JUDGMENT. . .
DAMNATION OR PROBATION?
BY: ELAINE COOK
FIRST, A REMNANT
SAVIORS WILL COME UP
THE DAY OF JUDGMENT
FALL ON THE STONE
THE PURPOSE OF JUDGMENT
GOD’S WAY WITH MAN
Something that is very much on the minds of God’s people in this day is the judgment of God. On every hand, we see natural catastrophes happening all over the earth — floods, fires, earthquakes, and such. And when one considers the level of wickedness and violence in the earth, he has to admit that the world needs to be judged.
Some Christians have majored in speaking and writing about these disasters and warning the people — making sure that they are well informed about “the wrath of God” that is being poured out. Fear seems to be a strong motivating factor for keeping one’s eyes on these things. I speak from experience, for I also used to know fear “for the things that were coming upon the earth.” But, since God has opened up my understanding concerning His way with mankind, I am at peace and rejoice in the goodness of God my Savior.
To deliver me from the orthodox view of man’s traditions concerning God’s judgment, the Holy Spirit has taken from His treasures “things both new and old” (Mat. l3:52). The new are things that we have personally experienced in our walk with the Lord. The old are teachings that were given in former times, to faithful brethren that help to establish us in Truth today. They question orthodox teachings, the traditions of men and challenge us to face squarely what the Bible says on this weighty subject. The Lord has impressed us to add our “new” to the “old” treasure of A.P. Adams and present it to you with the prayer that it will cause you to cast aside the crumbling stones of man’s traditions and to embrace the TRUTH!
Recently, in the spirit, I saw some of God’s people who were being prepared to write “an entrance exam”. I was not shown what grade or courses would be taken, but I understood that in order to take these courses; they had to have their foundations (truths) in order. The courses were all new to them and could be covered under the heading of: “Spiritual Principles of the Kingdom of God.” It was at this particular time that the “old treasures” I was reading were shaking my foundations, exposing some of my beliefs that were not based upon what the Bible says.
FIRST, A REMNANT
One of the first shakings of my spiritual foundation occurred some years ago when I read From Tent to Temple by George Warnock. In his book he made very clear that James, in Acts 15, was speaking by revelation to the assembly at Jerusalem. The Spirit revealed to him God’s purpose for the gospel age. “Men! Brethren! Hear me! Simeon unfolds how God first visits the nations, to obtain out of them a people for His name.” And to back up this startling statement, He continues: “And with this agree the words of the prophets, according as it is written . . .” Acts 15:15.
Wow! I had been taught that all the world must hear the gospel in this age before Jesus “can come again.” That certainly has not happened. But the proof of anything is in the outcome of it. Now that we stand at the end of the church age, we can testify that James’ statement was a true word because only a remnant has been called out of the nations in this age. That was God’s stated intention all the time!
Did this revelation conclude that those who were not of this remnant would be damned forever? No! It concludes: “. . . those left of mankind should be seeking out the Lord, and all the nations, on them over whom My name is invoked. . .” And to let us know that this truly is a revelation of God’s plan for this age, the prophecy concludes, “. . . saith Yahvah that doeth these things, known from age-past times” Acts 15:17 Rotherham. (God was telling us it was in His plan of the ages!)
Verse 16 speaks of “the tent of David that hath fallen” and how the Lord would set it up and rebuild it again. David built no temple, but he did have the Ark of the Covenant placed in a tent in his back yard after he brought it back from its 100-year absence from the temple in Shiloh. The High Priest didn’t stop David from keeping the Ark to himself and from worshipping before it. The divine pattern of God was showing us in this that we would be both kings and priests unto God in the age of the kingdom.
This tent of David speaks of the intimate worship and personal relationship that David had with His heavenly Father. When this is restored to the called-out remnant, then God shall deal with the rest of mankind. God has not been drawing the nations during this age! He said that was in His plan for the ages.
SAVIORS SHALL COME UP
Anyone who is a part of that remnant can understand clearly why God should have chosen first to call out of the nations, a people for His name (to know His nature!). He is going to use them to bring in the nations! And, we can never understand the nature of His judgments until we know His plan. Obadiah, the prophet who wrote only one short chapter, was given to see God’s plan for His remnant. He says, “And saviors shall come up on Mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.”
If we look at the symbols here, we can easily hear the message. There are two “mountains”, or “authorities” in opposition to each other. One is Zion, that spiritual place of “being born from above.” The other is Esau, that well-known type of the carnal, fleshly man. God is here saying that the authority of the Spirit is going to judge the authority of the carnal man and the result will be that the Lord will rule as king in the man He has made. Then shall the kingdom be the Lord’s!
