Judgments & Resurrections
All judgment belongs to Jesus Christ. He will judge justly and in line with the perfect holiness of the one true God. He alone has been given the right to judge, both those under His atoning grace and those who have rejected Him as the Messiah (John 5:22-30).
There is not one judgment for all, but three successive groups of judgments. These are:
- The judgment at the rapture
- Judgments of the nations at Christ’s second coming
- Judgments after the Christ’s reign in the millennial kingdom
The bema judgment is the judgment of the saints of the Church, the Church age believers; the Bride of Christ. I would reiterate that this only applies to those who died during the Church age and those living when the rapture occurs.
From the Greek we discover that bema was a raised seat where a judge was seated as he adjudicated cases before him. The word can “also be used in connection with the platform on which the umpire or referee sat during the Olympic or the Isthmian games at Corinth. . . . It is also where the winners received their crowns or rewards.” [i]
So the Bema seat judgment has nothing to do with whether someone is going to heaven or hell, but it is about the rewards or crowns a believer in Christ will receive. The crown or lack of crowns depends on a Christian’s works for Christ (not salvation). Jesus looks at what our heart attitude was when we did these works. Were we trying to glorify Jesus or glorify ourselves (2 Cor. 5:10)?
The bema seat judgment on Christians is really threefold and discerns:
- “the extent our lives and ministry follow the Word of God”
- “the extent we have been faithful stewards of all that He has entrusted to us”
- “our motives”[ii]
The Second Judgment Group
After Christ’s victory at His Second Advent over the nations in the battle of Armageddon three judgments occur.
First is the judgment of the Gentiles following the tribulation (Joel 3: 1-2; Matt. 25:31-46). This is the judgment of the Gentiles that still alive at the end of the tribulation. Those that now believe in Jesus Christ will go into the Millennial Kingdom.
“Jesus will judge those Gentiles who lived through the tribulation. They will be judged based on their rejection or acceptance of Jesus as their Saviour. The righteous will go into the millennial kingdom, but the unrighteous will be cast into hell.
Benware makes the point that “the internal, spiritual condition of Gentiles is revealed externally by the way in which they treated Israel during the great tribulation (cf. Rev. 12:13-16). This is valid proof of their righteousness because of the terrible persecution that Israel will endure during the second half of the tribulation.”[iii]
Second comes the judgment of Jews that are still living at the end of the tribulation. After Armageddon the Lord will regather Israel and judge them; determining the saved, from the unsaved Jew. Like the Gentiles, the righteous will be allowed to live in the millennial kingdom and the sinful will be cast into hell.
The saved of Israel will experience the fullness of the covenantal commitments God made to Israel. They will enter the Millennial Kingdom in their existing physical bodies.
Thirdly is the judgment of the Old Testament and tribulation believers whom are martyred during the tribulation. These would be believers, like Abraham, Joshua, Daniel, and all who, by faith believed God.
Throughout all millennium it was necessary that man believed by faith (cf. Daniel 12:2-3; Matt. 16:27; Rev. 20:4-6). Like the Church age saints this judgment is a rewards judgment.
The Final Judgment Grouping
These last judgments are after the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ—prior to the beginning of the Eternal Kingdom.
The first judgment is the ultimate judgment of Satan and his demon army—the fallen angels (Rev. 20:10) for their rebellion. While Satan’s fate has been sealed since before the foundations of the cosmos and consummated by the cross and resurrection it is now they are forever banished to the lake of fire which is hell (1 Cor. 6:3; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6-7).
The second judgment in this group is the judgment of the fallen creation. This is the destruction and the passing away of the heavens and the earth (cf. 2 Peter 3:10; Matt. 24:35; Rev. 20:11). Like a cancer sin has embedded itself in the entire cosmos; so all of the universe is replaced.
The final judgment is the Great White Throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). “All unsaved people from every age will be resurrected at this time and will stand before the Lord Jesus to be judged (cf. John 5:22, 26-29). These individuals are referred to as ‘the dead’ in contrast to believers, who are called the ‘dead in Christ.’”[iv]
Two books are referenced. The Book of Life which contains only the named of the saved. However the book of works, are not to jog Christ’s memory, but rather prove that all who are judged are guilty and to determine the severity of their punishment.
A Closing Note
All of these people over all millennia, whether saints or damned are conscious from the instant they die. The soul of each person saved or lost, lives on after death. For the believer it is eventually reunited with its glorified body. What happens to those who are lost is not evident in scriptures.
How do we know this is the case? In Luke 16 the Bible gives us the account of the rich man and Lazarus. This is not a parabolic story, for parables are general in nature and do not name real people.
19 There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side.[f] The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers[g]—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”
You will live forever–it’s a matter of where and with whom.
This is The End
Notes & Footnotes
 The “saved” Gentiles will enter the millennial kingdom in their physical bodies and will repopulate the earth.
[i] Benware., 323.
[ii] Ibid., 324.
[iii] Ibid., 327.
[iv] Ibid., 329.
It’s the End Time
Footnotes & End Notes:
 The term rapture, while not found in the Bible, comes from the Latin rapturo, a transliteration of the Greek word meaning “to be snatched up” or “caught up.”
 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
[i] Chafer, 364.
[ii] Renald Showers, Maranatha Our Lord Come! (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1995), 12V