14-6 Angels At The Judgment Seat
Parable Of The Pounds
The parable of the pounds also comments on the Angels' relationship with the unworthy. Jesus "said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. . . and they (i.e. that stood by) said unto Him, Lord, he hath ten pounds" (Lk. 19:24,25). "Them that stood by" must surely be a conscious reference by the Lord to Zechariah's prophecy of the Angels as "these that stand by" Christ (Zech. 3:4,7); note that he too speaks in a judgment/reward context. If our Lord is referring to the Angels, then we have a fascinating picture of them taking away the opportunities given to the unworthy and granting them to the accepted. Their query of the amount of reward being given fits in with what we know about their limited knowledge, and the fact that our reward will be far greater than their present status (Heb. 1,2). Hence their reverent questioning of the extent of reward being given.
Rev. 14:18-20 provides what appears to be another picture of the judgement; an Angel with power over fire throws the apostate vine branches outside the city, where they will be trodden. That these are the responsible is clinched by the similarity with the Lord's description of the rejected being branches broken off from the true vine, because of their lack of spiritual fruit (Jn. 15:2). Thus it would appear that there is one Angel responsible for co-ordinating the punishment of the rejected, which he does with fire just outside Jerusalem. This suggests that the rejected will be punished by literal fire in the locality of the historical Gehenna.
Angels At The Judgment Seat
Paul's warning in 1 Cor. 10:10 not to "murmur as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer" (i. e. the destroying Angel) implies that the unworthy among the "Israel of God" will also be destroyed by Angelic means if we make the same mistakes Israel of old made. The fact that the Angels will personally minister the condemnation of the unworthy (Mt. 13:49 "the Angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire") when in their lives those Angels gave their charges every chance to repent and to grow spiritually, preserving them from physical danger, is surely a heart rending thought; and a motivation to respond acceptably to the trials God brings into our lives through His Angels.
The idea of threshing is often associated with the judgement; the unworthy will be "as chaff before the wind: and let the Angel of the Lord chase them. . let the Angel of the Lord persecute them" (Ps. 35:5,6). The Angels are made spirit (the same word Hebrew word as 'winds') and are being likened to the wind in this threshing process, driving the unworthy away, as Adam, typifying the rejected, was chased out of Eden by the Angels. "As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more; but the righteous is an everlasting foundation" (Prov. 10:25) appears the basis of the parable of the house on the rock, making the whirlwind correspond to the second coming in judgement. "The whirlwind" is Angel cherubim language; as if it is by that means that the wicked will be destroyed. Note that "the wicked" and "the fool" in Proverbs often refer to those who are responsible.
Angels At The Judgment Seat: Ministering Salvation
But in the same way as the Angels minister condemnation, they also joyfully give eternal life to their faithful charges, on Christ's command at the judgement- "him shall the Son of man also confess before the Angels of God" (Luke 12:8). This is perhaps the fact alluded to in 2 Cor. 10:18: "not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth (at the judgement)". To be commended implies to be commended to somebody- the Angels? So it seems that when Christ first comes, He sends HIS Angels to gather us (Matt. 13:41), and it is also His Angels which punish the wicked (Matt. 13:41); however it is GOD'S Angels which reward the righteous (remember the distinction we drew earlier (between the Angels of God and of Christ). The Angels of Christ bring us to Him with their report on us, and He then makes the decision- those same Angels are told to arrange the destruction of their charge if unworthy, whilst the worthy are confessed to the Angels of God for glorification.
The fact is, we can look forward to at last meeting our guardian in the day of judgement, and maybe only then coming to realize the tremendous part that Angel has played in our eternal destiny. No doubt only then at the end will we perceive how great their presence has been. Similarly it would seem that only at the end of his days did Moses recognize the extent of the Angelic presence. The fact that the cloud that they followed was actually composed of thousands of mighty Angels seems only to have been recognized by Moses in his blessing of the people "before his death" in Dt. 33:1,2. There he says in an ecstasy of praise to God for His greatness and closeness to His people, "The LORD came from Sinai and rose up from Seir unto them; He shined forth from Mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of His saints (Angels): from His right hand (i. e. the Angels- they ministered the Law) went a fiery law for them"; whilst earlier we only read "And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran" (Num. 10:12). The passage in Dt. 33 almost seems a direct comment on this earlier description.
In a sense, the Angels deal with men according to men’s own perceptions of themselves, and with what can only be described as a certain spiritual culture. They do not “speak evil of dignities” (2 Pet. 2:10,11), as exemplified in the way the Angelic voice from Heaven addressed the wicked Nebuchadnezzar whom they were about to depose as “O king Nebuchadnezzar” (Dan. 4:31). This isn’t only an example to us of not being abrasive to people even if we know them to be seriously in the wrong. It’s an example of how we should seek to deal with people within the terms of their own perceptions. It makes one wonder whether at the judgment, the Lord will address those who were known in their lives as ‘Doctors’ or ‘Reverends’… obviously making the point, as the Angel was to Nebuchadnezzar, that human advantage means so absolutely nothing before the ultimate analysis and set of values of His judgment.