cor. IV. 5: II. Cor. V. 10: Rev. XX. 12). This judgment will be just, taking into account men's opportunities and declaring the true moral significance and value of the works considered, that value being clearly displayed in the characters exhibited before the judgment throne. Men's characters will then have been fully formed along the lines determined by earthly conduct, and will be fixed forever. The judgment will, in short, be according to deeds done in the past, these deeds being perpetuated and exhibited, however, in an existing and ineffaceable spiritual character (S. Matt. XII. 34-37: Rev. XXIL 11, 12). S. Thos,, III, sup. 87 vel 89: A.H. Strong, 583.

6. This character, by its open and inevitable exhibition, will vindicate the righteousness of Christ's judgment before all creatures. But Christ Himself, being omniscient, knows what is in men from eternity; so that He will not come to ascertain but to make known to men the moral value and destiny of souls (Rom. II. 5, 6: I. Tim. V. 24, 25: Rev. XIV. 13). To a limited extent we are able to judge ourselves and measure the value of our own characters, with the aid of memory and the conscience. It is our duty to do this, that we may repent and amend our ways, with the aid of grace, before they have hardened and become irreformable (S. Luke XVI. 25: Rom. 11. 14, 15: Heb. III. 8, 15: X. 27). But we cannot read the hearts of others and cannot judge them before the time either correctly or lawfully (Matt. VII. 1-5). A.H. Strong, 583.

Posted by Trevor at September 20, 2005 10:29 PM