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Builders of Faith Explorer I:  Exploring Bible Truth

Lesson 21—The Pre-Advent Judgment

 

 

1.  What will Jesus bring with Him at His Second Coming, and what does that imply?

 

“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”  Matthew 16:27.  “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”  Revelation 22:12.  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”  II Corinthians 5:10.

 

Answer:  The texts above indicate that the rewards that Jesus brings with Him at His Second Coming are the result of a process of judgment.  That implies that a process of judgment must occur in heaven at some point relatively soon before Jesus returns in glory.  That is a Pre-Advent Judgment.

 

 

2.  What is associated with a process of judgment in the Bible?

 

“I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool.  His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire; A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him.  A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.  The court was seated, and the books were opened.”  Daniel 7:9-10.  “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened.  And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life.  And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.”  Revelation 20:12.

 

Answer:  There are books—some kind of written records—from which people are judged according to their works.  This confirms our conclusion in Question #1 that this is a process of judgment in which an investigation is being conducted.  Since God doesn’t need written records to refresh His memory, then the books must be for the angels and other intelligent beings.  Because “…God is love”, and love does more than it has to, God will open the books of heaven and allow other intelligent beings to confirm that God has been more than fair to each individual on earth.  There is, therefore, a Pre-Advent Investigative Judgment that begins relatively soon before Jesus returns in glory.  That does not mean that both judgment scenes in Daniel 7 and Revelation 20 refer to the same judgment, as we shall learn in a future lesson.

 

 

3.  Whose names come up in the Pre-Advent Judgment?

 

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name [Jesus] under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:12.  “That was the true Light [Jesus] which gives light to every man coming into the world.”  John 1:9.

 

Answer:  The Pre-Advent Judgment is like a court case, according to some of the texts cited in Question #1 and #2 above.  John 1:9 tells us that even those who never heard the name of Jesus have been given some spiritual light.  But if a person never claims to be a follower of Jesus, or if he does not make a concerted effort to follow the light (truth) that he has, then he has no chance of passing the judgment and being saved.  Therefore, he is like an arrested person who pleads “guilty”; there is no investigative trial phase necessary—just a sentencing and execution of sentence.  All of this evidence means that those whose names come up in the Pre-Advent Judgment are those who have claimed to be followers of Jesus or to follow the spiritual light they had.

 

 

4.  But doesn’t the Bible plainly state that God’s professed people will not come into judgment?

 

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”  John 5:24.

 

Answer:  The same Greek word for judgment can also mean condemnation or damnation, depending upon the context.  Here the contrast is between eternal death and eternal life, so the better translation would be to use the English word condemnation.  In any case, the text makes plain that judgment is parallel to death, and that it is definitely not a process of judgment being discussed.  The same Greek word is correctly translated as condemnation in verse 29 because it refers to “the resurrection of condemnation”.

 

 

5.  Will God’s people really go through a process of judgment?

 

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”  II Corinthians 5:10.  “…For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”  Romans 14:10.

 

Answer:  In both texts here the apostle Paul is specifically writing to Christians.  Thus there is no question about the fact that those who claim Christianity will go through a process of judgment.  And this judgment must occur before the Second Coming of Jesus because He will bring His rewards with Him—rewards which were reviewed in a judgment first, as we have learned in this lesson.

 

 

6.  Is there a parallel to the Pre-Advent Judgment in Scripture?

 

Answer:  Yes.  It is called the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).  Read all of Leviticus 16 and Leviticus 23:26-32 for the Biblical instructions for this annual festival.  Even to this day, Yom Kippur is considered a Judgment Day, the most solemn day in the Jewish religious calendar.  Note that this Judgment Day only applied to those who professed to be the followers of God, that is, those who lived in Israel.  And if it were determined that anyone had not taken advantage of the sanctuary system by bringing animal sacrifices, they were to be “cut off” from the people of God.  In other words, this judgment separated the pretenders from the true people of God.

