You are on page 1of 9

judgement

+ RESTORATION

!
! ! !

!
! ! !

!
! ! !

!
! ! !

!
! ! !

!
! ! !

!
! ! !

!
! ! !

!
! ! !

Helen Packard School of Biblical Studies YWAM Montana June 2012

Helen Packard

God is the God of judgement and restoration. This seems to be a paradox, but the way in which He both judges and restores His people throughout the ongoing history of His peoples salvation, is a major theme of the Bible. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.1 Six days later, as the nal act of Gods week-long process of creation, God created man, for the purpose of reecting the likeness and image of God. God had referred to all of His previous creations as good, but upon the completion of His creation (which culminated in the creation of man and woman), He calls everything He has made very good2 . In this new beginning, the man and woman were not ashamed of their nakedness; they have no knowledge of good or evil. They dwell in unity with one another, and in unity with God. Together, they are given dominion over the earth, and are instructed to multiply, ll the earth and subdue it3 . The man and woman are created for relationship with God, but when they sin, their relationship with Him is severed, and they can no longer exist with Him in Eden. This sin seems to stem from the desire for knowledge - to be like God in wisdom and power. When the man and woman are told that if they eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they will be made like God, they gladly take of its fruit. At this point, their eyes are opened, they are aware of their sin, and their union with God is broken, as is shown by their attempt to hide themselves from His presence4. When God questions the man and woman as to their eating of the forbidden tree, their response is to shift the blame from themselves to one another, and to the serpent5. As a result of their sin, the man and woman are separated from God, and are cast out of His presence6. The unity meant to exist between man and woman is broken, and the ground is cursed; man will have to toil in order to work the ground 7. Gods people have sinned, and Gods people are judged accordingly; God casts this people out of His presence and they are separated from Him. All, however, is not lost. God is the God of restoration, and He promises that the womans offspring will bruise the serpents head 8. This is not a promise of a son who will step on a snake that crawls on the ground, but speaks of the way in which a descendant of the woman will crush Satan - the very one who enticed the man and woman to sin in the rst place. This is Gods rst promise of salvation - of restoring His people back into relationship and unity with Him. This promise of restoration is developed as God calls Abraham (then Abram) into a covenant relationship with Himself. Instructing Abram to leave his home to go to a land God will show him, God promises that He will make of Abram a great nation, blessing him and making his name great so that he will be a blessing to all families of the earth9.
1 2

Genesis 1:1 Genesis 1:31 3 Genesis 1:26-28 4 Genesis 3:1-7 5 Genesis 3:11-13 6 Genesis 3:24 7 Genesis 3:16-19 8 Genesis 3:15 9 Genesis 12:1-3 Helen Packard

Through this covenant, God is birthing His people - a people who will be called to be a blessing to all families of the earth. This people will be in relationship with God, and as those surrounding them see this relationship at work, the idea is that Gods promise of restoration will spread beyond this people to all nations. This people is given the symbol of circumcision - a cutting of the esh that is an everlasting covenant between God and His people10. When Abrahams son, Isaac is born, the birth of Gods people becomes a reality. God has promised a people, a land, and for His people to be a blessing, and Isaac is the rst step towards these promises being fullled, as he goes on to father sons that would father nations, including Israel. By the time of Moses, God has fullled His promise of a great people; the congregation of Israel is numerous, but they are in Egypt - God has not yet fullled His promise of a land for His people. God hears their cries from their enslavement in Egypt, however, and rescues them out of this nation. God brings judgement against Pharaoh and Egypt every rstborn of the land will die - but God protects His people from His wrath against their enemies through the blood of a spotless lamb. This blood is spread on the doorposts and lintels of the homes in which Gods people partake in eating the lamb they have slain for each family. As a great cry erupts in Egypt as all the rstborn have died, those who have partaken in this Passover - when Gods judgement passed over His people - are saved11. The blood of a spotless lamb has proven to save them, and they are instructed to keep Passover as a celebration of what God did to rescue and restore His people. As the redemption story of Gods people continues, God parts the Red Sea, rescues them from the hand of Pharaoh, and provides for them in the wilderness. Gods people, however, are not faithful to Him. He has promised them (through Moses) that they would come to their own land where they would dwell as Gods people; He has told them that if they obey His voice and keep His covenant, they would be His treasured possession among all peoples - a kingdom of priests and a holy nation12, yet they continually reject Him and grumble against Him. God gives them a law to follow so that they can be holy before Him and be in relationship with Him13 , but they reject this law. He instructs Israel to build a tabernacle to show them that His presence will go with them wherever they go, but they are quick to sin against Him, worshiping idols14 . In Gods great mercy, His judgement is only temporary against His people; while the exodus generation will not live to see the Promised Land, the next generation will enter into this land owing with milk and honey. God restores the covenant with His people. After approximately forty years of wandering in the wilderness, Gods people arrive in the Promised Land, with instructions that they are to wipe out the peoples of the land. God knows that these other peoples and their idols pose a threat to His peoples

