The First Report of the General Conference of Christians Expecting the Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ




Judgment is the sentence or decision of a judge, and implies that there is a right and wrong, good and evil. And in judging, it is always supposed that the judge will, in his judgment, bring to light the right and wrong, good and evil. And in judgment, too, it is expected to receive rewards and punishments, according to the law by which we are judged. There are many judgments spoken of in the Scriptures: but my object will not be to take you into all the different ways in which judgment is there used, but I shall endeavor to prove that God hath appointed a day of retribution, in which he will judge the world in equity and truth; those under the law he will judge by the law, and those under the gospel by the gospel. FRGC 94.1

I. I will prove that there is a day appointed for the judgment of the whole world, after the resurrection of the dead. FRGC 94.2

Acts 17:31: “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men in that he hath raised him from the dead.” FRGC 94.3

It is very evident that those who heard the apostle, understood him to assert, plainly, that there was a day of judgment appointed, in which all men that were dead would be raised and participate in it, as well as those who were alive. See what follows. Verse 32: “And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.” Again, Romans 2:16: “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.” We see by this passage, that the day of judgment spoken of in this text is yet in the future; for every man knows that every secret thing is not yet brought to light. Luke 8:17: “For nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid that shall not be known and come abroad.” Or, as Paul says, 1 Corinthians 4:5: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until. the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every man have praise of God.” What time? In the day appointed. And when? When the Lord shall come. Then shall every man who has done well have praise of God. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me.” FRGC 94.4

Again, we are told, that Jesus Christ is to judge the quick (or the living) and the dead, at his appearing, and his kingdom. See Acts 10:42: “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead.” 2 Timothy 4:1: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.” See also 1 Peter 4:5: “Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.” By these passages we are taught that there is a judgment after death, at the resurrection. You will permit me to bring another text, to prove that Christ will judge his people at his coming. Psalm 50:3-6: “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, (that he may judge his people,) Gather my saints together unto me, those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness, for God is judge himself.” This passage, if it prove anything, proves that when Christ comes to gather his elect, he will judge his people, and that all his saints will be there, both which are in heaven and on earth. FRGC 96.1

Again. Peter clearly shows, that there is a day of judgment, when the world shall be cleansed by fire. 2 Peter 3:7: “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” This text agrees with the fiftieth Psalm, and evidently refers to the same time, when Christ shall come: for he in the tenth verse says, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with great heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up.” We learn by this passage, that it is the same time as Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18; also 5:1-4: “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” And in 2 Peter 3:15, 16; we are assured by Peter that Paul “had written unto us concerning these things.” Paul speaks of the same day of the Lord coming as a thief, etc., and says, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” FRGC 96.2

Let these passages be sufficient to prove that God has revealed unto us the following truths:- FRGC 97.1

1. That he has appointed a day of judgment. FRGC 97.2

2. That the judgment follows the resurrection. FRGC 97.3

3. That his saints are raised and judged at the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. FRGC 97.4

II. I will now show how long that day will be, and when the wicked will be raised and judged. FRGC 97.5

1. This day of judgment is often called “the day of the Lord,” as in Isaiah 2:12: “For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and every one that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low.” Isaiah 13:9: “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger; and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” (Consult Isaiah 34:8. 61:2. 63:4.) These passages all go to show, that, when Christ comes to recompense the controversy of Zion and reward his people, he will destroy the incorrigible, the proud, and wicked out of his kingdom. And we are clearly made to understand by the prophets and apostles, that this is to be done by literal fire. And Christ, in the parable of the tares and wheat, more than intimates the same thing. Malachi, in the fourth chapter of his prophecy, shows, as plain as words can make it, “that the proud and all that do wickedly shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts; it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” This day has not yet come, certainly, that all the proud and all that do wickedly are burnt up, not one of them left. We have too much evidence that there are such characters yet in the earth; and as the word all is said by our opponents to mean all, they, of course, to be consistent with themselves, will not deny the conclusion. “But unto you that fear my name, shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings, and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” This, to me, is a plain figure of the coming of Christ, the resurrection of the saints, the meeting of Christ in the air, and the security from the burning wrath of God when the proud and wicked are consumed. “And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet, in the day I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.” It is evident, that the bodies of the wicked are now burnt, and are not raised, for they are ashes: this then must be a day between the destruction of the wicked and their resurrection. It is after the resurrection of the righteous, for they have gone forth from the dust and the grave to meet the sun of righteousness. They have received the last healing beams from Christ, in his second advent. Death is now conquered; for they now stand in their lot on the earth; they have feet, for they shall tread down the wicked “in that day.” In what day? I answer, in the day of the Lord; in the day between the two resurrections, of the just and of the unjust. John says, Revelation 20:5, 6: “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the 1000 years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” This is the day of the Lord, 1000 years. Is this day to be understood a literal or figurative 1000 years? I answer, literal for it is an explanation of a figure, rather than a figure. See 2 Peter 3:8: “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,” that is, one day with the Lord is as a thousand years with us. It is evident that Peter is talking about this same judgment day, in the 7th verse; in the 8th and 9th verses he explains the length of the day, and gives a good reason why it is a thousand years, because God is long-suffering. Then, in the 10th verse, he goes on to describe the”, same day as spoken of in the 7th and 8th verses, there called judgment day; but, in this tenth verse, it is named the “day of the Lord.” FRGC 97.6

