The Judgment at the End of Times
There Are at Least Eight Kinds of Different Judgment in the Scriptures.
Many sorts of judgment are mentioned in the Scriptures, at least the following eight ones: 1) the judgment of God in this age (Gen. 6:13; 19:24-25 etc.); 2) the judgment of God upon death on Jesus who (Matt. 27:46); 3) the chastening of God’s judgment upon believers (Heb. 12:10; 1Cor. 11:31-32); 4) the judgment of the church upon believers who have sinned (1Cor. 5:12-13); 5) the judgment of believers upon the world and the fallen angels in the future (1Cor. 6:2-3; Matt. 19:28); 6) the judgment before the judgment-seat of Christ (2Cor. 5:10); 7) the judgment before the glorious throne of Christ (Matt. 25:31-32); 8) the judgment before great white throne (Rev. 20:11-12). The last three ones are judgments that God shall execute step by step at the end of times. And believers shall have clear knowledge about them.
The Judgment before the Judgment-seat of Christ
Many believers who parrot others’ words without understanding believe that believers will immediately enter into the heaven to enjoy eternal rest and joy without experiencing any judgment of God. Such view goes against the scriptures and the righteous works of God. Though believers are justified and have obtained the eternal life, they shall still give account to God concerning their walking after being saved. This is the reason for the judgment before the judgment-seat of Christ:
1) The timing of this judgment: in the second coming of Christ ---- “until the Lord come, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and shall make manifest the counsels of hearts” (1Cor. 4:5); “the lord of those bondmen comes and reckons with them” (Matt. 25:19); “in that day” (2Tim. 4:8); “the day” (1Cor. 3:13); “in the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14; see 1Thess. 4:16);
2) The location of this judgment: in the air ---- “be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1Thess. 4:17);
3) The judge: the Lord Jesus Christ ---- “the Lord, the righteous Judge” (2Tim. 4:8; 1Cor. 4:4);
4) The object of this judgment: believers ---- “for the time of having the judgment must being at the house of God” (1Pet. 4:17); “we all” (2Cor. 5:10); “each of us” (Rom. 14:12).
5) The basis of this judgment: the deeds and works of everyone ---- “each may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad” (2Cor. 5:10; Rev. 22:12; Matt. 16:27); “the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1Cor. 3:13);
6) The result of this judgment: be rewarded or suffer loss ---- “whether good or evil” (2Cor. 5:10); “reward…render” (Rev. 22:12); “receive a reward…suffer loss” (1Cor. 3:14-15). Though the position of the believers who are chastened ---- they are saved ---- has not been changed, they have to suffer loss for a period. The Scriptures has not given the detailed description of the loss, but only mentions it as through fire (1Cor. 3:15). Definitely, it must be painful and make men “weep and gnash the teeth” (Matt. 24:51; 25:30).
The Judgment before the Glorious Throne of Christ
The object of this judgment is all the nations who are alive on the earth when Christ comes again:
1. The timing of this judgment: in the second coming of Christ ---- “when the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him” (Matt. 25:31);
2. The location of this judgment: the place where Christ comes upon ---- “he shall sit down upon his throne of his glory” (Matt. 25:31-32; see Jer. 3:17);
3. The judge: the Lord Jesus ---- “the Son of man” (Matt. 25:31); “man (Christ) whom he (God) has appointed” (Acts 17:31); “Jesus Christ who is about to judge…” (2Tim. 4:1);
4. The object of this judgment: the nations who are alive at that time ---- “all the nations” (Matt. 25:32); “the habitable earth” (Acts 17:31); “living” (2Tim. 4:1; Acts 10:42);
5. The basis of this judgment: treat one of the least of brothers (believers and the elect of God) in the Lord well or evil ---- “whether it is done to one of the least of the brothers” (Matt. 25:40, 45);
6. The result of this judgment: separate the sheep from the goats, namely, separate the righteous from the cursed ---- “the righteous into life eternal” (Matt. 25:46), namely, “to inherit the kingdom prepared for you (the righteous) from world’s foundation” (Matt. 25:34); “Go from me, cursed, into eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41), namely, “go away into eternal punishment” (Matt. 25:46);
The Judgment before the Great White Throne
This is the last judgment of God:
1. The timing of this judgment: after the kingdom of one thousand years before the new heaven and new earth ---- “till the thousand years had been completed” (Rev. 20:5);
2. The location of this judgment: before the throne ---- “a great white throne …. Stand before the throne” (Rev. 20:11-12); at that time “the earth and the heaven fled, and place was not found for them” (Rev. 20:11). Therefore, we can not make sure where the throne is.
3. The judge: “he that sat on it (the great white throne)” (Rev. 20:11) ---- if it is not God Himself, it will be the Lord Jesus Himself (see John 5:22, 27);
4. The object of this judgment: the dead who did not live again in the first resurrection ---- “the rest of the dead did not live till the thousand years had been completed” (Rev. 20:5); “the dead, great and small, standing before the throne” (Rev. 20:12);
5. The basis of this judgment: according to their works ---- “were judged out of the things written in the books according to their works” (Rev. 20:12); “they were judged each according to their works” (Rev. 20:13);
6. The result of this judgment: perish or not perish ---- “and if any one was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15);
What we pay attention to is the end of our family members who have not chance to hear the gospel before death and those who die young when they are unable to discern between their right hand and their left hand (see Jon. 4:11). Since it is not mentioned in the scriptures, we cannot know it clearly. However, there is one thing that we are sure ---- since our God is a merciful and righteous God, He will give remedy to them. e.g. it is written in the First Epistle of Peter, “in which also going he preached to the spirits in prison” (1Pet. 3:19). We are ignorant of the real condition. We do also not know whether the gospel will be preached to the spirits in hell before the great white throne. Let we commit it to God. All that he has done will never be wrong.
── Caleb Huang《Christian Digest Bible Commentary Series》
Translated by Mary Zhou