The Judgment of the Nations

JN Darby Lecture 7 on “The Hopes of the Church of God”

The resurrection_chart02Judgment of the Nations, which become the inheritance of Christ and of the Church. – A Summary by Sosthenes

A summary of a lecture by J. N. Darby.

{A Psalm of Asaph.} God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.  How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.

Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.  Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.  They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.  I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.  But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.  Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.  Psalm 82.

Evil reaches its height in the eighth head of the beast, which goes down to destruction in the apostasy of the civil power of the fourth monarchy.  He goes along with the false prophet, who, having seduced the world to do homage to the beast and to take his mark, is destroyed with him.

The scene now extends.  God does not only judge the last rebellion of the (fourth) Antichristian beast.  Not only will he be destroyed, but the nations will be judged too.   God makes His power felt: It is the moment of His wrath; He judges all nations.

All that is high and lifted up will be brought low by the power and glory of God, so that God, in full blessing, may enjoy the kingdom, and may have the inheritance of all the nations.

This is what we read in Revelation 11:15-18: “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever….And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great.”

The Judge

The Judge is the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, the true King over the whole earth. was presented to the Gentiles (represented by Pontius Pilate), and to the Jews (represented by the high priest), and was rejected.   Now the Son is anointed, king upon Zion, God’s holy hill, and that He has the heathen for His inheritance: Zion is His throne; the nations, His inheritance. (See Psalm 2:6-8)

At the birth of Christ, Herod showed his hatred upon the least appearance of His royalty.  When the cry was heard that a king had appeared, immediate efforts were made to get rid of Him. Will the nations then, at last, listen to the invitation made to them to submit themselves to the King?   No!

The judges of the earth will have to give an account of their conduct to God.  “They know not, neither do they understand…I have said, Ye are gods,” (Psalm 82:5-6) for God Himself had given them authority over the earth: “the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1);  But now God can and will judge them.

His Judgment

God’s way of dealing with the nations is in an entirely different way from the gospel, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron.”  (Psalm 2:9).  In the gospel, the sceptre (rod) of Christ is a rod of goodness and love; it is everything that is most sweet, most powerful, in His love.  The gospel is not a sceptre of iron.

Psalm 9:15-20 (The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.) is not the language of the gospel; it is the prophetic demand – the righteous demand – of judgment.   Christians often this difficult to follow, not having understood the difference between the various dispensations.   Once the gospel has run its course, Christ will act in righteous judgment against the world.

He therefore invites the kings of the earth to submit themselves to Him.  These kings follow their own ways; their policy is settled according to the wisdom of man.  Hence, if God were not to execute judgment, the evil would only grow worse and worse without any consolation for the faithful.  Christ demands judgment, because the time is come. “The Lord is King for ever and ever; the heathen are perished out of his land.” (Psalm 10:15, 16) and Thou hast rebuked the heathen; thou hast destroyed the wicked (Antichrist); thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.” (v.5)

God will assemble the nations, and pour upon them His indignation – a terrible judgment.  “Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey; for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms to pour upon them mine indignation” (Zephaniah 3:8).  The place where this judgment will be exercised will be the land of Israel, and that the Lord will manifest Himself in this act of power.

As to when the knowledge of the Lord should fill the earth, we refer to verse 9For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD”.  This blessing will come to pass after He has executed judgment, and put away the evil-doers.  This passage is a very explicit revelation.  It is not grace, but judgment.

The Lord’s Rule

Jesus has sat down at the right hand of God the Father, until His enemies are made His footstool. “The LORD (Jehovah) said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Psalm 110:1).  Until then,  by His Spirit, He gathers Christians together.

After that come the words, “Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.” (v.2).  This is what the Lord will accomplish, when He starts to exercise His power  “The Lord … shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.  He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies.” (v5-6)

The War

In the next part of the lecture Darby summarises the movements of the parties in the war that ensues.  I will not go into detail; Darby says that we should not fix our attention too much upon events which are taking place in our time.  Satan can easily divert us from nearness to Christ, by occupying us too much with prophecy as a subject.

Indeed.  We may view current happenings in the light of prophecy.  The current political situation is vastly different now (2014) from what it was in JND’s time.  Islamic fundamentalism is  entrenched in the region, and opposing Sunni and Shiite  forces have created an area of particular unrest.

Indeed the King of the North (some sons of Japeth, mostly Shiite and Eastern Orthodox, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Iraq etc) will be at war with the King of the South (sons on Shem and Ham, mostly Sunni, some Christian, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Africa) with Israel in the middle.  Other sons of Japeth (Javan, Greece, Rome) would be with the Antichrist.

This disaster will mainly take place in Jerusalem.

Darby drew on William Hale’s Analysis of Chronology, which has recently (2012) been republished.

 Christians are sheltered from the approaching storm

The church’s place is with Christ, accompanying Him.  It has the privilege and glory of union with the Lord Jesus Christ.   The union of the church as a single body, comprising both Jews and Gentiles, was not revealed in the Old Testament.  If seek it, we find Christ Himself.  For example, Christ says prophetically in Isaiah 50:9, “Who is he that shall condemn me?”; Paul in Romans 8:34 applies this to the church, the church being united to Christ.

Hence, it is not in Zion that we are to look for the church, because the church has the same portion as Christ.  We are not to look for the church in the prophecy. The church is the body of Christ Himself; and Christ is to judge, not to be judged.

The church’s place is not in the midst of the nations that are to be broken in pieces, but to be united to Christ, enjoying the same privileges as Christ.  There is nothing true, as regards Christ, in the glory which He has taken as Man, which is not also true of the church.

It is a precious thing for us to understand our place, that of joint-heirs with Christ. And the more we think of this, the more our strength will be increased, and the more our minds will be detached from this world, which is under judgment.

The world is judged because it has rejected Christ, The Saviour.  ”Righteous Father, the world hath not known thee.” (John 17:25)   Just as unbelief separates men entirely from Christ for all eternity. Grace by faith has united us entirely and for ever to Him; and we ought to bless God for it.  This is what grace has done for us.


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