check this expression out for me

lucky   Friday, December 10, 2004, 10:11 GMT
It was to be one of the most important judgments the court made.

what's that supposed to mean?
what differs if 'to be' part disappears like 'It was one of the most important judgments the court made' ?

the sentence is from Longman Dictionary. it defines the use of 'be'(as aux.verb) as 'used to show what had to happen or what did happen'
and the expression above is an example usage, which I dont get it.
D   Friday, December 10, 2004, 12:56 GMT
The phrase "was to be" in the original post means that
the decision was important, but the moment of time
expressed in the sentence is before the decision was given,
and before it was known that the decision was important.

Here's an example with more context:

It was to be an awful night, but Sam didn't know that as
he drove along the road in near-darkness. Suddenly,
a bright light descended from the sky. Sam's car
rose from the road and floated toward the light....