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Understanding Eternal Judgement: Part III

Welcome again!

On our second part of this series, understanding Eternal Judgement,  we studied the principles of divine judgment and why judgment shall take place. Today we're looking at the 3 times of Judgement, 3
locations of judgment and the 2 divisions of people who shall appear before eternal judgment. Polite  notice: The post shall be slightly longer! (but not so long..haha).

 

A) The Times of Judgment

The Bible indicates there is a past, present and future judgment.

i) Past Judgment

The Bible is a history of God's Judgment. From the time of Adam and Eve it records God's judgment of nations and individuals. the Bible records two special judgments that are important to believers: Judgments of Satan and the world. God has already passed judgment and set penalties for both.

a) Satan And His Angels
Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God passed final judgment on Satan:
the prince of this world is judged. John 16:11 
Satan has already been judged by God. He is allowed limited activity until he is cast into the lake of fire at the end of the world but he is already condemned as guilty. Satan's angels, who left their original position in heaven as angels of God to join him in rebellion, are also already condemned.

b) The World
Because it is ruined by the presence of sin, the physical world is already condemned by God's judgement. The Bible says the world will be destroyed by fire

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night...the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10 

ii) Present Judgment

There is a present judgment going on continuously. All men are presently judged as sinful or righteous before God. The present judgment of man is on the basis of whether or not s(he) has accepted Jesus Christ as savior.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18 

God's judgment on man unbelievers is by showing His wrath because they hinder the truth.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Romans 1:18  

God's present judgment on believers is in love. He corrects them when they do wrong. Just as a natural father corrects his children, God judges the behavior of His children. If they sin, God corrects them in love just as a father does his son. God's chastening (correction) of His children is for a specific purpose.

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him; For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth...But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Hebrews 12:5 ,6,8

iii) Future Judgment

It's the future judgment of which Paul refers in Hebrews 6 when he speaks of eternal judgment . Eternal judgment happens after death:

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: Hebrews 9:27  

After a person dies it's immediately determined whether or not he enters the presence of God. The destiny of the righteous and the unrighteous is different after death. But the final judgment confirming their eternal destinies occurs after the end of the world and the resurrection.


B) The Locations Of Final Judgement

There are three locations where final judgement will occur:

i) The Judgment Seat of Christ

Those judged here will be all true believers;
...for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Romans 14:10  

ii) The Throne of His glory

The second place of judgment is called "the throne of His glory." Those judged here will be those who remained on the earth during the tribulation period. The righteous will be resurrected and judged prior to Jesus up the Millennial Kingdom on earth.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Revelation 20:4,5

iii) The Great White Throne

The final place of judgment is called the "great white throne." Those judged here are the remaining dead who will be resurrected at the close of Millennium. This is the second resurrection called the resurrection of the unjust.

The great throne judgment is recorded in Revelation 20:11-15. The unrighteous will be judged and because of their sin cast into the lake of fire along with Satan and his angels.


Two Basic Divisions

There will be only two basic divisions of people who are tried in the final judgment: Believers and unbelievers. I'd love we delve in depth to understand what circles the judgment of these tho categories.

 i) Believes

Believers will be judged for their works and rewarded accordingly. they will be judged by how they have built their lives on the foundations of God's Word.

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.  If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.   If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.1 Corinthians 3:12-15 

In natural world, wood, hay and stubble all grow visibly above the ground. they burn easily. they are examples of works done by believers ti be seen by man. the motive for these works was wrong.
Gold and silver are not destroyed by fire. In the natural world, these substances develop below the ground unseen by man. They are an example of works done by man with the right motive, not done just to be seen and praise by man. They are works which are valuable in God's Kingdom because they were done with the right motive.

The works of true believers will be judged on the basis of obedience. the parable of the talents in Mathew 25 and the parable of the pounds in Luke 19 were told by Jesus to illustrate this truth. Just as these parables, our Master has given us a responsibility. that responsibility is called the Great Commission:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Matthew 28:19-20  

We are to take what God has given us, the message of the gospel, and reproduce it by sharing it with others throughout the world. As we obey this commission, we are investing what God has given us and increasing it. 

Some believers have greater responsibilities than others in this commission. Some are called as pastors, evangelists, teachers, etc.But every born again believer has some responsibility in reaching out the world with the gospel. Believers will be judged on the basis of their faithfulness to the responsibility God has given them.

As we stated on part I of this series, believers will not be judged on basis of abilities, education or spiritual gifts. They will be judged on the basis of obedience and faithfulness to what God has given them to do. The judgment of true believers is not one of condemnation. That is, the true believers cannot be condemned to eternal punishment. through accepting Christ, he already has passed from spiritual death to eternal life.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. John 5:24 

A true believer is the one who has repented from sin and shown faith towards God by accepting Jesus Christ as personal savior. He is one who has become and lived as a new creature in Jesus Christ. Paul confirms:

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1 

When a sinner comes to Jesus his record of former sins is erased by God. When a believer sins, he needs only to repent and confess his sin and god erases it from the record:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9  

ii) The unbelievers

The unrighteous will be judged and punished for sin. God keeps a record called the "book of life" in which is listed the names of those who have repented, accepted Jesus Christ, and becomes true believers. Those who have rejected Him will be judged for sin and doomed to eternal punishment. Their names are not in the book of life:

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15 

It's important to understand that you must (be committed) to live as a new creature in Jesus after conversion. It's possible to be saved and then because of continuing in sin to "backslide" into the old life. The Bible confirms that it is possible to have your name written in the book of life but then have it blotted out because of sin.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. Exodus 32:33  

This is why learning to live a holy life is so important. (We shall dig deeper into this when we shall be looking at "perfection") By overcoming sin in your life, you can be assured God will not blot your name out of the book of life.


Conclusion

Right now, as you are reading this, it's either you name is in the book of life or not. The beautiful news is we all have a chance to make the right decision, now. if you've accepted Jesus as your personal savior, go ahead and accomplish the great commission. If not yet, seize the opportunity and accept this precious Jesus. We really need to think of heaven because it's where we're going. Desire to come to the fullness of grace; never put yourself a lesser expectation - aim to fulfill His will. Each one of us knows if we're working to please men or God. whoever passes this test, passes the greatest test.

I promised this series on eternal Judgment shall contain 3 parts, but he third part is  a bit bigger to cover under one post, so thought it wise we sum it on our last fourth part Where we shall see how the destiny of both the righteous and the unbelievers looks like.

Be blessed as you make the wise decision of your soul's destiny: Heaven.