The final judgement will involve every single person who has lived. Some people will get judged on their morality, while others will be judged on their works. On what will YOU be judged?!
Please read John 5:22-30 ESV before beginning free Bible study lessons, #2.24
Previous Lesson: Jesus' Christ's Return #2.23
Preliminary Bible Study Questions:
1. How many judgements are there?
2. What is the Great White Throne Judgement?
3. What is the Bema Seat Judgement?
Jesus' Life Bible study series would not be complete without a lesson glorifying his authority and power to judge all of humanity. This immense authority was gifted to him from the Father.
Today's lesson will be devoted to understanding Jesus' ultimate authority, and how he will judge people on Judgement Day, which commences at his second coming (Matthew 25:31; 2 Timothy 4:1; 4:8).
The final judgement will involve Jesus Christ, his good angels, and all of humanity. Jesus Christ was describing the power of eternal life that God the Father gave him (John 5:21,26) when he shared that the Father also blessed him with the authority to judge mankind.
The Father handed over all judging power to Christ, while he himself judges no one (John 5:22). Therefore, Christ Jesus the Judge will preside over Judgement Day.
Jesus Christ has help, though, and enlists his good angels to sort out those people who claimed to be Christians. In other words, the earthly Church will come front and center before Jesus Christ.
The true disciples of Christ (aka saints, Christians) will be placed on his right for their own final judgement.
The Christian hypocrites will be placed on his left, along with all other nonbelievers. There are actually four judgements according to the Scriptures, which we'll list here:
This lesson will focus upon two final judgements: the final judgment of believers and the great white throne judgement for unbelievers.
I believe the final judgement of Israel to be included with the great white throne judgement. The judgement of the nations will be more of a physical judgment resulting in total annihilation of all the world's armies who opposed Jesus Christ (see Revelation 19:21).
The final judgement for all unbelievers is entitled the great white throne judgement, because that term describes the imposing seat of the Judge, Jesus Christ (Revelation 20:11-15).
This will be a horrific setting - unimaginable, really.
I don't believe there is a way to grasp what Judgement Day will look like for the unbelievers. First of all, we have to step outside of time and space which is hard for us. There are billions of unbelieving souls who will be personally judged, one-by-one at this sad, very sad final judgement.
The people in this large mass of humanity will have failed to realize God's amazing love, mercy, and forgiveness.
Jesus Christ said, in the simplest of terms, that the only work a person really had to do was, "believe in the one who was sent," i.e. Jesus Christ (John 6:28-29).
Believing in Jesus Christ is the open door to knowing God, and receiving the forgiveness offered through Jesus' sacrificial death. Pure belief in Jesus. It is the only way, and without it, you will find yourself at this final judgement.
Each lost person will be escorted by mighty angels to Jesus Christ, who sits on his imposing, great white throne. The sinner will be forced to bow before the Judge and acknowledge him as Lord (Isaiah 45:23; Philippians 2:10). Unfortunately, nothing good for their future will come out of their confession of Jesus at the final judgement. They're simply, and finally, acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of the Most High God.
Jesus will see that the person's name is not written in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:12). He will then revisit the person's life, exposing the sins to the watching world. Every sin will be displayed in vivid color.
The sinner will be engulfed by shame, totally overwhelming him or her, if that were possible.
All atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Hindus, new agers, Buddhists, Shintoists, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, etc. will be in this final judgement.
Christian hypocrites, that is, self-professed Christians who didn't fully commit to Jesus Christ and the Bible, will be found here, as well. These proud, theologically liberal, judgmental hypocrites will finally get their just reward. Their self-delusion and mockery will end, and they will fully realize that their individual lives were nothing but a sham (2 Peter 3:3-4).
These lost souls will then face what the Bible calls the second death, i.e. eternal death.
After the books have been opened, and the sinner's entire life exposed, Jesus will clearly state, "I never knew you! Depart from me, you who break God's laws!" Others will hear, "Away with you, you cursed one, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons!" (Matthew 7:23; 25:41).
This final judgement is heart-wrenching. People are going to be totally helpless and hopeless as they wait to stand before the Holy Judge. Deep, complete, eternal depression will engulf each of them. They will become terrified beyond what words can describe.
They will watch others being judged before them, waiting and waiting, but dreading their turn to come before the Judge. Avoid this place at all costs.
Estimates are that around 90% of all humans will stand before Christ at the Great White Throne Judgement. God forbid you find yourself at this terrifying last judgement.
Repent and beg Christ to save you now.
The final judgement for believers will be much different from that of the unbelievers. This will be a joyous occasion, where Jesus has a discerning look, but a warm, loving countenance for each of his saints (aka true believers, disciples).
The believer will not have his sins examined, because the sins of the saints are washed by Christ's blood.
Here is a list of verses that describe what Jesus does with a real Christian's sins:
Jesus Christ has totally forgiven AND forgotten the believer's sins (John 5:24):
These actions by God should give you great joy, and a heart that constantly praises him. This mercy he pours out on you is what God expects to motivate you to good deeds. We are ultimately accountable to our Savior, Jesus Christ, therefore, be a good neighbor to those in need, because of what God has done for you. Now, back to the bema seat judgement.
Everyone at this bema seat judgement will have followed God's base command by placing faith in Jesus Christ (John 6:28-29). That act of obedience kept you from answering for your moral sins - Jesus covered them for you.
That is the good news, but now the not so good news. Uh oh...
The final judgement for believers does have a moment that will make the believer shutter and squirm - it will be very uncomfortable. Let me explain.
