One of my favorite TV shows during the late 1960s and early ’70s was Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. I especially liked Gary Owens since we both had radio shows at the time. Laugh-In was well known for its short and funny skits. One of them starred entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. where he played the part of a comical judge who ended each of his segments prancing off stage saying – “Here come da judge! Here come da judge! Here come da judge!”
At the time I didn’t realize how prophetic those words were. I first heard them as an atheist, then later as a theist. What I learned as a theist was that an important role God plays in His universe is as the final Judge.
- Job in his discourse on the wicked asked – “Can anyone teach God knowledge, Since He judges those on high?” (Job 21:22)
- Israel’s King David reminded the people of Israel that “God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day.” (Psalm 7:11)
- David’s son King Solomon wrote, “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work” (Ecclesiastes 3:17) and “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
- God spoke through His prophets to remind Israel that He was their Judge – “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,’ says the Lord God. ‘Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.” (Ezekiel 18:30)
That theme of God judging the wicked and His people continues in the New Testament, but with an extraordinary twist – Jesus Christ is the Heavenly Judge –
“For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” (John 5:22-23)
How can it be that the God of the Old Testament said He would judge the wicked and Israel, but that Jesus says in the New Testament that the Father had committed all judgment to Him? What does that have to do with The Hell Test? If God the Father committed all judgment to His Son Jesus Christ, then what Jesus says about future judgment is what we must accept as the will of God for the wicked and the righteous.
Understanding the Triune God is not an easy thing for mere mortals like us. That’s because God exists outside of our dimension and the rules and laws there are different than here. What we cannot understand in time and space are easy to understand in eternity.
As we move from the Old to the New Testament we must be careful not to see Jesus as just a man with extraordinary powers for an extraordinary mission. He is so much more than that.
“So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ Matthew 1:22-23
“There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’ It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Mark 1:7-11
“Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:30-33
“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-14
The Gospels contain an amazing “birth announcement” concerning God the Son. They are clear about the fact that Jesus existed prior to His human birth, that He came to earth to be Savior and King, and that He is the Creator God of the Old Testament. No mistake about it. Jesus Christ is God.
Jesus judging the world was not an afterthought in God’s plan. It was something considered and decided before Jesus created the world.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:3-6
Before the foundation of the world … before Jesus created the world … He chose us that we should be “holy and without blame before Him in love.
Before the foundation of the world … God “predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
God’s choosing us “before the foundation of the world” included our holiness and predestination to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ. Why would holiness and adoption as sons be necessary if sin and its devastating penalties had not entered the picture? God created Adam and Eve as His perfect children. No issue of adoption would have been necessary without sin. Sin brought a curse on the human race, but God had a plan. God the Son would die to break the curse.
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.’ But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for ‘the just shall live by faith.’ Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.’ Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:10-14
The scene is set. God the Son came to earth in the form of man to “become a curse for us” so that “the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles.” That was God’s plan from before the foundation of the world.
As we read earlier in John 5, God the Father committed “all judgment” to God the Son. Why? “… that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father.”
Everything in the Bible is based on an eternal relationship – the relationship of God the Father with God the Son with God the Holy Spirit. How does that relationship impact the eternal future of all people? We’ll see as we continue to test The Hell Test.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Building Confidence Through Evidence
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”