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These are the words of Him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.[1]

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the Earth.

I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.[2]

For judgment I have come into this world.[3]

A sword, a sword, drawn for the slaughter,

polished to consume and to flash like lightning![4]

Now I raise My hand to Heaven and declare, “As surely as I live,

when I sharpen My flashing sword and begin to carry out justice,

when I sharpen My flashing sword

and My hand grasps it in judgment,

I will take vengeance on My adversaries

and repay those who hate Me[5]

I will take revenge on My enemies and repay those who reject Me.

I will make My arrows drunk with blood, and My sword will devour flesh

– the blood of the slaughtered and the captives, and the heads of the enemy leaders.[6]

Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, against the man who is close to Me!

Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered,

and I will turn My hand against the little ones.[7]

They will fall by a sword that is not of man;

a sword, not of mortals, will devour them.

They will flee before the sword and their young men will be put to forced labor.[8]

I will pronounce My judgments on My people

because of their wickedness in forsaking Me,

in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made.[9]

They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet.

So the Lord does not accept them;

He will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.[10]

Therefore I cut you in pieces with My prophets,

I killed you with the words of My mouth;

My judgments flashed like lightning upon you.[11]

Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them;

do not provoke Me to anger with what your hands have made.

Then I will not harm you.

But you did not listen to Me,

and you have provoked Me with what your hands have made,

and you have brought harm to yourselves.[12]

In the light of these things, should I relent?[13]

So that hearts may melt and the fallen be many,

I have stationed the sword for slaughter at all their gates.

Oh! It is made to flash like lightning, it is grasped for slaughter.

O sword, slash to the right, then to the left, wherever your blade is turned.[14]

See, I am beginning to bring disaster on the house that bears My Name,

and will you indeed go unpunished?

You will not go unpunished,

for I am calling down a sword upon all who live on the Earth.[15]

I tell you the truth,

it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment.[16]

The sword of destruction will strike the Babylonians.

It will strike the people of Babylon—

her officials and wise men, too.

The sword will strike her wise counselors, and they will become fools.

The sword will strike her mightiest warriors, and panic will seize them.

The sword will strike her horses and chariots and her allies from other lands,

and they will all become like women.

The sword will strike her treasures, and they all will be plundered.

The sword will even strike her water supply, causing it to dry up.

And why? Because the whole land is filled with idols,

and the people are madly in love with them.[17]

The prophets are prophesying lies in My Name.

I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them.

They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries

and the delusions of their own minds.[18]

Yet in spite of all this you say, ‘I am innocent; He is not angry with me.’

But I will pass judgment on you because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’[19]

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment

for every careless word they have spoken.[20]

So I will come near to you for judgment.

I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers,

against those who defraud laborers of their wages,

who oppress the widows and the fatherless,

and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear Me.[21]

I will expose your righteousness and your works,

and they will not benefit you.[22]

Therefore wait for Me for the day I will stand up to testify.

I have decided to assemble the nations,

to gather the kingdoms and to pour out My wrath on them

all My fierce anger.

The whole world will be consumed by the fire of My jealous anger.[23]

The tumult will resound to the ends of the Earth,

for the Lord will bring charges against the nations;

He will bring judgment on all mankind and put the wicked to the sword.[24]

Then all people will know that I the Lord have drawn My sword from its scabbard;

it will not return again.’[25]

So then, son of man, prophesy and strike your hands together.

Let the sword strike twice, even three times.

It is a sword for slaughter—

a sword for great slaughter, closing in on them from every side.[26]

Now is the time for judgment on this world;

now the prince of this world will be driven out.[27]

Repent therefore!

Otherwise, I will soon come to you

and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.[28]

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.

So be earnest, and repent.[29]

The sword of the Lord is the object of His judgment. The sword of the Lord comes out of His mouth, for His word is His sword. The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.[30]

How does the word of God judge thoughts and attitudes? How does it expose us? How is His sword – His word – the object of His judgment?

When the Lord sends His word, He searches your heart and examines your mind to determine how you received the word. Then He is able to correctly judge you by your words and your conduct. When the Lord stands up to testify, He is telling you the truth about you. This is God’s judgment. God’s judgment is simply His testimony about you. And His testimony is truth because His word is truth. So how do you receive it when His sword strikes? Do you accept the truth and repent? Or do you gnash your teeth and curse Him? When the Holy Spirit convicts you in regards to sin, righteousness and judgment, do you respond quickly and correctly, in repentance and forgiveness, or do you rationalise His voice to make it go away?

It is the Light of the Sword of the Lord, lit by the fire of His word that convicts like flashes of lightning into the hearts of men, bringing men to repentance. His judgment of men is a call for repentance. Unless we repent, how can He restore and reward us? When we refuse to repent and have to accept the fate due to us, who do we have to blame but ourselves?

