THE LAST DAYS
Pastor Anita Clark
“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” II Corinthians 5:10.
“And I saw a great white throne and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; ... 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 whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 19:11-15.
The Scripture speaks of several different judgments. For example: (1.) The Judgment Seat of Christ. (2.) The Judgment of the Nations. (3.) The Great White Throne Judgment. This teaching will endeavor to explain the differences in these three.
1. THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST - First of all the word “judgment” from the Gk. Means “a tribunal,” - which means “court, authority.” Vines Expository Dictionary gives this meaning - “a separating, a division, denotes a divine tribunal.” Romans 14:10 says, “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.” And again, in II Corinthians 5:10, “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 good or bad.” Christ is walking among us now, judging our lives. The “judgment seat” is not a place to condemn us for our sins and failures, but for Christ to examine our total life, and then to give rewards to us for all the Holy Spirit led things we did in our lifetime here on earth.
Ephesians 6:8 says “Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether good or bad.” There will be a day when the believer in Christ will stand before the Lord and receive the rewards for the things that have been done in his life and through his life while he is on this earth. Colossians 3:24 says, “Whatsoever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord, and not unto men, knowing of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance for you serve the Lord Christ.”
In Jesus’ day, Pilot sat upon a judgment seat. It was a transient place which was actually anywhere Pilot happened to be. In Revelation 1:12-18, we see Christ the judge in the midst of the Church Age in which we live, walking among the candlesticks, which represent the church during this age. He is judging the believers of the church right now. I Corinthians 11:31-32 says, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the wicked.” The Judge, Christ, is scrutinizing our lives right now as we walk upon this earth. In this present life we are blessed when we yield to God or we are chastened of the Lord when we walk after our flesh. All of this is brought about because He loves us.
Two portions of the Word speak of the way Jesus Christ deals with us. First, Hebrews 12:5-11, where Apostle Paul speaks of the chastening which God brings to us in this present life because we are His children whom He loves. His motive is always “LOVE.” The second portion is Galatians 6:7-9, where Paul speaks of “sowing and reaping.” Plainly, if we walk with God, yielding to the Holy Spirit, we will reap blessings even in this present life. If we sow to our flesh, letting sin rule our lives, we will suffer many things in our natural bodies, perhaps illness or financial loss or etc. It is not our place to judge another believer and say, “She’s ill, she must be walking after her fleshly nature.” Christ Jesus is the Judge. He chastens us to correct us and keep us following Him. He is full of grace and mercy. We usurp His authority if we take upon ourselves to judge our fellow believer.
I Corinthians 3:12-15, “If any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, or precious stones, - wood, hay or 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.” Here again we see right now in our present life, what takes place. Christ the judge sees our lives - whether we are building on this foundation (Christ V.11) eternal, long-lasting things (gold, silver, precious stones, which are only refined further by fire), or “wood, hay or stubble,” which are showy things, but burn up in a few seconds when the fire is applied. Note: Vs. 14, “He shall receive a reward.” The child of God who walks in the Spirit and manifests these good long-lasting characteristics of Christ will reap blessings in this life. and in the future when Christ returns will receive a greater inheritance than those who walk after their flesh, and shun the working of God’s Holy Spirit in their lives. We will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ one day and be rewarded for our yieldedness in our present life. Note: Revelation 2-3, The Lord repeatedly says, “To him that overcometh...” various rewards and places of honor will be given in heaven.
2. THE JUDGMENT OF THE NATIONS - The book of Revelation plainly shows what will happen during the tribulation. Christ will be ruling in heaven on His throne (Rev.4), His overcoming saints of God from the Church Age reigning with Him. Note: Rev.5:8-10, the Living Creatures and Twenty-Four Elders of Revelation 4 are described here as, (Vs. 9) “redeemed us to God; by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue and people, and nation.” The coming of the Lord as described in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 as taken place at this point in time before the tribulation period of seven years.
He will be pouring out the wrath of God upon the unbelieving world. The judgment will be physical - they will suffer and die. After the seven years, Christ will return with His saints with him. (Rev. 19:1-10.) These verses show the people of God from the Church Age already with the Lord. They have already experienced the judgment of the Lord as to their works and are now in their rightful places in the heavens. In vs. 9, they are at the Marriage supper with the Lord. Then, in verses 11-19 - Christ is seen returning with His Army made up of believers of this age coming back with Him. I stress this point because some believe that at the Great White Throne Judgment all people will stand before the Lord (believers and unbelievers). No! The believers are already in heaven a 1,000 years before.
Some confuse the Great White Throne judgment with what Jesus Christ spoke of in Matthew 25:31-46, The judgment of the nations and their attitudes toward Israel, called “my brethren.” This judgment will take place at the end of the tribulation, after the nations have in a final way shown their attitude toward the nation of Israel. It is not speaking of a judgment sorting out people, whether Saints or sinner. Because of the attitude and actions of some nations they will be totally destroyed as nations, though each individual of those nations will be judged by God as to their belief in Christ or not.
-Note: Revelation 20 starts with Satan being cast into the bottomless pit for 1,000 years.. The Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ will be set up on earth. We the people of the Church Age will be with the Lord in heaven, ruling and reigning with Him. Then, after the 1,000 years is over Revelation 20:11-15 will take place. Again we emphasize, the believers will already be in heaven in their places or ranks with the Lord. Christ is sitting on His Great White Throne, ready to judge the unbelieving dead from all the ages - from way back to the beginning. Those who did not receive salvation in Old and New Testament times will be judged. There are no believers in Christ here at this throne. When the Scripture says, “DEAD” it means exactly that. “Dead Spiritually.” (Eph. 2:1). These are all the rejecters of God from all past ages of time. Note: They are judged from “the Book of Life.” This book has recorded the names of ALL who have received Christ. Their names are not found there. This alone dooms them to eternal damnation and eternal judgment. Note: It says in Vs. 13 -“And death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them.” This proves that these are not believers being judged. The believer in Christ upon natural death is taken to heaven with the Lord and at this time is already with Christ in heaven for 1,000 years.
These unbelievers are not only judged as to whether their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of life, (Vs.15) but also “... judged every man according to their works” (Vs.13)," which implies that they will have more suffering according to their deeds done in this life.
Revelation 21:27 says, “And there shall in no wise enter into it (the New Jerusalem) anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of Life.”
Through this study it is hoped that each one reading will understand God’s Word in a better way. Christ is coming so very soon. The signs are everywhere showing the nearness of this happening. Our lives are an open book before the Lord. He is observing us now, and patiently working in us to bring us to maturity in Christ. Be ready!