“Our Daily Bread” http://odb.org/
The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie http://www.harvest.org/devotional
Written by Pastor Mike Campagna @ http://www.aheartforgod.org
Original post @ http://www.aheartforgod.org/2016/08/02/judgment-days/
“It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27; KJV)
I made it plural for a reason.
It seems there is a confusion on whether or not believers in Christ, who have confessed Jesus as Lord and asked for forgiveness and have been living and serving God with their whole heart, will stand before God after this life is through AND side by side with unbelievers to be judged on the way they lived.
I say, “No.”
Don’t get me wrong.
I am not saying that believers won’t be judged.
I am not saying that at all.
What I am saying is that believers will be judged, but separately and distinctly apart from unbelievers.
It is at the “Bema Seat” or Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) that believers will be judged and rewarded for acts of faithfulness. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)
This judgment has nothing to do with salvation which comes only by faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
There will be no unbelievers at the “Bema Seat.”
THE SHEEP AND THE GOATS
There is another passage of Scripture that might add confusion and cause us to think believers and unbelievers are judged together.
Do you remember The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats? (Matthew 25:31-46)
What does our Lord do there?
He separates the sheep from the goats and then has a conversation with both groups as regards judgment.
Now I guess it could be preconceived that this whole scene is both the sheep and the goats together.
But could it be instead they are only together for the purpose of Christ communicating the parable?
I think so.
TWO SEPARATE JUDGMENTS
The Book of Revelation bears this (the separating of believers and unbelievers in two separate judgments) out.
It is believed by some that the Rapture takes place prior to the Tribulation. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
For sure we know that it (the Rapture) takes place before the wrath of God is poured out. (Revelation 16:1-21)
At that point the Church is in heaven with Jesus (another “separation”) and God is specifically dealing with the beast and those that follow him on earth.
Thus, there are no believers on the planet at this time (during the wrath of God).
The response to the bowl judgments prove it:
“And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.” (Revelation 16:21)
“[A]nd they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” (Revelation 6:16-17)
And so there is a separation between believers and unbelievers as the wrath of God is poured out.
Jesus Himself then comes back to earth (Jude 1:14c; Zechariah 14:4), does away with the beast and false prophet, consigns Satan to the bottomless pit and begins His rule and reign on earth. (Revelation 19:11-20:6)
The “Millennium” then continues until its ultimate conclusion with the final war. (Revelation 20:7-10)
After that comes what is referred to as the Great White Throne judgment. (Revelation 20:11-15)
This is the other Judgment Day: of the damned.
There are no believers at this judgment, only unbelievers.
How do we know?
Well, we know because of the “Bema Seat” that I already mentioned and the Sheep and Goats parable as I’ve presented it.
Also, there has been a separation already taking place (at the Rapture, at the Millennium, at the final war where all unbelievers are consumed by fire from heaven).
And then now during the Great White Throne judgment, something interesting (and chilling) takes place.
In Revelation 20:12, it reads:
And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.