The Judgment – The Queen of the South and the Men of Nineveh
Last week we came across an interesting passage in Luke 11:
31 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them. 32 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. (Luke 11:31-32)
In speaking to the crowd of unbelieving people, Jesus asserted that The Queen of the South (found in 1 Kings 10), and the men of Nineveh (referenced from the book of Jonah) would “rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it.”
Jesus was speaking from the prospective of believing in the His message of repentance from sin, and accepting Him as the Messiah. Instead of believing, the crowd was badgering Jesus for a sign, yet Jesus had given thousands of signs already.
The issue wasn’t that Jesus hadn’t proven Himself to be the Messiah, the issue was their stubborn refusal to believe. For that, Jesus said, the Queen and the men of Nineveh would “give judgment against” that generation.
To unpack this, we have to understand what judgment is Jesus speaking of. There’s only one judgment that would seem to fit, the Great White Throne judgment found in Revelation chapter 20:
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)
A few things are stated here:
- Every living human being, from Adam to the end of the age, will be assembled before God.
- Books will be opened; One (or possibly more) apparently has all of the deeds of men. The other is the “Book of Life.”
- All humans will be judged according to their works.
- All of those whose names were found in the Book of Life, which we would have to assume means those who accepted Christ as Savior, will be spared the penalty for sin; being cast into the lake of fire.
(Some Christians assert, as I have myself, that Christians will not be at the Great White Throne Judgment. But a careful reading of the text does not support that we’ll be absent from this event; rather it seems to indicate that ALL of those who have died will be there. Now, because of our faith in Christ, we won’t be held accountable for our sins; We have been pardoned because Jesus paid the price for our sins.)
If we tie these two things together, Jesus statement, and the vision of the judgment, it would seem that Jesus is saying that there will people at the judgment who will “to give judgment against” those who did not receive Christ. (The word Jesus used is the Greek “katakrinó” which means “to give judgment against” – see Strongs 2632).
We can assume that in the judgment, when facing the lake of fire, many will put up a defense; “I didn’t know,” or “no one told me.” To that, God could say “yes you did know,” and who could argue with God? But God being righteous and just, might instead call upon those who “preached repentance” to that person to give their testimony. “I told him about Christ on such-and such date…” That would seem to fit with what Jesus said in Luke 11.
This also seems to fit with something Paul wrote to the church at Corinth:
Do you not know that we are to judge angels? (1 Corinthians 6:3)
Granted, this is not a doctrine what I would go to war over. It’s not an essential doctrine. If we apply the standard of being an essential doctrine, it would have to be: 1) taught by Jesus (yes), 2) taught by the Apostles (no), and 3) Confirmed in the Epistles (maybe).
But it does carry a serious message: The mission of sharing the gospel message with those around us is eternally important, because one day those people will stand before God and give an account of their lives.
I would prefer that their name be written in the Book of Life because I was willing to testify to them of Christ, rather than have to give judgment against them for rejecting Christ.
We can change the world, one life at a time…