How do these “saviors” judge the fleshly man, Esau? To answer this, we need to know what the word “judgment” means. In the New Testament, the word used is “Krisis”, which we have changed to “Crisis”. In English, it means “a critical period of time, a decisive moment, turning point, deciding time.” In Greek, it means “a separating, choosing, deciding, determining, judging, trial, judgment.”
In the New Testament, the word judgment (Krisis) is used to denote the deciding time, trial, or probation of man. This time of judgment is spoken of in scripture in such a way as to indicate that it is given to man as a blessing and a favor. It is shown as a cause for great rejoicing and thanksgiving. In Psalm 96, all nature and people are told to exult and rejoice “Before the Lord, for He cometh to judge the world. He shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with his truth.”
Judgment time as a period of great rejoicing is in striking contrast to the orthodox view of a time of horror and dread! It would almost seem we were reading from a different Bible. No — it is the same Bible, but it is “the good tidings of great joy” that the angels said “shall be unto all people.” These good tidings have been obscured by the traditions of men and clouded over by carnal reasoning. As a result, we have been taught that only a remnant would be saved and the remainder of mankind would suffer the tortures of an everlasting hell.
Let us prove the nature of judgment by looking at how the “saviors on Mount Zion” are judged. They are told to judge the authority of that carnal, fleshly man, Esau. And that doesn’t mean judging someone outside of themselves — it means the Spirit of Christ within them judging the carnal nature that Christ nailed to the cross. The epistles are full of divine instruction as to how this shall be done.
Believers are told to: “yield” themselves to God; to “present” their bodies living sacrifices; to “humble” themselves; to “crucify” the flesh; to reckon themselves “dead”; to judge themselves that they may not be condemned (judged) with the world.”
This gospel age is the period of the judgment upon “the house of God.” The judgment of man began with Christ, the first finished man and Head of the Body. He passed through His trial successfully and “brought forth judgment unto victory.”
Can you see that a certain class of people is having its trial during the Church Age? “The church of the firstborn”, “the house of God” is having its judgment, trial or probation BEFORE the rest of mankind. It escapes the future general judgment because it has its judgment or PROBATION here and now!
Consider your own life in the light of “judgment” – meaning “a deciding time”. Can you not recall many times when you were in a ‘crisis’ and had to make a decision to choose the way of the Spirit and to put down the way of the flesh? I remember when my little Faith Melodie died on the mission field. I was so tempted to make a decision to go back to being a ‘religious’ person, rather than pressing on to know the Lord and to have His image brought forth in me. But — the Lord’s brethren prayed for me so that I was able to receive His gracious word when it came: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him!”
If you have been tested and tried by the Lord and have had many “deciding times when you had to judge the mount of Esau, you know that a remnant has been called-out and is being judged in this gospel age. They have learned to fall on Christ as their only hope. They are passing through their perfecting process of probation, educating and developing until they reach the image of God and have their “part in the first resurrection.” (Jn. 12:31,32; Isa. 42:1-4; 26:8-9; I Peter 4:17; Jn. 5:24; Phil. 3:10,14).
Unto these, the scriptures say: “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned (judged) with the world.”
THE DAY OF JUDGMENT
If it is true that judgment begins “at the house of God” during the gospel age, when shall the great Day of Judgment come when every man shall appear before the Judgment Seat of God? It has been commonly taught that this judgment will cover a short time period and then the judgment of every man will be set. The scriptures do not teach this! Rather, they set forth a long day of judgment for “the rest of mankind.” Peter says it is “a thousand-year period (2 Peter 3:7,8). John tells us “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” Rev. 20:4. Judgment was given unto those of the remnant who had been through their “probation time” — their “deciding time — their testing and chastening time until they qualified to rule and reign with Christ! (I Cor. 6:2; Rev. 3:21).
The church system has taught its adherents that all that is required of them is to “repeat the sinner’s prayer” and “do your best” to live for Jesus. And when you go up in the rapture, you will automatically be changed to be like Jesus and will be given power to rule and reign with Him! And, of course, if you don’t come in this way, you will have no choice but to be cast into an everlasting hell.
Could we let the Bible teach us the truth of the matter/ Could we set aside the traditions of men long enough to hear “the glad tidings of great joy that shall be unto all people? I was personally shown, by the Spirit, that the remnant is appearing NOW — in this gospel age — before the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is how it happened:
Bill was on his knees, earnestly praying for those who had wronged him in his life and was granting them forgiveness. As he prayed, I had a vision. I saw him standing before the Lord and the hosts of heaven in the throne room. I heard these words: “He is standing before the Judgment Seat of Christ.” It was a most awesome experience and it wrecked all the teachings I had heard on this subject. Now I understand that “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after” I Tim. 5:24.
