How many must meet the test of the judgment?
"I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked." Eccl. 3:17.
Will any besides the human family be judged?
"And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." Jude 6.
With which class will the judgment begin? - With the righteous.
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" 1 Peter 4:17.
Out of what will they be judged?
"A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him; thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him; the judgment was set, and the books were opened." Dan. 7:10.
Will there be a resurrection of all the dead?
"For the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." John 5:28 (Acts 24:15).
What first occurs when the voice of Christ is heard?
"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first." 1 Thess. 4:16.
In what condition are the saints when raised from the dead?
"For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 1 Cor. 15:52.
Are the righteous and the wicked raised together?
"And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection." Rev. 20:4, 5.
Why have these been separated from the others before the voice of Christ is heard?
"But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage." Luke 20:35.
What takes place with the living righteous at the second advent?
"Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump." 1 Cor. 15:51, 52; 1 Thess. 4:16, 17.
Why are these separated from among the living wicked, and thus changed?
"Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may he accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." Luke 21:36.
How far will this investigation of cases extend?
"For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Eccl. 12:24 (Matt. 12:36, 37).
When and where are the open and the secret things recorded?
"Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the lord, and that thought upon His name." Mal. 3:16 (Rev. 20:12).
By whom is this record made?
"Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?" Eccl. 5:6 (Matt. 18:10).
Who opens the judgment, and presides over it?
"I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit... A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him; thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him; the judgment was set, and the books were opened." Dan. 7:9, 10.
Who ministers to the Lord, and assists in the judgment?
"Thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him." Dan. 7:10. "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands." Rev. 5:11.
Who else is brought before the Father at this time?
"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him." Dan. 7:13.
What is Christ's special work there before the Father and His angels?
"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels." Rev. 3:5.
NOTE. - We have learned that during this judgment scene the dead are still in their graves. The record of each one's life, however, is in the books in heaven, and by the record their characters are well known. These records were made by the angels, who are there to present them as the names of those who have professed to be Christ's followers are called from the book of life (Rev. 20:12). Christ is also there to appear in behalf of those who have chosen Him as their advocate. (1 John 2:1). He presents His blood, as He appeals for their sins to be blotted from the books of remembrance (Mal. 3:16). Those sins of which they had repented were forgiven when they confessed them (Acts 3:19-21); but they could not be blotted out until by a final examination of their life record it should be known that they had repented of all their sins, and were finally overcomers. If this is the case, then their names are confessed in the judgment. But if it is seen that though running well for a time (Gal. 5:7), they did not overcome, then instead of confessing their names before the Father and His
angels, and blotting out their sins, Christ will blot out their names from the book of life (Rev. 3:5). As the place of judgment is in heaven, where the throne of God is, and as Christ is present in person, it conclusively follows that the work of judgment is also in heaven. All are judged by the record of their lives, and thus answer for the deeds done in the body. It is easy to see that such a work will not only decide forever the cases of the dead, but will also close the probation of all who are living, after which Christ will come to take to Himself those who are found to be loyal to Him.
Where will Christ receive His kingdom?
"And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him." Dan. 7:14 (Luke 19:12, 15) (Rev. 11:15).
When He comes to earth, what title will He bear?
"And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written King of Kings, and Lord of Lords." Rev. 19:16.
What will be His mission to the earth?
"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works." Matt. 16:27 (Rev. 22:12).
Where will the Saviour take His people?
"In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:2, 3.
During the one thousand years that intervene between the two resurrections, what will the saints do?
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned [in the sense of judging] with Christ a thousand years." Rev. 20:4.
Who will thus be judged by the saints?
"Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world [the wicked]? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?" 1 Cor. 6:2, 3 (Dan. 7:21, 22).
NOTE. - As the names of the wicked were not found in the book of life at the time of the investigative judgment, before the second coming of Christ, it was known that they were not "worthy" of eternal life; but the degree of punishment that they should receive is left for Christ and His saints to decide during the one thousand years before the second resurrection. The wicked angels, also, are to be judged at this time, in the same manner.
When will the saints judge the world?
"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come." 1 Cor. 4:5.
How will the decision of the saints be executed?
"And out of His [Christ's] mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." Rev. 19:15.
Why is the execution of the judgment thus given to Christ?
"For as the Father hath life in Himself , so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man." John 5:26, 27.
How will the opening of the investigative judgment be made known to the world?
"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come." Rev. 14:6, 7.
NOTE. - It is seen that there are two phases of the judgment brought to view in the Scriptures, the investigative and the executive. The investigative judgment takes place in heaven before Christ comes, in order to ascertain who are worthy to be raised in the first resurrection, at His coming, and who among the living are "accounted worthy" to be changed in the "twinkling of an eye," at the sounding of the last trump. It is necessary, therefore, for the investigative judgment to take place before the second advent, as there will be no opportunity for such a work to be done between the coming of Christ and the raising of the righteous dead, who are to be clothed with immortality in the act of rising from the grave. The executive judgment of the wicked occurs after the extent of punishment which they are to receive has been decided by the saints who were raised to sit on thrones of judgment (Rev. 20:4, 5) during, the thousand years (1 Cor. 6:1-3). The investigative judgment is that which is announced to the world by the angel's message of Rev. 14:6, 7.