Another name for the 7th Day in God’s prophetic plan of redemption, besides the Day of the Lord, is the Day of Judgment. If you’ve been following these blogs, you understand that this Day lasts 1,000 years. You may be surprised to find out that this Day features a judgment seat at the beginning and at the end.
We know that the Church is raptured at the start of this Day. It is when all those who are judged as being in Christ, and therefore part of His Body, are gathered together with Him and taken to our prepared place in Heaven. Since our sins are already forgiven by the blood of Jesus, we are already judged as righteous in Him. We stand before the judgment seat of Christ, which in the Greek is called the bema seat.
This is not a judgment for sin or eternal punishment. It is a judgment for the rewards to be received due to our works of service on the earth. “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward” (1 Cor. 3:12-14).
We know that there are no tears or suffering in Heaven. So this revealing must be instantaneous. Somehow we will see what was wasted, but the glory of standing before our Lord and our Father God will far outweigh any sense of loss. Nothing will compare to seeing Him face to face! How those rewards will take effect is not immediately clear in Scripture. But we know they will be based on our stewardship during our “boot-camp training” on the earth.
As we mentioned in the previous blog, the rest of mankind is judged at the end of Christ’s 1,000-year reign. Revelation 20:11-12 calls this the Great White Throne Judgment. “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. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.”
There are several important aspects to see in this passage—more than we can cover in one blog. So for now, let’s look at the basis of this final judgment. This judgment is for all other people (except the Church). It includes the Old Testament saints. This is when the parable of the wheat (believers) and tares (unbelievers), and the parable of the sheep (believers) and goats (unbelievers) are fulfilled. It is the final separation.
In case you’re wondering, the Old Testament saints, who died before Christ’s first coming, went to Abraham’s Bosom, a separate compartment in Hades. When Christ died, He went there and preached the Gospel to them, enabling Him to take them to Heaven with Him. This was Satan’s first notice that Christ had triumphed over death and served notice that God has sentenced Satan.
The only criterion for this final judgment is whether or not a person’s name is in the Book of Life. Every person’s name is written in the Book when they are born. Any people who have not received Christ as their Savior before the moment they die have their name removed from the Book. Incidentally, this is why aborted children, stillborn children, or young children who die before the age of accountability go to Heaven.
Remember, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. God longs that we choose Life!