Full text of renowned Bible teacher Derek Prince’s Laying The Foundation Series (Part 10) titled “Final Judgment” which was recorded in New Zealand, December 1994.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Derek Prince – Bible Teacher
Well, we have already made our proclamation so it only remains for me, to bring the teaching. This is the tenth and final session of our series entitled ‘Laying the Foundation.’
In previous sessions we’ve dealt with five of the six foundation doctrines mentioned in Hebrews 6:1-2. We dealt with repentance towards God, faith, the doctrine of baptisms, laying on of hands and resurrection of the dead. It remains in this final session to deal with the final foundation doctrine: eternal judgment.
TWO TYPES OF JUDGMENT
Now, when we speak about judgment, we need to realize that there are two main ways in which God brings judgment on people. The first is His judgments in history; the second, which is the kind of judgment we’re going to talk about, is His eternal judgments. Those judgments which confront us as we step out of time into eternity.
And it’s important to be able to distinguish the two types of judgments, otherwise we might be confused by what seem to be conflicting statements.
The first judgment of God is in history and it involves bringing blessing, or punishment on succeeding generations according to the way the first generation has responded to God.
In Exodus 20:4-6, we have a very clear example of God’s historical judgments. Exodus 20:4-6, which is part of what we call the Ten Commandments. God says: ‘You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them nor worship them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.’
We see there that the sin of idolatry, which is the greatest of all sins, carries with it a judgment that extends to the succeeding three or four generations. That’s a judgment in history and there are countless examples of how that judgment has actually worked out in the history of Israel and of other nations that have been involved in idolatry.
And then in Jeremiah 32, Jeremiah also deals with this question of God’s judgment in history. And in a prayer that he prayed to the LORD, Jeremiah 32:18, he said: ‘You show lovingkindness to thousands, and repay the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them — the Great, the Mighty God, whose name is the LORD of hosts.’
So again Jeremiah says ‘God repays the iniquity of the fathers into the succeeding generations.’ Now this is again a judgment in history in time. This also applies to God’s blessing on the righteous. In Psalm 103, David says, in verses 17-18:
Psalm 103:17-18: ‘But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant and to those who remember His commandments, to do them.’ There is a promise of God’s blessing and righteousness to children’s children, to succeeding generations.
So the way that we conduct ourselves and we relate to God not only affects us, but it probably affects successive generations. That’s a very significant and important thought that we need to bear in mind.
We are in some way answerable for either the blessing or the suffering of succeeding generations. I think this is an obvious fact of experience. For instance, a child born to alcoholic parents starts, as they say in America, with two strikes against him. It’s not his fault but the judgment of God on those parents will naturally filter down through succeeding generations.
We need to say that but we need to add there’s a different kind of judgment of God which is what the writer of Hebrews calls eternal judgment which is judgment that affects our destiny in eternity. And there the principles of judgment are completely different. These are stated by God to Ezekiel in chapter 18 verses 1-4.
Ezekiel 18:1-4: Ezekiel says: ‘The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, ‘What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? You see, that’s saying the children are suffering for the sins of the father. ‘As I live’, says the LORD GOD, ‘you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are Mine. The soul of the father, as well as the soul of the son is Mine, the soul who sins shall die.’
Now we’re not talking about historical judgments, we’re talking about the judgment of every individual soul as it steps out of time into eternity. And there every soul bears responsibility only for the life that it has led. The soul that sins, it shall die.
And that is repeated again in verse 20.
Ezekiel 18:20: Here God is still more emphatic. Ezekiel 18:20: ‘The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.’
When we step out of time into eternity, we’re not any longer being judged for the sins or blessings of our parents, our forebears; we’re going to answer to God personally only for what we did in life. The righteousness of the righteous will be upon him, the wickedness of the wicked will be upon him.
And it says in the book of Ecclesiastes, ‘Where the tree falls, there it will lie.’ What condition you are in when you die will determine your condition throughout eternity. This is eternal judgment, a very, very solemn thought.
I’ve sometimes remembered with amusement, my Foundation Series originally came out as seven, separate, small volumes. Then it was brought together in three volumes, and then it was brought together in one volume.