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Pre-tribulation Judgment of the Church - The Seven Letters to the Churches

By Donald P. Moss

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Series Introduction

Foreshadows Introduction

Volume 1 -THE GARDEN OF EDEN - Adam's Creation and His
Spiritual and
Physical Environments

Volume 2 - NEW BEGINNING AND NEW WORLD ENVIRONMENT

Volume 3 - JOSEPH, EPHRAIM AND MANASSEH - A Foreshadow of God's Agenda for Jew and Gentile

Volume 4  - CROSSING THE JORDAN RIVER - A Foreshadow of Salvation for Jew and Gentile

Volume 5 - THE BOOK OF REVELATION - God's Agenda for the End Time

Volume 6 - THE SEVEN LETTERS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES

Volume 7  - CHRIST IN THE TABERNACLE - A Foreshadow of Redemption

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Bible Lessons



This quick study is a sub-topic support for the foreshadows in Volume 5 - THE BOOK OF REVELATION - God's Agenda for the End Time.

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Matthew 25:31-34 (KJV) - When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: (32) And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: (33) And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. (34) Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world....(Verse 41) - Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

"When the Son of man shall come; then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory" - At the time of pre-tribulation the nations are gathered before the Lord and He divides the nations (people groups). The righteous He sets on His right hand side and the others He sets on His left hand side. The left hand side is a place of everlasting fire, reserved for the devil and his angels. Christ is separating the wheat from the tares, as He foretold in -

Matthew 13:24-30 (KJV) - Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: (25) But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. (26) But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. (27) So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? (28) He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? (29) But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. (30) Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

"Gather ye together first the tares"; "bind them in bundles to burn them" - The tares are bound together to be cast into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. The tares are bound throughout the time of the millennium. Then Then they are part of the second resurrection and judged according to the books (other than the Lamb's book of life) at the white throne judgment. At which time the devil and his angles and all the unrepentant of the earth will be cast into everlasting fire.

"Gather the wheat into my barn" - The wheat (righteous) are harvested and taken into the kingdom of heaven. These Christians are a part of the first resurrection of the saints at pre-trib, mid-trib and post-trib.

After the pre-trib separation between the tares and wheat or sheep and goats, Christ judges the corporate church at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Christ is still sitting upon the throne of His glory in heaven, overseeing angel harvesters.

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Judgment Begins at the House of God

Why does Christ judge the corporate church? This judgment's purpose is not to condemn or punish believers, but to separate some in the church from others in the church in order to distribute rewards according to their deeds in serving Christ and to provide carnal Christians with additional opportunities to repent prior to their harvest time.

The pre-trib judgment will reward servants according to their participation in the ministry of love (mercy) and grace to those in need. These servants know Him experientially by serving others. Their experiences with Christ are uniquely linked to the ministry of the gospel. Of course, there are other personal experiences with Christ as Christians grow in the knowledge of the Lord and during the testing of faith, all of which are Christ working in them. But, servant experiences are unique and surpass experiences of inter-personal growth only. Servants are yielded vessels, the Holy Spirit flowing through them for the good of others. Servant experiences are not self-oriented. The Lord's call to serve others is a fast track to selflessness. Selflessness is the place of resting in the Lord, trusting him for all things - a yielded vessel for His service. Remember this often quoted scripture - Romans 8:28 (KJV) - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Servants who are called into specific offices of the ministry of the gospel - Ephesians 4:11-13 (KJV) - And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.

All Christians are called to be witnesses of Christ - Acts 1:8 (KJV) - But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Christ spoke these words to His eleven apostles, but when the Holy Spirit came upon those in the upper room there were 120 disciples who received power to be His witnesses. The age of the gospel of Christ was launched by the power of the Holy Spirit's anointing of the 120 disciples - Acts 1:13-15 (KJV) - And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. (14) These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. (15) And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)

Author's Note: In today's corporate church there are denominations that believe the baptism of Holy Spirit was only for the 120 disciples in the upper room, but is not relevant for today's church. I can't agree with this assessment because He instructed His disciples to baptize believers in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV) - Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

The Holy Spirit is paramount in the new believer's experience of salvation. The Holy Spirit is empowers each believer in transformation of his thinking and his growth in the faith. His witness of Christ working in his life is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Apart of the Holy Spirit, the gospel would fail to accomplish God's objective in the redemption process.

