A THOUSAND YEARS OF JUSTICE
"Mr. Paul Rader was in the foremost rank of evangelists, and his enunciation of this truth, so grievously needed by the people of God today, is a notable symptom of its progress. His booklet, "A Thousand Years of Justice", from which these extracts were taken, marshals the evidence with the simplicity and directness of the evangelist. It is as rare as it is refreshing to read of one who spoke in holy awe on a believer's sin in the sight of the Most High." (D. M. PANTON.)
The thousand years of Christ's reign on earth with its judgements and justice make the great high peak presented in the Scriptures. It is the subject of the greater part of prophecy. Since it is a time of justice and judgement, and since it is presided over by One who has been thoroughly tempted and tried, One who has suffered and died, to prove His merit - therefore all who take part in this thousand years must also be of proven merit, many of them even proven by martyrdom. Any position held in this regime and reign is upon individual merit, and individual merit alone. No position in this Kingdom is held because of grace alone. Everyone in this reign with Christ, of course, is a born-again, saved, Christian; but, more than that, everyone, beside being a saved individual, is an overcomer, a Christian, Spirit-filled, and one who has walked in spiritual victory, a worthy.
Everything that has to do with this thousand years must meet the most terrific fires of testing. Only that which can pass through the fire test at the Judgement Seat of Christ can be admitted into this thousand years of millennial splendour. This millennial splendour of a thousand years is not salvation, is not eternal life, is not heaven. It is a manifestation of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, and an earthly manifestation of the kingdom of the heavenlies. There are Scriptures that would almost lead one to believe that a regenerate believer can be lost, because of the terrific tests upon character and conduct at the Judgement Seat of Christ, which prove a believer worthy of a place in this kingdom reign and blessing. The excluding of believers as unfit to take part in this kingdom and in this thousand year reign cannot be the casting out of believers from eternal life which is given on the ground of grace and faith alone in the merits and work of Jesus Christ.
All believers are members of the body of Christ, and every member of the body of Christ has the privilege of entering into this kingdom, and is eligible to compete for a place in the kingdom. But the believer does not enter this kingdom simply because he is a believer, but because as a believer he has walked in the will of God, and is worthy of a place in this kingdom. The kingdom is the place of rewards for worthy Christians, and the most fiery tests are to be given during his present life and at the Judgement Seat of Christ to determine who are worthy to enter the kingdom, and just what position they shall occupy because of their worth; and just what crown they shall wear, because of their individual merit as faithful Christians. The test at the Judgement Seat is not a test of whether one is lost or damned; for only the truly born again and saved appear there, and the "accounted worthy" will be resurrected at the "first resurrection" and given a place in this coming, glorious kingdom, (Luke 20:35,36; Rev. 20: 5, 6).
With these truths of the millennial judgements and the reign of justice, we can now bring into bold relief the teaching of the Scripture concerning salvation by grace alone apart from works. The outstanding Scripture is Ephesians, the second chapter, the eighth and ninth verses: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no-one can boast." Even a sinner's works not only come very far from saving him, but these works actually have to be repented of. When we truly see salvation through the merits of Jesus Christ alone, works (before salvation) appear before God as filthy rags from which we are to turn away as from things that have no value. Can we take a dead tree and prune the branches, expecting that it will bring forth fruit? Therefore, it is useless to talk to the unregenerate sinner about works. It is only the living believer, made alive in Christ, who can be chastened and pruned, in order that he may bear fruit. We are made a new creation in Christ, when we by faith accept Him as our new life. It is by faith alone that the life of the Lord Jesus Christ is given to us. This life is the gift of God, and is called "eternal life."
God has provided a method of bringing believers from their habits and natural ways and from their sins of omission and commission by a wonderful system of chastening: and the reason for this chastening is stated in Hebrews 12:10 thus: He chastens us "for our good, that we may share in His holiness." The chastening, then, of God is not to get us saved by making us walk right, but by making us walk right through chastening because we are saved, to make us "share in His holiness." This chastening is all for one purpose, that is, that when we come to the Judgement Seat of Christ, we might be found cleansed from these sins for which we are chastened. We are to appear to be judged at the Judgement Seat, but not for destruction. The Judgement Seat of Christ, with its punishments, is to fully bring about final perfection in those who have received this gift of eternal life. God has promised to perfect those to whom He has given God's life. They cannot be lost. Therefore they must be judged and perfected. If they are found at the Judgement Seat of Christ - because of their walk as a Christian - unworthy of a place in the thousand-year reign of Christ and are held [in 'Hades']* for judgement, it is only that they show up perfected after the thousand years are finished.
