Eschatology

 

 

25. What does the Bible say about the final judgement?

 

 

 

The Bible says: “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work” (Ecclesiastes 3:17 – NKJV), and again: “For God will bring every work into judgement. Including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14 – NKJV).

Therefore, both the righteous and the wicked will be judged, but there is a difference between the two judgements, because the judgement of the righteous will not be a judgement of condemnation because they are just, that is, because they have been justified by faith and there is no condemnation to them, as it is written: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 – NKJV). They will certainly appear before the judgement seat of God, but not to be condemned but that each one of them may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body. For Paul says to the Corinthians: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10), and to the Romans: “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:10-12). The just have eternal life, yet they will be judged according to what they have done in the body in order to receive their own reward according to their own labor. There will be no judgement of condemnation for them, because Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgement, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24 – NKJV).

On the contrary, the unjust – both those who lived before the coming of Christ and those who have lived on earth since the coming of Christ - will be judged in order to be condemned. Jesus spoke of this judgement when he said: “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell [hades]: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee” (Matthew 11:21-24), and again: “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here” (Luke 11:31-32). Paul also spoke of this judgement, for he said that in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God, God will render indignation and wrath to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness (Romans 2:5-8). John also spoke of this judgement, for he wrote: “And I saw a great white throne, and him that 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, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell [hades] delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15).

There is another difference between the two judgements, in that the former will take place at the coming of Christ (that is to say, when Christ comes back from heaven the just will rise to life – cf. Luke 14:14 – and will receive their own reward); while the latter will take place at the end of the Millennial reign (that is to say, when the Thousand-Year Reign has ended, the unjust will rise again, they will be judged according to their works and will be cast into the lake of fire).

 

 

 

 

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