In Part 1, I discussed three judgments that will take place when the Lord returns: The Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11-15); The Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Cor 3:12-15; 2 Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10); and The Judgment of the Sheep and the Goats (Matt 25:31-46).
These three judgments are the easiest to identify because the Scriptures discuss them directly. However, when the Lord returns additional judgments will occur that are not directly named. These are harder to identify because of our limited information about them. We might refer to these judgments as the unnamed judgments.
While the Bible does not name these judgments, it does tell us that the Lord must judge both the living and the dead. Every person must give an account to the Lord. All people have been appointed to die and to be judged (1 Peter 4:5; Rev 22:12; Heb 9:27). The three named judgments do not account for every person in human history; there must, therefore, be additional judgments. Furthermore, the Bible does give some information about these unnamed judgments. This blog will address three of them.
- The Judgment of OT Saints
None of the named judgments include OT believers such as David, Moses, and Abraham. However, we know that they will be resurrected and that faithful believers from that age will be rewarded (Heb 11:39-40). The resurrection of OT saints will occur after the Tribulation (Dan 12:1-2). This is different from the resurrection of church-age saints, who will be resurrected before the wrath of the Tribulation (1 Thess 1:10; 5:1-10). Evidently, OT saints will be resurrected when the Lord returns to the earth at the end of the seven-year Tribulation. At that time they will be judged in order to determine their rewards. Daniel 12:3 describes this resurrection by saying, “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”
In this passage, the prophet is speaking of rewards, using similar language to the Apostle Paul’s description of the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. Those who are wise and have helped turn others to righteousness will shine brightly in the kingdom to come. They will not shine because they are saved; OT saints were saved by faith (Rom 4:1-5), rather than by their own wisdom or service to others. However, those in the OT who lived faithfully for the Lord and served others will experience a better resurrection (Heb 11:35) than those believers who were foolish and did not.
- Tribulation Jews and Martyrs
The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats deals with the Gentile nations that are judged at the end of the Tribulation. However, also mentioned in the parable is a third group of people, whom the Lord refers to as His “brethren” (Matt 25:40). This most likely refers to Jews who are alive at the end of the Tribulation period and who came to faith during those seven years. While the parable does not address their judgment, they will also need to give an account to the Lord. In addition, believers who were martyred during the Tribulation, both Gentiles and Jews, will need to be resurrected and judged. The Bible is unclear regarding when they will be judged, but it will most likely occur at the time of the Lord’s return to Earth.
- Millennial Kingdom Believers
Another unnamed judgment will deal with those who become believers during the millennial kingdom. After the Tribulation period, the Lord will reign on the earth for 1,000 years (Zech 14:16-21; Rev 20:4-6). During this time the new covenant with Israel will be established (Jer 31:31-34). Many people will be born and come to faith during this time. The Bible doesn’t tell us much about this judgment or when it will occur. However, one possibility is that these believers will be judged at the end of the millennial kingdom but before the eternal state. In Rev 14:6, John speaks of the everlasting gospel. In the context of this passage, the word gospel refers to the Lord’s Second Coming and the judgment that He will pass upon the world.
If you have believed in Jesus for eternal life, you can take comfort in knowing that you will never stand before the Lord to determine your eternal salvation (John 5:24). In addition, believers should take comfort in knowing that the Judge who is coming is faithful and true, and without partiality. Our King is coming, and that is good news!