Singing in the Courtroom

There is Singing in the Courtroom

The Power of Worship in the Judgment Hour

The Hour of His Judgment

Our God is a God of justice. All judgment proceeds from His justice.

"God's compassion flows out of his goodness, and goodness without justice is not goodness. God spares us because he is good, but He could not be good if He were not just."  A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)

Because no one knows more about injustice than Jesus, He is going to judge us fairly.

In Bible times the work of a judge consisted of:

  • Determining right from wrong.
  • Carrying out of justice – punish wrongdoing.
  • Vindicating the victims – acting in behalf of the oppressed, restoration.
  • Vindicating the judge’s own justice

"The hour of His judgment is come."  The hour of God’s judgment includes all of these four activities.

The Covenant – The Blending of Justice and Love

The covenant is God’s saving intention, as it has existed in the heart of the members of the Godhead (Trinity) before the world began.

The covenant enables God to be both merciful and just. It makes it possible for Him to save us in a just way.

God’s covenant/will has in it the following elements:

  1. God’s initiative and appeal for us to enter into covenant with Him.
  2. The covenant stipulations: Our response of worship to Him.
  3. The covenant benefits made available through the death of the testator.
  4. The procedure/s, which establish the validity of the covenant and the qualifications of the executor/s to dispense its benefits - (probate).

We can have two attitudes toward the judgment.

  1. Joyful assurance that we have an Attorney who will faithfully provide for us competent legal representation  -OR-
  2. Fear and trembling about how we are going to stand in the judgment.

What is the attitude of heavenly beings about the approaching judgment?

"We give You, thanks, O Lord God, Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth."  Revelation 11:17,18

Heaven’s Courtroom/Throne Room

The One seated on the throne: the Judge (Revelation 5).

The witnesses from heaven: the four living creatures.

The witnesses from earth: the twenty-four elders. There is evidence that the witnesses from earth are those resurrected saints who ascended with Christ as the ‘first fruits.’ See Ephesians 4:8; Matthew 27:53.

The testimony of the four living creatures (witnesses from heaven): Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come. (Revelation 4:8,9)

God’s holiness is that attribute of His character by which He maintains the integrity of His being as both a God of justice and a God of mercy. "If we spoke less about God’s love and more about His holiness, more about His judgment, we should say much more when we did speak about his love." P.T. Forsyth, The Cruciality of the Cross, p. 73.

The declaration of the 24 elders (witnesses from earth): You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created. (Revelation 5:11)

The key issue in the great controversy: Is God worthy of worship?

The "little scroll sealed with seven seals." This scroll is in the hand of the One seated on the throne. It is the covenant/last will/testament of God. For the covenant promises to take effect, the seals must be loosed. An angel issues the challenge, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?"  (Revelation 5:2)

John the Revelator’s response: He wept much. Why? No doubt because as a disciple he had been present in the Upper Room when Jesus gave the covenant promise, "This is my blood of the new testament."

The declaration of one of the elders (a witness from earth): "...behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah...hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof."  (Revelation 5:5)

What John hears: "...the Lion of the tribe of Judah…has prevailed…"

What John sees: a slain Lamb.

The testimony the 24 elders (witnesses from earth): "And they sang a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kinds and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth."  Revelation 5:9,10

There is singing in the courtroom!

The response of the angels and the living creatures (the jury): "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!" Revelation 5:12  

What does all this mean?

God the Father is worthy of worship, because He has created all things.

Jesus is the Executor of the covenant/will. The will is valid because He has died.

Witnesses from earth (the 24 elders) attest that Jesus Christ is worthy to receive worship because He has died.

The validity of the covenant and the worship of both the Father and the Son is attested through two events:

  • Creation
  • Christ’s death on the cross.

The response of spectators from heaven and earth in the courtroom:

"Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits upon the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!"  Revelation 5:13

In heaven’s open court witnesses from both earth and heaven attest to the qualifications and competency of the Makers of the covenant by declaring, Thou art worthy! God is worthy because He is Creator, and the Lamb is worthy because He was slain. In the judgment God allows the ‘probate’ court of the universe to handle all legal challenges to the validity of His covenant/will. The work of the Lamb slain at Calvary’s cross solidly defeats all such challenges. When we worship we participate with heavenly beings in the courtroom above to declare that both the Testator and the Executor of the covenant are fully competent. They are worthy!

