Christianity today is steadily and surely polarizing into two camps: in the first camp are those who believe in and promote a punishing god of force, and in the second, a minority, are those who believe in and promote the nonviolent God whom Jesus Christ came to reveal. Both groups rely on the Bible for evidence for their respective positions. Outside of Christianity, the same polarization is taking place, unbeknownst to the world. Everyone is positioning themselves for this final countdown either on the side of God or of Satan.
We are all living during the biblical antitypical Day of Atonement—the ultimate fulfillment of that typical day in Moses’ sanctuary in which the sanctuary was cleansed once a year. Some have interpreted this antitypical Day of Atonement to be a judgment of the human race. This would mean that this is the time in which God sits down to judge each of us in order to determine who will be saved and who will be lost. There is something so scary to this scenario that many have discarded altogether the whole idea of the antitypical Day of Atonement, thus throwing the baby out with the bath water.
In Revelation chapter fourteen we read that a time of judgment has come:
Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water” (Revelation 14:6-7, emphasis added).
Here indeed a judgment is revealed: but who is judging and who is being judged? Is God judging us? Or are we judging God? If God is judging us, then we would think He is deciding whether we are good enough to be saved or bad enough to be lost. But if we are judging God, how are we judging Him?
The writers of this book believe that the second option is the correct one—we are judging God, and the Bible supports this. But as we will soon see, that act of judging God also judges us. This understanding is based on the following verse taken from Romans chapter three:
As it is written: “THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND MAY OVERCOME WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED” (Romans 3:4, emphasis added).
This verse is addressing God, not us. In writing this verse, Paul pulls a direct quote from Psalm fifty-one. Here we will provide the reader with a few different translations of that verse:
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou be justified when thou , and be clear when thou (Psalm 51:4, KJV, emphasis added).
Against You, only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge (Psalm 51:4, NKJV, emphasis added).
Against Thee, only, I have sinned, and done the evil thing in Thine eyes, so that Thou art righteous in Thy words, art pure in Thy judging (Psalm 51:4, YLT, emphasis added).
Against thee only have I sinned, and done evil before thee: that thou be justified in thy sayings, and overcome when thou art judged (Psalm 51:4, Brenton, emphasis added).
First of all, there can be no question that the person being addressed here is God. “Against Thee, only have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight.” This is David talking to God after He committed adultery with Bathsheba and then murdered her husband.
Paul didn’t have all these translations that we have today. He had only the Hebrew Old Testament. Did you notice that he interpreted David’s Psalm just like the Brenton translation, the last one we provided? Both Brenton and Paul are saying the same thing. They are saying that David is saying that it is God who will be justified when He speaks, and it is God who will be cleared when He is judged. Now, David may not have meant it that way, or even understood what he was saying. But this is how Paul interpreted what David said. Also, Paul interpreted it this way because He gained a completely new mind and understanding of the Scriptures after He met Jesus Christ.
Having established that it is God who is on trial right now, did you notice the nuances of each version and how there is a sense of progression from version to version as to the meaning of this one passage? We started out with a version that seemed to imply that God judges us, but by the last version—which is the closest to Paul’s interpretation of that verse—we realize that it is God who is being judged. This means that we are the ones who are judging God in how He judges humanity. Does He judge us through the Tree of Life—agape love? Or does He judge through the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—reward and punishment?
Not only are we judging God, but so is the entire universe. Everyone is observing what is happening on this earth—this theatre of the universe—to see what God is really like. If God is really being judged, why and how are we judging Him? Why is this focus on God?
The answer to these questions is very simple: Satan confused and deceived all living beings so that even angels desire to look into these things (1 Peter 1:12). Heavenly beings are learning from what is happening down here:
to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places (Ephesians 3:10).
In 1 Corinthians Paul even states that he thinks that God has made him and the apostles a “spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men” because through Paul’s life they can also judge God (1 Corinthians 4:9). However, the Bible is also very clear that God is our judge:
Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8, emphasis added).
We, however, are also judging God in that we are weighing, pondering, trying to figure out how God is a “righteous judge.” Is He a righteous judge within the realm of agape love, or is He a “righteous judge” within the realm of reward and punishment? Could He be a righteous judge within the realm of Good and Evil? What kind of character does He have? Does He have a character of agape love, or a character of Good and Evil? Does He judge us in the conventional sense of the word, with condemnation, and if not, how does He judge us?
What Psalm fifty-one is prophesying is that God will be justified, He will be found just, He will be found righteous in all His doings. He will be cleared of all wrongdoing. He will be found blameless and pure in all His “judgments,” which implies in all His decisions. God will overcome all the lies of the enemy when He is judged. He will be found to have done everything He has done in the past six thousand years solely in accordance with His eternal moral law of agape love, which is His righteousness. It will become clear for all to see that God never even once deviated from His law in order to use Satan’s death principle of Good and Evil as a solution in dealing with the problem of evil.
