“A Manifest Token of The Righteous Judgment of God”


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


“A Manifest Token of The Righteous Judgment of God”

2Th 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
2Th 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
2Th 1:5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
2Th 1:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

Introduction

“Your faith grows exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other abounds”. Those are very comforting words for us to share with each other at a time when “the Lord and His Christ” are being attacked along with the great harlot and all of her daughter harlots. We are assured that all of our persecutions and tribulations are a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God which works to make us fit and worthy of the kingdom of God.

Paul here tells us that our suffering is because we stand up for the values and the doctrines of the kingdom of God, and he assures us “…it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you”.

King David tells us the same thing:

Psa 101:8 I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.

Psa 145:20 The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.

King Solomon continues this theme:

Pro 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

The apostle Paul carries this theme over into the New Testament:

Rom 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
Rom 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
Rom 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
Rom 2:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

All these comforting verses make it sound as if the wicked are so different from the righteous that the righteous were never at one time the wicked themselves.

Here is the last verse of our key verses from 2Th:

2Th 1:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

To begin with, it appears to all of us that all scripture is about “them”, those who, in the third person, give you and me, in the second and first person, all of our persecutions, and tribulations. But what is the Truth? Is it true that “His Christ” has never been those who were persecuting God’s elect? Have you and I never brought tribulation upon those who are the Lord’s Christ?

The answer is no, that is not true. You and I have brought tribulation and persecution upon the Lord’s Christ. The fact is that you and I have been the wicked who are the Lord’s sword. You and I, in the first and second person, have been God’s instruments to bring judgment upon God’s elect before we came to know God and His Son, before you and I became His elect. Our hatred of those who brought us the truth was “the manifest token of the righteous judgment of God” upon those we hated and persecuted.

Psa 17:13 Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:

Act 9:5 And he [Saul, later Paul] said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Act 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Am I saying that we have actively gone about persecuting the Lord’s Christ as Saul of Tarsus did? No, no such direct actions are required for any of us to be counted as those who have hated and persecuted God’s elect. All that is required is for us to hate the message of God’s messengers and to look on God’s elect as heretics and to have hatred in our hearts toward the doctrine of Christ. That is all that is needed to be found guilty of having rejected Christ Himself and having persecuted and killed “Jesus of Nazareth”:

Luk 10:16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

1Th 4:8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

As a side note, is it not interesting that the King James, and many other versions, do not capitalize the word ‘holy’ in 1Th 4:8? The world hates those who simply point out such things. I remember well the day when I hated to hear this verse of scripture:

Ecc 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

I hated that verse because it seemed to be saying that the dead were not being tormented in the flames of hell for all eternity. I also hated this verse:

Ecc 3:19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
Ecc 3:20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

You also had your struggles, and you also despised Christ’s doctrine just as I did, and we both despised those who brought that doctrine of Christ to us. In doing so, we have been guilty of the murder of the Lord’s Christ and of Christ Himself:

Mat 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

1Jn 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

So the Truth is that the tribulations and persecutions of judgment come upon every man, each in his own order, “for all have sinned…”

Rom 2:9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

“The Jew” of Romans 2:9 is the “inward… Jew” of verse 28 and 29:

Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
Rom 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

“The Gentile” of verse 9 now becomes the same as the “outward… Jew”, who is not ‘circumcised …of the heart”.

Such is the “two-edged” nature of “the sword of the Word”. This character of the Word of God is mentioned in those words three places in scripture:

Psa 149:4 For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.
Psa 149:5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.
Psa 149:6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand;
Psa 149:7 To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people;
Psa 149:8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;
Psa 149:9 To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.

Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Rev 1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

The Word of God is said to be “two-edged sword in the hand” of God’s elect, “to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people”. We must never deny the Truth of those words. You and I are punished for our own transgressions, and then we will be used as God’s instruments “to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people”. That is the very meaning of the word ‘fire’ as it relates to “the lake of fire”. The ‘lake’ of the “lake of fire” is the “few chosen…elect”, and the ‘fire” of the “lake of fire” is the Word of God in the mouths of those few who will “judge angels” in the final work of God’s chastening grace:

Jer 5:14 Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

If God loves us, then our chastening must be the devouring with the fire of His words destroying our ungrateful old man, with all his “wood, hay, and stubble”, which will be consumed by the “words… made… fire in [the] mouth” of God’s few elect:

Psa 37:20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

“That wicked [is] revealed” to be within each of us. He is “the first man Adam… the old man… the man of sin… the beast… within… every man” (1Co 13-16; 2Th 2:3-12).

