There is a day coming in which final justice will burst forth into the earth. The pictures that we are given of this last day are astonishing; they are vivid, some are violent, they are terrible and they are great. There is this theme of judgment throughout the Bible; in fact, judgment is the backdrop upon which the gospel is drawn. There is no need of forgiveness, expiation, or reconciliation unless judgment is assumed and necessary in the scriptures. That people are ripe for the just judgment of God is explicitly stated and strongly inferred as the backdrop for God’s mercy throughout scripture.
The remedy to judgment is not to throw out judgment as a doctrine or to say that God need not judge sin. Both of these options are in blatant opposition to the scriptures, in both the Old and New Testaments.
Psalm 37:13 - "but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming.”
Ezekiel 39:8 - "Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about, declares the Lord God. That is the day of which I have spoken.”
Joel 2:1 - "Blow a trumpet in Zion;
sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near,
Malachi 4:1 - “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch”
Even more graphically we read in Ezekiel 39:17-20,
“As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field, ‘Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. 18 You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth—of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan. 19 And you shall eat fat till you are filled, and drink blood till you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you. 20 And you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all kinds of warriors,’ declares the Lord God.
Particularly we read that the birds of the air and the beasts of the field will “eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth… you shall eat fat until you are filled, and drink blood till you are drunk.”
Again, we read in Revelation 19:17-18,
"Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”"
There is a day of judgment coming in which wrath will be inflicted upon those who do not know God and who do not obey his gospel, those whose sin has not been covered by the blood of Jesus, and those who have not received the righteousness of Christ by faith. These are the ones who are in danger of judgment on The Day of The Lord. We also read that the birds and beasts will “eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth,” and “the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” This day is certainly coming for the wicked.
What is the way out of this judgment? How shall any man escape?
There is a way out, there is a sacrificial feast that is our way of escape at this present time. Jesus says in John 6:50-54,
This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
And again we read a similar word at the last supper in Matthew 26:26-29,
26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
We must partake in the reality that Christ was judged in our place in His substitutionary death on the cross. His flesh indeed was “eaten” and his blood indeed they “drank”—a substitutionary meal in which Christ’s flesh was torn and blood was spilled in our place. Those who eat of this supper shall stand on the last day—even more they will be raised up, but those who refuse to eat this meal will have their flesh eaten by birds and beasts--they will gorge themselves and will be drunk on the blood of unbelievers.
On the day of the Lord, Christ will come again "in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.” (2 Thess 1:8-10)
This day is not appointed to bring wrath upon those who believe, but upon those who do not believe. This is the end of those “who do not know God” and “those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” It says clearly, “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord…” It is a day for those who have not had their sins covered by the blood of Christ. No blood has been shed on their behalf, so in keeping with the scriptures that “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins,” they must have their own blood spilled for their own sins.
Christ, the executor of eschatological justice was first the sacrifice for sin; the one who sovereignly summons the birds of the air to eat flesh first has his flesh torn and his blood spilled. It may be said truly that on The Day Of The Lord Christ will not do unto any person what was not first done unto him. This is ultimate retributive justice that follows a long era of patience and summons to eat his flesh and drink his blood.
"For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” - 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Each time we take the elements of bread and of juice which are representative of the Lord’s flesh and blood, we remember that if it had not been his flesh and blood it most certainly would have been ours strewn across the earth as a meal for beasts. The gospel is not that there is no judgment, but that one has been judged in our place.