So, all Christians are a part of the ministry of the gospel through a humble personal witness of experiencing Christ working in their lives, as opportunities are presented. This is the most productive area of ministering gospel truth in the market place.

Servanthood is God's destination for all mature Christians and He will make a pre-trib distinction between those in the corporate church who serve Him and those who do not serve Him. It's a matter of the heart! This distinction is the pre-trib reward - Malachi 3:17-18 (NIV) - "They will be mine," says the LORD Almighty, "in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. (18) And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

Remember, at the Judgment Seat of Christ He will find some in the flock who know Him and He will say, "Well done thy good and faithful servant"- Matthew 25: 21 & 23. And He will find others who do not know Him and He will say, "I never knew you!" - Matthew 7:23; 25:12 & Luke 13: 25-27.

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2 Timothy 2:20-21 (NIV) - In a large house (corporate church) there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. (21) If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

In the corporate church there are noble Christians and there are carnal Christians. Carnal Christians can cleanse themselves from their carnality and made noble and useful to Christ to do His work in the earth. The seven letters in the book of Revelation are purposed to reveal to each Christian the things from which he needs to be cleansed. Then he will serve Christ in the noble ministry of the gospel and receive the best reward at pre-tribulation.

Carnal Christians are believer's who are saved but bring carnal behavioral habits and values into the body of Christ. I am reminded of the Israelites exodus from Egypt under Moses. God delivered them from Egyptian slavery and bondage, but it took 40 years to deliver them from their slave mentality. Even so, a new generation with a steadfast faith in God was required to take the promise land under Joshua.

Old engrained habits and values are not easily put aside when a person comes under the blood covering of Christ and begins his transformational process of renewing his mind by the Word of God. Transformation is an on-going process of repentance, commitment and submission to the will of God, changing the way we think (as taught by the Bible).

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This transformation difficulty is a part of the pattern of the tabernacle God gave to Moses. Part of the tabernacle tent consisted of two skin coverings and two curtain coverings. The top covering was badger's sins, the second covering was "rams' skins dyed red, the third curtain covering was made of goats' hair and the fourth curtain covering was made from fine twined linen embroidered with overseeing angels.

The top badger's skin covering represents the Abrahamic Covenant, through which all peoples on earth is blessed.

Beneath the badger's skin covering there's the rams' skins covering, representing the new blood covenant (the blood covering of Christ for the forgiveness of sin).

Goat's Hair CoveringsBeneath the rams' sins covering is the curtain covering of goats' hair, representing the old mind-set of Christians - carnal baggage brought beneath the new blood covenant. As can be seen in the picture of the tabernacle tent below, the bases of the support pillars at the entry into the tent are brass. All other support posts of the tent structure are made of silver. Brass represents the earthly carnal baggage each Christian brings beneath the new blood covenant at the time of his salvation. Eventually, the brass bases will be purified into silver as the Christian (supporting pillars in the temple of God - Revelation 3:12) grows into spiritual maturity and service to God. These carnal behavior habits and secular values will be purged from the believer through the sanctification process.

Beneath the goat's hair curtain covering is the curtain covering of fine twisted linen, representing righteousness of the sanctified new creation of Christ. The sanctification process is overseen by the angels of God.

The skin coverings are covenant coverings and promises of God. The curtain coverings are covenant work performed in each believer through the ministry of grace and love.

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A Hebrew and Greek word study of the word goat -

The meaning of goat under the law (Old Testament)

"Goats" (Strong's Concordance - Hebrew) #5795 `ez (aze); from #5810; a she-goat (as strong), but masculine in plural (which also is used ellipt. for goat's hair).

