God says, "it is appointed unto men once to die and after this, the Judgment."
Everyone will face God's Judgment. God describes two differing Judgments: One judgment for believers and one judgment for unbelievers.
These two judgments are tied directly to the two different resurrections our Lord speaks of:
The resurrection of the just (believers) occurs during the 7-year Tribulation period at the end of the world described in detail in The Revelation at the Harvest or catching away of the church (commonly referred to as the Rapture).
There is a separate resurrection of the just from the unjust. John 5: 29And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Luke 14:13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 14And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
Acts 24:15And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust (this speaks of separate resurrections as other Scripture references discuss)
The Judgment seat of Christ begins at the rapture with the remnant of church age believers remaining alive at the mid-point of the seven year tribulation period. As more people believe from the preaching of God's 2 witnesses and are murdered/martyred during the final three and a half years of this Great Tribulation they are judged for their works on earth just as those who were murdered for Christ before them.
Rev 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
The Great White Throne Judgment of the lost occurs after the 1000 year reign of Christ and is the second resurrection (as I note and bolded below). In order to rule and reign with Christ, we must be part of the first resurrection that occurs at all points of the tribulation which determines their reward and level of leadership, ruling with Christ during His 1000-year Kingdom.
Rev 20: 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them (indicating judging is taking place during the tribulation): and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished (this is a caveat inserted to distinguish between the resurrection of the saved-FIRST resurrection and the resurrection of the lost- SECOND resurrection). This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
This passage makes it clear that the just's judgment occurs during the tribulation, determining position of rulership during the 1000 year reign.
The church age saints judged at the 3.5 year point of the tribulation and those martyred (to be saved) throughout the tribulation shall rule and reign and their levels of reward/crowns and position comes from the pure faith works they perform during their physical lives. It is indicated that the tribulation saints will hold higher positions generally than the church age saints (the first-last/last-first parable). I believe this is indicated in Matt 19 and 20 and is in direct correlation to the earthly sacrifices made in following Christ. As the Apostles forsook their temporal ambitions and left all to follow the Lord, eventually being martyred, all believers who suffered for the name of Christ throughout the church age will also be exalted above all others. This refers to real sacrifice, not the lukewarm, fat, happy and content lifestyles we see prevalent in churches during these last days. Take a look:
Matt 19: 28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
This precludes any of the so called big name preachers, pastors, authors in these last days. They will not hold any position of ruler-ship during the millennium. If there at all, they will be cleaning the streets. Why do I think this? Compare these wolves in sheep's clothing to the disciples and first century believers who were slaughtered for Christ's sake. These gainsayers have made personal gain from the Gospel, losing nothing for the Gospel or the Lord. I don't care what their names are: Graham,Macarthur, Olsteen, Rice, Hagee, Doctor this and Reverend that; whatever.
It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: There will be no one who has made merchandise of God reigning with Him. They are in egregious error but don't want to hear it. So be it.
Jesus made it abundantly clear that if we save our lives down here, we will lose them for eternity but if we lose our lives for His sake and the Gospels, we will reign with him. So only those who truly left all to follow Jesus will reign with Him.
Conversely however, the first resurrection is also the beginning of deep personal regret for most Church age believers. I believe the textbook definition of bittersweet. That is when unspeakable joy of the Lord and our personal salvation for eternity meets the deep regret of a wasted life on earth when we could have done something about it and really followed the Lord but were too busy resting on imaginary laurels of "Grace" touted repeatedly by the gainsayers in their merchandise instead of abasing ourselves in humble service, being a prisoner and a fool for Christ as Paul indicated.
Yes friend, this is when the crying starts and the tears will continue to flow until after the lost are judged and in the lake of fire and our Lord Graciously wipes away our tears forever. We were redeemed to bear fruit and to bring this fruit to perfection (the great Commission). We were not redeemed to continue interest in the temporal sin-cursed world system in place here; to strive for worldly ambitions, make more money, waste time on worldly education, worldly entertainments, striving to ensure our kids succeed financially instead of Spiritually, etc. We were redeemed to walk with God in His Word and prayer and to give our lives to the furtherance of the Gospel. To warn people night and day of coming judgment with tears; to become fools for Christ. It will at this first resurrection when we finally realize what God had clearly told us in His Word from the foundation of the world but we ignored it at the time that it counted for us.
The reason the tears continue to flow through the lost's judgment is because of our deliberate failure to warn everyone we ever knew in our life down here. We will remember that we didn't have the nerve; didn't take the time (after all, it is baseball or football season), didn't pray and fast for them; didn't want to suffer for the name of Christ, etc... I suspect it will be emotionally devastating for nearly all of the saved as we watch the lost we knew cast one by one into the lake of fire. Oh and I suspect they will see us there too. No problem though, we can always "mouth" SORRY to them as they are cast down. Sorry that is, that we did not warn them night and day with tears. Sorry because even though we understood the terror of the Lord, we cared little for their souls when it counted because our worldly ambitions were paramount for us.
Redeem the time friends.............
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