The judgment seat of Christ will be the first thing that the believer in Jesus will experience following the rapture. It is a great blessing that we shall be with Jesus and have exactly His view on everything in our lifetime. As one wrote, ‘Not a cloud above – not a spot within’ (G.V. Wigram (1805-1879). – For full hymn click here.
What’s upsets me, is that Christians sometimes confuse the judgment seat of Christ with the Great White Throne. The two things are totally different – the Greek word is also different (I will refer to that later). The Great White Throne is for unbelievers – people who have refused the glad tidings. They will be judged without mercy according to their works. It says, ‘This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire’ (Rev 20:14-15).
What is the Judgment Seat of Christ?
2 Cor 5 tells us, ‘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’ (v.10). The word ‘appear’ is in Greek is φανερόω/phaneroó. This means ‘make clear or manifest’. So it is not like appearing befor a court with prosecution and defence. It is more, seeing everything in our lives, good and bad, just as Jesus saw it. The thought of a judgment-seat is taken from Greek tradition. The word used is βῆμα/bēma – a step or foot (up). A judge, or umpire would sit on a slightly raised platform and would adjudicate. For example he would judge the games, disqualifying cheats and giving prizes (usually a crown wreath of leaves) to the first, second and third places. It is also like a tribunal, before which my namesake Sosthenes was beaten in Corinth (see Acts 18:17). By way of contrast judgment at the Great White Throne is κρίμα/krima – the sort of judgment you get in a trial, from which, of course, we get our word ‘crime’.
The important thing here is that the Judge is also our Saviour, and what abounds is mercy. Our time of responsibility will have finished. There will be no guilt and no penalty. Any idea of a period of purgatory is totally foreign. Look at it from the Lord’s point of view. He has finished the work, His church is complete, His bride is ready, He wants the marriage to take place immediately – ‘The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready’ (Rev 19:7). We will be able to enjoy the Lord’s presence eternally, and the Lord will enjoy His bride in her perfectness.
The only other direct reference to the judgment seat of Christ is in Rom 14:10 ‘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’. Here it is a question of judging our brother (or sister). The message here is that we should good relationships with the Lord and with our brethren now, so no adjustment will be necessary at the judgement seat.
A couple of hymns bring the positive aspects of the judgment seat of Christ
How shall I meet those eyes?
Mine on Himself I’ll cast,
And own myself the Saviour’s prize,
Mercy from first to last
James Montgomery (1771-1854)
What will it be with God to dwell,
And there to gaze on Jesus’ face!
To meet the One we’ve known so well
As Priest and Saviour – in that place!
Before Christ’s judgment seat to stand,
With Him look back on all the way;
To learn the meaning, at His hand,
Of every deed in every day!
Clearer than ever shall we see
The grace which God our Saviour showed,
The love that led so faithfully
Along the pathless desert road.
How blessed when this time is o’er,
To find that love had all-sufficed,
As there upon the heav’nly shore
We reach the day of Jesus Christ!
Maria Carlsson-Carren (circa 1865-1955)
When is the Judgment seat of Christ.
Scripture is not specific as to this. Clearly it must be between the rapture and the marriage of the lamb. Personally I think of it being VERY quick – maybe as we are changed into our bodies of glory (see 1 Cor 15:52).
Quick and blessed!
A Little more about the Rapture (See last month)
I would like to thank everybody for the positive reaction to the article on the rapture.
One brother challenged me to back everything up by scripture. Not that he disagreed, but we should be able to substantiate anything we say by the Word of God.
I wrote and spoke to several young believers and suggested they came back to me with scriptures. Disappointingly nobody responded – so here is my attempt, based on the table showing the differences between the rapture and the appearing. So please go through these and add to them, especially where it shows [?]
|No one knows when it will be||2 Thes 2:3 [?]||It will be 7 years (arguably 3½) after the rapture, but day unknown||Matt 24:36 [?]|
|It will be private||[?]||It will be very public||Matt 24:27|
|The Lord comes to the air||1 Thes 4:17||The Lord comes to the earth||Zech 14:4|
|He comes FOR His saints||1 Thes 4:17||He comes WITH His saints||Col 3:4|
|It is followed by the great tribulation||Rev 3:10||It is followed by the millennium||Rev 20:6|
|He is the Bridegroom||Rev 19:7||He is the King||Rev 19:6|
|He is the Morning Star||2 Peter 1:19||He is the Sun of Righteousness||Mal 4:2|
|It is for the Church||1 Thes 4:15-16||It is for His earthly kingdom||Rev 11:15|
|There is little in prophecy||1 Thess 4, 1 Cor 15 etc||There is much in prophecy||OT Prophets, Matt, Mark, Rev etc|
|The world will carry on||Matt 24:37||Christ will reign||Isa 32:1|
|The man of sin will be revealed||2 Thes 2:3||Satan will be bound||Rev 20:2|
|There will be the judgment seat of Christ||2 Cor 5:10||The world will be judged||Rev 18:10|
|People will be translated||1 Cor 15:51||People will not be unchanged||[understood]|
|People will believe a lie||2 Thes 2:11||The truth will be acknowledged||Zech 12:10|
Additionally, our brother Mr K in Brisbane came back to me with a similar table that he had done. You can see it at his blog http://hotspuds.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/scoffers-beware.html