The Judgment, The Kingdom, The Covenant

“The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” —Acts 17:30,31

THE WORK TO be accomplished in the final age of the divine plan is described in the Bible in various ways. It is a work of judgment in which the people on trial—or probation—are given an opportunity to prove themselves worthy of everlasting life. It is a kingdom work in which the people, under the authority of the Messianic Kingdom, learn to become loyal subjects of the King of kings, and to enter into that ultimate kingdom of God in which the divine will is done in earth as it is in heaven. (Rev. 17:14; 19:16; Matt. 6:10) It is also a covenant work in which, under the great Mediator, a New Covenant of reconciliation is established between God and men.

Paul mentioned all three of these in his letter to the Hebrews. Of the kingdom he said: “Ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” He also wrote that we are “receiving a kingdom.” He mentions the New Covenant, saying, “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (Heb. 12:22,24,28) Paul also reminds us of the judgment work by stating that God is “the Judge of all.”—vs. 23

This is in keeping with Paul’s statement on Mars’ hill, as set forth in our text, in which he refers to God as having appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness. However, while Paul emphasizes that God is the Judge of all, and that he will judge the world in righteousness, he will do it through Jesus whom he has raised from the dead. To the brethren at Corinth the apostle wrote, “To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”—I Cor. 8:6

The faithful followers of Jesus will be associated with him in the future work of judging the world in righteousness. Paul wrote, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” (I Cor. 6:2) The Scriptures reveal that the followers of Jesus will also be associated with him as co-rulers in his kingdom. (II Tim. 2:11,12) This association of the Father, and his Son, and followers, is presented in the 7th chapter of Daniel’s prophecy, which reads: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. 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.”—vss. 9,10

Verses 13 and 14 read: “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. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

And then, concerning the association of the ‘saints’, the followers of the Master, in this prophecy of the judgment and the kingdom, we read: “Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” (vss. 22-27) Here we see that the Ancient of days—Jehovah—is first in the kingdom/judgment arrangement, then the Son of man enters the picture, and finally the saints.

The association of the kingdom and the judgment is again brought to our attention in the prophecy of Obadiah. The last verse reads: “Saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.” (vs. 21) The fact that ‘saviours’ is used here in the plural, denotes that the complete Christ, Head and body, is referred to as the ones who, through rendering righteous judgment, will be the dispensers of salvation when the kingdom is the Lord’s.

The kingdom and the judgment are also brought together in Micah 4:1-2. Verse 1 declares that in the last days, the mountain, or kingdom, of the Lord shall be established, and that people shall flow unto it. According to verse 2, the Law shall then go forth from Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Verse 3 reads: “He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”


The New Testament also associates the kingdom and judgment work. Jesus said to his disciples, “Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matt. 19:28) Here the idea of the kingdom is symbolized by thrones—the Son of man sits upon the throne of his glory, and his faithful followers sit upon thrones. In this instance the rulership and judging are indicated to be over the twelve tribes of Israel, but the testimony of the Scriptures is explicit that this eventually will be extended to include all mankind.

In Matthew 25:31, Jesus again refers to the throne of his glory. We quote: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” This introduces the parable of the sheep and the goats, which is a lesson concerning the work of the Judgment Day. This judgment work will be conducted by Jesus from the throne of his glory, and with him on that throne will be his faithful followers, the ‘saints’ of Daniel, chapter 7.

In the last book of the Bible—Revelation—this same arrangement for blessing the people is presented. The opening verses of Revelation 20 tell of the binding of Satan, and then we read, “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.”

The idea of the kingdom, and of our hope of joint-heirship in that kingdom is again presented in verse 6, which reads, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Here the priestly work of establishing the New Covenant is included. This is the glorious kingdom-priestly hope of all the over-comers.

Turning to verses 11 and 12 of this beautiful kingdom and judgment chapter, we read, “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. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God [the Ancient of days]; 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.”


We see that the general testimony of the Scriptures concerning the kingdom, judgment, and reconciliation work is wonderfully harmonious. It presents the Ancient of days, the great Jehovah, as the supreme Judge of all, and declares that he has appointed his beloved Son to carry out the work of judging the world in righteousness. And we are assured that those found worthy to live and reign with Christ will also share with him in the work of judging, and will be “able ministers” of the New Covenant.—II Cor. 3:6

This kingdom judgment day is ushered in during a “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.” (Dan. 12:1) The prophecy of the 7th chapter of Daniel presents the four great empires of earth—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome—as four beasts, and calls attention particularly to a “little horn” that develops on the fourth beast which speaks “great words against the Most High,” of its making war with, and of wearing out the saints of the Most High. This was to continue “until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.”—vss. 21-27

It is believed by many students of prophecy that this “little horn” symbolizes the Papacy, which in the heyday of its power was the greatest persecutor of Christians the world has ever known. While this system lost its temporal power in 1799, it has nevertheless continued ever since, and is still very much alive. Daniel’s prophecy shows that it will not be fully consumed until “the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.”—vs. 26

Other institutions of earth, civil and religious, will be due for destruction at that time. This does not mean that everything is to be peaceful in the earth until the due time for the saints to possess the kingdom. We are already living in the Day of Jehovah, which is described as “the day of his preparation.” (Nahum 2:2-4) In this Day of Jehovah, the Ancient of days, when he sets up a kingdom, much chaos and distress occurs, and there is the overthrow and replacing of governments.

