Stages of the judgement

Ezekiel 9:4-6

I always thought the judgement happens at the end of the world. However, when you study the scriptures, you discover that the judgement is in three phases; in fact, one is happening right now!

God’s judgement has begun and it starts with those who claim to know Him; but only few will be saved. 1 Pet 4:17-19 attests to this also and says: “For the time is ripe for judgment to begin in God’s own household. And if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who refuse to obey the gospel of God? And: If the righteous are barely saved, what will become of the wicked and godless? So then, those who suffer for following God’s will should enfold their lives into the Creator, who will never fail them, and continue to always do what is right.”

  1. Phase 1: God’s judgement starts before his second return. This is because at His 2nd return, Christ comes with His reward, life (to the righteous dead and righteous living who will join Him in heaven, first for a thousand years then eternity) and death (to the evil dead and evil living, first for a thousand years and then for eternity). The determination of what reward to hand out (i.e. the investigative judgment) happens before the trumpet of His 2nd coming blows. This is why Rev 22:11 says “let him who is unjust/filthy be unjust/filthy still…let him who is righteous/holy be righteous/holy still”. Basically, some day, any day, the book of my life or your life gets opened in heaven and our eternal fate is determined. This is why it’s foolish to leave doing what we know to do till the last minute because it may just be too late. Further, we could die at any second so we must be constantly striving for holiness through the power of the holy spirit.
  1. Phase 2: During the 1,000 years after Christ’s coming, the saints will evaluate God’s judgements and will have all the time to ask questions and prove that God’s judgement was fair. Revelation 20:4.
  1. Phase 3: When the new earth returns to this earth and the evil ones are resurrected, they will try to attack the new Jerusalem. But just then, God will show Himself in the heavens and with all eyes fixed on Him, the books of every evil person’s life will be opened and they will see that their reward of death and eternal damnation by God is fair. What happens here is not that the fate of the evil ones are just now being decided. Their fate had been decided since before Jesus returned the second time. All God is doing is letting the whole world know that His judgement is fair and all knees will bow. Revelation 20:12 and Rev 19:11-21

How clear was that? I had many more questions but this is the resource I found most useful in my study: Case closed.

In summary, the books of judgement are open in heaven already and God’s judgement starts with His professed children – you and I. Some day, our case will come up and every work and secret thoughts of ours will be brought into judgement. All we take to heaven is our conformed character as we must daily bear our cross and keep striving to be more like Christ after we’ve accepted by faith His salvation from the curse of sin through Christ’s death on the cross.

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