Skip to content

Don’t Get Blood On My Hands: Re-thinking Judgment Day

“I don’t want your blood on my hands.” This phrase came from a sermon I heard years ago from an Adventist preacher who was known for “bringing truth.” The speaker used the phrase several times throughout the sermon in reference to an Old Testament passage saying we are to be watchmen on the walls and call out the sins of each other, otherwise those people’s blood may be on our hands.

As this week’s adult Sabbath school lesson pointed out, Jesus already took our blood on His hands. The Bible reminds us that Christ is our advocate and in His blood we have been forgiven.

The word “judgment” came up several times during this week’s readings. Judgment feels like a loaded word and has the potential to cause unease in people. Many Christians appear to take on the role of judge to point out the sins of others. However, what if our understanding of judgment is different from what the Bible teaches? For instance, when we read the first of the three angels’ messages starting with “fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come…” we insert our misconceptions of what judgment means. This is usually due to religious trauma. 

For many church goers, they experienced judgment from other people acting in the place of God, casting condemnation and shame on others. What happens if we take a look at the definition of judgment? The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes judgment in a couple of ways. One definition reads as “the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing…and the exercise of this capacity.” Through this lens, we are reminded that we make judgments every day. Returning to the first angel’s message to “fear God and give glory to Him…,” what is the judgment centered on? It is the hour of His judgment. Some scholars understand this to mean the investigative judgment in the heavenly sanctuary. Others wonder if this refers to us as humans judging God? The angel’s message seems to denote that we are the ones judging God’s character, tying to the underlying theme of the great controversy.

The word “fear” in the first angel’s message does not refer to being scared. Rather, according to the Strong’s Concordance, it means to show reverence to God. That feeling comes through having a relationship with Him. I revere the things and people I love the most. And love cannot take place without a relationship. So, it is possible when the message states “ … the hour of His judgment has come” it is referring to the fact that I am the one who has judged God’s character and found Him to be the one I give my reverence to. What if instead of using this verse as a threat, fear God and give glory or else, it is more of a prescribed relational outcome. As we take the time to know God, we will revere Him and give Him glory because we found there is nothing greater.

God made His judgments about us already. He chose us fully, dying on the cross for us because of His great love. The story of Jeshua the high priest demonstrates this point beautifully. In Zechariah 3, Jeshua stands before God in filthy clothes. The Bible states that “Satan the accuser” comes and makes accusations about Jeshua to God. Instead, God defends Jeshua, rebuking Satan. The Bible states that God chose Jeshua, “snatched him from the fire.” God replaces the filthy clothes for clean ones. This story reveals that when God judges mankind, He looks for ways to defend us, to save us. God made His call, have we made ours? Maybe that mindset is the heart of what the hour of judgment is about.

Satan the accuser is the one who blames people. There are too many Christians who have joined the work thinking they are serving God. Anyone who condemns others is doing the work of Satan, not the work of God. We see the evidence in Zechariah 3 and John 3:17, where it says God did not send His son into the world to condemn it but to save it. God made the call to save humanity, those who follow should do the same.

About the author

Krystalynn Westbrook-Martin is the former vice principal for spiritual life at Auburn Adventist Academy. She has served as a minister, teacher, and administrator in the Seventh-day Adventist Church for over two decades. She is currently completing a PhD in Transformative Social Change, with an emphasis in Peace and Justice Studies. More from Krystalynn Westbrook-Martin.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Spectrum Newsletter: The latest Adventist news at your fingertips.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.