THE APPOINTMENT By Danny Shreffler great read
July 31, 2013 § Leave a comment
THE APPOINTMENT By Danny Shreffler
In the days of my youth while serving in the US Navy, I made an error in judgment that caused me to stand in judgment before the authorities of the base on which I served. Fortunately, the captain afforded me leniency citing previous commendations I had received and my otherwise exemplary record.
The infraction for which I was called to task was not considered major and most of my shipmates felt I should not have to answer for it at all. They felt it was nit-picking and that the command was being totally unjust to even hold me to task. Every man had advice as to what to say when I got before ‘the man.’ One would say you should tell him this! Another would say ‘Stand up for yourself!’ Tell him it is nonsense! All were in agreement that I should ‘school’ the master and tell ‘him’ how it was. Of course as a young man all kinds of thoughts went through my head about how it would be and what I would say. On the ‘appointed day of judgment’ as I was grilled about what I did and why I did it…all I could say was ‘Yes sir, yes sir, and no sir’ as I stood frozen with fear and the realization that I was totally at the mercy of the powerful figure before whom I stood. The reality of my situation suddenly took on a new reality.
So often we have appointments with the doctor, dentist, the PTA, the neighborhood association or some other matter of varying importance, sneak up on us. Perhaps a spouse or friend will tell us just prior to ‘the appointment’ “Don’t forget your appointment!”
There are two other appointments of another nature that each and every one of us will absolutely keep. We have no idea when they will occur. We will have no one remind us. We may know when the first of these is near, or we may mistakenly believe it to be far away. Yet when it comes we will not miss it, we will not forget it, and we will have no say about its being rescheduled or postponed.
Ben Franklin is attributed with saying “The only things certain in life are death and taxes.” Perhaps that is true and yet there is another certainty that will take place after life and that is the judgment. As the scripture puts it:
“…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” – Heb 9:27
Not only does every man who has ever lived or who is living, but every man who will ever be born will keep two appointments; one with death and one with the judgment. This article is about the second appointment, judgment.
The scriptures teach us that every man will be judged. While some scriptures suggest we are being judged even as we live, this scripture seems to suggest that the finality of that judgment will occur after our first appointment, death.
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” – Rev 20:12- 13
In our day, there is a growing migration toward the doctrine of universal salvation. Beginning with the Roman Catholic Church, many are beginning to teach this doctrine as a matter of fact not open to discussion. Recently the new Pope was said to have made the statement that even atheists are redeemed. Though this statement was later corrected by the church, joined with the earlier statements about both Jews and Muslims being ‘saved’ shows the inclination to teach and believe universal salvation.
For the moment, let us forgo the debate about the state of the dead, as well as the issue of universal salvation and concentrate strictly on the subject of judgment. Judgment by its very definition implies that one will be examined for what he has previously done. This is the very sentiment of the passage above that says “…they were judged every man according to their works.”
We know for a certainty that salvation does not come from works…
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Yahshua, even we have believed in Yahshua, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” – Gal 2:16
…and yet it is a certainty that our works will be judged.
Today we find our nation and our people under Yahuwah’s judgment. We go about our daily lives as if we have no clue as to why. This is an example of our being judged in this life both as people and as a nation. Nationally we suffer from abuse by those who rule over us and personally, many of us suffer from diseases and maladies that are brought upon us as a direct result of violating Yah’s laws.
The appointed judgment after death is another matter. It will consist of our being examined for the works we have done for the kingdom and those things we certainly could have done better. In the teachings of Yahshua, we find an example of how some are rewarded more and some less as a direct result of how they lived their days of probation in the flesh. This is further demonstrated in the book of Mathew, chapter 25, verses 14 through 30. In the conclusion of the parable, we find the ‘unprofitable’ servant cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This cannot be the hell of nominal Christendom as we know the preponderance of the scripture will not bear that doctrine. Yet it certainly is a condition of some sort that causes indescribable pain and woe. Something none of us will want to experience. In contrast we find another group that is called blessed and invited to enter the kingdom of Father Yahuwah prepared from the foundation of the earth.
