We continue to consider the mysteries of the coming of Christ. As relayed in previous messages, the word “coming” is frequently used throughout scriptures to refer to the manifestation of the Lord among His people in order to accomplish some aspect of His plan and purpose, be it to purge or bless or teach and, as we will consider in this message, to judge.
“Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites… So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood’” (Mar. 12:41-44).
On this particular day in the temple in Jerusalem, Mark relays the accounts of Jesus sitting before the treasury. The treasury was in the area called the Court of the Women, which was located in the inner part of the temple proper. The name was not designated to indicate that only women were there but because women could not go beyond it. In this court a number of treasury chests were placed so that people could voluntarily give their money offerings.
It was here that Jesus sat observing the people as they put money into the temple treasury. But there was more to His sitting that transcends the physical. His sitting signified His position of prominence and rank. The King James reads that He “sat over against the treasury” (Mar. 12:41). The original Greek for “over against” is the word “katenati” which means “being before one”. According to Strong’s the word metaphorically infers “he being judge”. It is akin to being before one who sits as magistrate in a court. Thus, Jesus wasn’t merely people watching, He was sitting as judge proving the people and their offering.
Of the manifold comings of Christ in His people, one that is profound and often misunderstood is His coming as Judge. Indeed the judgment of God is shrouded in great mystery and much misinterpretation. Many of the erroneous teachings on this topic not only miss the divine purpose of God’s judgment but also relegate the dealings of His judgment to some future date. How we have wasted much of our time in majoring in minors, demoting the weighty matters of the kingdom for the “afterlife”. The truth is that there is nothing in God’s kingdom we cannot press into and experience now. His Kingdom is not bound by time. The same spiritual realities experienced by those who have left this tent can be appropriated by us in our current condition and this includes the dealings of His judgment.
God’s judgment, much like His coming, is not a single event but a progressive process of the Spirit of God in His people. His judgment is a past, present and future in-working of God. One needs to only read the accounts of Jesus’ earthly ministry to see all the hearts of men that were judged by Him. Did He Himself not say: “For judgment I have come into this world” (Joh. 9:39)? He also declares: “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of the world will be cast out” (Joh. 12:31). This is a sure word. Now is the judgment. The process of God’s judgment has already begun and it is currently taking place and it will continue until it comes to its consummation. Truly, His judgment is at work in us now, right here on earth for the purpose of accomplishing His divine purpose. “For when Your judgments are IN THE EARTH, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isa. 26:9). The fruit of judgment is righteousness. Throughout scripture, judgment and righteousness often appear hand in hand. The Psalmists writes: “judgment will return to righteousness” (Psa. 94:15). Truly His judgments are unsearchable (Rom. 11:33).
To those apprehended by God in this hour, this present life is the training ground where the elect go through their day of judgment, which involve testing, proving, chastening, trials and His various dealings. All are for the purpose of working in us the life of Christ that we may come to the measure of His stature. Peter affirms that “Judgment must begin at the house of God!” (1 Pet. 4:17). James also encourages us in this process saying: “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord…Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!” (Jam. 5:7-9). The Amplified rendering reads: “The Judge is [already] standing at the very door” (Jam. 5:9).
Which door is this that the Judge is standing at? Is it not the same door at which He stands and knocks in Revelation 3:20 – the door of your heart and mind? Surely! For He says: “If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). The same Lord who comes into our heart to communion with us also comes through the door of our heart to judge the condition of our heart. Those encountering the One who has come in to sit as Judge in their temple are now partaking of His judgment. But to the multitudes today, the Judge stands outside the door of their heart knocking. These have yet to experience His coming as Judge.
