If by believing and accepting God we are promised heaven, then what’s the importance of judgment?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Automatic Transcript Generated:

Speaker 1

All right. So Lisa is asking if by believing in God and accepting Him, we are promised to go to Heaven, what is the importance of Judgment Day? Will it make a difference in how we will live in Heaven and what our rewards will be?

Speaker 2

Lisa, this is a really good question, a really deep one, and it really can get confusing about Judgment Day. What is Judgment Day? What’s the purpose of it? When is judgment? When is it happening? All these things. And I think it’s important to understand that judgment is a process that’s carried out in multiple phases. Take, for example, a criminal trial today. First you have indictment, then there’s the trial, then after they’re convicted, then you have sentencing, and then after that the sentence is carried out or executed. So there’s this whole multi step process that we call due process. This is what you do for fairness, to make sure that you don’t quickly convict and give capital punishment to an innocent person, for example. And we do it so that even if the judge knew what’s the right result, you still go through the process so that all of society, all the observers can watch it and see, oh yes, this is the correct result, and we are fine with what gets carried out. So it’s the same thing with God. So God has his process. Now, it’s a little confusing because God’s process is a little bit different when it comes to for the people who are righteous versus the people who are wicked.

Speaker 2

And we’ll start with the righteous because that’s how God actually starts. One Peter 417 Peter writes for the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God. And if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? So judgment starts with God’s people. What does that mean? How does that work? It’s really interesting. If you look at Ezekiel 94, we have this story of God talking about how he’s going to bring judgment to Jerusalem. And he says, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations abominations that are being done within it. So he says, I want you to mark my people, my people who are sad at what they’re seeing going on, at all the wickedness around them. Mark those people. And then God proceeds to then have an angel go through and destroy the wicked people. So first God’s people are marked. Then the wicked get destroyed. And we tend to say, Wait, what? Isn’t it the wicked that get marked?

Speaker 2

Aren’t they the ones that get the mark of the beast? But again, no, God’s people also get marked. Revelation nine, starting at verse three. For example, it says, then out of the smoke locust came out of the earth. And to them was given power. And as the scorpions of the earth have power, they were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth or any living thing in any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. And I believe this is referring to a period of time that’s ready in the past. So God’s people are always being marched. Jesus says, I know who are my sheep? And how does this work? God actually has a running tab, a running list of those who, you know, if at any moment they were die, they were to die, or Jesus were to come that day, he would know who he would take home with them. We see in Revelation 21 27, it says, but there shall by no means enter in it the holy city, Jerusalem, anything that defiles or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Speaker 2

So there’s this book called the Book of Life that’s always been maintained, and anybody who’s in that book will be, quote unquote, saved, and be the one that Christ will take with him to heaven at his second coming. Psalm 69 28 refers to this. Well, I mean, Moses actually refers to this. We said, God, block me out of your book. It means you could save your people. And we come to Psalms and David writes, let him be blotted out of the book of the living and not be written with the righteous. And then Revelation 35, it talks about he who overcomes shall be clothed with white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life. So in fact, you actually start in the Book of Life, all of us do. And it’s when we turn our back of God, we rebel, we do not repent that God. Sally takes us out of that list and we’re not there. So it’s very simple then, very straightforward. Are you in the Book of Life or not? And that’s not the only book, by the way. And we’ll come to it. God, in fact, has a record of each and every one of our lives.

Speaker 2

And I think before that used to be a very difficult thing to comprehend. How could there be record of everything we do? But now, like with Facebook and online and people are just constantly chronicling their own lives, it’s not hard to imagine that God, through whatever technology he uses, even technology, like he’s just keeping tabs on the good, the bad, all that we do, and can just pull it up at any moment if he needed. And remember, it’s not so that God can testify against us. As Tina’s talked about, we have Satan, who’s the enemy, who is the accuser. He’s the one that doesn’t want you to go to heaven. He’s the one who’s making the accusations against you and arguing that you deserve to die. And God is our advocate. God is the one who wants us to be in the book of life. He’s the one that wants us to go to heaven, but at the same time he’s not going to force us to go to heaven if being in heaven would be hell to us. So the book of life are the people that would be fit for the heaven, would enjoy being in heaven, would not contribute to the pain and suffering that so many people like we’re experiencing today because of Satan and just wickedness in general.