 

 

7.  If salvation is by grace through faith, then why is judgment according to works?

 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God….”  Ephesians 2:8.  “For as the body without the spirit [breath] is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”  James 2:26.

 

Answer:  Salvation is by grace through faith, but talk is cheap.  Anyone can claim to have faith in Jesus, but if his life is not significantly changed, he is lying or fooling himself.  As James declared, “…faith without works is dead”, which means that it is not faith.  One’s works are evidence that his claim of being saved is either true or false.  It’s not about a certain amount of works or about being perfect; it’s that your works are the fruit of your faith to show whether the claim of saving faith is valid or not.

 

 

8.  In the Pre-Advent Judgment, who is the judge, who is the prosecutor, and who is the defense attorney?

 

Answer:  Since we have learned that this judgment is a court-like process, we should expect the Bible to identify the judge, the prosecutor, and the defense attorney are.  And it does, as follows:

 

A.  John 5:22:  “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.”—So Jesus is the judge.

 

B.  Revelation 12:9-10:  “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan…was cast to the earth….  …for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.”—So Satan is the prosecutor; besides, the name Satan means “Adversary”.

 

C.  I John 2:1:  “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin.  And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”—So Jesus is the defense attorney.  How can you lose your case if Jesus is both the judge and your defense attorney?!

 

 

9.  Does the New Testament ever directly refer to the Pre-Advent Judgment?

 

“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”  Revelation 14:6-7.

 

Answer:  First, note that “the hour of His [God’s] judgment has come”.  This judgment must occur before the Second Coming of Jesus because the everlasting gospel is being preached by this angel, which means that people can still choose the gospel and be saved.  Second, this judgment takes place relatively near the Second Coming because it is part of a three-fold message by three angels, and (1) the second message warns that Babylon is fallen, and Babylon in Revelation is an end-time evil power (see Revelation 17:3-6 and so forth); and (2) the third message warns against receiving the mark of the beast, which is an end-time crisis (see Revelation 13:16-17).  Therefore, this judgment must be a process of judgment, not an execution of sentence.  Thus it is the Pre-Advent Investigative Judgment.

 

 

10.  But doesn’t Revelation 14’s judgment really mean something else?

 

Answer:  Could it not mean that (A) the fact that the gospel is being preached, people then must make a judgment about whether to accept the gospel or not; or (B) the judgment-hour is now because God’s judgment on the wicked at the Second Coming is very near?  The responses below, in (A) and (B) respectively, answer these two objections:

 

A.  No, for two reasons.  First, it is said to be “…His [God’s] judgment…”, not our judgment.  Second, the very reason to accept the gospel and to fear God, give Him glory, and worship Him is “…for [because] the hour of His judgment has come….”  This judgment of God gives greater urgency for people to accept the gospel and obey and worship God.

 

B.  No, for one good reason.  The Greek word for “hour” appears ten times in the book of Revelation—in Revelation 3:3, 10; 9:15; 11:13; 14:7, 15 (where it’s translated time in the NKJV); 17:12; and 18:10, 17, 19.  In each of the other nine occasions, the same Greek word appears in a specific context that clearly points to an event or ongoing activity at or during the entire hour or time.  Therefore, when “…the hour of His [God’s] judgment has come…”, that judgment has literally begun.  So it is a process of judgment that begins in heaven relatively soon before the Second Coming of Jesus.

 

 

11.  How is this teaching not a doctrine of legalism (salvation by works)?

 

“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”  Revelation 14:6-7.

 

Answer:  It can be misunderstood as a doctrine of legalism, but that only happens when the believer ignores the relationship between the hour of God’s judgment and the everlasting gospel.  According to the passage above, the very reason to accept the gospel and do the other things is “…for [because] the hour of His judgment has come….”  This judgment of God gives greater urgency for people to accept the gospel.  Why?  Obviously, because accepting the gospel of what Jesus has done for us is what will get people safely through the judgment and into Christ’s Kingdom.  So far from being a legalistic doctrine, the Pre-Advent Judgment goes hand-in-hand with the gospel.  If it didn’t, then no one could pass the judgment, for passing the judgment depends upon Christ’s perfection, not on any supposed perfection on our part!

