“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord,” (1 Thess. iv. 15-17.)
“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (2 Thess. i. 7, 8.)
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up,” (2 Pet. iii. 10.)
“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. 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. 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,” (Rev. xx. 11-13.)
WHO ARE TO BE JUDGED?
We reply, men and fallen angels.
“We must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.” If the government of Jesus Christ over men is to be revealed on that day, it is clear that all men, without exception, must be judged. So linked, indeed, is the history of each man with that of others,—as, for instance, the tempter with the tempted, the oppressed with the oppressor, the teacher with the taught, the child with the parent;—so necessarily is each man’s condition and character affected by that of all who have gone before him, up to his first parents;—so truly do all human beings make up one race, one family, from the life of each being more or less connected with that of all, that the knowledge of the real history of even one man, almost implies an examination into the real history of the whole human race. And we shall possess, for the first time, a true history of the whole world, when we truly understand the history of each person, family, and kingdom in it; and so also shall we possess the true history of each individual part, only when we know its relationship to the great whole; and the history of events, when we perceive what bearing they have had on the kingdom of Jesus Christ, whose history is that of the world.