Speaker 2

So let’s talk about the rewards though, that God’s people do. So we talk about rewards, judgment. So right before Jesus comes, the fate of everybody is sealed. We see this from Revelation 22, verses eleven to twelve. It reads, he who is unjust, let him be unjust still. He who is filthy, let him be filthy still. He who is righteous, let him be righteous still. He who is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I am coming quickly and my reward is with me to give to everyone according to his work. So this idea that Jesus will come, take some people, give a thousand years for people to repent, get their act together, and then we’ll come back, that’s not Biblical. Before Jesus comes, everybody’s fate is healed. If you’re holy, you’re holy. If you’re righteous, you’re righteous. If you are wicked, you’re going to stay wicked. Jesus isn’t going to give any more time after that, and he won’t need to as we’ll get to, and as you probably saw, he says, my reward is with me to give to everyone according to his work. So the righteous are going to get a reward.

Speaker 2

And we see Jesus talking about this, for example, in Luke 635 says, but love your enemies, do good and lend, hoping for nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the unthinkful and equal. So God will reward you. Whatever sacrifices you make today, God is making note of it. God is keeping tabs and there’s some way he will reward us, we don’t know how. And it’s not necessarily, oh, you gave somebody $200 today and in heaven I’ll give you $200 then what’s? $200 then, right? It’s meaningless. The US. Government won’t exist, the streets are paved with gold. So it’s going to be, I think, different. The reward might be some sort of status. Maybe you’ll be given a higher position, maybe entrusted with more things, who knows, right? You can infer what it’s going to be like, but we’re not giving the exact details. And for sure the greatest reward is eternal life with God. That’s the thing we can all look forward to. But yeah, God’s keeping tabs. He sees all the good things we do. It’s not the good things that get us into heaven.

Speaker 2

That’s not why we should be doing it, but he’s keeping tabs and we will be rewarded. So don’t feel like, oh, I made a sacrifice, I’m never going to get that back. But also don’t do it just because you want to store up good things in heaven. The things to store up in heaven really are the people you want to see there. So Christ, when he returns, this will mark the beginning of what many people call the millennium. And during this time, the wicked will be judged. And we’ll get to that. What does it mean, they’ll be judged? In a sense, God will give the righteous a chance to go through God’s records and see why the wicked were not saved and how they will be rewarded for their wicked deeds. Right now, the angels are already in heaven. They already know why someone’s in, why someone’s not. They know what’s going on, but we don’t. You might get to heaven, realize, wait, why isn’t this person here? And why is that person? This doesn’t make sense. I’m totally transparent. I’m going to let you go through my books. I’m going to let you see what’s in there.

Speaker 2

And we see this spoken about. For example, in Revelation 20, starting at verse four, I’m going to read from the NASB 20 version. It says, Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and the judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the words of God, and those who had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received the mark on the foreheads and on their hands. And they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years that’s millennium. But the rest of the dead did not live until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. So righteous are raised, they get to judge the wicked for the thousand years, everything’s upfront and visible. Then we come to one Corinthians six three. It says, do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to life? So Paul’s saying, hey, guys, you’re going to judge even angels. So even before the wicked angels destroyed Satan and his crew, we also get to see, what did they do and what is the punishment God has in store for them.

Speaker 2

John 528, do not marvel at this for the hours coming in which all who are in the graves will hear his voice and come forth those who have done good to the resurrection of life and those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation. Condemnation. There’s two resurrections, Jesus is telling us, and so there’s a lot of confusion. What is the day of the Lord? What is the day of judgment? Are they referring to the second coming? Is it another day? Is it both? When people be judged? The answer is sort of yes and yes. And I believe it’s referring actually to the whole millennium and maybe perhaps some of the time shortly after it. How do I get that? Two Peter 38, it says, but beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is a thousand years, and a thousand years is one day. It says it could be, figuratively speaking, of this thousand year period is the day of the Lord. And if you want to be literal, what’s the day? We keep time by the sun and earth’s orbit over it and all that. But guess what?

Speaker 2

Matthew 24 29 it says, immediately after the tribulation of those days, talk about time of Christ coming, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from heaven and powers of heaven will be shaken. And it could just show again verse after verse after verse, where the sun is going to be darkened. And I don’t think it means just temporarily, like the sun will be dark, like God’s going to reduce earth to pretty much the state it was at the time of creation. And so there’s not going to be night and day anymore. In a sense, the earth is going to be frozen in time while the wicked are being judged for this millennium period. How time is actually going to be kept, I don’t know. I mean, are we talking about heaven hours? Are we talking about day hours?

Speaker 1

Who knows?

Speaker 2

Revelation 20, verse seven to nine. It says, now when the thousand years have expired, satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, GOG and Magog to gather them together for battle, whose name is as, the sand of the sea. They went up on the breath of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and the fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. So how is Satan sort of released? We see it further down, but basically this is a second resurrection. For a while. It’s just Satan and his angels on earth. All the wicked are dead. Christ raises them. Satan leads them into the final act of rebellion against the holy city, against you know, they surround it. They surround it looking to attack it, proving that the wicked truly are wicked, that they’re not turning from the ways. And this is ultimately where sin leads and why they’re not entitled to a second chance. If it would have made a difference, God would have given it to them. Revelation 20 now starting verse eleven, says, then I saw a great white throne in him who sound on it, from whom whose face the earth and heaven fled away, and there were found no place for them.

