JUDGMENT in the HOUSE OF GOD
- By Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj
1 PETER 4:17
17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
The Word of the Lord came unto me on the night of August 20, 2012 saying: Write, the world is expecting some kind of catastrophe by the end of this year fueled by the movie “2012” and many soothsayers. Indeed it will be catastrophic in many places of the world but it will not be the end of the world as the movie depicts. But for the Church and the believers there will be a judgment, a cleansing, in the house of God. Blow this from the mountaintop.
A catastrophe, the Collins Dictionary defines, is an unexpected event that causes great suffering or damage. An earthquake, for an example, is an unexpected event that causes great suffering and damage to property. Likewise, the judgment of God in His house will cause suffering and damage – both spiritual and natural.
Let us look at an example from the Bible of judgment executed in the house of God.
1 Then He called out in my hearing with a loud voice, saying, "Let those who have charge over the city draw near, each with a deadly weapon in his hand."
2 And suddenly six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his battle-ax in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen and had a writer's inkhorn at his side. They went in and stood beside the bronze altar.
3 Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer's inkhorn at his side;
4 and the Lord said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it."
5 To the others He said in my hearing, "Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity.
6 Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary." So they began with the elders who were before the temple.
Here we read about the Lord God giving orders to Angels to go and slay all those who had defiled the temple of God. We also read in Ezekiel 8:5-18 how the temple was defiled with all kinds of “great abominations.” The Lord will not allow His temple to be polluted or defiled: If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are (1 Cor 3:17).
Does this mean there will be killings and death in the house of God? A careful look at an event in the first century Early Church will perhaps answer that question.
1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession.
2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet.
3 But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?
4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God."
5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.
6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.
7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
8 And Peter answered her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?" She said, "Yes, for so much."
9 Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out."
10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband.
11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.
How could Ananias and his wife Sapphira fall dead at a mere word from the Apostle Peter? Could it be that the same Angel who struck King Herod dead when he basked in the glory reserved for God (Acts 12:20-23) also stood beside the Apostle Peter, a servant acquainted with the constant companionship of angels during his ministry (Acts 12:5-10)?
Exegesis of 1 Peter 4:17
Let us analyze this scripture in the Greek which the New Testament is written.
1 PETER 4:17
17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
- kairos, translated “time,” means occasion, a set or proper time, a season.
- archomai, translated “has come,”means commence (in order of time).
- krima, translated “judgment,” means a decision (the function or the effect for or against ["crime"]).
These three key Greek terms tell how God has set in motion at His set time the decisive act of judgment against “crimes” done in His House.
Why Judgment in God’s House?
6 "For thus says the Lord of hosts: 'Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land;
7 and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,' says the Lord of hosts.
8 'The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,' says the Lord of hosts.
9 'The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,' says the Lord of hosts. 'And in this place I will give peace,' says the Lord of hosts."
The Lord God is going to pour out His latter rain glory upon the Church. The Church is going to walk in a power she has never known since the beginning of time. The Church will work wonders and miracles that not even the angels have seen yet. This is the powers of the age to come (Heb 6:5). This power has been kept hidden from the beginning of time to be poured upon the Church in these last days for the final harvest before the coming of the Lord Yeshua.
As bearers of such glory we must be clean, pure and holy (Isa 52:11). Only then are we made worthy to carry such awesome power in these our earthen vessels.
We are also going to judge the world (1 Cor 6:2). If we ourselves are guilty of “crimes” how can we be worthy to judge over others? We must be spotless and free from condemnation or accusation.
God’s Kingdom Is Coming
12 Your kingdom come. Your will be done.
Every Christian, young and old, knows the Lord’s Prayer by heart. The Church has been praying this prayer, knowingly or mechanically, for the last 2000 years. Now, the set time has come for the Kingdom of God to come down – invisibly, into the Church first. That is why the Church must be cleansed of all defilement.
Let us consider an event that took place on Mount Sinai.
10 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes.
11 And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.
The Lord God came down upon Mount Sinai together with His saints and angels (Deu 33:2; Ps 68:17). Earthly government protocol demands that when a Head of State goes anywhere he is accompanied by his security personnel and staff. Likewise, on Mount Sinai, we witness the coming down in a “small scale” the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God comprises the Lord God, saints in glory, and the angels.
The event that took place on Mount Sinai is going to be re-enacted in the Church very soon. The invisible Kingdom of God – comprising the glorified saints and angels – is going to manifest in the Spirit soon in the Church. Later, the Kingdom of God will also be manifested visibly so that all the world can see (Matt 24:30; 25:31).