10 11

Genesis 17:9-14 Exodus 12 12 Exodus 19:5-6 13 Exodus 20-22 14 Exodus 32 Helen Packard

relationship with Him, but despite the fact that God has fullled His promises of a people and land, the people of God reject their responsibility to be a blessing to all the families of the earth, as they reject the law and adopt the customs of the surrounding nations. God had told His people that if they obeyed His voice and kept His covenant, they would be His treasured possession among all peoples, but rather than obeying the Lord, Gods people became indistinguishable from the rest of the nations; they failed to be a blessing to the nations, as they rejected the greatest blessing they could ever have been given - a relationship with God. Despite His peoples faithlessness, God promised He would restore His people in an eternal way. After the people demanded a king (because of their desire to be like the surrounding nations15 ), God had Samuel anoint David as their king, though Saul was still in power in Israel. After David nally ascends to the throne, God promises that Davids kingdom will be eternal; his throne would be established forever16 . King after king of the line of David ascended to the throne after Davids death, and it is in this time of the rise and fall of what were mostly evil and ungodly kings who did not walk in the ways of David, that the prophets arise, encouraging Gods people to return to the Lord, warning them that if they do not, they will be judged - they will be expelled from their land. The people ignore the prophets, and after hundreds of years of Gods mercy towards them, they meet judgement in their being exiled - the northern kingdom is conquered by Assyria, and the southern kingdom is conquered by Babylon, and taken to Babylon as exiles. God desired to restore His people eternally, but as they repeatedly transgressed the covenant, Gods judgement came against them. Though the people of God followed after the example of their earthly kings, worshiping idols, living wickedly, and pursuing corruption rather than holiness, God continued to promise eternal restoration for His people, even as His prophets predicted that the people would go into exile and leave their beloved Promised Land. Joel promises Gods people that a day would come when Judah would be inhabited forever17 ; the nations would be judged, but the people of God would experience a time when the mountains would drip sweet wine, and the hills ow with milk, as a fountain came forth from the house of the Lord 18. Amos promised that God would plant them in their land, never to be uprooted again19 . Isaiah speaks of a new heavens and the new earth, a place where all esh would come to worship the Lord20. Daniel promises that Gods everlasting kingdom will conquer all earthly kingdoms21. This promise of an eternal kingdom - this promise of future restoration - is accompanied by the promise of the inclusion of all the nations. Through Amos, God promises that the

