2. Previous Judgments
We have shown in The Judgment Now that God's judgment is the articulation and public display of His judgments, His characteristics, the essence of His being. The final judgment has been typified by many occasions in which God has condemned sin and justified the righteous. Each of these types shed light on the final judgment to which we stand related. Where and when and in what exact chronological detail this last judgment will occur is not so important; what is crucial for our eternal future is that we understand the principles which will be articulated in it.
In passing, note that in all the following types of judgment, Angels feature prominently- as they will in the final antitype.
Adam in Eden (Rom. 5:16-18)
He heard the call / invitation of God to judgment (cp. Mt. 20:8; 22:3; 25:6; Lk. 14:17; 16:2; 19:15).
The Angel came for him in the spirit / whirlwind (Mt. 13:39; 25:31)
The presence of the Lord
Adam had no place to hide, although he sought it. Likewise the sinful deeds of the rejected will not be hid at the judgment (1 Tim. 5:25- surely an allusion to Adam's attempt to hide). Israel likewise wanted to hide from God but were searched out in His day of judgment (Am. 9:3). This corresponds with the foolish virgins not wanting to go to judgment.
Nakedness (Rev. 16:15)
Realization of their condemnation just by the very invitation to judgment
Questioned about his sin (Mt. 25:42)
Made excuses (Mt. 25:43)
Specific punishment given to Adam and Eve, appropriate to the failure of each of them, with an explanation (Mt. 25:42)
Sent forth from God's presence
Driven out- as if there were two stages.
This is commented on under 'Sheep and goats'
Lot's Deliverance From Sodom
If Lot and Noah had not been saved, they would have perished in the judgment to come upon Sodom / their surrounding world. And so it seems the unfaithful will meet their end in the same way.
The Red Sea
This is described as the judgment of God, the day of the Lord etc. because God's people exited from the world whilst judgments came upon it; the Name of God was revealed through this process (Ps. 76:6-9; 103:6,7). Israel were brought out by "great judgments" (Ex. 6:6; 7:4), i.e. by God's stretched out arm (6:6). The way He acted was a manifestation of His judgment principles.
The Babylonian Invasion (Jer. 1:15,16; 4:12,13)
Their captivity would lead to men being humbled and Yahweh exalted (Is. 5:12-16), using the very language which Isaiah elsewhere uses about the final day of judgment (2:21). As Israel were "cast" out of their land and into another country (Dt. 29:28) so the rejected are cast out of God's presence. Zedekiah fled, was overtaken, wept (Ez. 7:27), judgment was given upon him (Jer. 52:9), he was punished in the presence of the king (Jer. 52:10), cast into prison (Jer. 52:11 cp. Mt. 5:25).
The Assyrian Invasion
When Sennacherib camped against Jerusalem and set up his throne there, this was a judgment seat. The judgment seat was brought near by Israel's sin (Am. 6:3). The faithful remnant had to go through some of the final judgments. But Israel were removed out of God's sight (2 Kings 17:18), rejected by God (:20).
The whole of Matthew 24, with its evident judgment and second coming reference, can be applied to the events of AD70. The AD70 judgment is described as the fiery trial which would try the saints, and as judgment beginning at the house of God (1 Pet. 4:12,17).
The Lord plainly described His death as "the judgment of this world" (Jn. 12:30-32). Because there was "no judgment", therefore Jesus died on the cross (Is. 59:15,16). This was the ultimate judgment of this world. There the Lord God, through His Son, acted as judge in condemning sin (Rom. 8:3). The Lord "set his face" to go up to Jerusalem and die there (Lk. 9:51), but in doing so the record alludes to the way Hazael set his face to go up against Jerusalem in judgment (2 Kings 12:17). The Lord's death was effectively Israel's judgment. "The prince of this world" (sin, the devil?) was judged by the victory of the cross (Jn. 16:11). There, in that naked, abused body and infinitely tormented yet righteous mind, there was displayed the judgments, the character, the very essence of God; and the utter condemnation of the flesh, the devil, the prince of this world. Those judgments were displayed in front of a world which stood before it self-condemned. The prophecy of Zech. 12:10 concerning looking on the pierced Messiah is quoted in Rev. 1:7 concerning the judgment seat; and yet in Jn. 19:37 concerning the cross. Isaiah's vision of "the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up" (Is. 6:1) connects with the description of the crucified Lord high and lifted up (Is. 52:13). This vision, John tells us, was of Christ in His glory. And John combines his citation of this passage with that of Is. 53 concerning the cross (Jn. 12:41,42). The Lord, high and lifted up in glory, was the crucified Lord. There He was enthroned, in God's eyes, in His throne of glory. When He comes again and sits in the throne of His glory, He will be repeating in principle the glorification of the cross. The very vision of the lifted up Lord convicted Isaiah of his sinfulness, and steeled his faith in forgiveness (Is. 6:5-8).
As unworthy people wailed before Him on the cross (Lk. 23:27- the Lord knew they would be condemned in the AD70 judgment rather than obey his words and flee the city), so they will wail (s.w.) before Him at the judgment (Mt. 24:30). The cross and the judgment are definitely connected. Men's feelings at the cross are a foretaste of our feelings before the enthroned, glorified Lord. And hence there is a connection between the breaking of bread, the judgment, the crucifixion, self-examination... it all comes together. The suffering Lord committed the keeping of His soul to the Father "that judgeth righteously" (1 Pet. 2:23). He judged both His Son's righteousness and the world's rejection of it at that time. The lifting up of Christ on the pole resulted in all men being drawn unto him (Jn. 12:32); but this is taking language from Isaiah's prophecies of how the Lord Jesus at His return would be raised up like an ensign (s.w. pole, Num. 21:9), and all people would be gathered to Him for judgment (Is. 5:26; 11:10; 18:3; 49:22; 62:10). There is evidently a connection between the Lord's lifting up on the pole / cross and gathering all men to Him, and the way in which all men will be gathered to Him at His return. His cross was a foretaste of the judgment. Our feelings before His cross now will be those we experience before Him at the final judgment (see comments on the breaking of bread in Foretastes Of Judgment). At His trial, the Lord warned them that He would come again as judge (Mt. 26:64,65), as if He realized that they were living out a foretaste of the final judgment. The thief likewise understood the Lord's presence as being the presence of the judge who would finally judge him (Lk. 23:44). Harry Whittaker points out that the cross divided men: there were women who followed and mourned insincerely, and the women who really followed. There were soldiers who gambled over the Lord's clothes, and one who really repented. There was a thief who repented and one who wouldn't. There were those who mocked and others who watched and believed.