It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.
The Bible talks about 4 judgments. The first is the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10) for Church believers (Body of Christ) that occurs in heaven after the Rapture. The second and third judgments are for the Old Testament saints (Daniel 12:2-3) and believers who have died in the Tribulation period (Rev. 20:4). Both of these judgments occur on earth after Christ’s Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation. The first three judgments are all for believers.
God’s judgment for unbelievers is a lot different than the judgment of His children. It’s called the Great White Throne Judgment. This final judgment of the unsaved occurs in the blackness of space after the Millennial Kingdom, after the destruction of the universe and before the creation of the new heavens and new earth (Rev. 20:11-15).
Here I want to focus on the Great White Throne Judgment where all mankind who has ever rejected Christ will appear. Close your eyes and picture it for a moment. The Millennium is now over, Satan and his armies have been cast into the Lake of Fire, that Jesus said was prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt. 25:41).
Now things take a sharp turn…God speaks and planet earth spontaneously combusts and vaporizes. In the aftermath… the residents of Hell for the past 6,000 years find themselves, not free, not dead, but now standing before a great white throne.
What they see is frightening as Jesus stands before them in His robe as judge with the books of man’s deeds in His hands. Instead of receiving a glorified body like the body all believers will receive, they’ve been resurrected into a body suited for tormenting day and night that will never die.
And here they stand in the blackness of the uncreated world… on nothing. Standing and facing God. No friends to help them here. The books of judgement from Cain to Hitler to the last sinner who rejected Jesus are now opened, and the lifetime of deeds of every unsaved person is read and man is judged according to what’s written in the books! No excuses at this throne… it’s all written down and read out loud. As judgment is past, each and every one is cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 21:15).
From this point forward, God creates a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness and beauty beyond our imagination (Rev. 21).
Which judgment will you find yourself in after you die? It’s a sobering thought and only you can change the outcome! It’s up to you and you can make that eternal decision today.
Jesus Is Coming Himself
For the Lord Himself
will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.
1 Thess. 4:16
Aren’t you glad that the Lord is coming back for us Himself and not just sending a representative to take us back to heaven? This is in fulfillment of the explicit promise He had previously made to the disciples:
I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
The Thessalonians were living in expectation of that promise and were eagerly waiting the personal return of Jesus. The archangel was a bonus but it was Jesus they wanted to see most of all.
They knew that the Rapture was the climactic event in the redemptive history of the church and didn’t want to miss it. To help them better understand the rapture, Paul mentions it in every chapter of First and Second Thessalonians.
Clearly, the Thessalonian believers had an imminent view of Christ’s return and Paul had left them with the impression it could happen at any time. The great hope of every believer should be the imminent return of Christ and the thrill of seeing Him face to face.
The promise that Jesus is personally coming also fulfills the pledge that the angels made after Jesus was raptured to heaven while the disciples looked on.
Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.
Are you ready to meet the Lord in the Air? As Paul told the Corinthians, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” we will be transformed and lifted into His awesome presence. Maybe today!
I Go To Prepare A Place For You
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
Jesus explains to His disciples that His departure would be for their advantage since He was going away to prepare a heavenly home for them and will return to take them so that they may be with Him. Jesus is talking about the rapture of the church at the end of the age when He returns for the His believers.
The descriptive features in this familiar passage do not describe Jesus coming to earth with His saints to establish His kingdom (Rev. 19:11-15), but taking believers from earth back to live in His Father’s house.
Since no judgment on the unsaved is described here, this is not His Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation when He returns in great glory and power to destroy the wicked (Mt. 13:36-43; 47-50.
Rather this describes His coming to gather His own who are alive and raise the bodies of those who have died to take them all to heaven. This rapture event is also described in 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:14-17.
After being raptured the church will spend seven years in heaven with Jesus staying in the dwelling places that Christ promised His disciples.
While in heaven the church will experience a series of events designed to prepare the church for eternity. Our agenda in heaven will include being rewarded (1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:9-10), then we will celebrate the Marriage of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9). Later we will return to earth with Christ when He comes again to set up His Millennial Kingdom (Rev. 19:11-20:6).
At the start of the kingdom we will celebrate the Marriage Supper or wedding reception in a festive atmosphere with the invited guests (Rev. 19:9) being the resurrected Old Testament saints (Daniel 12:2) along with the resurrected martyrs of the Tribulation period (Rev. 20:4)!
God has great plans in store for the church!
Take Comfort in Waiting for the Lord
Those who are awake to the study of the end-times know that something is terribly amiss in our world. The trajectory of the world in the last decade points sharply downward with America leading the way.
They see the dangers of the mandates, runaway spending, threats of war and our imploding culture. For many, I know that I am just stating the obvious when I talk about the perils of the Biden era in 2021 and it getting worse in 2022 and beyond.