The proceedings in heaven’s open court before witnesses from both earth and heaven establish that:

  • This means that the beneficiaries of God’s last will and testament (the covenant) can boldly approach the throne of grace to receive acquittal, and also to receive all the other covenant benefits to which they are entitled.

What do the proceedings in heaven’s open court do to the charges of Satan?

It is the slain Lamb, Jesus Christ, who defeats Satan. "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony." (Revelation 12:11) We also can join in the proceedings by adding our testimony to theirs:

There are three ways to respond to God’s covenant [the everlasting gospel], and each response defeats Satan’s charges against God in the great controversy:

These Covenant Responses... (Revelation 14:6,7)

...defeat the Lies of Satan

Fear GodThe ‘fear of God’ enables us to face the judgment unafraid, because through His grace He has declared you ‘good enough!’ You must fear the judgment because you are not good enough – based on fear of punishment and fear of failure. 
Give glory to Him – Only He is worthy to receive glory! Accept salvation as a free gift, and thus give Christ the glory. Work for your salvation, look out for yourself, make a good impression – based on the fear of rejection].
Worship Him – As we serve God with our praises, He meets our needs with His sufficiency. God is enough! God is not worthy of worship and praise. He is not BIG enough to handle your life. Look out for yourself and make the best of your situation (based on shame and fear of personal inadequacy)

The Hour of His Judgment – Receive the Covenant Benefits Now!

No one has to wait until heaven to receive the benefits of the covenant, for these benefits are already now available to us through the work of Christ, the Executor of the everlasting covenant. Here are some of the benefits available to us now.

  1. We have acquittal in the judgment, justification for all our sins. (Romans 3:23,24).
  2. We have continual advocacy, legal representation when we sin. (1 John 2:1)
  3. The Judge wants to adopt us as His own children. (Romans 8:14,15; Gal. 4:6).
  4. Our fears of passing the future judgment are gone. (1 John 4:17,18).
  5. We have peace with God through Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
  6. We have continual access to God. (Romans 5:2)
  7. We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit fills us with His love; it is a down payment on our future inheritance, and bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:16; Ephesians 1:13,14)

The Power of Worship

God is worthy of worship because He is the Creator. To worship anyone or anything other than God is idolatry. God must have first place in our lives. Giving Him first place in our lives does not make us worthy of salvation. It rather places us in a position where we can receive the benefits of His salvation.

"To worship is to serve God with our praises and the needs of people with His sufficiency." – Jack Hayford.

To worship is to:

  1. participate in the judgment
  2. establish God’s right to rule the universe
  3. defeat Satan’s charges against God.
  4. receive the covenant benefits available to us through Christ’s death.
  5. participate in Christ’s victory.
  6. realize our identity as kings and priests of God. As kings we rule, and as priests we offer up sacrifices to Him.
  7. To worship is to satisfy our thirst with water from the fountain that only Jesus can supply. Through worship God satisfies all our needs and restores in us His image.
  8. In worship we give Christ the right to rule over us by giving up our rights to ourselves.

"Worthy is the Lamb to receive…"
For Him to receive these seven things, we must give them to Him:

  1. power

  2. riches

  3. wisdom

  4. strength

  5. glory

  6. honor

  7. blessing

Notice that it is the beast who forces worship. Christ only receives worship.

The Covenant Benefits of Worshiping God as Creator

  1. The seventh-day Sabbath as a day to delight ourselves in Him. (Isaiah 58:13,14; Exodus 20:8-11; Psalm 37:4)
  2. As an appeal in prayer. (Acts 4:23-25; Jeremiah 32:17)
  3. The sovereignty of the Creator. (Isaiah 40:21-23)
  4. Receive the power of the Creator. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
  5. Establishes our identity. (Isaiah 43:1,2)
  6. The removal of fear. (Isaiah 43:1-5)
  7. The promise of the Spirit. (Isaiah 44:1-5)
  8. The commissioning of a people for a covenant task. (Isaiah 44:1-5)

How to Prepare for the Judgment

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away the Helper will not come to you, but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me, of righteousness, because I go to my Father and you see me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged." John 16:8-11.