2. When will the wicked be raised and judged? I answer, when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, Gog and Magog will come up on the surface of the earth. Gog and Magog signify the whole host of the wicked which have ever lived on the earth, the opposers of Christ, and the persecutors of the people of God. Ezekiel? says Gog is the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, which mean the powers of this world, at the head of all their followers, an army like the sand of the sea-shore. Magog signifies dissolved Gog. They have once been dissolved, dust or ashes in the earth; but have now been raised. “The sea, death and hell have given tip their dead.” Then they are gathered around the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and are there judged, “every man according to their works;” and then the justice of God drives them from the earth into a lake of fire, where they are tormented day and night forever and ever. This is the second death. In order to get the proof of the things mentioned above, let the inquirer read the 20th chapter of Revelations. In that chapter, 1st verse, John is describing the second advent of Jesus Christ. The 2nd and 3rd verses give an account of his chaining Satan and casting him into the bottomless pit and shutting him up. The 4th verse gives an account of the resurrection of the saints, their judgment, and reign with Christ 1000 years. The 5th verse shows that the wicked dead will not live again until the 1000 years are finished, and calls the above the first resurrection. The 6th verse speaks of the blessings of those who have part in the first resurrection. The 7th verse shows that when the 1000 years have expired, Satan will be loosed from his prison. The 8th verse describes the acts of Satan, in deceiving the wicked host, that have now lived again on the earth, gathering them to battle, as he tells them, (but there is no battle,) and gives the number as the sand upon the sea-shore, implying the whole class of the wicked. The 9th verse tells us that this army went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city; which proves two things: First, that no saint is deceived; but they are all encamped in the city, and nothing that worketh abomination or maketh a lie can enter into the city. Secondly, that the New Jerusalem is on the earth, and of course must have come down from heaven at the commencement of the 1000 years: for we find it on the earth when the wicked compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city, where the wicked are judged by the saints, and by the justice of God are driven from the earth, represented by the figure of fire; and as shown in the 10th verse, the devil, the beast, and false prophet, are cast into the lake of fire, where they shall be tormented day and night forever and ever. This closes John’s first account of the judgment. The 11th and 12th verses show the resurrection and judgment of the saints at the commencement of the 1000 years, and are properly a review of the account given in the former part of the chapter. FRGC 98.1

The 13th, 14th, and 15th verses, are an account of the resurrection of the wicked: for “death and hell deliver up the dead which were in them,” and they are judged every man according to their works, and the same persons cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. FRGC 99.1

I shall now meet a few objections, raised by the opponents of a future judgment. First: they say this judgment was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem. To this I answer, that Christ says, Matthew 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days”-that is, after the destruction of Jerusalem, by their own showing,-“shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” This evidently shows the gospel, or two witnesses being clothed in sackcloth, the church in her wilderness state, and the fall of ministers from the purity of the gospel into antichristian abominations, and the shaking of the moral heavens by the doctrines of Papacy, called in the word of God “the doctrines of devils;” to accomplish which, according to Daniel and John, and the opinions of all commentators, will include a time or period of 1260 years. “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. All this was to happen after the tribulation of those days; therefore could not have happened at the destruction of Jerusalem. FRGC 99.2

Paul, in his second Epistle to the Thessalonians, speaking of the faith and patience of the saints in enduring persecution and tribulation, says, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10, “Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer; seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you: and to you who are troubled, rest with us: when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.” It is evident that Paul in this place is speaking of the righteous judgment of God, the revelation of Jesus Christ from heaven, the taking vengeance on all who know not God both Jew and Gentile, and the punishing with everlasting destruction those who obey not the gospel, from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power; and this, too, when he comes to be glorified in his saints. This can have no reference particularly to the Jews, as it was written to the Gentile believers at Thessalonica; and must have reference to all that troubled or persecuted them, whether Jew or Gentile. Then, in the second chapter, he tells us, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” And yet the objector says that it was near at hand. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition: who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” This description of Paul agrees with Daniel’s little horn, vii. 25: “And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.” Paul says, 8th verse, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” FRGC 100.1

By these quotations, we perceive that the coming of Christ was not at hand, and could not take place, as Paul reasons, until the man of sin should be revealed, the son of perdition, who should wear out the saints of the Most High 1260 years; and then should the Son of man be revealed, and destroy him by the brightness of his coming No man can suppose that this time could have passed between Paul’s epistle to his Thessalonian brethren and the destruction of Jerusalem. Therefore we conclude, from these facts, that the judgment must be in the future; for Daniel says, that at the end of all these things “the judgment shall sit;” and Paul says, that these persecutions and tribulations are a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God. FRGC 101.1

Another set of objectors say, “The judgment will not take place until we have enjoyed 1000 years of peace and prosperity, and the world be converted to God.” FRGC 101.2

In reply to this objection, I would present the following text in Daniel 7:21, 22: “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High.” Luke 17:26, Christ says: “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 28: Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot, even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” Paul says, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”-2 Thessalonians 2:8. Again, 2 Timothy 3:1-5: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 12th and 13th verses: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” John, in the 7th chapter of Revelations, when he saw the whole family of the redeemed out of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands, was inquired of by one of the elders, “What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” the, answer was, “These are they which came out of great tribulation.” This evidently shows us that there can possibly be no period of time in which the children of God will not suffer persecution or tribulation, till the end come. Consult also 2 Timothy 4:1-8. Jas. v. 1-9. Jude 14-21. FRGC 101.3

Now, if this objection is valid, how can it be true that Daniel’s little horn, and Paul’s man of sin, can make war and prevail against the saints until the Ancient of days comes, and be “consumed only with the spirit of his mouth, and destroyed by the brightness of his coming?” How can it be true that all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution, if the whole world is to be converted, and universal peace pervade the earth for a thousand years? What kind of a millennium will that be, when evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, in the midst of perilous times, and all hell, as it were, disgorged of its contents, and come up to the great battle of God Almighty? Or must these objectors be classed with those who cry “peace and safety,” when “sudden destruction cometh?” FRGC 102.1