Three Angels' Messages Part 19

            Thanks for joining us again, as we continue in our study of the messages of the Three Angels, found in Revelation 14, God’s last appeal to the human family. In the first angel’s message, we see the phrase, “The hour of His judgment has come,” and we’ve seen that the Bible clearly reveals that there is a judgment, and that one important part of that, which we may call the investigative phase, starts and ends before Jesus returns. This pre-advent judgment is what determines who will be saved and who will be lost. Nothing could possibly be more important than understanding everything that the Bible teaches on this subject!
            We’ve seen that this is important, not for the direct benefit of God, Who, being omniscient, already knows who will be saved and who will be lost. Rather, it is for the direct benefit of His holy angels, who, though being much wiser than humans, nevertheless are not “all-knowing,” and cannot read the secrets of the soul. For their benefit, God “opens the books,” and allows the angels to see what He already knows, that the ones He is bringing to the holy environment of heaven, will not pollute it with sin.
Because God is such a gracious Being, wanting His angels to be comfortable with the decisions made, and because He wants His administration to be seen as being absolutely transparent and fair, not unjust and capricious as the devil contended, He allows the angels to review the records, and reveal the secrets things of the heart.
The Lord doesn’t have to do this; He could simply say to the angels, “These are the ones you’re going to be living throughout eternity, and you’ll just have to trust Me that I’m bring ones here to be your future companions that won’t sin and defile our environment,” but He doesn’t do this. He goes beyond what is necessary; He does more than He is required to do.
With this in mind, we could think of Him as being the “God of the second mile.” Do you remember where that phrase comes from? When on this earth, Jesus lived in Judea at a time when it was controlled by Roman soldiers. By rules of the occupation, a solder was allowed to conscript anyone to carry his duffel bag a distance of up to one mile. No matter how busy you were, no matter what you were doing, a legionnaire could interrupt you and compel you to shoulder his bag. This grated on the nationalistic minds of the Jews to no end. Imagine their shock when Jesus said that if one asked you to go one mile, go two!
            When Jesus spoke about the subjects of His kingdom being willing to “go the second mile,” it was because that is His nature. The Sermon on the Mount is a revelation of His character, which He invites us, through His grace, to copy. He, as we will see as we review a number of stories from the Bible, is the God of the second mile. No; He is the God of the third, the fourth, and the 1,000th mile! How is this relevant to our study of the judgment? Just this: it is true that He is not required to open the books to the view of the angels, but He does so anyway. So, when we speak of the “necessity” of the investigative judgment that takes place before His comes, we confess that it really isn’t a “necessity,” at least as far as what is needed for God to make the right decisions. He knows all; He knows every heart. He is the Sovereign God. No one can halt the arm of the Almighty and say, “What doest Thou?” Job 9:12, KJV. He’s the eternal and omnipotent King!
            And yet, the Bible clearly reveals the fact of this pre-advent judgment. We conclude that it is a part of His plan because He goes beyond what is “required.” He wishes to do things in a way that will inspire confidence that justice has been done. He desires that the heavenly hosts should know that the ones coming to heaven are free of the virus of sin, and will not contaminate the celestial environment with iniquity. Daniel was given a view of this very event, as he saw in vision “the court was seated and the books were opened.” Prior to His return, in the presence of the myriads of heavenly hosts, He opens the books and allows them to see what He already knows, that the hearts of all those coming to live in the purity of heaven have been cleansed from sin.
            That this “second mile” characteristic of God’s benevolent administration is applicable as it pertains to His system of justice is clearly shown by reviewing a number of stories as recorded in the Scripture, which will comprise our study next time. Though there are many, we’ll look at just a few of them. These stories accurately reveal a picture of a loving God Who inquires before He acts. There is investigation before sentencing. Again, this is not because God doesn’t know. He knows everything! He does this because it is His nature to demonstrate His absolute fairness and transparent justice. Thank God for His character of agape love and unimpeachable justice!

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