15 16

1 Samuel 8 2 Samuel 7:10-17 17 Joel 3:20 18 Joel 3:18 19 Amos 9:15 20 Isaiah 66:22 21 Daniel 7:27 Helen Packard

booth of David will be raised up, and will be repaired for the sake of all the nations22. Gods plan was for sojourners to attach themselves to the house of Jacob 23; the foreigners who joined themselves to the Lord - those who ministered to Him, loved Him, and were willing to be His servants would be accepted into His people24. While Gods people saw themselves as His people exclusively, they were to understand that all who came to the Lord would be accepted in Him; He had told Abraham from the beginning that he was to be a blessing to a great multitude, and that great multitude included those of the nations who would turn to Yahweh. After the people of God came back from exile (which they thought of as the beginning of the physical restoration they were waiting for), Zechariah prophesied to them about a vision he saw concerning Jerusalem: this city would be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of people and livestock in it25. Gods people were to rejoice as the meaning of Gods people expanded to include all the nations who joined themselves to the Lord, who promised to dwell in their midst. While the people had an expectation of the Messiah coming, they likely didnt realize that Gods promise of an eternal covenant, and His promise of the inclusion of the nations, would come through this Messiah. As Amos promised that God would raise up the booth of David, Gods people were to know that the Messiah would come from the line of David. This Messiah would be the branch of the Lord26 and would be gloried, called holy, and would wash away the bloodstains of His people through Him. He would be a great light, born to shine in the darkness of sin and depravity; He would be the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. His Kingdom would be of no end, and He would establish justice and righteousness forever. He would be the cornerstone of Gods kingdom to come27. This Messiah would come as Gods Servant, but would suffer for the iniquities of Gods people - He would be despised and rejected, pierced for the transgressions of all sinners; crushed for iniquities, though He would be blameless. It would be the will of God to crush Him, as Gods judgement would not be satised unless the penalty for sin was paid 28. It is in this Savior that restoration would come - Gods eternal restoration. Five hundred years pass after Gods people returned from exile to the Promised Land; this ve hundred years included four hundred years of silence from God - no prophets arose in this time. Though the prophets had continually spoken to the people of the coming Messiah and the way in which He would bring restoration to the earth restoration of Gods relationship with His people - Gods people sought physical restoration. They desired a king that would raise them up to a place of political, military and economic power; they werent anticipating that the Messiah would be born into poverty as a carpenters son who would not be interested in overthrowing the Roman
22 23

Amos 9:11 Isaiah 14:1 24 Isaiah 56 25 Zechariah 2:4 26 Isaiah 4:2-6 27 Isaiah 28:16 28 Isaiah 53 Helen Packard

government. They werent expecting a man who would scandalize the beliefs and expectations of the Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes. Jesus denition of the Kingdom of God was radically different from anything the Jews were expecting. Jesus said that the kingdom of God belonged to the poor29 ; the Pharisees had grown rich from corrupting the sacricial system; Jesus said the kingdom of God accepted the humble who acknowledged their sin30 , directly contrasting a loathed tax collector with a Pharisee who considered himself righteous before God. Jesus championed the heart of the law, while the Pharisees sought loopholes in the law to maintain a godly exterior while living ungodly lives. Jesus puzzled His audiences by comparing the kingdom of God to a mustard seed31, to a woman who hides leaven in our32 , and to a man who scattered seed on the ground which mysteriously grows33 . As Jesus explained the Kingdom of God through parables and illustrations, the Pharisees hatred towards him grew. They knew that Jesus said that tax collectors and prostitutes would go into the kingdom of God before them, as they did not believe that He was the Messiah that the prophets had promised34. They rejected the Cornerstone - Jesus - and Jesus therefore promised that the kingdom of God would be taken from them and given to those who were truly producing its fruits. The Pharisees and scribes sought righteousness through the letter of the law, while Jesus dened the Kingdom of God through the economy of love - loving ones neighbor and loving God35. All who desired to enter this Kingdom were welcomed in with celebration, as though a lost sheep had been found by a shepherd, as though a lost coin had been found by a woman, as though a lost son had returned to his father36 . The Pharisees desired to keep people out of the Kingdom of God (especially the poor, leprous, unclean and sinful), while Jesus sought to throw open the doors to the Kingdom, welcoming all who knew Him as they knew the Father. Jesus denition of the Kingdom of God so scandalized the Pharisees that they had Him killed. He had told them, in no uncertain terms, that He was God, and for this blasphemy they had Him murdered. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, to have more authority than Moses, to be the Davidic King and Prophet they were waiting for, and to be in control of creation. For such claims (whether spoken or through His actions), the religious and self-righteous of Jerusalem - the Pharisees and scribes murdered the Lord. The very people who should have recognized Jesus as the Messiah were those who had the Lord beaten, struck, and abused to death. Every single prophecy concerning the Messiah was fullled as innocent Jesus was crucied on the cross as a criminal, and rose again three days later. This is the ultimate example of judgement and restoration to date; Jesus bore the judgement of the sin of the world crushed for the transgressions of all, as Isaiah had prophesied - but in His resurrection, death was defeated, and hope was restored. Just as the blood of the Passover lamb
29 30

