Friday, October 17, 2003

Insights to Lesson 3: "Jonah and Judgment"

Except for the rise of sin, there would have been no necessity for judgment. Judgment is a phenomenon peculiar to falling away from moral rectitude. Judgment occurred in heaven upon Lucifer’s libel and slander of God’s word. Judgment came upon all men after the offense of one man, resulting in condemnation of all men. Therefore death spread to all men because the whole race of men was affected by that one man’s offense. But the judgment resulting in condemnation was executed upon the whole race in the person of one Man, resulting in justification of life to
the whole race.
God, the Judge of all, always contends or pleads (Hebrew: rib) with the offending the party before executing judgment (see Job 10:2; Psalm 35:1; 43:1; Prov. 22:23; 23:11; Isaiah 3:13; 49:25; 51:22; 57:16; Jer. 2:9; 50:34; Amos 7:4; Micah 6:1; 7:9). God not only pleaded and contended with Nineveh, and numerous other nations recorded in Isaiah and Jeremiah, but also with Cain, with the antediluvian world, with
Sodom, with Israel throughout their history. He pleads with mankind to
come into harmony with the everlasting covenant of the promised Seed who would reverse the condemnation of Adam’s offense. Isaiah describes a covenant lawsuit that God has with all nations, “because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, and broken the everlasting covenant” (24:5).
The great standard of all covenant lawsuits is the covenant itself which is the Ten Commandments. “And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments” (Ex. 34:28). The covenant is God promise to restore that which was lost, and that which was lost at the Fall was the moral image of God in man. These ten words were the promise to restore the image of God in mankind. This promise was the everlasting covenant: “I will put my law in their minds and write it on
their hearts; I will be their God and they shall be My people” (Jer. 31:33). The covenant has been repeatedly broken by failing to comprehend the mystery of Christ and attempting to obey the law written on tables of stone.
There is good news concerning all covenant lawsuits embedded in
the mystery of Christ who could say “I delight to do your will, O God,
your law is written in My heart.” God would adopt, elect, and
predestine all men by sending His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.
The judgment which came upon all men in Adam has been mediated by the
Seed of the covenant, namely, the Seed of the woman, the Seed of
Abraham, the Seed of David to whom the promise was made that He would
become heir of the world. At the cross the judgment of the world came,
and the ruler of this world was cast out (John 12:31). The judgment
from one man’s offense resulted in condemnation, but the righteous act
of One Man resulted in justification of life for all men (Rom. 5:16,
There is no partiality with God. By executing the covenant lawsuit with the world in the person of His Son at the cross, God has reversed the condemnation of Adam’s offense resulting in a legal acquittal for all men. Now God has a covenant lawsuit with all those who resist this unconditional good news. The question God places before the world is, “What have you done with My Son?” There is not a reason why anyone
should come out on the wrong side of the judgment and be lost, except they choose to spurn the gift given to the whole world. But those who truly embrace Christ will also embrace His cross and esteem the reproach of Christ to be greater riches than the treasures of self-esteem that comes from the world, except as it comes with
identifying with the meek and lowly One.
The good news has been proclaimed to the world since the Fall with the promise that the Seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. The same promise has been repeated through the ages with the patriarchs that “in your Seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed.” From Adam to Enoch to Noah to Abraham this same message has been set forth in greater and greater degrees of light even to the
brilliance of the cross, until at last it will illuminate the whole earth with His glory.
At the Great White Throne Judgment all those who are raised in the second resurrection will be speechless, and without excuse. Their own resurrection will be the final evidence to them that they were chosen in Christ from the foundation of the world for salvation, but they knowingly resisted and spurned the glimmers of greater and greater evidence at each exposure throughout their lifetime. At last every knee
will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Jonah was commissioned with this responsibility to proclaim a message of repentance, but he resisted for a season. Finally Jonah himself responded to the call of repentance. God’s last day church has been commissioned with a “most precious message” and has resisted for a season (since 1888), but Revelation 3 says a call to repentance has been sounded by True Witness to the “angel to the church of the
Laodiceans.” The Lord will “cut the work short in righteousness” and the message will go forth that we are indeed living in the hour of God’s judgment. “Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” and the blood of the everlasting covenant will have accomplished its work. Christ will have a church of people on whose foreheads the Father’s name is written.

--John W. Peters

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