(Edited November 3, 2022)

“Three Judgments” Part Three


  • The Bema Seat Judgment (of Christians for their works while on earth) takes place at  the end of the Church Age immediately after the Rapture of the Church to meet Christ in the heavenlies (1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:16-17). Salvation is assured. Crowns are awarded (Rev. 19:9).
  • The Sheep and Goat Judgment takes place after the tribulation and just after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Matt. 25:31-46; 2 Cor. 5:10). Only the sheep (believers) are kept with Christ in His (Millennial) 1000 year reign, while the goats (unbelievers) are sent away to torment.
  • The Great White Throne Judgment takes place at the end of the 1000-year reign of Jesus Christ (Rev. 20:13-15). All the unsaved will be assigned their final destiny in the lake of fire.

The Third Judgment

The Rich Man and Lazarus

To get a clear understanding of the final destination of the participants of the third judgment, it is necessary to first go to Luke 16:19-31:

19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”

So, what happens to these 2 groups of people?

Excerpts from ‘Footsteps of the Messiah’ (Arnold Fruchtenbaum):

Throughout the pages of the Old Testament both the righteous and unrighteous were said to go to a place called in Hebrew, Sheol, and in Greek, Hades.

Sheol and Hades had two compartments. One compartment was for the unrighteous and could be called Hell in the way we use the term today; it was indeed a place of torment (Luke 16:23-25,28).

The other compartment where the righteous went was known as Abraham’s Bosom (Luke 16:22) It was a place of comfort (Luke 16:25) but it was not Heaven. Elsewhere, the righteous portion of Sheol, or Hades, is called Paradise as in Luke 23:43

 “And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

While the two sides could see each other and communicate with each other, they were separated by an immense gulf (v. 26) that made it impossible for someone on one side to cross over to the other side.

Ephesians 4:8-10

“When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men”(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

While the body of Jesus remained in the tomb, His soul went down into the Paradise side of Sheol, or Hades, announcing that atonement had been made. At the time of His ascension, all the souls of the Old Testament saints were removed out of Abraham’s bosom, or Paradise, and brought into heaven. In this way the righteous portion of Sheol, or Hades, was eliminated and is no longer in existence.

Today, when an unbeliever dies, his body is still buried in the ground and his soul still goes into Hell. However, when a believer dies, though his body is still buried in the ground, his soul goes immediately into heaven:

“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8

The Millennial Reign

The Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ will be a time of the “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:19-21) when Satan will be bound for 1000 years (Rev. 20:1-3).

Jerusalem on Earth, Lifespans Increase

Revelation 21:1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.”

During the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, lifespans will once again increase when God puts things back to the way they were before the sin curse (Genesis 3:1-24) when the continents were joined together, in preparation for His kingdom on earth.

The restoration begins with a great shaking as told in Haggai 2:6.

“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land.

At the time of the great flood, the mountains rose up and the valleys lowered to form ocean beds to hold the flood waters.

At the Second Coming, the great shaking will reverse the process.

“Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found” Revelation 16:20.

The Lord Himself will dwell with His people:

Zechariah 8:1-5 “Thus says the Lord: ‘I will return to Zion, And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, The Mountain of the Lord of hosts, The Holy Mountain. ‘Old men and old women shall again sit In the streets of Jerusalem, Each one with his staff in his hand Because of great age. The streets of the city Shall be full of boys and girls Playing in its streets.”

Isaiah 65:20 “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days,
Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; For the child shall die one hundred years old, But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.”

It will be a time when the martyrs of the tribulation who refused the mark of the beast will sit on thrones and reign with Christ 1000 years (Rev. 20:4)

The rest of the dead from the tribulation will be called with all the dead since Adam, and will stand before Christ to find out their final destination (Rev. 20:5)

(This is the First Resurrection that encompasses the resurrection of Jesus, the rapture of the church and the resurrection of the tribulation martyrs)

This future time of peace described in Isaiah 11:1-6 will occur when Christ returns and it is a time when the promise Isaac made to Jacob: (Genesis 27:28-29 NIV) will be fulfilled:

May God give you heaven’s dew
and earth’s richness—
an abundance of grain and new wine.
29 May nations serve you
and peoples bow down to you.

Be lord over your brothers,
and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.
May those who curse you be cursed
and those who bless you be blessed.”

And it will be a time when the Jewish man will be highly esteemed:

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” Zechariah 8:23

Satan is Loosed

Within a few generations, increasing unbelief, social disorder, and sin will characterize conditions in the Gentile nations, as envy and hostility toward Israel and her relationship with Jesus grows for the last time.

Satanic Rebellion Crushed

“Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Rev. 20:7-10

The Great White Throne Judgment

The Second Death

The final judgment at the Great White Throne is also called the judgment of the lost. It takes place at the end of the Millennial Reign of Christ, where the unsaved in Hades will know their final destiny.

“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. 12 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. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15

See Three Judgments Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE

See more on the renewal of the earth in our paper “The Water Canopy, Theory or Fact” HERE.