Here are those who comprise the small ‘lake’ where “[Christ’s] words in [our] mouths [are made] fire” and where the “people [who are made] wood [shall be] devoured”, and “saved yet so as by fire”, the fire of the Word of God.

Isa 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
Isa 33:15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;

Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Rom 11:30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
Rom 11:31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
Rom 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

1Co 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world [Rev 20:4]? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
1Co 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels [Rev 20:12]? how much more things that pertain to this life?

The words “every man” again makes the Word of God a “two-edged sword”. It is the works of the man of sin, within every man; the wood, hay, and stubble of our rebellious old man being devoured by the flames from the mouths of God’s elect, which provides for us the “manifest token of the righteous judgment of God”, within the life of “every man… each in his own order” (1Co 15:23).

Therefore it behooves all of us to apply these words personally:

Job 19:29 Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.

Psa 88:16 Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.

Rom 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

“Bring to Him the sacrifice of thanksgiving”

When God, in His love for us, chastens us with “the wicked which are [His] sword”, when He uses the wicked to steal and destroy all we have ever worked to acquire, and when He tells us exactly what He is doing; only with that knowledge burned into our hearts are we capable of ‘bringing to Him the sacrifice of thanksgiving’ for His love and His chastening and His scourging and His crushing and burning out of our rebellious, carnal minded, old man:

Psa 107:21 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
Psa 107:22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.
Psa 107:23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
Psa 107:24 These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.

I want to read this entire section of Psalms 107, but it will be meaningless if we fail to understand what these verses mean by the phrases “the sea… great waters… [and] the works of the Lord… in the deep”. So here are just two verses, among many others which could be listed, which make clear the meaning of these phrases in scripture:

Isa 60:5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.

Rev 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

It is “they that go down to the sea in ships” who Christ has made to “become fishers of men” (Mat 4:19; Mar 1:17) in the “sea” out of which the beast arises to blaspheme God. Knowing this makes the rest of this section of Psalms 107 much more meaningful:

Psa 107:25 For he [Christ, “the Word”] commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
Psa 107:26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.
Psa 107:27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.
Psa 107:28 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
Psa 107:29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
Psa 107:30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
Psa 107:31 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
Psa 107:32 Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

“The waves thereof” raised up by “the stormy wind” is the same as ‘evil men which are your sword’:

Psa 17:13 Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:
Psa 17:14 From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.

“The wicked, which are your sword… your hand… the waves [of the sea which bring us to our] wits’ end”.

That is the two-edged nature of the Word of God, the words of Christ, which, while destroying the old man wwithin, is at that very moment and by that very means, raising up from that dying old man the new man, Christ within us all:

Act 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

2Th 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
1Co 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
1Co 15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

So the end is certain as Paul had just revealed:

1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1Co 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
1Co 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
1Co 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
1Co 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
1Co 15:27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
1Co 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

In Christ all will be made alive, death will be destroyed, and our loving heavenly Father will be all and in all. That is truly good news. That is the gospel of the kingdom of God. It will be given to all men of all time, but only those who bring to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving will be in that blessed and holy first resurrection. In the lake of fire all lack of gratitude will be burned out of all men of all time, and in time even the powers and principalities of the heavens will bring to Christ the sacrifice of thanksgiving.

How blessed we are to know to be grateful for our trials, our tribulations, and even for our persecutions at the hands of wicked men.

Look at how Paul and Silas reacted to being beaten and imprisoned for Christ’s name’s sake:

Act 16:23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
Act 16:24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
Act 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

I can tell you with the authority of the Word of God, that you, too, if you are Christ’s, will be hated and persecuted by wicked men:

Mat 10:21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
Mat 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
Mat 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
Mat 10:24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
Mat 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

2Ti 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

What are we to do when nothing is going our way? What should be our state of mind when we are being tried of God? Here is the mind of Christ under such circumstances:

Luk 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

And this is what we are admonished to do when the whole world hates us and turns on us:

1Pe 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
1Pe 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

Php 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

Why should we rejoice in our suffering? There is a very good reason to do so. There is a reason that gives us hope for the future:

Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

There is a great reward for being given to rejoice in our trials for Christ:

1Co 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
1Co 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

Here is how “the saints shall judge the world:

Rev 20:4 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 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.

And this is where we will judge angels:

Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Rev 20:12 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 those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

The end of their judgment will be the same as the end of our own judgment:

Isa 26:9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
Php 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

So we will conclude this study with the same encouraging words with which we began this study:

2Th 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
2Th 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
2Th 1:5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

Other related posts