THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST'S RETURN
THE FINAL JUDGEMENT
Although we may have many questions concerning the events surrounding Christ’s return, the doctrine that God wants us to teach consists of what the Bible explicitly says, not man-made explanations and ideas (Jeremiah 23:28). Far too often popular writers wind up teaching opinions that they, or others, have dreamed up instead of faithfully presenting what the Bible says. Therefore, as you read the following verses, pay close attention to what the words actually say, while submitting to God’s authority by rejecting and correcting any opinions you have that contradict those words (Isaiah 8:20).
CHRIST WILL RETURN
Acts 1:11 This same Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will return in the same way as you have seen him go into heaven.
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
2Timothy 4:1 Jesus Christ… will judge the living and the dead at his appearing.
Acts 24:15 There will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.<>John 5:28-29 All who are in the graves will hear his voice, And will come forth.
Matthew 24:30 Then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
2Thessalonians 2:8-9 The Lord Jesus… will destroy [the wicked one] with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.
John 12:48 He who rejects me, and does not receive my words, has one who judges him: the word that I spoke will judge him on the last day.
John 11:24 I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.
John 6:40 Everyone who looks to the Son, and believes in him, will have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
[Comment: From these verses we learn that: 1- Christ will return in glory; 2- He will judge both the living and the dead at His appearing; 3- All who are in the graves will rise; 4- This will take place on the last day.]
EVERYONE WILL BE JUDGED BY HIM
Matthew 12:36 But I am telling you, That men will account for every idle word that they speak, on the day of judgement.
2Timothy 4:1 Jesus Christ… will judge the living and the dead at his appearing.
Acts 17:31 Because he [God] has appointed a day, when he will judge the world in righteousness by the man he has appointed; having given all men assurance of this, by raising him from the dead.
2Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; so that each may receive the things done in the body, according to everything he has done, whether good or evil.
2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, that now exist, have by the same word been reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
Psalm 50:3-6 Our God will come, and will not keep silent: a fire will devour before him, and a mighty tempest will rage around about him. He will call to the heavens above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints to me; those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens will declare his righteousness: for God himself is judge.
John 5:22 The Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son.
[Comment: These verses tell us that when Christ appears: 1- All men, the entire world, both believers and unbelievers will be judged; 2- They will account for everything they have done (good or evil), including every idle word that they speak. 3- On the day (singular) of judgement the world will be destroyed by fire.]
THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT
John 5:28-29 All who are in the graves will hear his voice, And will come forth; those who have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Matthew 25:31-46 Then he will sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him all nations will be gathered: and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: And he will set the sheep at his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then will the King say to those at his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world… Then he will say also to those at the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels… And they will go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne, and him who sat upon it, from whose presence the heavens and earth fled; and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged according to what they had done, as it was written in the books. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and hell gave up the dead that were in them: and everyone was judged according to their works. And death and hell were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whoever was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 21:1,2 & 27 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away; and there was no longer any sea. And I John saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.… And nothing that is unclean or defiles will ever enter it, nor those who do what is abominable, or deceitful: but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
[Comment: These verses tell us that: 1- All who are in the graves (both believers and unbelievers) will rise when Christ returns; 2- Both sheep and goats (believers and unbelievers) will be present at the judgement; 3- Those who are not found written in the Lamb’s book of life (unbelievers) will be cast into the lake of fire; 4- But those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life (believers) will inherit the kingdom prepared for them, and live with God in a new heavens and a new earth.]
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh , but after the Spirit.
1John 2:28 And now, little children, remain in him; so that when he appears we may be confident, and unashamed before him at his coming.
John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say unto you, Whoever hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has everlasting life, and will not come into condemnation; but has passed from death to life.
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
[Comment: These verses tell us that because it is faith in Christ, not obedience to the law, that makes us righteous before God; when it is time to account for "every idle word," those who seek righteousness by the law will be condemned, but no sin will be imputed to those who trust in Christ.]
[Note: Whenever the Bible describes the final judgement, it speaks of believers and unbelievers standing together before the judgement seat. And the Bible specifically tells us that Christ will raise up believers on "the last day," not before the last day. (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54, Acts 24:15)]
THE LAST DAY
2Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with intense heat, and the earth and everything in it will be burned up.
Isaiah 34:4 All the heavenly bodies will dissolve, and the heavens will be rolled together like a scroll.
Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.
Revelation 11:15 The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and his Christ; and he will reign for ever and ever.
John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I would not be delivered to the Jews.
Luke 1:33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there will be no end.
[Comment: These verses mean just what they say. The words, "My kingdom is not of this world" mean exactly that. And, the words, "of his kingdom there will be no end" tell us that once He does begin to reign (over the new heavens and the new earth) that reign will never end.]
LET'S STICK WITH THE FACTS
The fact that Christ said He will raise up believers "on the last day," tells us that the rapture and resurrection of believers will take place on the last day (1Thessalonians 4: 13-17, John 6:40).
The fact that it will happen "on the "last day," tells us it cannot take place before the end, or before seven years of tribulation (John 6:40).
The fact that judgement will take place "on the last day" tells us that it will take place on the same day that Christ raises believers from the dead (compare John 6:40 and 12:48).
The fact that, "The Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son (John 5:22), tells us that Christ is the one who John saw sitting on the "great White Throne (Revelation 20:11). Therefore the "Great White Throne" is the "judgement seat" ["bema" seat] mentioned in 2Corinthians 5:10. It is also the same seat that is called "the throne of His glory" in Matthew 25:31. [Pilate's seat is called a "bema" seat. Matthew 27:19]
And, the fact that the Bible says, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved," tells us that no one was ever saved by works in the past, and no one will ever be saved by works in the future (Acts 4:12).
God expects His church to teach what the Bible says, not human opinion and conjecture. For that reason, our doctrine must be the bare words of Scripture, not an explanation of it. "The whole Christian doctrine is revealed in Scripture passages that need no exegesis, but are an open book alike to the learned and the unlearned." ("Christian Dogmatics", by Francis Pieper, Vol. 1, pg. 347)
Gary Ray Branscome