The reader may now say, “We know all this so where are you going?” Follow with me. Again in the book of Mathew we read another parable about fruit.
16 “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” – Matt 7:16-23 (Lord in this passage is Greek Kurios meaning supreme authority)
On our individual appointed ‘day of judgment’ we will all stand before a figure mightier than any figure we could ever have known or even imagined in our short tenure upon this earth. Our thoughts will be entirely upon where we are and who we stand before. Our acutely heightened senses will unequivocally recognize that we have not one thing to rely upon other than the mercy of the august majesty before which we stand.
Yet the parable seems to say some will protest saying “Lord! Haven’t we done this or that? Have we not earned our passage into the kingdom? The mind cannot imagine the shock and absolutely hopeless despair one will feel at the moment they hear those damning words! To be certain the parable says it will happen. Some will be ordered to depart!
The scriptures reference three categories of people based on behavior. There is the righteous, the sinner and the wicked. The righteous are undoubtedly those who have dedicated their lives to the service of Yahuwah. They walk the walk. They talk the talk. Sin is a rarity in their lives and their devotion is exemplary.
The sinners are those who have answered the call of Yahushua and have chosen to abide under the covenant they have entered with him. Yet they are weaker. They from time to time fall flat on their face. They commit sin, sometimes even knowing it is sin while they do it. Yet the Spirit of Yah pleads with them, coaxes them, and causes them to realize their wrong, repent with tears and return to the favor of Yah.
The third category is the wicked of which there are two types. One category consists of those addressed throughout the scripture. They hate Yah. They hate His plan. They hate His people and work constantly with fervor to live totally in accordance with the lust of the flesh doing whatsoever they wish with abandon. The second category is those who embrace a sin to the point they willingly and tenaciously hold to it until it becomes their very damnation. They know it is wrong. Yet they love it and make a conscious decision that they will not quit that sin. In their minds they justify their behavior in spite of knowing it is wrong. Like Eve in the garden they convince themselves that God will tolerate their rebellious behavior. It is that decision which moves them from the category of sinner to the category of the wicked.
Repentance, properly defined, is a genuine sorrow for a sin and a consequent abandonment of that sin. This is the sin that Yah is faithful and just to forgive. Knowing something is wrong and refusing to give it up, is the unforgiven sin addressed by Paul in the passage addressed in a previous article: “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” Heb 10:26-27
So how do we get from sinner to wicked? By refusing to admit something clearly forbidden by scripture as sin. Doing so becomes rebellion and scripturally rebellion equates to witchcraft.
“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” – I Sam 15:23 Witchcraft cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Galatians 5:17-21). The truly
scary thing about this condition is that Yahuwah tells us that the condition itself can be so ensconced within our being that we become deluded into thinking we are just fine even with our sin. Yahuwah says:
“…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thess 2:10-12
Certainly the ‘day of judgment’ will find some who will protest that they in fact worked for God. Yet they will hear the words “Depart from me.” If they truly believe the words of their protest, then indeed they were deluded. They became that way because they loved not the truth and were intentionally deluded by God. The scripture tells us the delusion brings their damnation! Certainly they are among the wicked. How important it is for us to daily search out our own honesty. How important it is to be vigilant to what we say is acceptable in the true light of scripture. What is our true love? Do we love the truth or do we love a lie?
The scriptures tell us the end of the wicked is destruction. How sick many will be on the appointed day when the delusion is removed. The day when we clearly know even before the words are spoken exactly where we stand. No thought of the mind, no love of the flesh, no intention, and no deceit will be hidden from the One who holds the power of eternal life or eternal death. No sin, no lie, no deceit and no love will be worth the potential loss. Preparation for that appointment is the time to examine our hearts and ask ourselves “What words will we hear?”
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