Judgment Day. Also known as the Final Judgment. It is the very last thing that happens before God destroys the old heaven and the old earth, which are corrupt on account of sin. Before He creates His new heaven and new earth, He has to do away with anything that could bring sin into the new creation.
The devil has just been cast into the lake of fire, where the beast and the false prophet (Antichrist) have already been since they were defeated when Jesus returned before the beginning of the millennium. This is to be the eternal retribution for their sin and rebellion against God. Now the time has come for God to judge who is to join them in the lake of fire, and who is worthy of a place on the new earth.
“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.
The bride and the martyrs
Excluded from this judgment will be those who are in the bride of Christ. They have already stood before the judgment seat of Christ while they were in the situations of their daily lives. They have let God’s light shine in their hearts, pointing out the sin and unrighteousness that needed to be dealt with. They have, of their own free will, acknowledged their sin, taken up a battle against it and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus. More than just receiving forgiveness for sin, they have used the power available in the Spirit to overcome it.
“For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.” 1 Corinthians 11:31-32.
Also excluded are the martyrs – those who went through the tribulation, resisted the beast, did not take the mark of the beast and were killed because of their faithfulness. (Revelation 13:15-17) They have already been tried and proven and have reigned with Jesus through the Millennium. (Revelation 20:4)
The opening of the books
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 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.” Revelation 20:11-15.
God’s accounts are so carefully kept that, as Jesus said, we must even give account for every idle word. Each of us writes a book with our life. Everything we do is recorded. Imagine what it will be like when God begins to page through our memories. If we have sinned, we have opportunity while in this life to repent and get forgiveness. Then God wipes it away, never to be remembered again. Then when the books are opened we will only have to give account for good works.
“Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:17.
“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. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.” Matthew 25:31-46.
Everyone will be called to stand before the great white throne on that day, even millions that have been ignorant of both the law and the gospel. Yet God created each and every person with something very important – a conscience. The laws of good and evil are written in the heart, and the conscience should direct the actions of a person. Therefore they too have something to answer for on the day when God will judge the secrets of men. They will not, however, be judged for anything that they had no understanding of right and wrong over. (Read Romans 2,12-16.)
Then Jesus will say, “For I was hungry, and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” They will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink?” Matthew 25:35-37.
Even if they were completely ignorant of the fact that they were serving Jesus by their works He will say to them, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’” Matthew 25:34. This was their reward for following the dictates of their conscience and being obedient to the laws that are written in the hearts of men.
“But glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek [Gentiles]. For there is no partiality with God.” Romans 2:10-11.
To all those who hardened their hearts to the good against the dictates of their conscience and did what was evil in spite of what they knew, Jesus will say, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:41.
The accounts are settled
“Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, and anyone not written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14-15. No wonder Jesus said that we should rejoice because our names are written in the Book of Life!
Then the accounts will have been settled, and everything put in its rightful place. Sin and death are finally gone forever. Out of all the affliction and misery, and in spite of Satan’s deceptive power, God, by His wisdom and might, has finished His work in the bride, the martyrs, and the sheep who have been gathered to Jesus’ right hand. These are the ones who are written in the Book of Life and will live eternally with the Father and the Son in the new heaven and the new earth.