• Steve McAtee

Future Judgments

Updated: Feb 9


Day 7 of the 24 Day Prophecy Study

Notes compiled by Steve McAtee and Marty Zide


Every single human being will face the righteous and holy judgment of God. Mankind is appointed to this. Believers and unbelievers alike will face God and give an account to Him. It is important to know right up front that the judgments for believers are not the same as they will be for the non-believer. The Word of God presents several different judgments.


Ps 96:13 - ...for He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in His faithfulness.


Heb 9:27 - And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.


The Bible speaks of several different judgments. There are some who want to roll up all of the judgments into one and make it seem like there is one big general judgment. That, however, is not the case. There are several judgments that are spoken of throughout Scripture and different groups of people participate in the various judgments.


Some judgments are only for the unsaved and some are only for the saved. Several will have both saved and unsaved people that will be participating.


In our study, we will examine four future judgments. They are the Judgment of Israel, the Judgment of the Gentiles, the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Great White Throne Judgment.


THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST

This Judgment is only for believers. It is also called the Bema Seat of Christ because essentially it’s a time when Church saints will receive their rewards. It will take place in heaven while the seven-year tribulation period is taking place on the earth.


Rom 14:10, 12 - But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.


2 Cor 5:10 - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.


1 Cor 3:11-15 - For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.


A. Who Will Be Judged?

This Judgment is only for believers who are saved from the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) until the rapture (1 Thes. 4:13-18). That only includes the saints of the church age. This would include all of us who are saved because we are living during the church age.


2 Cor 5:10 - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.


The Old Testament saints and the Tribulation saints will be judged at the end of the Tribulation in preparation for entrance into the millennial kingdom. Some verses that point this out are Dan. 12:1-2 (OT saints), Matt. 25:31-46 (Gentile nations), Ezek. 20:34-38 (Israel).


B. When Will We Be Judged?

The answer to this question is clearly given in Rev. 19:8, where it indicates that when the Lord Jesus returns in glory to put the tribulation period to an end (seven years after the rapture), the church saints will have already received her rewards.


Rev 19:7-8 - Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

This righteousness is not referring to imputed righteousness that is given at the time of one’s salvation. Instead, it refers to the results of one’s deeds being tested and found acceptable to receive a reward.


Right after this, according to Rev. 19:11-16, the Lord Jesus returns to the earth and we will be coming back with Him. So to sum up, we will appear before the bema seat after the rapture, but, before the Lord returns to the earth.


C. Where Will We Be Judged?

We will be judged before the “judgment seat of Christ.” The term “judgment seat” comes from the Greek word bema, and means “a raised place or platform that is reached by steps.” Where will be bema seat be located for this judgment? The answer is given in I Thes. 4.


1 Thes 4:15-17 - For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.


The bema seat judgment will take place in the presence of the Lord Jesus in the heavenlies.


D. Why Will We Be Judged?

This is a very important aspect to consider. This is not a judgment to determine one’s eternal destiny. Only those who are saved are present. So one’s destiny is not the issue. If that’s not the issue, what is?


The primary reason for the judgment is clearly given in 2 Cor. 5:10.

2 Cor 5:10 - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.


Basically, what Paul is saying is that all of the works which are done in the lifetime of each individual believer will be viewed and judged by the Lord Jesus to determine their worthiness in order to receive or lose a reward.


E. The Results of the Judgment

The results of the Judgment Seat of Christ are clearly laid out for us in Scripture. All believer’s works will be judged and the end result will be rewards given for the faithful service that is done for the glory of God.


1 Cor 3:11-15 - For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.


The works that were done for self-glorification will suffer the loss of any kind of reward. Yet it is clearly stated that the believer will not lose their salvation. Those works that were done for the glory of God will receive a reward in the form of crowns that will be laid at the feet of Jesus.


The Rewards for faithful service will be received as “crowns.” There are five that are spelled out in the New Testament:


(1) the incorruptible crown - for those who run the race of life acceptably – 1 Cor. 9:25 (2) the crown of life - for those who resist temptation -James 1:12 (3) the crown of rejoicing - for those who reach others for Christ - 1 Thes. 2:19 (4) the crown of righteousness - for those who anxiously await the coming of Christ - 2 Tim. 4:8 (5) the crown of glory - for the faithful under-shepherds - 1 Pet. 5:4.


The word for “crown'” in each of these passages is stephanos, the victory wreath was given either to signify triumph in the games (1 Cor. 9:25) or as a public honor for a distinguished act of courage. There isn’t any value in this crown in and of itself. However, it is precious, because it reveals the delight of the judge who awarded it.


Because there are degrees in heaven, the way we behave and serve during our earthly life should matter greatly to us. There are eternal ramifications to this judgment that should have positive effects upon us. How we live our life now has a bearing on our future position in heaven.



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