#5810 `azaz (aw-zaz'); a primitive root; to be stout (literally or figuratively):

Use in KJV - harden, impudent, prevail, strengthen (self), be strong.

The Hebrew definition of the root word for goats is 'azaz and means to be stout, harden and self strengthen.

Symbolically, goats who are under the blood covering of Christ in the design of the tabernacle are [stout, stubborn, harden (hard hearted), and self strengthen (carnal Jews and Christians)]. After their salvation Christ will minister to the goats through the gospel until their minds have been renewed. This ministry will continue to develop their spiritual growth until they are mature (no longer kidlings).

Symbolically, in the Old Testament goats are self strong and have harden hearts. A harden heart is the place of legalism and self-righteousness. These goats are under the law because Christ has not yet shed His blood for the forgiveness of sin. The dispensation of grace under the new blood covenant had not yet been inaugurated. So, Christ directs his comments to the Jews in Matthew 25:31-34. This scripture (at the beginning of this study) will apply also to Christians after Jesus' death on the cross when the Gentiles are grafted into the covenant. Therefore, Christ states in Matthew 5:20 (NIV) - For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. So, goats symbolically represent Old Testament Jews and New Testament carnal Christians.

Symbolically, in the New Testament goats different because of the grace of God extended to those who accept Christ as Lord and Savior. These are kidling goats (new Christians) who have wicked (twisted) thinking. If the soil of their hearts can be plowed (furrowed) by the Word of God, then the seed of the planted Word can grow roots and become fruitful. But, if their hearts are harden (like the Jews under the law) and can't be furrowed by the Word of God, the seed of the Word can't take root and grow and become fruitful. But, God is faithful to break open the heart so the believer will truly invite Him in, to do His work of transformation. These goats are under grace.

The symbolic meaning of goat under grace (New Testament) -

"Goats" - (Strong's Concordance - Greek) #2055 eriphion (er-if'-ee-on); from #2056; a kidling, i.e. (genitive case) goat (symbol, wicked person).

Eriphion is a kidling (immature) person that is wicked and in danger of judgment that will send him into eternal fire with the devil and his angels, as revealed in Matthew 25:41.

Eriphion can also represent kidlings (immature) carnal Christians that are wicked. Wicked because their thinking is twisted and off course (skewed) from the truth of God's Word. The corporate church over the thousands of years has been infiltrated by wicked men claiming to be apostles, prophets, preachers and teachers who teach errant messages of truth causing Christians to stumble in their growth. The corporate church also has Christians who believe their Christianity is a fire insurance policy, so to speak, and continues willful and intentional sin. These are carnal Christians (goats) and are in the flock of Christ. Carnal Christians are slothful and indifferent to spiritual things, resulting in no fruit. The word goats can be used to symbolically represent carnal Christians whose ideas of Christianity will not pass the end time pre-trib judgment of Christ They will lose the pre-trib reward.

Matthew 25:22-30 (NIV) - "The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.' (23) "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' (24) "Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. (25) So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.' (26) "His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? (27) Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. (28) "'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. (29) For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. (30) And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

The worthless servant will be found lacking fruit because he buried the talent given to him by God. Meaning, at least, he failed to live as a Christian so others would realize he has a relationship with the Lord. Otherwise, his life could influence others and encourage them to seek the gospel message of Christ. His talent would then be on deposit and returning interest. This man claims to be a Christian, but continues to live his worldly life. Therefore, his Christianity is considered worthless in the eyes of others and his witness of Christ is compromised. Christ is not lifted up by the life he lives. When Christ returns and judges the church, he is cast into darkness (separated from God) where weeping and gnashing of teeth represents the consequence of his failure to live a Christian life. HIs works will not pass the end time judgment seat of Christ.

