Clay Village, Ky., July, 1881
DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: – Brother J. F. Huckaby, of Dallas, Miss., desires me to write on the idea of a general judgment, and critical examination, that Arminians say is to occur after the end of this world; that there will be a special trial and close investigation of the deeds done in the body here, and many witnesses called up to testify to the conduct of each individual person; as though the Lord did not know what was going on in the world without calling on men to instruct him. I recollect once hearing a Methodist preacher paraphrase on the text in Heb. ix. 27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment,” &c. He pointed out a critical trial that was to take place “after death.” As he quoted the text, (perhaps himself to be one of the witnesses,) “but,” he observed, “some don't believe in such a judgment as this; but the scriptures are too plain on this point to be denied.” Then he quoted, “He shall convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come,” emphasizing heavily on to come, (his own interpolation) when, had he quoted on, he might have seen that that judgment had already come. “Of sin, because of unbelief; of righteousness, because I go to my Father,” &c; “of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” Now, by reference to the scriptures, we may form an opinion about this judgment. “And not as it was by one that sinned so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation; but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. – Rom. v. 16. And again, “Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation,” &c. It appears from these texts that the judgment is already passed. “As it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this (this appointment) the judgment,” &c., so that after this appointment unto men once to die, then the judgment immediately followed. Brother Huckaby refers me to the text in 2 Cor. v. 11, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in the body,” (of Christ, which is the church.) I therefore conclude that it is the church we are to appear before to give this account, for there it is that a “King shall reign in righteousness, and princes (the apostles) shall rule in judgment.” His irreversible decree has settled, and settled forever, the happy destiny of his people, and the rest were “of old foreordained to this condemnation.” – Jude 4. The Lord will not find it necessary to assemble the nations together after this world, having already passed judgment upon all men. No, his flat is fixed, his decision irrevocable. Paul says, “Behold, I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” No time for litigation here. Instead of being subjected to a future trial or judgment, “this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” The Lord is not like poor, imbecile man; for “there are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless, the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” – Prov. xix. 21. No new devices or new combination of new ideas. Here what he says: “I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me; declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” – Isa. xlvi. 10.
Now, my dear brother, if our sins were laid on Jesus, and he bare them on the cross, they went to judgment then and there, and were buried in oblivion forever. No arraying them against us in judgment after the affairs of this world are wound up; for then to us the welcome trumpet shall sound and we shall be raised incorruptible.
Your friend and brother most truly,
J. F. JOHNSON.
Signs of the Times
Volume 49, No. 19
October 1, 1881