Luke 6:20 Luke 18:10-14 31 Luke 13:18-19 32 Luke 13:20 33 Mark 4 34 Matthew 21:31-32 35 Mark 12:28-34 36 Luke 15 Helen Packard

had saved the exodus generation from the death of their rstborn, the blood of Jesus the Spotless Lamb - saves those who believe from the second death (eternity without God). The Kingdom of God triumphed over the evil of the world as Jesus ascended to be with the Father, sending the Holy Spirit to be available to every single person who sought to follow Him, knowing that His death as the ultimate Sacricial Lamb would bring the restoration so desperately needed to heal the broken relationship between God and His people. It is Christs death and resurrection that caused His Spirit to fall on His people, and it is this Spirit that allows Gods people to live in righteousness, fully reconciled to God. Because of what Christ did on the cross for Gods people - for all who know Him righteousness was no longer dened by following the law, but through faith. In the Gospel message, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith37, and the righteous live by that faith38 . The righteousness of God is attributed to all who have faith in Jesus39, as Gods people have been set free from the condemnation of the law, which was meant for the purpose of showing man the extent of his unrighteousness. Jesus came to fulll the law, but in doing so, showed that no man could claim righteousness through the law; all failed, and were in desperate need of Christs sacrice to atone for sin. Jesus death and resurrection therefore inaugurated an age in which the new life in Christ - a life of attributed righteousness - is enjoyed by all who seek to follow Him. This new life demands unity of Gods people and unity with God, and includes spiritual gifts being distributed for the purpose of building up the body of Christ - the church40 . This new life means putting off the old self and putting on the new self, recognizing that those who follow Christ have been renewed by the very Spirit of God Himself41 . Gods people can put away corrupting talk, anger and malice, and sexual immorality, instead choosing to rely upon the strength of the Spirit to walk in love. The very denition of the people of God changed in what Christ did on the cross; Gentiles and Jews alike can approach the throne of grace, knowing that it is by grace through faith in Christ that all are saved. The denition of Gods people is no longer dependent on the law, ones family background or culture - all of this is loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus as Lord. In Christ Jesus, all are made sons of God, through faith - there is no longer any distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved42. Christ has broken down the dividing wall of hostility between the circumcised Jew and the uncircumcised Gentile, reconciling all to God in one body through what Christ has done on the cross43. This reconciliation demands that all who know Jesus as Lord are welcomed as the people of God, fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

37 38

Romans 1:17 Galatians 3 39 Romans 3:22 40 1 Corinthians 12,14 41 Ephesians 4 42 Romans 10:13 43 Ephesians 2:16 Helen Packard

