SEED & BREAD

Number 197

GOD'S JUDGMENTS



This Study has been published from an unfinished hand-written manuscript found in a file of Otis Q. Sellersí work-in-progress study materials. This study was to be SEED & BREAD number 197. A part of the unfinished symphony of his life work.

The Spirit of God, speaking through King Solomon, gave to the world these words of excellent advice: "He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is a folly and a shame unto him" (Proverbs 18:13). A more literal translation of this passage would be: "He who replies to a matter before he listens to it, this is his folly and shame."

As you begin reading this message you will find several emphatic statements with which you may not agree. If so, this will be because you quit too soon and did not "listen" to the entire presentation. Or, it may be the word "judgment" does not mean to you what it means as used in the Word of God. Nevertheless, let us get to these statements.

In view of world conditions as they exist today it is my deep conviction that there is no prophesied event that will do more for the world, the earth, and the people upon it than for God to send and completely fill the earth with his judgments. In addition to this I will further say that the promises of "coming judgment" are some of the most precious and desirable to be found in the Bible.

These words may come as a shock to all who believe that the word "judgment" means a calamity, misfortune, or illness sent from God as a punishment for sins. And while this definition of the word "judgment" will be found as one meaning in all English dictionaries, we must remember that dictionaries define words according to the way they are used among men. Men today (especially religious men) use the word "judgment" as indicating divine wrath or punishment.

This is one of the oldest errors of Christendom, being older even than the national error of calling the original inhabitants of the Americas "Indians." It is an error that is perpetuated by the leading evangelists who speak of "God's terrible judgments," "frightful judgments," "and awful judgments" (see Seed and Bread Issue no. 33).

If any Bible believer will read Psalm 19 which tells us that Godís judgments are more to be desired than gold, even more than much fine gold, that they are sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb, that by them His servants are warned, and in the keeping of them there is great reward, how can he ever again use such adjectives as frightful, awful, and terrible in describing them?

In the interest of exact Scriptural interpretation we will need to note that the word "judgment" we are considering is the Hebrew word mishpat. This word is found in 412 sentences in the Old Testament. It is translated "judgment" in 294 of these occurrences, and by 28 different terms in the remaining 118.

It is a formidable task to examine each one of these, but I have done this twice, and am able to say that in no occurrence of this word does it mean a calamity sent by God as a punishment for the sins of men. Therefore, the question that all honest students of Godís words must answer is: "What does mishpat mean according to its usage by the Spirit of God in the Word of God?"

The Greek word which is identical in meaning with mishpat is the word krisis. These two words are used interchangeably by the Spirit of God, as a comparison of Isa.42:1 with Matt.12:18 (also Isa.42:3 with Matt.12:20, and Isa.53:8 with Acts 8:33) will show.

Now to prove my statement that to fill the earth with His judgments is an event that will do more for the world than any other prophesied future event, I would point the reader to Isa.26:9 where we are told: When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the earth will learn righteousness.

This is one of the most important prophesies concerning the future found in the Old Testament. It concerns the earth and it encompasses the inhabitants of the world. We should consider its words carefully.

It does not say "If Thy judgments come into the earth." It says "When Thy judgments are in the earth." This makes it a definite prophecy and promise which in due time God will fulfill. We are also told that the result of Godís judgments filling the earth will be that the inhabitants of the world will be taught and will be trained in such a way that they will learn righteousness.

If the reader would better understand the meaning of Godís judgments being in the earth, let him consider and contrast the difference in the results of God doing this and the result of Him pouring out vials of wrath upon men as punishment for their sins. The acts of God in bringing His judgments into the earth results in the inhabitants of the earth learning righteousness. The act of God in visiting men with wrath results in a far worse blasphemy upon their part. See Rev.16:9, 10, and 11.

Of course, these statements will bring up the question: "Just what are Gods judgments, and what is their totality?" It may be that these questions can best be answered by an illustration.

In the United States of America there is a set of judgments which are commonly called ĎThe Constitution," and "The Amendments to the Constitution," plus a million and one laws and regulations which have flowed out of these. These are vast and voluminous, and so varied and complex that very few of us have any real understanding of what they say and are intended to do. Nevertheless, these make up what are called officially "The Judgments of the United States of America." These are supposed to direct and regulate all life and conduct within these fifty states. If we live and walk in harmony with these judgments, we will probably not know that they exist, but if we walk contrary to even the least of these, the long arm of the law may reach out for us and exact a penalty for its violation.

From this it can be seen that this great nation is founded upon these judgments, that they are essential to its continued existence, and without them and their enforcement we would probably turn into a company of savages and barbarians.

It is the revealed plan of God to bring His government into the earth. The time will come when we can say for a fact, "Thou hast taken to Thee Thy great power, and you do reign" (Rev. 11:17). To "reign" is to govern, to rule, to exercise sovereignty. Here it is the aorist form of the familiar greek word basileuO (indicative mood). This was the hope of Israel, as was declared in Psalm 67:4: "For Thou shalt judge the peoples righteously, and govern the nations upon the earth."

However, if God ever governs this earth and the nations upon it, it will have to have a proper foundation, a constitution, and established judgments. No longer can every man do that which is right in His own eyes, as did Israel at times past, but he must walk according to the revealed and established truth of God, that is, His judgments. Furthermore, God must bring His judgments into the earth and make them plain to every man, woman, and child upon it. It is not the work of men to establish God's judgments in the earth. If Godís judgments are ever in the earth it will be because He brought them in and effectually established them.

Furthermore, we can say from the Word of God that there will be definite acts of God in the future, and the sum of these acts will be that his judgments will be in the world. Let us again note some of these acts of God.

In Psalm 97:4 we are told: "His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled." This is a prophecy, and its fulfillment will bring about the condition described by Isaiah: "For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (11:9). "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it." (Isa. 40:5). In that day all men can say: "The LORD is exalted: for He dwelleth on high: He hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of Thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure." (Isa. 33:5, 6).

It has become commonplace in theology to make the second coming of Christ to be the most important future event. It is held that He will bring unmeasured blessings to the world when He comes. And while I would in no way minimize the blessings that will flow out of the thousand years of His personal presence (His parousia), yet in view of the worldís present need, the coming of Godís judgments into the world and the divine administration of these judgments is of far more value.

This can be seen by comparing two passages: 2 Thes. 1:7-10 and Isaiah 26:9. The first of these deals with the second coming, and it says: "When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with eonian destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day."

The second passage deals with the coming of God's judgments into the earth and declares: "For when Thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." I leave it to the reader to say which event would accomplish the most good for the earth, the world and humanity.

Scripture abundantly testifies that if Godís judgments ever come into and fill the earth it will be in its entirety the result of divine action of Godís part. In Isaiah 42:4 we are told: "He shall not fail (become weak) or be discouraged, till He has set judgment in the earth." In Psalm 9:8 we read: "And He shall judge the world in righteousness, He shall minister (dispense) judgment to the people in uprightness."

This great truth of Godís judgments is carried into the New Testament. The passages that declare it there are constantly ignored by students of prophesy. In Matthew 12:18 it is declared, "He will shew judgment to the nations" and further states that He sends forth judgment constantly until He gains the desired victory. The final result of this will be that: "In His name shall the nations trust."

The result of God flooding the nations with His judgments will be that every nation will put their trust in Him. They will know what God expects of them and what He wants them to do. (See Romans 15:12. Seed and Bread Issue no. 38). No wonder Amos exclaimed: "Let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream" (Amos 5:24).
 


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Issue no. 197