1 Cor. 7:14
1 Cor. 15:22
1 Cor. 15:52
1 John 1:9
1 John 2:2
- Psalm 50:5
- "Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice."
- This passage is used to prove that only those who are in covenant relationship with God (the Jews or baptized believers) will be at the Judgment Seat. It is argued that there would be no purpose in God raising "enlightened rejectors"1 since they have neither part nor lot in the eternal scheme of things. Since they will not be given immortality, and their fate is known by God before the resurrection, why raise the enlightened rejector for a few hours, days or weeks and then consign them back to the eternal grave?
- Psalm 50:5 states who will be gathered2 - those who have made a covenant by sacrifice. It is evident that this applies to the Jews but how does this apply to New Testament believers?
- This passage can only be used to prove who will be gathered, not to state who will not be gathered. To argue otherwise is to make a mistake in logic. It is like arguing:
||All crows are black birds.|
||All black birds are crows.|
||(Some black birds are pigeons)|
|The parallel is as follows:
||All saints will be gathered.|
||All the gathered are saints.|
- It is not always a sufficient answer to say that these enlightened rejectors will be raised because God has promised that he would do so (although this is, of course, perfectly true). This answer often implies that it is a great privilege to be raised from the dead. Indeed it is a joy for the accepted saints, but it is anguish, sorrow and gnashing of teeth for the rejected. (Matt. 8:11-12).
- The answer lies in the ideal Scriptural attitude of mortal man toward his Maker. This attitude is commanded to be one of reverence. (Psa. 89:7; Heb. 12:9; - a perfect blend of love and fear).
This attitude can be discerned in the relationship of an obedient son to an earthly father. The father loves his son and the son loves his father - but in reserve - he has a healthy fear of his father. This fear may involve punishment for disobedience.
Human nature being what it is, requires two things to keep it in the way of obedience:
These two things are like two blades of a pair of scissors; linked together, they act as a strong instrument of action.
- Offer of reward
- Fear of punishment
- Although humans cannot state which persons are, for certain, enlightened rejectors, it is clear that Scripture teaches that enlightened rejectors are resurrectionally responsible. Enlightenment, not baptism, is the ground of accountability.
- The following is a summary of the relevant passages which indicate that "enlightened rejectors" will be at the Judgment Seat of Christ:
- John 12:48 (cf. John 15:22; John 9:41) "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." Notice that the occasion which evokes this statement of Jesus was the failure of the believing Pharisees to break with their traditions (vs. 42). The following require stressing:
- There is no more evidence that this passage applies only to Jews in covenant relationship than does the parable of the good Samaritan. Note the emphasis of Deut. 18:18,19, "Whosoever will not hearken" - this is not limited only to Jews.
- There can be no doubt that this passage applies to the Day of Judgment. See its similarity with Matt. 12:36; Luke 12:1-9.
- "The word that I have spoken shall judge him in the last day" is sometimes understood to refer to the judgment of Christ on Israel in 70 A.D. This interpretation is most unlikely since the "last day" in John's Gospel refers exclusively to the resurrection and judgment. See John 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 11:24. The only exception is in John 7:37 where the expression refers to the last day of the feast.
- Rom. 2:12-16 - Notice especially "as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law. (Then follows a parenthetical section until verse 16). In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel." The words of this passage are addressed to "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art . . ." (vs. 1) and not, therefore, to Jews only. Notice, too, that law existed before the Mosaic law. Law was given to Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:16-17), to Noah (Gen. 6:14), and to Abraham (Gen. 26:5).
- Acts 24:25 - Felix trembled when Paul reasoned of "righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come". Why did Felix (a Roman) tremble unless he became aware of his personal accountability to Christ's Judgment Seat? (Note vs. 22 - "Felix having a rather accurate knowledge [cf. vs. 15] of the Way", R.S.V.).
- 1 Peter 4:3-6 (see R.S.V.) - Gentiles are the ones who shall "give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead." Are these baptized believers?
- Rev. 21:8 - "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." The second death requires a first death and resurrection. Are the ones raised in this verse baptized believers?
- Matt. 12:41,42 - "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation and shall condemn it . . . The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it . . ." These verses require that men of Nineveh and the queen of the south be present at the Day of Judgment. Were they believers in covenant relationship with God?
- Rom. 2:8 - "But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth . . ." The Greek word "apeitheo" translated "obey" is always used of the unbaptized (e.g. Rom. 11:30, 31; 15:31)3, yet these unbaptized, who obey not the truth, will be judged "in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." (Rom. 2:16).
- "Enlightened rejector" refers to a person who understands but rejects the call of the Gospel to be baptized. Only God, however, knows precisely when a person understands sufficiently to be accountable to the Judgment Seat. The word "enlightened" is taken from John 3:19-21 and Psalm 119:130. The principle that knowledge brings responsibility is well-founded in Scripture. See for example:
- Rom. 3:20 - "By the law is the knowledge of sin."
- Rom 4:15 - "Where no law is, there is no transgression." (cf. Rom. 5:13).
- Rom. 7:7 - "I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet."
- John 9:41 - "If ye were blind, ye should have no sin; but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth."
- John 15:22 - "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin." Return
- This is assuming that the gathering is to Judgment, which is by no means certain, since the Judgment Seat is not under consideration in the context. Return
- The one exception only occurs in the A.V. of Gal. 3:1. The R.S.V., R.V., and Nestle Greek Text omit the words "that ye should not obey the truth". Return