Day of Judgment – What a Difference a “Day” Makes

Picture for the day of judgment - playbill for Elmer Rice's "Judgment Day"

Many believe that the day of judgment, mentioned in the Bible, is a single day in the future when God will resurrect and proclaim his sentence on all non-believers, consigning them to an eternity of suffering. However, there is solid evidence in God’s word that the day of judgment is not just a single day, but that the day of judgment is a longer time period.

There is also strong evidence to indicate that the length of the day of judgment is 100 years. It is a time period when all who died throughout history will be resurrected and given their opportunity to repent, to receive eternal life, and to become members in the family of God. You see, now is not the only day of salvation. The day of judgment is what the Feast of Tabernacles foreshadows.

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The end of all flesh is come before me

In Genesis chapter 6 is a reference to a critical time period. The crucial verse here is Genesis 6:3. The KJV has, “And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”

The word strive also means plead, contend, judge. But the word also is most important. It is the Hebrew word gam. It has been suggested that also is a mistranslation. Some translate it as “in his erring”.

But the word is translated as also hundreds of other times. There is no reason to doubt that it means also here, instead of needing some unique special translation. The word also is a contrast and compare word. It has to be making a distinction between two things. So what is being compared? One of those things is “flesh.” What is the other?

The phrase “for that he also is flesh” could be translated, “with whom also is this flesh.” And it needs to be considered in context with Genesis 6:13, “And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me.”  God meant it. He was looking forward to the time when it would happen.

Striving with spirit not flesh

When God deals with people, he is not striving with, pleading with or judging their flesh, but their spirit. Here are a few verses that can explain this:

Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. -Luke 23:46 

. . . calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. -Acts 7:59 

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: -Rom 8:16 

The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak. -Mat 26:41

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. -1Cor 6:20 

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. -1Cor 2:11   

We are not just physical beings. Each of us has a spirit which God gave us. That spirit does not cease to exist when we die. But it has no conscious existence apart from a body. At the resurrection it will again be united with a body.

In Genesis 1:26, when God says,”Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” he is not referring to physical appearance. He is referring to the spirit in man, the personal spirit that makes us self-aware individuals, and gives us our ability to “know” (discern] good and evil (Gen 3:22).

Noah and the flood: the archetype

Verses 3 and 13 in Genesis chapter 6 say that the time will come, after 120 years, that there will be a permanent end to all flesh. Yet the flood did not destroy all flesh. Eight people were saved.

When Noah was informed of the intention to destroy all flesh, he was being given 120 years to construct the ark. His three sons would not be born until about 20 years later. Noah was probably a wealthy man, able to hire workers. He did not have to do all the work by himself, and for most of the last 100 years had his three sons to help. This is a type of the actual time leading up to the ultimate fulfillment of the end of all flesh. Water then, fire next time (2 Pet 3:6-7).

Day of judgment precedes the end of all flesh

After the millennium period is over there will remain another 120 years when God will continue to strive with, contend with, and judge people. And then will come the literal and total end of all flesh. All beings after that time will be spirit beings.

First, Satan must be released for a short time in order to deceive the nations into rebelling (see Rev 20:3, 8; and Psalms 2;1-6). It is not unreasonable to believe this will take 20 years. Since the nations of the world have not learned war and have not been allowed to make implements of war for 1000 years (Is 2:4), they will need time to build up their armies. 20 years is plenty of time. Germany easily built up its war machine in the 20 years following World War I. Not unreasonable to believe at all.

Isaiah chapter 65 contains another part of the answer concerning the time that follows the 20 years of Satan’s temporary release. In verses 16 to 19, the setting is a future time when “the former troubles are forgotten”. There will be “new heavens and a new earth.” People will be “glad and rejoice for ever.” Jerusalem will be “a rejoicing, and her people a joy.” God says,”I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people; and there shall be heard in her no more the voice of weeping and the voice of crying.”

This is not happening right now. It never happened in the past. It must still be future.

