In Hebrews 9:27, the inspired writer reminded us “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Biblically speaking, it is no secret that the last great prophecy to be fulfilled is the return of our Saviour Jesus Christ and our standing before the Great Sovereign, our God, in judgment. For the righteous, the events of that day are set on display in First Thessalonians 4:13-18. The same is true for the wicked in Second Thessalonians 1:7-9. The Bible is transparent, even when it comes to the standard of judgment on that day. Jesus said,
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 (John 12:48).
The Bible is clear, as well, concerning those who shall stand before our God in judgment. “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Rom. 14:10). After proclaiming the purpose that you and I have here in the world Solomon wrote, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Eccl. 12:14). Even the results of that great day do not have to be a secret or a surprise for anyone. In John 5:28-29 Jesus said,
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Therefore, it stands true that the fact of the judgment, the details of the judgment, the standard of the judgment, the participants in judgment and the destination of the judged are all clearly set forth for us in the Word of God. It becomes very evident that the only thing that stands between men and the knowledge of what judgment will be is an ignorance of God’s Word. Truly, the Bible sheds a beacon upon those details surrounding this great event and educates those willing to pay attention to the powerful message. The blame therefore for being ill prepared thus falls upon the shoulders of those who have not made preparation. However, the sad truth is that most in this world live as if there is no God in heaven and as if there will be no day of reckoning as we are ushered into eternity.
The apostle Paul wrote,
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men (2 Cor. 5:10, 11).
When men stand unprepared for eternity, they put themselves in an unenviable position. Concerning those, God said,
Their foot shall slide in due time: For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things that shall come upon them make haste (Deut. 32:35).
Every moment one stands unprepared, he stands as one on slick ice or a wet mossy rock. The next move could be the one that brings the fall. Jonathan Edwards, in a sermon presented on July 8, 1741, entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” made these observations concerning Deuteronomy 32:35: 1) These (the unprepared, DWW) are always exposed to destruction; 2) these are always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction and 3) these are liable to fall of themselves without being thrown down by the hand of another. His words are certainly valid. In fact, the reality of the situation is that the only thing that keeps the unprepared out of hell is the longsuffering of God and His great desire that men not “perish, but come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
However, with each fleeting moment, as men pass from this life to the next, we are reminded that God’s longsuffering is not “everlasting,” and His grace and mercy are not His only characteristics. The Psalmist reminded us that “God judgeth the righteous, And God is angry with the wicked every day.” Just as sure as is the Day of Judgment is the fact that those who are not prepared will face the severity of God.
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off (Rom. 11:22).
In the closing verses of Revelation 6 we see a portrait of those who were not prepared.
They said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Rev. 6:16, 17).
Both Paul (1 Thess. 5:2) and Peter (2 Pet. 3:10) warned that the “day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.” For the majority of those who have lived on this earth, it will be a day of regret and great horror. It will be the moment in which they come face-to-face with the reality that their eternity will be one removed from God and all that is good and desired (2 Thess. 1:9). It will be the day when they hear from the mouth of our Saviour, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). So the great question remains. “Are we ready for the Judgment Day?”