The Nicene Creed
And He Shall Come to Judge
And he shall come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end
Our world was not meant to last forever; it is of a definite duration. And the One who has defined those limits is the Father Himself. In short, history is not cyclical (though nature is) but linear: It had a beginning in Eden, a middle in Bethlehem, and it will have an end when our Lord returns upon clouds of glory. I shall not argue particulars of eschatology: the number of resurrections and judgments, millennial theories, and so on. These are the matters we leave to opinion; a Creed is supposed to define the parameters of the Faith within which one may live with assurance. The Nicene Creed does this well. It tells us that Christ shall one day return and bring the world as we know it to an end so that he may gather us into a better one.
But before the beginning of that new world (“Kingdom” was our Lord’s word), there must be a judgment—a coming to terms with every person who has ever lived about his deeds while in the body. And this is the task of the Son. Jesus said, “The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son…And [the Father] has given [the Son] authority to execute judgment because he is the Son of Man” (John 5:22, 27). This is the right the Son has earned from the Father as that Person of the Triune God who became man, suffered, died, was buried, and rose again—who conquered sin and death. The Son has the right to judge those who have gladly received him—and the right to judge those who have insolently rejected him. The former he will acquit and receive into his everlasting Kingdom; the latter he shall condemn to eternal punishment in the company of the devil and his minions. The Father won’t do it; the Holy Spirit won’t do it; only the Son will do it as the one who was condemned by those who knew him not and now know him not. This is the ultimate expression of the Son’s preeminence.
And when he comes, it shall be “with glory” and “every eye will see him,” a rounded globe notwithstanding (Revelation 1:7). And his Kingdom will have no end. What a beautiful promise. Do you ever long for home? I know I do. Life here is so unnatural. It wasn’t supposed to be this way, you know. Pain, suffering, disease, and all caused by sin—it was a hideous thing we wrought when we sinned so long ago. But one day, matters shall be set right. No more sorrow or crying or pain anymore, “for the former things [will] have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Sleep well.