Let us here recap some of the truths I am setting forth:
l. It was not in God’s plan that the world as a whole should have their probation, or deciding time, in this life. Probation is the period of man’s education, instruction, development and perfecting.
2. “It is appointed unto man once to die and after this probation” Heb. 9:27. (“Probation” is a correct translation of the original word “Krisis” — “trial, the deciding time, or probation).
3. The “called-out remnant” alone would be judged during this church age.
4. The world would be judged during the thousand-year period called the Day of the Lord, by those saviours who have judged themselves and now rule righteously with the Lord.
5. The truth is: by God’s express appointment the great mass of mankind do not have any probation at all until after death.
Orthodox teachings say that there is no probation for any after death! When you have breathed your last breath, it’s all over for you. If you haven’t said “the sinner’s prayer” before you stopped breathing, (even though you may never have heard of Jesus, or been drawn by His Spirit) you will automatically be consigned to hell — plain and simple. This “theology” is NOT GOOD NEWS! Further, the scriptures teach no such thing! Why should we expect “all people” to be happy upon hearing such news? Rather, they would feel that such a God can surely not be a God of Love and mercy, so why should anyone want to love and serve Him?
There are two points to consider in this false teaching. First, in the King James Version “hell” is always spoken of as being “eternal” or “everlasting”. Secondly, it is always portrayed as being in the nature of torture and punishment.
Mistranslations and false teachings have caused people to have a distorted image of God. The Lord told Faith that some have made a “caricature” of Him. A caricature is a picture, cartoon, description that ridiculously exaggerates the peculiarities or defects of a person or thing.” I know a number of believers who strive with the Lord all the time and have no peace because they believe God to be this wrathful Being Who is always “out to get them”. They can never rest in His Love for they have the wrong concept of His nature.
In the Judgment Seat scene in Mat. 23, this is what the original Greek words say unto those of the “goat” nature: “… Depart ye from Me, accursed ones! Into the age-abiding fire which hath been prepared for the adversary and his messengers.” And, He concludes the matter, in vs. 46, by saying: “And these shall go away into age-abiding correction, but the righteous into age-abiding life” (Rotherham). The Concordant Literal N.T. brings out the same truth: “And these shall be coming away into chastening eonian, yet the just into life eonian (age-lasting).”
Do we have any concrete example in the Bible to prove that hell is: a) not eternal b) it is for correction rather than for punishment. Read I Peter 3:18-20. I doubt you have ever heard a sermon on these verses. Even the KJV plainly says that Jesus “went and preached unto the spirits in prison” who had been disobedient in the days of Noah. “Preaching” is telling the good news of the gospel, so those who had been confined for a long age were now visited by the Lord and He told them the good news that He had “suffered for sins… that he might bring us to God.” I’m confident that Jesus did not give them this good news in vain. He must have received those who rejoiced in His good news (the gospel!) Their judgment had not been an “everlasting punishment.” It was both “corrective” and “age-lasting”!
The wondrous truth of the matter is that this long Day of Judgment that is at hand is the time of the probation of man — of all who have not previously had such trial. Everything is coming into place: the church age of the in-part is over; man’s day (the sixth day) is over and the Kingdom Age, the Day of the Lord is dawning upon the horizon of time. Now shall mankind know the One who “turneth man to destruction, and saith, return ye children of men.”
FALL ON THE STONE
We are aware of a mighty teaching rain that is even now falling upon His remnant sons. This teaching rain is rolling away the stone that has been upon the tomb of Truth. It is shaking from His Own all the lifeless teachings of Babylon which have kept His people in bondage and ignorance. For example, many are there who swear that the King James Bible is the most inspired version of all the Bibles and we can trust its words implicitly.
Little do they know that it was copied largely from the BISHOPS BIBLE, which was compiled from the Tyndale, the Coverdale and the Cranmer translations. The translators were to consult the Greek and Hebrew texts but their scholarship in these two languages was sadly lacking. They compiled their bible in 1603 and it was not until 1628 that some ancient manuscripts of the Greek New Testament arrived in England. It is no wonder that in the 1760’s thirty thousand new marginal references were added to these editions.
My purpose in mentioning this is not take away your confidence in the Bible, but simply to alert you to the fact that only the original writings were inspired. In the age in which we live the original meanings of the Greek and Hebrew words are made available to the most lowly believer. We may now search out and compare the meanings of words and receive further enlightenment by the Spirit of the Lord. The Lord is using this means to correct many false teachings that have been propagated by Babylon.
I have said all that to introduce the true meaning of a word that holds within it the seed of a great truth. That word is found in Mat. 21:44: “Whosoever shall fall on this stone (Christ) shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall it shall grind him to powder.” We who have “fallen on Christ” know we must submit to being broken, crucified, mortified, and perfected through suffering. But we count the prize to be worth all this and more! “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us” Rom. 8:18.