Compare the future two time periods we’re discussing. During the millennium, Satan won’t be around (Rev 20:2). Then after that 1000 years is over, comes a time when Satan is released for a short time, after which is a new heaven and new earth, and the city of new Jerusalem comes down from God.

The phrase “new heaven and a new earth” is also found in Revelation 21, after the 1000 years is described in chapter 20.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. -Rev 21:1-2

So which of these two future time periods is described in Isaiah chapter 65? Verse 18 decides this question. “But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy” (Isa 65:18).

The Hebrew word  for create here is bara. It means to create out of nothing. It is the same word used repeatedly in the first chapter of Genesis. In that chapter, the KJV maintains the same contrast between bara, always translated as create, and asah, always translated as make. Asah means to make something out of what already exists. Bara means to create what does not already exist. Remaking Jerusalem into a new city would be asah. Creating an entire new city, as described in Revelation 21 would be bara.

New Jerusalem comes to earth out of heaven after the 1000 years is over. So the account in Isaiah chapter 65 is describing the day of judgment that will follow the 1000 years.

That is the time (Rev 21 & 22) when “New Jerusalem” comes down out of heaven, with no death, sorrow, crying, or pain in the city. Yet outside of the city there will be people who choose to remain evil, or who have not yet decided to repent.

For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. -Rev 22:15

And there shall in no wise enter into it [the city]any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. -Rev 21:27 

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. -Rev 22:11

If this is the time described in Isaiah chapter 65, then what is that strange verse 20 saying? And how does this verse fit with the next five verses? Here are a few samples of that verse 20:

(Darby)    There shall be no more thenceforth an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not completed his days; for the youth shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed.

(Geneva) for he that shall be an hundreth yeeres old, shall dye as a yong man: but the sinner being an hundreth yeeres olde shall be accursed.

This verse can only be understood in context, not only in context with the rest of the chapter but in context with the entire plan—i.e., where it fits into the three harvest times when God works with mankind.

People who in this life have died as young children or babies, in the day of judgment will be resurrected as adults. This is what Isaiah 65:20 is telling us. During the day of judgment no children will be born.

(Darby)    There shall be no more thenceforth an infant of days
(DRB)    There shall no more be an infant of days there
(LITV)    There shall not still be an infant of days
(MKJV)    There will not be an infant

And the very old, who experienced the ultimate effects of aging, declining to the point that they were finally just waiting for the end to come, will be resurrected in full health.

(Darby) nor an old man that hath not completed his days
(ISV) or an old person who does not live out his days

All will live a full 100 years in health without suffering the effects of aging. At the end of that time comes “the end of all flesh.” Their fleshly bodies must die. “And do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul; but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna” (Mat 10:28 WNT).

But many will experience the same kind of change that Paul described for those still alive at the time of the first resurrection—changed in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor 15:52). Finally, the few who cannot be saved will be destroyed completely.

As Isaiah 65:20 says,

(ESV) for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.

(Geneva) for he that shall be an hundreth yeeres old, shall dye as a yong man: but the sinner being an hundreth yeeres olde shall be accursed.

No translation has improved on the Geneva Bible in this verse: “for he that shall be an hundreth yeeres old, shall dye as a yong man;”

Life during the 100-year day of judgment

Isaiah 65:21-24 describe life during that 100-year day of judgment.

And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. -Isa 65:21-22

“They shall not build, and another inhabit.” All will live through the entire period. They will not die and leave what they have built to others. This would not be true in any other time. No matter how long someone lives in this age, all die and what they have passes to another.

They won’t toil in vain nor bear children doomed to misfortune, for they will be offspring blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. -Is 65:23 (ISV) 

“their descendants with them.” All generations whoever lived will be resurrected at the same time.

Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, -John 5:28

In verse 29 of John chapter 5, it is called a resurrection of judgment.

Again, during this 100-year day of judgment, all whoever lived throughout history will be resurrected and be given the opportunity to receive eternal life through Christ.

And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. -Isa 65:24 

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is athirst come; he that will, let him take the water of life freely. -Rev 22:17