Jehovah and the returned Lord are presented to us in the Scriptures as being responsible for this state of revolution and anarchy. However, we are not to expect that the work of overthrowing Satan’s social order is to be accomplished by outstanding miracles displaying divine power and authority. The prophecies indicate how this will be accomplished. Isaiah 42:13,14 reads: “The Lord [Jehovah] shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once.”

Another prophecy reveals that “every man’s sword shall be against his brother.” This, the Lord explains, is due to the fact that he “will call for a sword against him [Gog] throughout all my mountains.” (Ezek. 38:21) This particular prophecy pertains to a final attack against regathered Israel in the Holy Land. The Lord said that he would plead against Gog “with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.” (vs. 22) While we do not rule out the possibility that this will have at least in part a literal fulfillment, the testimony of the prophecies generally is that the Lord destroys Satan’s social order by pitting army against army, class against class, and by stirring up jealousy among them, even as Isaiah declares.


There seems little doubt that we are even now living in this foretold Day of Jehovah—a period of tribulation in which, as a preparatory work, the bulwarks of Satan’s world are being shaken. On the other hand, there are various prophecies which indicate that not until all the saints are with the Lord in glory will the kingdoms of this world be fully destroyed. “To consume and to destroy unto the end,” is an expression used in Daniel’s prophecy concerning the dominant religious element of Satan’s social order.—Dan. 7:26

The overthrow of Satan’s social order is described in Revelation 20:11 as a fleeing away of the heaven and the earth from before the face of him that sitteth upon the “great white throne.” It is in the next verse that we see the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books opened. This, in other words, is a Judgment Day scene, and it harmonizes with Peter’s prophecy in which he informs that “the heavens and the earth, which are now, … are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (II Pet. 3:7) Then Peter explains that this Day of Judgment is a thousand years in length.—vs. 8

And note that the symbolic heavens and earth are reserved ‘against’ the Day of Judgment. In other words, remnants of the old order will still be functioning when the Day of Judgment begins. As we have seen, this is shown in Micah 4:1-3, where we are told that in the kingdom, the Lord will rebuke strong nations afar off, and that he will then be judging among the people.

Prior to this, the severity of the time of great tribulation will increase, and will threaten the destruction of the human race—the possibility of “no flesh” being saved, as explained by Jesus. (Matt 24:21,22) But then, as the Master revealed, this tribulation will be cut short by the elect Christ having been completed before this ultimate destruction is permitted. The elect Christ will have proved their worthiness by faithfulness even unto death, and will then be given power over the nations to break them to pieces like a potter’s vessel, “even as I received of my Father,” Jesus explains.—Rev. 2:26,27

The Father’s promise to Jesus in this connection reads: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Ps. 2:8) During the Day of Jehovah’s preparation, while kings and governments are being overthrown in a great worldwide upheaval which daily increases in intensity, powerful governments and rulers still remain. Since we do not know the exact time for the establishment of the kingdom, many of these might pass away and others take their places, for seemingly there will be rulers and governments remaining which will be dashed to pieces by the complete Christ, the “elect” of Matthew 24:21,22.

Meanwhile, in this Day of the Lord’s wrath, when the Son of man is given the authority to reign, the nations become angry. (Rev. 11:17,18) We see the Lord’s anger now, and it will continue through the transition into the full exercise of kingdom authority which will result in dashing the nations completely to pieces. It is to those who overcome that this promise is made. Meanwhile the Lord’s people this side the veil, suffering and dying with Jesus, are inspired by the hope of living and reigning with him, and of participating in the work of judging and blessing all mankind.


Isaiah 49:8 reads, “Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages.” In II Corinthians 6:2 the Apostle Paul quotes this promise, and applies it to the followers of Jesus, those to whom he said had been given “the ministry of reconciliation.”—II Cor. 5:18

It means that when the promise of the New Covenant, recorded in Jeremiah 31:31-34 is fulfilled, the church will be associated with Jesus in the mediating of that covenant. The making of this covenant will involve the writing of God’s law in the “inward parts” of the people. This complete covenant relationship of the people with God means a restoration to that which was lost on account of sin, and the work of bringing about this blessed relationship of at-one-ment with the Creator will be accomplished during the period of the Judgment Day and the kingdom reign.

Power to subdue its enemies is implicit in the thought of a kingdom—in this case, power to subdue the enemies of God and of righteousness—the last enemy to be destroyed by the reign of Christ being death. (I Cor. 15:25,26) The word ‘kingdom’ also suggests the obedience of subjects. Christ’s kingdom will result in the restored world of mankind being wholly obedient to the Creator’s will. Then the prayer, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” will be fully answered, and God will be “all in all.”—Matt. 6:10; I Cor. 15:28

The judgment work will call for the education and discipline of the people—their instruction in righteousness. That is why ‘books’ will be opened. That is why, when the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. (Isa. 26:9) That is why we are informed that the Lord will “judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.”—Ps. 96:13

The making of a covenant with the people means their reconciliation to God on the basis of their heart loyalty to him, and their restoration to perfection. The aspects of the threefold work entailed in the thought of the kingdom, the judgment, and in the making of the New Covenant, are closely related. It takes all three to give us a full picture of all that will be accomplished during that thousand years of the kingdom and of judgment.

And let us rejoice in the blessed hope of joint-heirship with Jesus in all the aspects of that glorious work of reconciliation which eventually will see all the willing and obedient of mankind rejoicing in the sunshine of God’s love. God promised that through the seed of Abraham he would bless all the families of the earth. Jesus is that seed, and if we are faithful, even unto death, we will be glorified with him and share in the promised work of blessing. It is a magnificent prospect! We know the fruition of our hopes is nigh at hand, for the king is present, and his kingdom near.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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