built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, all dwelling places for the Spirit of God44. Those who know Jesus as Lord - as the only way to the Father and as the One who has made ultimate restoration possible through His death on the cross - can look forward to His return. While those who do not know the Lord will meet judgement on the day of Christs return, those who know Him can trust that they will dwell with Him in eternity, completely forgiven and restored to the God all were created to worship. Over half a millennium prior to the Messiahs rst coming, Isaiah predicted that the Lord would one day return in re and would enter into judgement against those who had rebelled against Him; because He spoke and they did not listen, and because they had done what was evil in His eyes instead of choosing to do that which delighted the Lord, Isaiah predicted that judgement would come. For those who would choose the Lord, however, Isaiah knew that a new heavens and new earth would be established, where Gods redeemed and restored people would remain before Him, worshiping eternally 45. God would sweep away everything from the face of the earth to establish this new heavens and new earth46 ; His faithful people would not be put to shame, but those who did not humble themselves before Him would be cast away 47. In this new heavens and new earth, Gods presence would dwell in the midst of His people and all would be made holy to the Lord48. Though the time of this Day of the Lord is not known, it is apparent that this time will come after a period of tribulation. Christs return marks the end of this tribulation as He comes in great power and glory, gathering His elect - those who have faith in Him as God and Redeemer - from all the ends of the earth49. Those who have died in Christ will ascend to His presence when He returns, followed by those who are alive who follow Him; they will be caught up together in the clouds50. Those who have brought tribulation - those who have caused Gods people to suffer - will be judged51, and though a man of lawlessness would come to lead astray those who were perishing, Christ would kill him with the breath of His mouth52 . This return - this day of judgement (for those who do not know the Lord) and this day of restoration (for those who know Jesus as their Savior), will not come without warning. God promises that a series of trumpets will sound to warn people of the coming of the Lord53. These trumpets are not literal trumpets, but are catastrophic events and natural disasters that will make the people of the world realize that they need a Savior. These trumpet blasts are ongoing throughout the age of tribulation, which can also be thought of as the church age - when the Spirit is with Gods people, but the destructive forces of
44 45

Ephesians 2:19-22 Isaiah 66 46 Zephaniah 1 47 Zephaniah 3:11-13 48 Zechariah 14:20-21 49 Mark 13:24-27 50 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 51 2 Thessalonians 1 52 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 53 Revelation 8-9 Helen Packard

the enemy are still at work in the world. The nal trumpet blast will be the return of the Lord Jesus. In this time, all those from every tribe, tongue, and nation who know the Lord will be saved and gathered to Him in heaven - they will be sealed for salvation54. As a result of a great war in heaven, Satan will be thrown into the lake of re 55. Plagues will be poured out on the last day of this great battle, but those who have been restored to relationship with God through Christ - those who believe in His saving work on the cross - will not experience this nal judgement and eternal separation from Christ56 . While all people are currently experiencing the millennium in which Satan does not have dominion (but still has inuence) on the earth, those who know the Lord are promised eternity with Christ - eternal restoration. No matter the magnitude of the trumpet blasts or the persecution the church faces as they witness to the world57, Gods people are assured of a restored relationship with the Father and eternity with Him. This eternity will be spent in the new heaven and the new earth; the new Jerusalem is the people of God - the bride of Christ. In this city - in Gods people there will be no more evil, and Christ Himself will be the light of the city. The very One who descended to earth as Man, died for the sins of His people, and suffered the just judgement for their iniquities to set them free, will be the eternal light of restoration for those who have accepted what He has done for them. While judgement and restoration are both ongoing themes through the redemption story of Gods people, restoration wins the day. Judgement will be experienced by those who refuse to acknowledge Christ as their Savior and Redeemer, but those who know Him and give their lives to Him, following Him and worshiping Him both as God and as the only way to know the Father, will be eternally restored. This eternal restoration is the hope of all those who know Jesus and follow Him. This eternal restoration is the goal of those who are obedient to the Lords command to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit58 . God has called His people to go forth with the Gospel message so that more people will experience the restoration He desires to bring to all people. Christ gave His life as the nal sacrice for sins so that all may be welcomed into His kingdom, being completely restored to the God who has created each person for relationship with Him.

54 55

Revelation 7 Revelation 20:9-10 56 Revelation 16 57 Revelation 11 58 Matthew 28:19 Helen Packard