The seventh principle is the doctrine of eternal judgment. This principle covers three biblical teachings regarding judgement. They are: The Return of Christ, The Great White Throne Judgment for all unbelievers (Revelation 20); The Bema Seat Judgment for believers (2 Corinthians 5:9–10) when all believers will stand and be judged for their works (1 Corinthians 3:11–15).
There are many doctrines and views pertaining to the end of the world. Let me simply say that Jesus did not speak in detail about the events that would follow His return. Jesus connected the resurrection with the final judgment. The judgment of Jerusalem in AD 70 was a precursor to the judgment of the nations at the end of the world. My purpose is not to deal with the subject of eschatology (a doctrine of theology that deals with the final events in the history of the world). My purpose is to lay out the biblical discussion of judgment. In other words, what happens at the end of the spiritual warfare in which we are engaged.
In John 11 when Jesus was addressed by Martha about her brother’s death, “Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’” (John 11:23–24 NKJV).
When Jesus dealt with judgment, He spoke of the judgment that would occur in that generation. In Matthew 24 Jesus used prophetic language that the Jews understood. He was not addressing the end of the world and the final judgment. He was addressing the end of the age and the destruction of the Jewish system because a new age was coming after His resurrection. That new age is the age of the Spirit and the fulfillment of the mandate God gave to Adam and to Israel to deal with evil and establish righteousness in the earth. Jesus said in Matthew 16 that His qahal (the Hebrew word for “called out assembly,” and translated ecclesia in Greek, and church in English) would not fail. Adam failed in the warfare against evil and Israel failed in the same warfare, but Jesus said:
Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:18–19 NASB
Although, He was talking to Peter, Jesus was speaking to all of the disciples that had been given to Him by the Father. They were to be His apostles or stewards that would be sent with the responsibility of laying the foundation for His work in the earth to be carried out by His assembly also known as His body. His holy apostolic church was sent to disciple nations and clean up the mess in mankind with the help of the Holy Spirit through the Gospel of the Kingdom by “pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4b–5 NKJV).
The two judgements that will come after Christ’s return are: the Great White Throne judgement detailed in Revelation 20 and the Bema Seat judgment pictured in 2 Corinthians 5:9-10.
The Great White Throne judgment is for everyone who rejects Christ as God’s means of salvation and rejects Him as God’s only appointed King of the nations. They will be judged along with the devil and his angels, and then cast into the lake of fire. Hell itself will also be thrown into the lake of fire. Heaven and earth will then be purged of evil and righteousness will reign forever and ever.
The Bema Seat judgment is specifically for all believers. We will stand before Christ and be judged for our works throughout our lifetime which was established in Jesus Christ our Lord. “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 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV). Paul drew this understanding from what Jesus had taught in Matthew when He said, “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” (Matthew 16:27 NKJV). Jesus drew from Daniel 7:10: “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.” (Daniel 7:10 KJV).
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he dealt with this subject in chapter three.
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become clear; 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. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as by fire. 1 Corinthians 3:10–15 NKJV
The work that the apostle Paul spoke about is found within the boundaries of the warfare of which I am writing. The work we have been called to do is framed within the battles for our own souls that belong to Christ. The work includes the battle of light over darkness, truth over lies, and deception over sound words. It is about heaven coming to earth, God’s will over the will of man, and God’s kingdom over the kingdom of darkness.
This work in us begins with our spirit man which is the inner-most part of our being: the core of our life which is meant to be in fellowship with God. Our spirit man became broken because of sin. Our spirit man needs regeneration. It affects the rest of our being that includes our soul (which contains our intellect, will, and emotions; basically, our self-conscious) and our body (which is world conscious).
The six Doctrines of Christ lays the foundation for the new man and are necessary for us to grow up into Christ. Chapter four gives the application of the three-fold salvation that Jesus made possible for every believer.