Speaker 2

And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. And books were open, and another book was open, which is the book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works by the things which were written in the books. Remember I mentioned there’s a book for all of us recording what we do, and this is talking about that. And this is now what they are judged by the wicked. This could be referring to that time during the millennium. But if we proceeded to read on the next verses in Revelation, we also see the wicked are judged by these books and then they receive judgment, final judgment, the judgment being carried out, which is their destruction in the lake of fire, which Revelation says is the second death. The Luke 1247 it says, and the servant who knew his master’s will and did not prepare himself to do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who does not know yet committed things, deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. So if you didn’t know what you were doing, but you did wrong, you’re going to beaten with few stripes.

Speaker 2

If you knew what you needed to do and didn’t do it, you’re going to beaten with many stripes. And verse goes on for everyone to whom much is given, from Him much will be required, and to whom much will be committed, of Him they will ask the more. So not everybody is going to get the same degree of punishment. I don’t think necessarily God wants to make everybody suffer and do all that, but he’s trying to bring back balance. He’s really trying to restore what happened. If you really study the Bible, you have this idea of eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, what went on on the cross, actually, if you understand, what did Christ do? Remember, Christ carried our sins, carried our burdens. Isaiah 53 three to five. He says, Surely He has borne our griefs, he has carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed him stricken, spitten by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by his stripes we are healed. I believe for example, Christ suffered this second death. Christ experienced what this time of wrath and punishment is like right before the wicked are destruct, are destroyed.

Speaker 2

He experienced that so we wouldn’t have to. He took that on. He experienced the shame, the guilt, the suffering, however, that will be experienced by the wicked, he took that on Himself. And as part of this, you feel the experience of being cut off from God. Matthew 27 46 when Jesus shouted, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? You just feel like this utter hopelessness, like you know you’re never going to come back. You know the God of love has turned his back on you forever. There’s a lot that’s going on during this time. This is the final judgment.

Speaker 1

Can I just pop in here something when you’re reading the one about the servant being beaten and the one who knew less, being beaten less and the one knowing more, beaten more, are you saying that are you saying that God would beat people who don’t know or cause more harm or what? Okay, so help us understand this so no one gets a wrong interpretation.

Speaker 2

Think of the really bad guy who really was behind World War II and killed millions of people. He’s going to suffer a whole lot more than someone who just was an average person but rejected God. That person might not suffer at all, really. And then you take someone who, let’s say, claims to be a Christian, is maybe the head of their church and then has done terrible things to the church members, horrible criminal things, ruined their lives, and all the while claiming to be a man of God. That person is going to suffer a whole lot more than, let’s say, the average church member who then, because of being abused and take advantage of this church leader, just walks away from God.

Speaker 1

But to clarify a little bit, is this like God causing this pain or is this like a punitive thing that God’s inflicting in people? Or is that pain and suffering simply the result of kind of them realizing the harm that they have done and having to deal with that?

Speaker 2

I think there’s plenty of room for debate. I don’t think it’s punitive. I think what it is, it’s restitutionary in a sense. Again, it’s trying to bring back balance. If you took something from somebody, then you need to give it back. Or because you cause them to experience this, I’m going to have you experience.

Speaker 1

That.

Speaker 2

This is sort of what I think is going to go on. So they really fully appreciate the wickedness of what they did. And those who were wrong could feel like, okay, yes, God’s going to make everything right because the murderer will experience being murdered, the rapist will experience being raped. God will bring this equilibrium. And I don’t know if it’s exactly that way, but I think this is sort of what it is. And this is why it’s so interesting to forgive somebody. Because I think remember what Jesus said when he was dying? Lord, forgive them for they know not what they do. And then Stephen, when he’s being stoned, same thing, says, Lord, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing. I think when we forgive somebody, then we are freeing them from the consequences of what they did during this time of judgment. And it may be that during the time of judgment, when we’re going to the books and records, that we will have an opportunity to say, God to forgive them. I don’t want them to suffer for what they did to me. And again, it’s not punishment. This is not about penal system, but it is about bringing this general balance back to the forest.