Biblically speaking there is no doubt that it is we who are judging God. But there is a twist to this, and the twist is that by our verdict of His character, we will in turn judge ourselves. At least this seems to be what Jesus was saying when He stated:
He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day (John 12:48, emphasis added).
“The word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” Jesus clearly points us in the direction of the antitypical Day of Atonement Judgment in which we are now livingthe last day,” the Day of Judgment. But what judges us in the last day? From what Jesus said, it is our acceptance or rejection of Him and His “word,” His message. Jesus positions Himself as the last and final authority on truth regarding the character of God, and if we don’t listen to Him, we will surely walk into darkness.
Jesus is the main witness in this trial. He is the “True Witness,” the only One who can really give us the truth:
And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God (Revelation 3:14, emphasis added).
Note what Jesus goes on to say regarding His own witness:
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin (John 15:22).
If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father (John 15:24).
If God hadn’t sent the only True Reliable Witness to show us the truth and help us make a right decision about who God really is, then we would not be held responsible for misjudging God due to Satan’s lies about Him. But if we reject the “Faithful and True Witness” then we “have no excuse” for our “sin” of missing the mark about God. By rejecting Jesus’ testimony, we show that we hate both Jesus and the Father, since they are exactly alike. By rejecting Jesus’ witness, we show that, just like Satan, we hate everything He taught regarding His Father’s principle of agape love.
Ultimately, what this means is that we are judged by whether we accept or reject Jesus’ revelation of God’s character because this is what He came to earth to do—He came to reveal God’s true character:
For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying:
“I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
(Hebrews 2:11-12, emphasis added)
O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them (John 17:25-26, emphasis added).
“The world has not known” God. “The world” Jesus was speaking of was the world of the past and the world of the present—the world in all ages. This sentence, “the world has not known You,” has to include even the Old Testament’s portrayal of Jesus’ “righteous Father”—which was a pretty grim and chilling portrayal of a dual God who was loving, yes, but also a genocidal despot. This portrayal is not in harmony with Jesus’ life, teachings, and death on the cross.
In the revelation He came to give of the Father, Jesus overturns the malicious lie that God is a Good and Evil GodO righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You… And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
God is a “righteous Father,” not a ruthless tyrant! He is a God of righteousness, which is the path of life. God is a God of grace and forgiveness, not a God of condemnation and punishment. God is a God of life, not a God of death. God is the Creator, not the Destroyer. God has never killed anyone and never will do so, because His character is unchanging—it does not waver back and forth between Good and Evil. For all who accept it, here is life abundant in the true knowledge of the God of agape love. God is not the “thief;” rather, He is the ‘Good Shepherd:”
Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. (John 10: 7: 11).
The thief was stealing, killing and destroying every way possible, including lying. Jesus came to put an end to all lies about God’s character. However, there are some who still believe that God is a destroyer. In particular, they believe that God must destroy sinners in order for sin to come to an end. And they often quote a verse from Isaiah twenty-eight, which speaks of God’s “strange act”:
For the Lord will rise up as at Mount Perazim, He will be angry as in the Valley of Gibeon— that He may do His work, His awesome [STRANGE – KJV] work, and bring to pass His act, His unusual [STRANGE – KJV] act (Isaiah 21:28, emphasis added).
Those who espouse the view that God will destroy sinners in the end believe that God’s “strange act’ is His final destruction of sin and sinners—a destruction which will be done by fire. This is rather puzzling, however, because if God has indeed often destroyed sinners in the past as the Old Testament claims, then destroying them in the final Day of Judgment would be no strange thing to Him at all! Rather, it would be just some more of His usual modus operandi, some more of His normal and well-established method of dealing with sinners. How then can it be His “strange act”?
The problem, as usual, is that we don’t allow the Bible to define its own words and terms for us. We tend to interpret biblical text on a surface level without digging in, comparing text with text, line by line, here a little, there a little as we are told to do in the very same chapter of the Book of Isaiah, chapter twenty-eight:
Whom will he teach knowledge?
And whom will he make to understand the message?
Those just weaned from milk?
Those just drawn from the breasts?
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,
Line upon line, line upon line,
Here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:9-10)
If we dissect the verse that talks about God’s Strange Act word by word, if we look at the meaning of its Hebrew words and compare scripture with scripture, we will find that God’s strange act is something quite different from what a shallow or literal reading of this verse would seem to indicate. without much ado, let’s proceed right into God’s strange act.