 

 

12.  Please look at the beautiful illustration of the Pre-Advent Judgment in Zechariah 3.

 

“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.  And the Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan!  The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you!  Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?’  Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.  Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, ‘Take away the filthy garments from him.’  And to him He said, ‘See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.’  And I said, ‘Let them put a clean turban on his head.’  So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him.  And the Angel of the Lord stood by.”  Zechariah 3:1-5.

 

Answer:  First, the Angel of the Lord is plainly called “the Lord” in this passage.  Second, Satan obviously functions here as the prosecutor who is opposing Joshua, the representative of God’s faithful people.  Third, Jesus (the Lord) defends (as defense attorney) Joshua by rebuking Satan on Joshua’s behalf.  Finally, Jesus (the Lord) acts as the judge in the case by instructing others to remove Joshua’s filthy garments and clothe him in rich robes and a clean turban.  Clearly, Joshua’s filthy garments represent even our righteous deeds, which are polluted with our sinful natures, as made evident in Isaiah 64:6 and discussed in Lesson #5.  And the rich robes and the clean turban represent the righteousness of Jesus, which is the only thing that saves us.  What a beautiful picture of God’s Pre-Advent Judgment that expresses the Biblical truth that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus!

 

 

13.  Has the Pre-Advent Judgment begun yet?

 

“And He [Jesus] said to them [His disciples], ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”  Mark 16:15.  “Behold, I send My messenger [John the Baptist], And he will prepare the way before Me.  And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger [Jesus] of the covenant, in whom you delight….”  Malachi 3:1.

 

Answer:  Notice that Jesus has commissioned His followers to preach the gospel to everyone on earth, not angels.  Moreover, the Hebrew and Greek words for “angels” actually means “messengers”.  Most of the time, it does refer to angelic beings.  However, in Malachi 3:1, the words translated as messenger are the same word for angel.  And Jesus told us that the first messenger in this text was John the Baptist (see Matthew 11:10-11) and that He [Jesus] was the second messenger.  All this means that the three “angels” of Revelation 14 actually represent Christian messengers with a global three-fold message since the gospel commission was given to Christians, not angelic beings.  And it might be inferred that God would not make this doctrine of the Pre-Advent Judgment clear to His end-time movement until shortly after that judgment had begun.  The fact that Builders of Faith is part of a global movement with this doctrine suggests, but does not prove, that this judgment has already begun in heaven.  However, in our Explorer II series, “Exploring End-Time Prophecy”, Lesson #6 will show the very year it began.  So, yes, we believe that it has already begun.

 

 

Quiz for Lesson 21—The Pre-Advent Judgment

 

1.  What does Jesus bring with Him at His Second Coming, and what does that imply? (2)

  His saved people, which implies that people go to their reward immediately after death

  His reward, which implies that a process of judgment must occur in heaven before Jesus’ Second Coming

  Books, which implies that God holds a judgment scene immediately after the Second Coming

  His reward, which implies that people have not received their rewards until after Jesus returns in glory

Answer

His reward, which implies that a process of judgment must occur in heaven before Jesus’ Second Coming
His reward, which implies that people have not received their rewards until after Jesus returns in glory

2.  Why are books associated with judgment in the Bible? (2)

  Because God loves history and wants to keep a record forever

  Because love does more than it has to do

  Because God allows angels and others in heaven to see that He has been fair with everyone

  Because God doesn’t want to forget any details in His judging of people

Answer

Because love does more than it has to do
Because God allows angels and others in heaven to see that He has been fair with everyone

3.  Which of the following statements about the Pre-Advent Judgment are true? (3)

  Only those who have ever claimed to follow Jesus or the truth that they understood go through this particular judgment.

  Everyone, both saved and lost, go through this Pre-Advent Judgment.