Understand this about God’s judgment and compare it to worldly judgment. In man’s law, when you are judged, that is when you are pronounced guilty or innocent, you have no recourse once the verdict is delivered. You cannot get out of your judgment unless you were misjudged. Unless you can prove that there was a miscarriage of justice, you must accept the sentence of punishment. You don’t stand a chance. And there is no second chance.

However, this is not God’s way. When God judges men, He testifies to the truth about them and He desires them to repent. We still stand a chance. How can this be? It is because our Father is God the Forgiver.

Remember what the Sovereign Lord said about Israel, “If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned[31]For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live![32]

Listen to the Father’s heart when He said this about Israel: “Why then have these people turned away? Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit; they refuse to return. I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. No one repents of his wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues his own course like a horse charging into battle.[33] The Father said that He listens attentively to our words. This is exactly like the father in the parable who waits for his wayward son to return and sees him from a long way off. The key to understanding the Father when Jesus told the parable of the lost son is in these words, “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.[34] It shows us His desire, hope and excitement because He is our Father the Forgiver. This is what Jesus was showing us: The perfect, merciful, compassionate and righteous Father who cares about the welfare of His sons and daughters more than fattened cattle and sheep, and His desire to restore them because of His generosity to prosper them.

Therefore understand this stark difference between God’s judgment and man’s judgment. Man’s judgment is for punishment. God’s judgment is a call for repentance. The Lord does not judge to condemn, for we have already condemned ourselves when we sin and refuse to repent or turn from our wicked ways. For unless the Lord tells you the truth about you, how would you know what to repent of? Once He has told you the truth about you, He has judged you, and how you respond is your choice. He testifies about you because He desires that, in His judgment of you, you will repent and receive His forgiveness. He doesn’t want to condemn you – why should you die? Repent and live!

So if people should ask you, “What right does God have to judge me?” Remember your short reply is, “Because you were made in the Image and Likeness of God, He has the right to judge you.”

And if people should ask you, “Why does God judge me?” Answer them, “Because you have a Father and a Brother who desire you to repent and not perish, but live and prosper as a son or daughter of God.”

So this is how the final judgment before the Great White Throne, of Revelation 20.11 where all the dead are judged, fits in with the second chance as we understand it in Zephaniah 3.9. If you cannot accept that the purpose God judges is to call men to repentance and not for condemnation, then how will you accept that after the final judgment before the Great White Throne, the Lord will purify the lips of the people so that all of them will call on the Name of the Lord,[35] for everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved,[36] and they will be saved from the punishment of the Lake of Burning Sulphur and serve Jesus shoulder to shoulder.[37] The final judgment before the Great White Throne is the Father’s last call for repentance for each person’s place in eternity to be determined.

Therefore, let the cowardly be given good courage to repent. Let the unbelieving be given a heart of flesh to have faith to believe in Jesus Christ. And let the vile be given the fear of the Lord in their hearts so that they can no longer say, “There is no God.” Because there is a God, and He is our Father, our Brother and our Lord, the Forgiver, and They deserve to lose none whom They made in Their Image and Likeness, except the five doomed to destruction.[38]

Why should anyone else die the second death? Repent and live the first and second resurrection!


 

[1] Revelation 2:12

[2] Matthew 10:34

[3] John 9:39

[4] Ezekiel 21:28

[5] NIV

[6] Deuteronomy 32:41-42 NLT

[7] Zechariah 13:7

[8] Isaiah 31:8

[9] Jeremiah 1:16

[10] Jeremiah 14.10

[11] Hosea 6:5

[12] Jeremiah 25.6-7

[13] Isaiah 57.6

[14] Ezekiel 21:15

[15] Jeremiah 25:29

[16] Matthew 10:15

[17] Jeremiah 50:35-38 NLT

[18] Jeremiah 14.14-15

[19] Jeremiah 2:35

[20] Matthew 12:36

[21] Malachi 3:5

[22] Isaiah 57.12

[23] Zephaniah 3:8

[24] Jeremiah 25:31

[25] Ezekiel 21:5

[26] Ezekiel 21:14

[27] John 12:31

[28] Revelation 2:16

[29] Revelation 3:19

[30] Hebrews 4.12 (NIV and NLT)

[31] Jeremiah 18.7

[32] Ezekiel 18.32

[33] Jeremiah 8.5-6

[34] Luke 15.20

[35] Zephaniah 3.9

[36] Joel 2.32

[37] Zephaniah 3.9

[38] False prophet, the beast, Satan, death and Hades – Revelation 19.20; 20.10 & 20.14

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