The Holy Spirit’s work is to bring about three convictions leading to salvation:

  1. Conviction of sin, because they do not believe in me. Our greatest sin is to try to fix ourselves without reliance on competent help from the friend and advocate of sinners, Jesus Christ.
  2. Conviction of righteousness, because I go to my Father.  The righteousness which saves us is never our righteousness, but it is the perfect righteousness which Jesus presented to the Father upon His ascension. The Father welcomes Christ’s friends as His friends.
  3. Conviction of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. Christ’s death on the cross caused the defeat of Satan.

"The thought that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, not because of any merit on our part, but as a free gift from God, is a precious thought. The enemy of God and man is not willing that this truth should be clearly presented; for he knows that if the people receive it fully, his power will be broken" Ellen G. White, Gospel Workers, p. 161.

Do not look to your own works for assurance of salvation, but look instead at Christ’s perfect work on Calvary’s cross and receive your assurance from the fact that because Christ is accepted, you are also accepted by the Father. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God has set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." Romans 3:23-26  

Praying in the Judgment Hour

We are a kingdom of priests, or kings and priests (Revelation 1:6). Kings have authority, and priests have access. God wants us to exercise the authority and privileges of our kingly and priestly offices now.

Worship is warfare and prayer is our offensive weapon.

"When God lays a burden of prayer upon you, it is His way of revealing His purpose and will in a particular situation. By this burden God is telling you that He is already mobilizing circumstances to accomplish the purpose of the burden. It is, therefore, a substantial encouragement to faith. If you are convinced that the object represented by your burden is truly of God, since He is all powerful and since He answers all prayer offered in His name, the answer to such a prayer is never in doubt. The purpose of importunity is never to persuade God do something He has urged you to pray for. God’s purpose in ordaining prayer is not to help Him but to give you training in the exercise of authority over Satan. When you have learned a new lesson in growth, then the Holy Spirit is released to bind Satan and the prayer is answered. (pp. 54,55). Prayer is not answered on the basis of worthiness. The crucial factor in getting answers to prayer is not primarily spiritual superiority but simply the boldness, courage and faith to pray regardless of our sense of unworthiness. Satan uses your sense of unworthiness to prevent your praying. When he succeeds, he has won. All the prayers that God is answering are by people who, not only feel unworthy as you do, but who actually are unworthy. God does all His work through unworthy people, who, despite a conviction of unworthiness are making prayer the main business of their lives anyway. If you are close enough to God for Him to lay a burden of prayer upon you, you are qualified to be an intercessor. You are not wasting the time you spend in prayer. All prayer that is according to God’s will originates in the heart of God. When God lays a burden of prayer upon you is means that He is already at work to accomplish it. Therefore, when you have a God-given burden for anything, you can pray in faith that God is already in action. Do not permit Satan to frighten you out of prayer because of a sense of unworthiness any longer. You have been given authority over Satan but it is totally null and void if you do not pray." Paul Billheimer, Behold, I Give Unto You Power, pp. 35,36.

Intercessory prayer utilizes the word of God, the Holy Scriptures, as a mighty offensive weapon.

Living in the Judgment Hour

God the Father, Who is for us, set His Son
Jesus Christ to be with us, to die for us
to bring salvation to us, that the gift of the Holy Spirit
might be in us, so the sufficiency of God’s
resources which are beyond us may flow
through us to overcome all that is against us.

"Because of Christ’s redemption,
I am a new creation of infinite worth.
I am deeply loved, I am completely forgiven,
I am fully pleasing,
I am totally accepted by God,
I am absolutely complete in Christ."
From Robert McGee, Search for Significance

Two Ways of Living in the Judgment Hour:

Holding on to holiness

Holding on to wholeness

Gripping it tight the day Giving thanks for freedom
The rules came down To forgive and be forgiven
Spelling out the texts And allowing love
That make one pure To bridge the brokenness
Laying down the mind Filling empty hours
Waiting for the end of time With reverence
Holding on to holiness Living the time of our lives
With white knuckles Holding on to wholeness
And a quivering chin With open arms
Scared to death And open minds
Unto death Free to live
Into death Able to give
That we’ll be caught Walking with confidence
With our bags unpacked That tomorrow’s needs
When God’s big ship Will be met tomorrow
Comes in. For those who live
Faithfully with joy today
Holding on to wholeness
And letting grace come in.

Norm Bowman, Choosing Forgiveness, Clear Stream, Inc., Arlington, Texas, p. 51.

 

©2003 HEALING STREAM MINISTRIES - Dr. Ervin K. Thomsen, Speaker
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