Consider this scripture: that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth — in Him (Eph 1:10).
We learn the following from this scripture.
- Dispensation of the fullness of times – these present last days.
- Gather together in one – working together in unity (Eph 4:12-16).
- All things in heaven – the glorified saints (Heb 12:1) and the angels.
- All things in earth – the Church seen and also the unseen – preserved ones.
When the Prophet Moses came before the holy presence of God where also an Angel stood, he was asked to remove his shoes because he was standing on holy ground (Ex 3:2-5). Likewise, Joshua was asked to remove his shoes before the presence of an Angel who stood in God’s presence (Josh 5:13-15). Shoes denote, among many other things, filth. The soles of the shoes or sandals are not clean.
When the Angel Gabriel came and stood before the Prophet Daniel, all the vigor and strength departed from his mortal body (Dan 10:8-9). For the angels to come to work together with us, the Church must be cleansed from all defilement.
Next, let’s consider another scripture: And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us (Heb 11:39-40). Who are “all these”? They are the ones mentioned in Hebrews 11:4-32. These are the Cloud of Witnesses (Heb 12:1).
Let’s read Matthew 27:50-53
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,
52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
Why would they – the glorified saints – appear to the people in Jerusalem if not to announce the Messiahship of the Lord Yeshua since, as the Apostle Peter later revealed in his epistle, the Savior Himself had gone to preach to them at His death (1 Pe 3: 18-19)?
Having established that let us look again at Hebrews 11:40: God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. This scripture is translated in simpler concrete terms in a popular modern version of the Bible like this: “God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours” (THE MESSAGE).
In order for their ministries to be completed they need to come and work together with the Church in these last days.
God’s house must be cleansed and sanctified before His Kingdom – comprising the glorified saints and angels – can come down to the Church.
1 CORINTHIANS 10:23
23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.
Liberty – the grace that has set us free from bondage to sin – should not be misused. Grace is one gift of God that is largely misused by the Church at large to justify our frailty and our inability, true or otherwise, to deal with sin. The scriptures say: Well then, shall we keep on sinning so that God can keep on showing us more and more kindness and forgiveness? (Rom 6:1 TLB).
God extended His matchless grace to us so that we, leaving sin behind, can continue to live holy as sons and daughters of God. The grace that God imputed into us through the blood of the Lord Yeshua will work in us, if we allow it, a work of sanctification. Why did I say “if we allow it”? Because it is conditional upon us being willing to crucify our flesh (Gal 5:24-25). Are we willing to die to self?
It is the SELF that craves like a hungry bear for fame, attention, glamor and wealth. It is also the SELF that wants to build for itself a name – like the mighty hunter Nimrod setting out to build for himself the city of Babel (Gen 11:3-4). The Kingdom of God demands that God’s servants put on the cloak of humility and meekness (1 Pe 5:5). Ministers of God, without exception, are required to serve God with humility of heart and mind (Acts 20:19; Col 3:12).
True Servanthood – the model of selfless service encapsulated in the life of our dear Lord Yeshua – must be restored back in the Church in these last days (Cp. Lk 22:24-27; Jn 13:4-17). Consider the Levitical priests. Separated into their family groups within the Tribe of Levi, they were happy and contented to perform each their specific duty relating to the Tabernacle (Num 3-4). No one considered their work to be superior or inferior to another. No one sought for greatness or fame or name.
Selfless attitude and kingdom mindedness must be restored back into the Church. This is the truth of what our dear Lord meant when He said: If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me (Lk 9:23; Matt 16:24; Mk 8:34).
21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'
23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
Serving the Lord is to know the will of God and doing His work according to the purposes of God. During the Day of Reckoning it’s not what we did or accomplished for the Lord God that we will be asked to make an accounting for. We will be asked if we did everything in accordance to the Will of God for our lives and ministries.
Let us read here the Parable of the Talents.
14 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.
15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.
16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.
17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.
18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
20 "So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.'
21 His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
22 He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.'
23 His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
24 "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.'
26 "But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.
27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.
28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
29 'For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.
30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
In this parable the Lord Yeshua is giving us an important principle regarding servanthood in the Kingdom of God: spiritual accountability. We must learn that the Master expects the servant to know His will and to seek to do it well. After entrusting the servants with the talents, the Master never told them what to do. Nevertheless, He expected the servants to make good with what they were provided (Cp. v. 26-27).
No minister of God should take lightly the will of God. Nor should there be presumptuousness concerning the will of God. The Church we are pastoring or the Ministry we are doing does not belong to us. The gifts and callings of God are not any person’s private property or reserved for their posterity. It is vitally important to seek and know the will of God.