Bible prophecy tells us that the world would look just like what we’re seeing today during the last days. We live in the shadow of the Tribulation that seems to loom darker by the day.
For those who know Jesus, however, Scripture unveils a glorious future hope that begins with the Lord’s return for us before His judgments come as described in Revelation 6-18, Isaiah 13:9-13, and in other texts.
The Lord, through the apostle Paul, promises us that we will miss the wrath of the Day of the Lord, which includes all of the coming Tribulation period (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:1-11).
Take time this week to read the Word and spend time meditating on passages that speak to our hope in Jesus’ imminent appearing: (Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 John 3:1-3; and Revelation 3:10-11).
If you know Jesus as your Savior, please take heart in the promises of Scripture.
As I’ve studied through the material for the upcoming class I’ve been struck with all that God has in store for us after the Rapture. His plans are limitless and so lofty. He is such a good God and always wants the best for us.
Jesus is coming for us and God’s plans for us are thrilling; we just need to persevere a little while longer:
Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. (James 5:7)
Explore the Bible’s unique promises for the church in heaven that outline what’s in store for every believer AFTER THE RAPTURE!
Chart highlights major events for the church while in heaven during the 7-year Tribulation on earth. While earth is preparing for war, Heaven is preparing a wedding!
7 Years In Heaven
What Will The Church Do?
Despite today’s hardships, the Bible promises a glorious new era is rapidly approaching. God’s future plans for the church are out of this world!
The future is so wonderful for the church that the Apostle Paul says the heavenly and spiritual realm we are about to experience is hard to comprehend.
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.
1 Cor. 2:9
After the Rapture, the church will spend 7 years with our groom Jesus in heaven before returning to earth to rule and reign with King-Jesus for 1000 years! During our 7 years in heaven, God brings the church through a series of events preparing us for eternity.
God’s plans for us include our rapture and being lifted up to see Jesus and then our journey to heaven. What will that be like? Imagine passing through the universe on a guided tour by its creator.
At the moment of the rapture, we receive our glorified bodies like the resurrected body of Jesus. We won’t be given a new body, we’ll receive a perfected version of the one we were born with, just like Jesus.
Finally we reach the Father’s house and according to Jude 25, we will be introduced to the Father by Jesus with expressions of exceeding great joy.
We will pass through the Bema Seat in heaven to receive rewards and crowns for our service to the Lord and have the privilege of casting them back to Him.
The pinnacle of our stay in heaven is being wed to the Son of God in an amazing ceremony called the Marriage of the Lamb. It’s simply impossible to comprehend being married to God… but in that day we will more fully grasp our unique and eternal relationship to Jesus!
The wedding is the last event for our 7-year stay in heaven. It’s time to saddle our horses and descend to earth with Jesus for the wedding reception with the special guests (Rev. 19:9) being the resurrected saints of the Old Testament.
And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
After the wedding reception on earth we will all gather (Church and Israel) for the inauguration of Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and rein with Him in His Millennial Kingdom!
No doubt, the church is special! So be thankful you are a child of God who has plans beyond our imagination to care for us and shower us with His incomprehensible blessings throughout eternity.
Our Blessed Hope
Hope. It’s a powerful motivator. It’s what replaces worry with calmness (Romans 15:13), despair with joy (Psalm 42:5), and cowardice with courage (Romans 12:12). Our God is “the God of hope” (Romans 15:13). The Gospel is “the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) and our faith is called “a living hope” (1 Peter 1:3).
Out of everyone in our world, Christians should be the most hopeful—confident that our future is secured by a good and sovereign Savior.
Have We Lost Our Hope?
And yet, over the last two years, I have seen disappointment written on so many Christian faces. Hope seems to be elusive and hanging just outside our outstretched hand.
Believers are disheartened by government leaders. Christian parents are dismayed of the world their children will grow up in. Church families have been ruptured over Covid issues and Christian families fearful over loss of employment from the insanity of forced mandates.
Where is Your Hope?
Yes, this world is spiraling further into sin. And yes, disappointments abound. But rather than stealing our Christian hope, and smothering our Gospel energy, each sorrow should strengthen our expectation for that glorious day when the trumpet will sound and when our Lord will “swallow up death” and “wipe away our tears.”
Jesus promised He will come back for us and He certainly will! Are we waiting for that coming day with expectancy and confidence, or have we become downcast with despair? Don’t allow the joy of your salvation to be vanquished by the sorrows of our collapsing culture.
Oh Christian, be hopeful—no, be the most hopeful person in this world—because our hope is not in the present, but in a Person who we will soon see face to face.
Heed Peter’s command, “fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).