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Sheep are servants of God -

"Sheep" - (Strong's Concordance - Greek) #4263 probaton (prob'-at-on); probably neuter of a presumed. derivative of #4260; something that walks forward (a quadruped), i.e. (specifically) a sheep (literally or figuratively).

#4260 probaino (prob-ah'-ee-no); from #4253 and the base of #939; to walk forward, i.e. advance (literally, or in years).

Probaino means to advance forward (growth); move forward (walk) or in years (age).

#4253 pro (pro); a primary preposition; "fore", i.e. in front of, prior (figuratively, superior) to.

#939 basis (bas'-ece); from baino (to walk); a pace ("base"), i.e. (by implication) the foot:

Walking forward means a sheep is not idle. Sheep advancing forward means advancing in growth and in years (maturity). Figuratively, sheep attain to a superior state of spiritual growth, as compared to goats who are kidlings (immature) and symbolically wicked. Sheep are continually advancing forth the things of God. Never looking back, always advancing forth in life walking by faith in the Word of God, one step in front of the last step. Going forward on the path God has established - His Way. This Christian is advancing in Christ's commission to take the gospel to the world making disciples of men.

Luke 9:62 (NIV) - Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

These are holy and true servants of God. These are Christians who fear God only. They do not fear anything else. They are courageous and under the authority of Christ and enforce His authority over the powers of darkness. They are truly ambassadors of Christ.

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The right and left side of Christ -

"Right" - (Strong's Concordance - Greek) #1188 dexios (dex-ee-os'); from #1209; the right side or (feminine) hand.

#1209 dechomai (dekh'-om-ahee); middle voice of a primary verb; to receive (in various applications, literally or figuratively).

The right side of Christ (dexios) has a feminine connotation denoting those Christians that are re-born to be like Him - the Bride of Christ. These Christians are in relationship with Christ and have authority over every power, even as Christ has authority. They are His body and His temple. The right side of God is a place of ruling authority and is the place of Christ's Throne. At the right side of Christ are the thrones of the Philadelphia Christians who are given authority and power to represent Him in the earth during the millennium reign.

John 17:20-23 (NIV) - "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, (21) that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (22) I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: (23) I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Colossians 2:9-10 (NIV) - For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, (10) and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

"Left" (Strong's Concordance - Greek) #2176 euonumos (yoo-o'-noo-mos); from #2095 and #3686; properly, well-named (good-omened), i.e. the left (which was the lucky side among the Greeks); neuter as adverbial, at the left hand:

#2095 eu (yoo); neuter of a primary eus (good); (adverbially) well.

#3686 onoma (on'-om-ah); from a presumed derivative of the base of #1097; a "name" (literally or figuratively) [authority, character].

#1097 ginosko (ghin-oce'-ko); a prolonged form of a primary verb; to "know" (absolutely).

Euonumos reveals the left side of Christ to be a side of spiritual good fortune. This side is not earned or merited in any way, but rather rewarded through mercy and grace to Christians who were judged to be unacceptable for the right side of Christ. They sit in His left because of God's mercy. At the left of Christ are goats who repented and know Him, but do not receive the same reward as those who sit on his right.

Euonumos is formed from the words "eu" and "onoma" which means a good name that is absolutely known.

The right and left side of Christ are places filled by Christians who meet predetermined criteria set by God - Matthew 20:21-23 (NIV) - "What is it you want?" he asked. She said, "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom." (22) "You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" "We can," they answered. (23) Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father."

There are so many scriptures which point to the pre-tribulation judgment of the House of God for the purpose of making a distinction (reward) between Christians who serve God, whose work is "gold, precious stone and silver" and Christians who do not serve God, whose work is "wood, hay or stubble"- 1 Corinthians 3: 10-15.

Hopefully, you will be inspired to study the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches in order to familiarize yourself with the pre-trib judgment criteria of Christ use to judge the House of God (each Christian). Go to Volume 6 - Seven Letters to the Seven Churches for an indepth study of each letter and topic.