God planned specific works and deeds for all his saints from before time began (Ephesians 2:10). Therefore, true Christians will each be judged based on their responsiveness to these pre-arranged works.
The Bible tells us that we will appear before Christ to answer for those things that we did do, and also those things that we failed to do for him (2 Corinthians 5:10).
You will receive rewards for the good things you did, but lose rewards for those works you failed to accomplish.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 that no human is able to judge anyone else's works. Paul doesn't trust himself to judge his own works, because Jesus' judgement of each person's works is perfect, cutting to even the heart's seat of motivations.
He says that Jesus will be revealing our darkest secrets and identifying our private motives for the works we do. Our works will either stand strong or burn up in flames. But, fortunately, we will escape as through a burning fire (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).
One good indicator for your good works is when you are criticized and mocked for your good deeds (Matthew 5:10-11). Here is a helpful list to teach you some of the types of works on which Jesus Christ is judging and rewarding you.
God speaks to each true Christian who is in tune with the Scriptures and seeking to serve others. God uses the Bible, other Christians, prayer, and circumstances to show you where he is working, and where he wants you to serve.
This is no silly spiritualized lingo I'm throwing at you. The living God is always working, always doing good, and he communicates with those who love and serve him (John 5:17; 15:5-8).
Don't scoff, God is alive and well, and taking notes. He'll talk to you, if you simply believe him like a humble child.
The believers' final judgement is called the bema seat judgement, because Paul used the Greek term "bema" to refer to the judgement. A bema was an elevated platform on which victorious athletes would stand to receive their rewards, much like Olympics athletes in our day.
Similarly, we will stand before the enthroned Christ and receive our rewards. Wow, just imagine yourself before Jesus for a moment. I hope you've been answering the call to love your neighbors.
Jesus knows all too well that people need motivational help to study the Bible and do good works. He offers us rewards for our study and service, so that we grow in knowledge and perform the works that the Father has given us.
He tells Christians to be careful to hold fast to the rewards we earned through good service (Revelation 3:11; Colossians 2:16-18 NASB), so that no one steals them from us.
We must stay faithful, i.e. persevere, in both strong doctrine and good works. This warning is critical to your eternal rewards: do not be misled through bad Christian doctrine (2 John 1:8).
Let's now turn to the believer's potential rewards.
Here is a list of some of the rewards that we can earn through our Christian growth and service to Christ:
Of course, we won't hold onto these crowns and prizes, because they're not really ours. Like the elders in Revelation 4:10-11 we will set our rewards down at the feet of Jesus Christ, because he deserves them all. After all, he wore OUR crown of thorns while dying on the cross (John 19:2-5).
One often hears the popular phrase, "only God can judge me," usually from a person who has been arrested or convicted of a crime. There is a lot of truth in the phrase, and it will actually come true in all of our lives.
Everyone will stand before Jesus Christ, who presides over each person's trial, and he will judge us one by one. Those who desired to pay for their own sins will be convicted and sentenced to eternal fire.
Those who relied upon the sacrifice of Jesus Christ will have their works appraised, and the good works rewarded. They will joyfully enter heaven, the New Jerusalem, God's eternal home.
Only God can judge me. That is true, and it will happen soon.
The final judgement reveals that every unbeliever will be utterly and eternally humiliated before the sum total of all created beings. Every angel and person will watch as each condemned person's sins and wasted life will be on display.
Judgement Day for the lost will be the absolute worst day in the history of the world.
Nothing could be worse than watching this final judgment transpire.
The sinner will bow to and acknowledge Christ as Lord of all, and then be whisked off to the lake of fire by the mighty angels. Sadness, depression, regret, anxiety, hopelessness, hate, anger, fear and terror are some of the emotions that will rule these sinners' lives who enter the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).
If you're included in this group of unbelievers click here now: Sinner's Prayer
Each believer will give an account of the decisions he made in regard to the service he has performed for the Kingdom of God, both the acts and the motives behind the acts.
No one will utter a sound of objection as the perfectly just Judge, who knows the secrets of the heart, rewards the believer for what he did to glorify God. This day will be both shameful and glorious.
All believers, though, will be so awestruck by Jesus Christ and his angels that the joy will soon overtake the shame we feel from neglecting our duties. In the end, all true believers, the saints of God, will be together in heaven (Revelation 21:6-7). What a wonderful day that will be!
Next Lesson: Bible Prophecies Fulfilled #3.01
Bible Study Questions:
1. Judgement Day is a fact, not a fairy tale. Picture yourself discovering that you are heading to the unbeliever's judgement. What will you now do to make sure you stay far away from the Great White Throne Judgment?
2. The final judgement won't be easy for anyone, especially the unbelievers. What can you now do to help save people from that dreadful day?
3. Is it okay to seek eternal rewards for your service to God? Why or why not?
Inspirational Bible Verses:
Work hard to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV
Jesus Christ gave himself for us, so that he might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for himself his own special people, zealous for good works. Titus 2:14 NASB
Prayers Of Thanksgiving:
Dear Father, The final judgement for unbelievers will be terrifying. I can't even imagine it. I pray for my family and friends who haven't been forgiven. Please save them, dear Savior. The final judgement day for believers will be both humiliating and glorious. Thank you for saving a remnant of people, who will be with you forever. None of those who are saved deserved the incredible blessings that await. God, please have mercy. Show us the works we are to do, and enable us, supplying us with the means to do the good deeds. I love you. In Christ's name. Amen
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