We see that the incestuous believer (1Cor. 5) was excommunicated, but not damned, even before the dawning of the Judgement Seat of Christ. Believers were to "hand this man over to Satan that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord." This man, so terribly handed over, turns back again in obedience to Jesus Christ: for again in 2 Cor. 2: 7, 8, we find Paul telling them "to forgive and comfort him and to reaffirm their love for him." This shows us that all severe chastening is that "the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord," even though he may not share, in the future reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, because of his chequered walking - for we have this passage: "If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him." The opposite, of course, becomes true: if we will not forsake sin and suffer with Him, we cannot reign with Him.
Some of the withered branches (that is, branches that had formerly life-giving power by the indwelling Holy Spirit) in the Vine are cast away early by judgements that Christ lets happen in this life - even before they get to the Judgement Seat of Christ. Their very withering is Christ's judgement and chastening, that He might burn up their self-sufficiency, their thought that they can abide in themselves. He has said plainly:- "Apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). What gathering men have made of these disgraced and back-slidden, "branches"! What a burning there will be of all their branch growth and work - outside the will of God, by deliberate sin and defiant disobedience to the principles and commands of Christ, - at His Judgement Seat! It will all be shown for what it is -"wood, hay or straw," (1Cor.3:12). Paul speaks of those who are "weak and sick" (1Cor. 11:30) because of some cherished, selfish, sin. God speaks of those who have been killed early - and this death sentence is from Christ, though they are believers. It is not eternal death, but a premature natural death, (Acts 5:1-11). Surely these, after this awful burning at the Judgement Seat, who were given no opportunity to repent, will be the variety spoken of previously, who are saved "but only as one escaping through the flames" (1Cor.3:15); they will certainly not be 'accounted worthy' to rise at 'the first resurrection' to rule over two, five or ten cities, during the thousand year rule of Christ.
All sin finds terrific judgement with God, and though the worldly servant (Luke 12:46) is not to loose his eternal life, his judgement for walking like an unbeliever and like a sinner is to taste a portion of the sinner's judgement. Such verses as have been quoted here can be held up against the great mountain peaks of salvation eternally secured by faith and faith alone. Such verses do not shake in the least the principle of eternal security and salvation by grace built upon a foundation which is Christ and His righteousness and His merit; but it does let the Christian know that his walk is to be circumspect, that he is to seek holiness, that he is to seek all the fullness of the Spirit, and have an excess of oil in his vessel with his lamp, and to watch for and walk with Jesus, if he is to escape judgement, and if he is to receive for overcoming a great reward.
Let me say in closing that at the judgement seat punishment is passed out to the guilty. If punishment is not to be passed out, a judgement throne would be a joke. Remember, the great crisis hour is called by God, "The Judgement Seat of Christ." It is not just a reward seat of Christ. To hear some Christians who believe in eternal security and in sure salvation by faith alone talk, you would think that they can walk to suit themselves and then come up to this great hour, as if all they had to do was to walk up and receive a "well done" from God. We are coming to a throne of judgement. We are coming to have the white light of God fall upon every act of our lives, and even the motives which were responsible for them, since we have become Christians. The appearance of all these servants and these stewards and these backsliders and these Christians who have not walked properly at the Judgement Seat of Christ, and not at the judgement of sinners a thousand years from that time, proves their conversion, and that they were born again people who must be judged as Christians and not as lost sinners.
We must look into the face of Him who has suffered for us, who has died for us, who lives for us, who can do all things for us, and be judged for what we have allowed Him to do in us, through us, and for us. Almost unthinkable judgements are to be passed upon Christians. Think of the words, "torment," "outer darkness," "weeping and gnashing of teeth," (Matt.8:12), "until you have paid the utmost farthing," (Matt.5:26). O dear Christian friend, how dare you live a careless moment in sin, in unforgiveness, in self will? We are those who have received much, oh! so much, and from us much is expected.
Such promises as the following should cause any real Christian to forsake anything in order to be one who gets all that is here promised. Jesus Christ says in Rev.2, and at the end of the chapter: "he that overcometh, and keepeth my works (look in Acts for his works) unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter they shall be broken to shivers" (Rev.2: 26, 27). And here again. Could anything be above this? Oh soul of mine, reach forward for this :- "Lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us" (Heb.12:1). Let us gain this :- "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Rev. 3:21).
Ours is a fight for fellowship, so that Christ can do in us, and for us and through us all that He has planned. One of the saints of God has said: "If I can be thus crowned, can I be otherwise than a fool, if I am not prepared to sacrifice all to win it?" Hear Christ say: "To him that overcometh will I give a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it" (Rev. 2:17). Oh, to have a secret like this with Christ! What an entry it must be into life's deepest joys!