Consider another parable.
42 And the Lord said, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?
43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.
44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.
45 But if that servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk,
46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
47 And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
In this parable the Lord Yeshua too warned about the serious consequences of acting against or outside the will of God. The failure to do the will of God will result in being beaten with stripes. This is a warning no minister should take lightly.
Please be not envious of another minister’s church or ministry. This is another serious caution concerning working for the Kingdom of God.
1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.
2 Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
3 And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
4 and said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went.
5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise.
6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, 'Why have you been standing here idle all day?'
7 They said to him, 'Because no one hired us.' He said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.'
8 "So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, 'Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.'
9 And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius.
10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius.
11 And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner,
12 saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.'
13 But he answered one of them and said, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?
14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?'
16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen."
Whether a church or ministry is big or small doesn’t matter. Doing the will of God joyfully and faithfully is what matters and counts in God’s kingdom (Matt 24:45-46). Ministers of God, do not be envious of other ministers or of their church or ministry. Do not be envious when another ministry takes off suddenly and begins to attract many newcomers while your ministry remains small.
It is God who apportions to every man what seems right to Him, the Master of the Harvest. It is not our business to compare with each other and playing the numbers game. Faithfulness to God’s will even if it is just a small ministry is what counts in the Kingdom of God. Do not be envious – or it will kill us in this world and in the world to come (Rom 13:13; Phil 1:15). Envy will open the door for the enemy to corrupt our soul (Jas 3:16).
The Ministry’s Foundation
1 CORINTHIANS 3:10-11
10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.
11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
The Word of the Lord came to me on January 1, 2012, that every ministry and church foundation will be examined to see if it is built according to the foundation ordained by the Lord God. If not, the Spirit of the Lord will admonish and counsel them to put the foundation right. If we do not submit to that, then the Holy Spirit will force us into putting the foundation right. If we don’t submit to that, the wrong foundation will finally be totally destroyed by God (1 Cor 3:11-15).
What is the foundation ordained by the Lord God? It is His Will! The will of God for a person’s ministry or church should be the foundation upon which that ministry is built upon. The expressed will of God should be the basis for which every ministry is founded upon. The Lord God is the owner of the harvest field, which is the entire world. The Owner dictates how His work should be done. It is the servant’s duty to first seek to know what the Master wants done. And then, he must understand how the Master wants His work to be done.
The Apostle Paul built on the foundation laid by the Lord Yeshua for the Church: According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Cor 3:10-11). What the Apostle Paul built then became the foundational standard for church order and governance: Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Eph 2:19-22).
When God revealed His will concerning the Tabernacle to the Prophet Moses, He charged him: ‘See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain’" (Heb 8:5). A careful study of Exodus 25:40; 26:30; 27:8 shows us that the Prophet Moses was literally shown and taught how the things of the Tabernacle should be made and how the Tabernacle should be erected. Nothing was left to the imagination to corrupt the expressed will of God.
Those who are not pastors, please kindly look within you what foundation God laid in you when He first called you. For example, consider the Prophet Jeremiah’s call: Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations" (Jer 1:5). The foundation that God laid within Jeremiah was to be a prophet.
What is the foundation that God has laid in you? Every minister has a unique call from God. No two persons’ gifting and calling are the same. The stars in the heavens all differ from one another in brilliance (1 Cor 15:41). No two stars nor two snow-flakes are alike. So, do not imitate another man’s calling or duplicate his ministry model.
The Lord Is Coming to His Temple
Consider the act of the Lord Yeshua when He entered into the Temple.
12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
13 And He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'"
14 Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.
When the Lord Yeshua declared that “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations” He revealed the Lord God’s foundation for the Church – a house of prayer!
This house of prayer is a place where prayer is offered to the Lord, where the Lord is worshipped, where His people fellowship in His presence, where the Word is taught, and where the sick are healed and set free.
It is not to become a social club where cheap grace is taught and where sugar-coated teachings are devoured by believers with “itching-ears”. It is not a place of entertainment where you revel and make a mockery of holy worship. It is not a business center where you wheel and deal and merchandise the anointing.
When the Lord Yeshua first came into the temple of Jerusalem He lacerated the wicked and greedy servants, chased them out of the temple, and then manifested His glory openly through signs, wonders and miracles (Matt 21:12-14). Before He comes back for His Bride, He will once again bring judgment to His Church. He will rid the Church of wicked and greedy ministers and then pour upon His Bride the latter rain glory.
Prepare to meet your God! (Amos 4:12).
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