  Those who have never claimed Jesus or to follow the truth they understood are like those who plead “guilty”, and thus they don’t go through the Pre-Advent Judgment.

  Only the wicked go through this particular judgment so that Jesus can justly slay them at His Second Coming.

  The Pre-Advent Judgment occurs in heaven shortly before Jesus returns in glory.

Answer

Only those who have ever claimed to follow Jesus or the truth that they understood go through this particular judgment.
Those who have never claimed Jesus or to follow the truth they understood are like those who plead “guilty”, and thus they don’t go through the Pre-Advent Judgment.
The Pre-Advent Judgment occurs in heaven shortly before Jesus returns in glory.

4.  At least two New Testament passages state that God’s people will stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. (1)

  True

  False

Answer

True

5.  Which of the following statements about the Old Testament parallel to the Pre-Advent Judgment are true? (4)

  The Old Testament parallel to the Pre-Advent Judgment is the Day of Atonement.

  The Day of Atonement is considered a judgment day.

  The Day of Atonement comes in the spring of each year.

  Only those who claimed to be part of God’s covenant community in Israel were affected by the Day of Atonement.

  Those Israelites who had not used the sanctuary system were “cut off” from the people of God.

Answer

The Old Testament parallel to the Pre-Advent Judgment is the Day of Atonement.
The Day of Atonement is considered a judgment day.
Only those who claimed to be part of God’s covenant community in Israel were affected by the Day of Atonement.
Those Israelites who had not used the sanctuary system were “cut off” from the people of God.

6.  Which of the following statements about grace, faith, salvation, works, and judgment are true? (3)

  Salvation is by works, but judgment is according to grace.

  Salvation is by grace through faith, but talk is cheap.

  Good works are the evidence that one who claims to belong to Jesus really does.

  Good works are the fruit of one’s faith or salvation.

  Salvation is by grace, and judgment is by faith.

Answer

Salvation is by grace through faith, but talk is cheap.
Good works are the evidence that one who claims to belong to Jesus really does.
Good works are the fruit of one’s faith or salvation.

7.  Regarding the judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney in the Pre-Advent Judgment, which statements below are true? (3)

  God the Father is the judge.

  Satan is the prosecutor.

  Jesus is the defense attorney.

  Jesus is both the judge and the defense attorney.

  God the Father is both the judge and the defense attorney.

Answer

Satan is the prosecutor.
Jesus is the defense attorney.
Jesus is both the judge and the defense attorney.

8.  Which of the following statements about judgment in Revelation 14 are true? (4)

  It is God’s judgment about us, not our judgment about God.

  The judgment there makes it even more important to fear God, give Him glory, and worship Him as the Creator.

  It is called the judgment hour because the Second Coming of Jesus will soon occur and bring His judgments with Him.

  It is a judgment that is going on in heaven while people still have a chance to be saved, because the everlasting gospel is being preached during this judgment.

  This judgment is a process of judgment, not an execution of a judgment’s sentence.

Answer

It is God’s judgment about us, not our judgment about God.
The judgment there makes it even more important to fear God, give Him glory, and worship Him as the Creator.
It is a judgment that is going on in heaven while people still have a chance to be saved, because the everlasting gospel is being preached during this judgment.
This judgment is a process of judgment, not an execution of a judgment’s sentence.

9.  The Pre-Advent Judgment is a doctrine of legalism—that people must have enough good works to pass safely through this judgment. (1)

  True

  False

Answer

False

10.  Which of the following statements about Zechariah 3 are true? (4)

  It is an illustration of the Pre-Advent Judgment.

  Joshua’s filthy garments represent our good works polluted by our sinful natures.

  God the Father acts here like the prosecutor.

  The rich robes represent the righteousness of Jesus.

  It expresses the Bible truth that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus.

Answer

It is an illustration of the Pre-Advent Judgment.
Joshua’s filthy garments represent our good works polluted by our sinful natures.
The rich robes represent the righteousness of Jesus. It expresses the Bible truth that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus.