Perkins On The State Of Believers At The Judgment

The last day of judgement shall be on this manner:

I. Immediately before the coming of Christ, a the powers of heaven shall be shaken: the Sun and Moon shall be darkened, and the Stars shall seem to fall from heaven: at which sight the elect then living shall rejoice, but the reprobate shall shake every joint of them. a Matt. 24.29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days, shall the Sun be darkened, and the Moon shall not give her light, the Stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken: 30. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the kindreds of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man come in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. Lk. 21.26. Men’s hearts shall fail them for fear, and for looking after those things, which shall come on the world. 28. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near. 2 Tim. 4.8. Henceforth is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto them that live his appearing.

II. Then the heavens, being all set on fire, shall with a noise like to that of chariot wheels, suddenly pass away, & the elements, with the earth, and all therein shall be dissolved with fire. 2 Pet. 3.12. Looking for, and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, by which the heavens being set on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with heat. 13. But we look for new heavens, and a new earth, according to his promise, wherein dwells all righteousness.

At the same time, when as all these things shall come to pass, a the sound of the last Trumpet shall be heard, sounded by the Archangel. And Christ shall come suddenly in the clouds, with power, & glory, and a great train of Angels. a Matt. 24. 31. And he shall send his Angels with a great sound of a Trumpet: 1 Thess. 4.16. The Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, even with the voice of the Archangel, and with the Trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Math. 24.30. 1 Thess. 4.17. Then shall we which live and remain, be caught up with them also in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

III. Now at the sound of the Trumpet, the Elect which were dead, shall rise with those very bodies which were turned to dust, and one part rent from an other, shall by the omnipotent power of God, be restored, and the souls of them shall descend from heaven, and be brought again into those bodies. As for a them which then shall be alive, they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and this mutation shall be instead of death. And at that time, the bodies shall receive their full redemption; b and all the bodies of the Elect shall be made like the glorious body of Christ Jesus, and therefore shall be spiritual, immortal, glorious, and free from all infirmity. 1. Cor. 15. 51, 52. We shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last Trumpet. 43. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in honour: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

IV. Last of all, when they are all convented [gathered] before the tribunal seat of Christ, he will forthwith place the Elect, severed from the reprobate, & taken up into the air, at his right hand, and to them being written in the book of life, will he pronounce this sentence: Come ye blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the world. Matt. 25 33. He shall set the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on the left. 1 Thess. 4.17. Rev. 20.15. Whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire.

—William Perkins, A Golden Chain: (London, 1616), 93–94. Spelling modernized.

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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