Speaker 2

In a sense I’m still trying to wrap my head around these things too. But let’s ultimately though the wicked are destroyed, this concept that they’re burning and suffering forever and ever and ever makes no sense. The wages of sin is death. Revelation 20, verse 15. It says, and anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire in Revelation 2014 says then death in Hades were cast into lake of fire. This is the second death. So god destroyed. Well, death in Hades. I mean Hades sort of representing the grave. Just another way of saying death. These are destroyed also. There’s not going to be any more death after this. And then Malachi four three, god says, you shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this, says the Lord of hosts. So they’re going to be ashes, they’re burnt to completely gone and sense ashes on your feet. Figuratively obadiah 115 really sums up the whole fate of the wicked. And Jesus writes or God writes, for the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathens as thou hast done, I have the King James virgin, it shall be done unto thee.

Speaker 2

Thy reward shall return upon thine own head. For as you have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually. Yes, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been. I mean you guys just go so thoroughly destroy them. It’s like they’d never been just completely erased. But upon mount, Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness. And the house of God shall possess their possessions. And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph aflame, and the house of Esau forest double. And they shall kindle in them and devour them and shall not be any remaining in the house of Esau. And here it’s saying Esau, but I think it’s referring even to all the wicked. And this, notice how it says Jacob and Joseph shall be the flame, they shall be the fire. It’s interesting if you look at Isaiah 33 sorry, verse 14, it says, the sinners of Zion are afraid, fearfulness, has seized the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell among the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell among the everlasting burnings? So it’s saying there is an everlasting fire for sure, but who dwells in it?

Speaker 2

That’s the question it’s asking. Verse 14. Next, verse 15, it says, he who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, he who despises the gain of oppressions, who gestures with his hands, refuses bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from seeing evil. If you really study Bible, it’s fascinating. It’s the glory of God that is actually the everlasting flame. As Moses said, our God is a consuming fire and it’s only the righteous that can really survive being in that environment, this purifying, ever purifying presence and glory of God. And it could just be the destruction of the Wick is just God just letting loose his glory right now. He keeps it contained so that we might have a chance to live and turn and prepare ourselves to dwell in his presence. And those who refuse to will suffer the consequences of that when God’s glory is unleashed on the earth.

Speaker 1

That was a really long response, and I think it might have been a little bit hard to follow at times. So can you get like a 32nd summary of the difference between the answer here of the importance of Judgment Day?

Speaker 2

So the question was, yeah, so what? What is the importance of Judgment Day? Will it make a difference in how we live in heaven and what our rewards will be? What we normally think of Judgment Day is kind of the reward day for the righteous. Jesus shows up this sort of the beginning of Judgment Day, the beginning of the millennium. They’re going to receive the reward with Christ just even being with Him, having internal life, but getting whatever status, surprises, whatever thing God has. But then the rest of that time, the millennium is reviewing the lives of the wicked. And then this period will end with judgment being carried out, being executed against the wicked, which is certainly their ultimate destruction, and then whatever additional stripes they may receive, however however that is carried out by God.

Speaker 1

Thank you for that summary.

Speaker 2

Thanks for asking. And then, Tina, unless you have any comments, we have a question from our friend Sean Inn.

Speaker 3

No, I like that question. I think that’s important. And when I think of the judgment because it kind of has that proverb I don’t know if you went over it, if it’s having some more technical issues, but just the proverb where there’s a man that starts his day at 09:00. A.m starts his work day at noon 03:00. And, like, an hour before the work day is over, and they all get the same reward, and they’re kind of like, hey, that’s not fair. And God’s like, hey, you’re not God. I know it’s fair. And yes, we all get the same reward of eternal life if we believe in Jesus and we accept Him. But I do think that there’s a difference between how great our crown is. I believe that for every soul we save that we get a jewel in our crown. I think that’s a very I think.

Speaker 2

I have to look up the paul talks about you’re the stars in my crown.

Speaker 3

Exactly.

Speaker 2

Yeah, we could be rewarded with yeah, you’re right. Like stars in the crown for every soul you save.

Speaker 3

Exactly.

Speaker 2

That’s a good example of one point to Jesus.

Speaker 3

And so I do think that there is a difference between yes, we all get eternal life. That is true. But I do believe that there is a difference in how we live our lives and what we’ve gone through for Christ and that there are special blessings. And like Jesus does talk about that in Revelation two and three where he talks to the seven churches. He says, to him that overcomes will, I give to him a crown, to him I’ll give him right to the tree of life. To him that overcomes in this situation, I’ll have him sit on my throne. And there’s another verse talking about trying to remember where in Revelation he talks about those who were beheaded for the cause of Christ and for the 144,000, they should be pillars in the house of my God. So there’s different rewards for people who serve God in different ways. So I do believe that there is a difference between the details of eternal life and what we have access to and what we will be blessed within heaven based on our service and stuff. For God. It I just want to get there. I just want to get to have it and have eternal life.

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