We use this term to designate the whole period of earthly history, between the Rapture and the Revelation, or between the Church and the Millennial Kingdom. It will not altogether be a time of tribulation, for in it “they shall rejoice and send gifts one to another” ( Rev. 11 :10), and shall say “peace and safety.” 1 Thes. 5 :3. We believe that it will be comparatively a short season, because the 6,000 years and the times, or year-days, of prophecy have nearly run out. Doubtless it embraces the last one of Daniel’s seventy weeks for the reason that then God begins to deal with Israel again, after He has taken the Church away, and yet it is probable that it includes much more than the seven years of that week.
It is certain that there will be in it a period of unequalled trial, sorrow and calamity, spiritual darkness and open wickedness. It is the night of the world. But the true Church, which is not of the night, being watchful and prayerful, will be accounted worthy to escape it, by the Rapture, and to stand before the Son of Man, while a third part of Israel will be brought through it, and for the elect’s sake the days of this culminating tribulation shall be shortened by the revelation of Christ. From Isa., chapters 24 to 28, an idea may be gained of the terrible character of this period, during which Antichrist will also be revealed. Some, especially from the remnant of Israel, will accept of Christ and become His witnesses, and be slain by Antichrist. These we call the tribulation saints, who are to be raised at the close of the great tribulation, as the gleanings of the great harvest of the first resurrection.
In regard to the Resurrection, we would say that the literal rendering of 1 Cor. 15 :23, is “but each one in his own band.”
It seems plain that the resurrection of those “who are Christ’s at His coming,” includes both those who constitute the Bride, who are raised at the Rapture, when Christ comes into the air; and the Old Testament saints, the friends of the Bridegroom, who doubtless are raised in a different band from the Church, see Rev. 6:9-11, and also those who believe and suffer during the tribulation, who will be raised at the Revelation (when Christ comes to the earth), to take part with Him in the Millennial Kingdom.
This latter we represent by “R. T.” on the diagram. Then, the great harvest of the first Resurrection-or the Resurrection of Life-includes:
CHRIST – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – THE FIRST FRUITS.
The second Resurrection, or Resurrection of Judgment, occurs after the Millennium, and includes the remaining dead.
We often hear Post-millennialists use the expression “General Judgment,” thereby conveying the idea of some future day in which all mankind will simultaneously ap- pear before God to be judged.
The expression is not in the Scriptures. Pre-millennialists believe that the Judgment is general, only in the sense that all are judged-but not all at the same time.
The Judgment of believers, as sinners, is past, being accomplished in Christ on the cross.
“He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation (Greek, Judgment) ; but is passed from death unto life.” John 5:24. See also John 3:17-19 (R. V.) Judged instead of condemned.
There is a Judgment day coming, not a day of twenty- four hours, but a long series of years. Day is used to designate such a period in 2 Cor. 6:2; Eph. 6 :13, and Heb. 3 :8.19 The “Hour” in John 5 :25, has been over eighteen centuries long. So “the hour” in John 5:28 may be centuries of years.
This “Day of Judgment” a is also called “The Day of the Lord,” “The Last Day,” and “The Great Day.”
It is ushered in with plagues and closes in fire, between which lies a long season of the “sure mercies of David,” or the Millennium. In it there will be four visible judgments, in the following order:
I. The Judgment of the Saints for their works.
This is not on earth. Compare 1 Thes. 4 :13-18, with 2 Thes.l:6-10; Rev. 19:11-16.
These glorified Saints receive their judgment undeniably before that of the ungodly. See Mat. 25:14–30. The judgment of the servants occurs before the judgment of the nations. Mat. 25 :31-46. See also 1 ret. 4 :17-18.25
II. The Judgment of the living nations, who are upon the earth at the Revelation. Jesus is Judge of the quick (or living) and dead.
The Church or Saints, having been before caught up in the Rapture, Come with Christ to execute judgment upon the world or living nations. This is the judgment of the quick, or those who are living upon the earth, when Christ comes at the Revelation. He separates the sheep from the goats, gathering out all things that doth offend (Mat. 13: 41-42), and sets up His kingdom (verse 43). The third party, His brethren, are the Israelites, who are never to be reckoned among the nations.
4 Then follows the Millennium, which is one continuous day of Judgment (Acts 17:31), when the righteous Judge will be upon earth (2 Tim. 4:8), and when judgment shall be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet. Isa. 28:17.
III. The judgment of the dead at the Great White Throne.31-38
IV. The Judgment of angels, into fire “prepared for the devil and his angels.” The ungodly go there first. Compare Rev. 19:20 with Rev. 20:7-10; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6.
Such events, requiring intervals of time, preclude the idea expressed in the term, “general judgment.”
The “Day of the Lord” has two aspects, to-wit: Judgment on God’s enemies, and deliverance and blessing on God’s people.
So we have the Judgment:
Of believers, as to their character, on the cross.
Of believers, as to their works, at the Judgment seat of Christ.
Of the living nations at the Revelation.
Of the ungodly at the Great White Throne.