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 (Q and A on Biblical Doctrines)
Chapter 17: Judgment
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Q1 What is judgment?

Judgment is the final part of God’s plan. The Bible refers to this event as “the righteous judgment of God” (Rom 2:5) and “the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6). It is when Jesus will review the deeds of every person—both the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1; Rev 20:12–13). The outcome for the righteous will be a glorious reward (Rev 11:18; 22:12); the outcome for sinners will be destruction (Rev 20:15; 21:8). 

Q2 Do we know when the day of judgment will be?

No, we do not. However, we know it is soon, for Jesus says, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Rev 22:12). 

Q3 Why would a loving God judge us?

The nature of God is certainly loving, but He is also righteous and just. In the Book of Romans, apostle Paul describes God’s righteous judgment:

            But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

            Romans 2:5–10

The purposes of His judgment are:

To separate the good from the evil: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats” (Mt 25:31–32); “Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Mal 3:18).  

To determine the end for each person: “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Mt 3:12); “…First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn” (Mt 13:30); “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Mt 25:46).

Q4 Much of human behaviour is hidden. Can God really bring everything to account?         

God is omniscient. All our deeds are laid bare before Him—nothing is hidden from His sight (Job 31:4; 34:21–22; Ps 33:13–15; 1 Cor 4:5). King Solomon says, “For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil” (Eccl 12:14). Also, Paul says, “Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden” (1 Tim 5:24–25).  

Whether they are hidden or exposed, God has recorded all our words and deeds for the day of judgment (Dan 7:10; Rev 20:12). The Bible mentions a book of remembrance for this purpose, “for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name” (Mal 3:16). Knowing this, we should be careful in what we say and do. Jesus warns, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Mt 12:36–37).  

Q5 Who will be judged?

Everyone will be judged; no one is exempt. Hence, the writer of Hebrews says, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27). Similarly, apostle Paul says, “[God] has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). This is why God “now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

The Bible talks about the judgment of the following:


God’s judgment will begin with the church: “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?” (1 Pet 4:17). The reasons for His judgment are:

To separate out the good from the bad: “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness” (Mt 13:41; cf. Mt 13:24–30).

To reveal each person’s work: “Each one’s work will become manifest; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is” (1 Cor 3:13). Those whose work endures because they have used the best materials will have a reward; but those whose work is of inferior quality will lose it, and they themselves “will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Cor 3:15).

To make each person give an account: “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom 14:12).

To expose what is hidden: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts; and then each one’s praise will come from God” (1 Cor 4:5).

To reward and punish: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor 5:10; cf. 1 Cor 4:5; Heb 6:7–8; 10:26–31).


Jesus told the disciples, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Mt 19:28). The Israelites were God’s chosen people from ancient times, beloved by Him on account of the patriarchs (Rom 11:28). His judgment of them will be based on one of two things: the Mosaic Law for those who lived under the law (Rom 2:12), or the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Thess 1:8). Regarding the latter, Jesus says, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (Jn 12:48).

Until now, few Jews have accepted Jesus Christ and His gospel, but the Bible speaks of a time when they will turn to Him and be saved: “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that hardening in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins’ ” (Rom 11:25–26).


Revelation 20 describes the judgment of the dead: “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works” (Rev 20:12–13). It also reveals that whoever’s name is not recorded in the Book of Life—a book that lists the names of those entitled to inherit eternal life—will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:15).


Everyone in the world, both lowly and great, will be judged:

            And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

            Revelation 6:15–17


The Book of Revelation prophesies concerning God’s judgment upon a formidable opponent of the truth and his ally, both of whom will emerge in the end time: “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Rev 19:20).


The Bible says that the devil and his angels will be judged: “And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own habitation, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6); “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment” (2 Pet 2:4). For now, the devil and his angels have been imprisoned, awaiting judgment. Their fate will be an “everlasting fire” which has already been prepared (Mt 25:41).

  Q6 Aside from Jesus, who else will execute judgment?

The twelve disciples (Mt 19:28) and all the saints will sit in judgment, alongside Jesus. Paul says, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?” (1 Cor 6:2–3).  

Q7 What will be the basis of judgment?

God shows no partiality (Rom 2:11). Therefore, He will judge everyone in a fair and just manner—based on what He has revealed to them about right and wrong, sin and the way to salvation.

• Those under the Mosaic Law will be judged according to the law: “…And as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law” (Rom 2:12). 

• Gentiles without the Mosaic Law will be judged according to their conscience: “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things contained in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them” (Rom 2:14–15).

• Those who have heard the gospel will be judged by it: “…When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess 1:7–8); “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (Jn 12:48).

• Those who have witnessed miracles will be judged if they disbelieve:

            Then [Jesus] began to upbraid the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.”

            Matthew 11:20–22

• Believers will be judged by the truth, which is the word of God: “But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?” (Rom 2:2–3).

Q8 How can people escape the judgment that leads to condemnation?

God’s judgment will lead to different outcomes. Those who obey the gospel of Jesus Christ and maintain their faith to the end will find their names recorded in the Book of Life. Theirs will be a judgment that results in a reward, according to what they have done for the Lord (Mt 16:27; Rom 2:6–7; 1 Cor 3:8; Rev 22:12). However, those who reject Jesus and His gospel will face a different type of judgment—one leading to eternal punishment (2 Thess 1:7–9). This is because they will remain in sin, having chosen not to be delivered by Jesus (Jn 8:24; Eph 2:1–3). 

The only way to escape judgment is to accept and obey the gospel of salvation. This entails our believing in the Lord Jesus Christ (Mk 16:16); repenting and receiving water baptism in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16); and receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit for the guarantee of eternal life (Jn 3:5; Acts 2:38; Eph 1:13–14). Thereafter, we should lead a fruitful and Spirit-filled life (Gal 5:16–26). In this way, we can appear before the Lord on the day of judgment to receive due praise and everlasting life.


© 2012 True Jesus Church.


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