But what of those who will not fall on the stone? Tradition and mistranslation lead us to believe they “shall be ground to powder”, a disastrous fate. Ah! But wait! The latter part of Matt. 21:44 is a gross mistranslation. The original word does NOT mean “to grind to powder.” The word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, so we must find its meaning from its usage in the Old Testament. It means: “to part the grain from the chaff, to winnow.” The Concordant Literal N.T. says: “. . . on whomsoever it should be falling, it will be scattering him like chaff.”
This word is also used in Jer. 4:11 with the meaning to “fan” or “winnow” which is to “cleanse” from wickedness. This passage should correctly read: “. . . upon whomsoever it shall fall, it will WINNOW them.”
Though the process be severe, yet they will benefit in the end. They will be separated from “the chaff” of sin and self, and will be made pure, cleansed from their wickedness.
Those who will not humble themselves shall be humbled. Those who will not “reckon themselves dead”, and “die daily”, shall be killed. BUT! “The Lord killeth and maketh alive; he bringeth down to the grave and bringeth up” I Sam. 2:6. “He turneth man to destruction, and saith, return ye children of men” Psa. 90:3. They will say: “Come and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up” Hosea 6:1.
And at last, each man shall know: “For thou, O God, hast proved us; thou hast tried us as silver is tried. Thou boughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins; thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but thou broughtest us OUT into a wealthy place” Psa. 66:10-12. The same God who brought them INTO trouble for their discipline and improvement, brought them out again into a wealthy place!
Some men are “saved by grace” and others are “saved so as by fire”. Whether the Lord deals with us in mercy or in wrath, the end (the purpose in view) is always the same: “. . . that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy” James 5:11. Though many are not willing to fall on the Stone, yet they shall not be utterly ruined, but rather they shall be WINNOWED — CLEANSED — PURIFIED.
THE PURPOSE OF JUDGMENT
God’s judgments are always the expression of His Love, and for the good of mankind. I have found this to be true on a personal basis and am convinced that it is true for every man. The deepest trials have always brought forth the greatest benefit to my spiritual life so I have had to acknowledge His Love in every judgment that was brought to bear upon me.
The Lord spoke to Faith Williams, “I only use the sword on My enemies.” Then she asked Him, “Then, Lord, why are You using it on us?” His answer was: “My people must understand that My enemies are also their enemies (within) and they must deliver them up to the sword!”
Once the people of God begin to know the nature of the Lord they shall realize that His righteousness is not fully declared until makes His creatures righteous with His own righteousness! He finds no joy or satisfaction in punishing to satisfy His anger or wrath. This is more like the actions of the heathen gods (devils) that the people worshipped. Their anger always had to be appeased by offerings. But I do not know my Savior like this!
A common objection to the things we are setting forth here is that “God is a holy God and cannot even look upon sin! He must cast the wicked away from Himself. He hates sin!” These are all true statements but they have not been taken to their logical conclusion. It is because He is a holy God that He cannot rest until all that is opposed to His nature in His creation is subdued and changed. It is no victory for God to cast the wicked into a raging inferno for the sake of punishment alone. That is contrary to God’s nature. But fires for chastening and proving — yes! We know that He does this, for we have experienced it in our own lives.
He has shown me that righteousness is not complete if it only judges and condemns (for the devil also can condemn). The highest righteousness, while it judges sin, can never rest until it also makes the sinner righteous!
Recently, while in prayer, the Spirit of the Lord spoke to our waiting hearts: “I am very nigh unto thee — even at the door. Thou hast stood before My Judgment Seat many times — willing and unwilling to be in that place. I have judged thine allegiance to the prince of this world and have broken the strong ties of the law of sin and death that have been upon thee. And now, thine eye has been opened that thou art able to SEE thy Judge. He is not hidden from thee any longer. Thou seeth Him and thy heart worshippeth. As it is in thy lives, shall it not be with the sum of all My creation?”
See Isa. 30:18-21, especially vs. 20: “And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers. . . for the Lord is a God of judgment.” We see here that the Just Judge uses adversity and affliction as teachers to teach us His ways. And when these teachers have done their work, we acknowledge the loving Hand that sent them, and we long to be LIKE HIM! These are some of His ways with mankind.
GOD’S WAY WITH MAN
Jesus declared that “the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” Jn. 5:22. Have you ever wondered why this should be? It is simply because He is the Son of man. Judgment, trial and probation has to do with man. Jesus was tempted (tried) in all points like as we, and brought forth judgment unto victory. He is fitted to have the work of man’s probation committed to His Hand.
JUDGMENT, DAMNATION, OR PROBATION [Elaine Cook] 1