God’s judgment is inseparably related to the coming of Christ. The Spirit declares: “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom” (2Tim. 4:1). The Amplified reads “by (in light of) His coming and His kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1). His appearing and kingship is a precursor for His judgment of both the living and the dead. But who are the living and the dead wo are judged? From God’s point of view, the dead are not those that are physically dead nor are the living those walking among us. One can be physically alive but spiritually dead (i.e. dead to God). Indeed “to be carnally minded is death” (Rom. 8:6). This is God’s definition of the dead. We too were once dead until Christ awakened us: “And you He made alive, who were DEAD in trespasses and sins”(Eph.2:1). “Awake thou that steepest and arise from the DEAD, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5:14). Surely, He must come for His judgments to take effect in the living and the dead.
At whatever stage of progression one finds themselves, the beginning of God’s judgment is the very indication of the coming of the Lord through the door of their heart. This is the beginning of the ushering in of the Kingdom. In all people, alive or dead, the aim of His judgment is the same: to establish righteousness and to inaugurate the Lordship of Christ in all men until every knee bows in heaven, in earth and under the earth and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord. But before this glorious declaration is echoed by the multitudes, “we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Rom. 14:10).
To sit as judge, is a role that only Christ assumes because the Father has committed all judgment to the Son (Joh. 5:22). For the Father has “given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man” (Joh. 5:27). Thus, the seat is His and it is rightly called the “judgment seat of Christ”. The Greek word used for “judgment seat” is “bema” which means “a step, the space which a foot measures, a raised place mounted by steps”. Put simply, it means “footprint”. The judgment seat of Christ is in effect the footprint of Christ. You see the judgment seat is not a literal seat in heaven, but rather the heavenly standard by which one is judged. Christ is not only the Judge but the form and standard by which all are measured. Thus, we are to measure up to His footprint; to His walk and stature.
This is the truth relayed to us in the events that took place in the treasury. You see as Jesus Christ sat observing those who gave, they were all going before the judgment seat of Christ being measured to His footprint. From all the crowds that passed before Him, Jesus singled out one poor widow. It wasn’t merely the size of her offering that impressed Him, but the heart from which she gave. This woman epitomized a soul fully submitted to the Lord; a soul crucified to all the greed and desires of self. The Lordship of Christ had been inwrought in her in this area of her life. And as Christ measured her to His footprint; He saw that she like Him had surrendered all and had given “all that she had, her whole livelihood” (Mar. 12:44). Oh, how this must have brought Him joy.
Dear saint, we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. But, this is not some event to take place in a faraway place in the celestial where men and women will line up waiting for their turn to hear their verdict. This is but the interpretations of the natural mind that struggles to grasp the things of the Spirit. But the truth is that His judgment is not from without, but from within. His judgment is first and foremost an internal work. For if the inside of the cup is clean so will be the outside. And all who are now experiencing His progressive coming within are day by day standing before the judgment seat of Christ. And just as He judged the heart of those who gave in the temple, He judges every aspect of our inward being, continually measuring us to His footprint.
This dealing of God in our temple is relayed by John the revelator who saw a vision of the One who comes to measure His temple. He states: “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein” (Rev. 11:1). The measuring reed which John is given is the very standard by which the height, width, length and depth of the temple of God was to be measured. In this heavenly pictures conveyed, the rod is none other than Christ. For we all are called to come to the measure, the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13). He is the yardstick by which we are measured. Notice that John was instructed not to measure the size of the offering but the altar and the worshiper. Likewise, notice that Jesus wasn’t measuring the size of the offering but the person from whom the offering came. He was measuring the altar. The altar is a people. For what makes the gift sacred is the altar (Matt. 23:19). So it’s not what one does or gives that is first judged but their very nature, their state of being, and the inward parts of their heart.
Dear beloved, may it be established in your heart that whatever the Lord does is always for His glorious end. For so long, the religious teachings of men have mingled His judgment with fear and torment. To those who love His appearing, He will surely come as Judge. And when the work of His judgment finds consummation, it will purge wickedness and establish righteousness on the earth. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out” (Rom. 11:33). God help us to humbly lay down our old understandings and preconceived notions as we seek Him for illumination on the vast mysteries of His judgment.