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An Address to the Public, and Especially the Clergy

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    DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE RESURRECTION AND JUDGMENT

    But it may be said, “The latter part of the twentieth chapter is irreconcilable with the above explanation; that in the 11th, 12th, and 13th verses, and not until then, the judgment and resurrection are introduced.”APEC 37.2

    The difficulty arises from confounding the resurrection and judgment, or at least from giving the resurrection the precedence in the order of time; whereas the Scriptures place the judgment first. The case is this: the first part of the chapter is taken up in illustrating the order of the resurrection, and in making perfectly plain what had been before stated without illustration, that there is to be a resurrection of the just and the unjust. There is in the course of that description nothing said of the judgment: that subject was to be introduced and explained subsequently. Accordingly, it is presented in the 11th, 12th, and 13th verses. Verse 11. “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face, the earth and heavens fled away, and there was found no place for them.” Verse 12. “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of the things written in the books, according to their works.”APEC 37.3

    1. The Revelator saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it.APEC 38.1

    2. He saw “the dead,” small and great, stand before God.APEC 38.2

    3. The books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life. By the testimony of the book of life the condition of mankind is to be decided; and by the testimony of the book of their works, their reward or punishment is to be graduated.APEC 38.3

    4. “The dead” were judged. Not those who had been dead, but were then alive and before God, but “the dead” stood before God; and “the dead” were judged. After the judgment is passed, verse 13th, the resurrection is presented. “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, (judgment was executed,) every man according to their works.”APEC 38.4

    Nor is this a solitary text which teaches the same doctrine. Hebrews 9:21. “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment.” Also Acts 10:42. “It is he (Christ) which was ordained of God to be the judge of quick (those who are alive when he leaves the throne of grace) and dead,” (those who shall have died before that event.) 2 Timothy 4:1. “I charge thee, therefore, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing,” etc. Nor is there a text which presents the judicial scene of judgment after the resurrection. On the contrary, the Scriptures can be harmonized on no other principle than that every man’s doom is fixed before his resurrection.APEC 38.5

    There is not, at least I have never found it, a single text in the Bible which teaches the doctrine that all mankind shall stand before the judgment-seat of Christ in their resurrection bodies. These three verses, or the concluding part of the twentieth chapter of Revelation, then, so far from forming an objection to the explanation given above, of the first part of the chapter, is one of the strongest proofs we can desire of its correctness. And it also presents a key to many other texts of scripture, without which they must be locked up in mystery.APEC 39.1

    But if the judgment is to precede the resurrection, then we can understand the Savior when he says, “before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them,” etc.; and it perfectly harmonizes with another declaration, viz., “that he shall send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and gather together his elect from the four winds.” But if the resurrection is to precede the judgment, it is impossible to reconcile them without making all mankind his elect. Again, it explains the apostle’s meaning when he says, “The dead in Christ shall rise first;” and also, “they that are his at his coming.” But if I am in error on this point, I will sincerely thank any one to show me, either from reason or scripture, wherein.APEC 39.2

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