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Christ the Judge, Jury and Executioner: Why You Want to Avoid Final Judgment

A final judgment is coming. The Bible states it this way, "It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Every man, woman, and child will face judgment, but many don't realize that there will be two different judgments—one court date for believers and another date for everyone who has rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

The Judgment Seat of Christ, also known as the Bema seat, will happen in heaven immediately following the Rapture of the Church (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10). This is the court date for Christians. No one judged in this court will be condemned. Everyone present will be a follower of Christ who surrendered their life and believed in Him. All their misdeeds will be covered by grace. For Christians, the Judgment Seat will be a ceremony, a way for Christ to assess their good works and assign their rewards for faithfulness to Him as their Savior.

The final judgment for everyone else will be vastly different.

Judgment for Unbelievers

The final judgment—The Great White Throne Judgment—will be a day when all unbelievers, including those who pretended to be godly, will stand before God. Here they will face the consequences of rejecting Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. It is the final bar of justice in God's plan for the inhabitants of planet earth, and the accused will be judged by the black–and–white standard of absolute truth.

In Revelation 20:13, John tells us that every unbeliever who has died will be resurrected to be judged by Christ: "The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works." This resurrection takes place at the end of the Millennium. All the unsaved dead from Creation to the end of the Millennium will be included. After this resurrection, there will be no human bodies left in a grave anywhere on earth.

Where Is the Great White Throne Judgment Going to Happen?

"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them" (Revelation 20:11).

Somewhere between heaven and earth this judgment will take place. Jesus Christ Himself will conduct the trial (John 5:22, 27), and no one is better qualified. He did all He could to save man. Since man has rejected Him, mankind must be judged by Him.

All the unsaved dead will be standing before the throne, the great and the small from all ranks in the Church and in the world. The greatest and the most famous down to the least and unknown will step forth at the awesome and majestic throne.

Everyone summoned to the Great White Throne Judgment, regardless of their status on this earth, will have one thing in common: they will have died without Christ, and they will have no hope.

The Purpose of the Final Judgment

Revelation 20:12 says the "books were opened.... And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books."

The purpose of the Great White Throne Judgment is not to determine if a person is saved. Anyone God calls to this judgment is not saved. This is a sentencing for the evil works of the unsaved. Men are not sent to hell because they are murderers or liars; they are sent to hell because they are unrighteous—they have not been washed clean by the blood of Jesus.

John tells us that men are judged "by things which were written in the books." We aren't told specifically how many books or what is written in each, but we find verses throughout Scripture that give us clues to this final judgment:

"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Matthew 12:36–37, KJV

"For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Ecclesiastes 12:14, KJV

"In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel." Romans 2:16, KJV

Each person will have to an account for their actions and words, whether secret or public.

Finally, we are told that "another book was opened, which is the Book of Lifeā€¦. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:12, 15).

What Is the Book of Life?

The Book of Life is mentioned often in Scripture (Exodus 32:32–33; Psalm 69:28; Daniel 12:1 Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 21:27; 22:19).

Cities in John's day had a register that contained the name of every citizen. If a person committed a serious offence, he could be called before the town tribunal to witness the blotting out of his name from the register. That meant he was no longer considered a citizen of the town and would be forced to move elsewhere.

I believe this is a fair representation of the Book of Life—a register containing the name of every person born into this world, but they are subject to being removed. Revelation 3:5 records Christ stating that He "will not blot out [the name of the righteous] from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels." Presumably, at the Great White Throne Judgment, a "blot" in place of a name in the Book of Life means that person will not gain access to heaven.

The Final Sentencing

John clearly viewed what happens when a person's name is not found in the Book of Life: "And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:15).

The first death is experienced by humans (except those alive at the Rapture) when we die and our soul is separated from the body. In the second death, the physical body and spiritual soul—having been reunited—are both cast into the lake of fire forever. The unsaved person, raised from the dead, is judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, found wanting, and consigned to eternal separation from God. At the first death, the soul and body are separated from each other for a time. At the second death, both body and soul are separated from God's presence for eternity.

Scripture offers a grim picture of hell. It is a place of "torment" (Luke 16:28); a place of "wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 13:42); a place where "their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:48); a place of "fire and brimstone" (Revelation 14:10; 21:8). It is also the final abode of the Antichrist and the False Prophet (Revelation 19:20; 20:10). At the end of the Millennium, Satan is cast into the lake of fire to join the Antichrist and False Prophet, to be "tormented day and night forever and ever" (Revelation 20:10). Finally, after the Great White Throne Judgment, the unsaved are also cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).

One does not have to be the worst sinner in the world to land in the lake of fire; one just has to be an unbelieving sinner. There are only two choices: accept Him now as Lord and Savior, or face Him as Judge, Jury, and Executioner at the end of the Millennium.

The book of Revelation is like all other biblical prophecy: It is an accurate foretelling of future events that provides an opportunity to prepare for and respond to that which will unfold. Those who hear and believe God's Word will not "come into judgment, but [will pass] from death into life" (John 5:24).

Further Your Study of Bible Prophecy With Dr. Jeremiah's Study Set

The Book of Signs

31 Undeniable Prophecies of the Apocalypse

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