Lesson Three – Judgment of the World and the Kingdom

Judgment of the World and the Kingdom

Lesson Aim:  To show that judgment of the church will consist of a character analysis of each member based on our work file and background, and the judgment of the mature people of the world will be a day of explanation of their sentence to Gehenna.


And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment; so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await him.  Heb. 9:27, 28

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?  James 4:12

All power has been given to Jesus Christ in heaven and on earth.  Ironically, He has both the power to save and to destroy.  The same loving, sacrificing Jesus who came to earth to save mankind will be the same loving Jesus who will return the second time “with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  II Thess. 1:5-10.  Jesus’ character includes both love and wrath.  The Apostle John gave us his vision of these contrasting, and to some, contradictory, views of Jesus upon His second coming.  He saw Jesus, the lamb, tenderly awaiting His bride, the church, but he also saw Jesus, the king, judging and making war (Rev. 19:7-16).

Because some people have not been able to comprehend the fullness of God’s nature, there is an effort being made in our day to rule out the existence of hell.  Others have suggested we are now experiencing hell on earth.  At the same time, they still want to hold onto the Biblical concept of heaven.  If we did not have the Bible we would not know about heaven; however, the same Bible describes a hot dark hell – a place that will be inhabited by people weeping and gnashing their teeth.  In fact, in one sentence Jesus Christ informed us of both realities.  He said, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  Matt. 25:46

In this lesson we will study the general order of Christians’ judgment.  We will understand the purpose and the formula for our judgment.  Also, we will see how God will reveal His wrath and indignation toward those who refuse to accept His purpose for their lives.  The rewards and punishments will be discussed in the following lessons.


Jesus Christ is now very active as king and priest over the church, the man-dimension of God’s kingdom.  The sacrifice of Himself at the cross is still working for the cleansing of the sins of His subjects.  Jesus said, “for God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world; but the world should be saved through Him.”  John 3:17.   However, this was a description of His first appearance only, for Jesus also said, “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son.”  John 5:22.  A day is coming when Jesus will assume a new role.  He will be the judge of all mankind.  Jesus’ next appearance will be for the purpose of fulfilling this role according to the following information given to Timothy:

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:  preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with great patience and instruction.  II Tim. 4:1, 2

This does not mean God changed His mind about Jesus’ role after He returned to heaven for Jude said judgment by Jesus, our Lord, had been prophesied by Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam.

And about these also Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”  Jude 14, 15

Solomon knew the Day of Judgment, as it is referred to by the New Testament writers, would come.  He said, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.  For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”  Eccl. 12:13, 14.

Many people in the world scoff and laugh at these prophecies because they were made a long, long time ago.  Peter, an inspired apostle, predicted the present apathy concerning Jesus and His judgment.

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?  For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”  For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.  But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.  II Pet. 3:3-7

We need more preachers like Paul in our time to frighten more men like Felix in order to “shut up” the increasing number of mockers Peter predicted would be with us today (Acts 24:24, 25).  In spite of the mockers and the time elapsed, faithful Christians are still “awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  See I Cor. 1:7; Jas. 5:7, 8; Phil. 1:10; I Thess. 1:10; II Tim. 1:12; Tit. 2:13.  Jesus described His arrival and the Judgment scene for us in the following scripture:

But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.  Matt. 25:31-33

Jesus will appear with a host of angels and judge both the living and the dead; therefore, judgment will follow the resurrection of the dead.  We learned in our last lesson the resurrection would happen when Jesus appeared.  Peter said, “The present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and the destruction of ungodly men.”  Following the appearance of Jesus the sequence of these events will be one of the following combinations:  the burning of the world, resurrection and then judgment; or the resurrection, judgment and the burning of the world; or the resurrection, burning of the world and then judgment.  Of course, the burning of the world could happen simultaneously with judgment.  Since faithful Christians will have no use for a physical world after the change to our resurrected bodies, the world could be burned as soon as Jesus arrives.

The premillennialists would have Jesus reign one thousand years on earth after His return; however, other than the apocalyptic writings in John’s Revelation, we have no hint of such a reign (Rev. 20:2, 3).  Any thought of a second chance, or a doctrine related to the Roman Catholic’s purgatory, is absolutely foreign to anything we read in the Bible about Judgment.  Anyone who is depending on these “doctrines of men” will very likely find themselves “locked out” just as the five foolish virgins were in Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25:1-13.

Also, after we understand God’s purpose for creating mankind in relation to God’s kingdom and the things that will happen at Judgment, it is difficult to see the purpose for another divinely inspired kingdom on earth.  Whether it should last for one thousand years or a day, the theory appears to be pointless, if we believe Jesus is now reigning.  Anyway, we are sure that whatever will be, will be, but at some point in the future “the form of this world is passing away.”  I Cor. 7:31.

The following scriptures suggest faithful Christians may have some part in the judgment of the people of the world and angels.  Although the following is an interesting and exciting point we will need to drop it because we have no other inspired information.

And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”  Matt. 19:28

Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world:  And if the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?  Do you not know that we shall judge angels?  How much more matters of this life? I Cor. 6:2, 3

Now let us consider God’s purpose for judgment.  In our study of Biblical history we saw God make several separations in order to prepare and maintain the proper environment for His people.  It happened at the flood, Abraham’s call from among the Chaldeans, the removal of the Canaanites from Palestine when God brought His people out of Egypt.  The last time God drew a line of separation is when the “in Christ” realm was prepared for the church.  All of these separations were made to foster the spiritual growth of God’s people.  One purpose for Judgment will be to accomplish a final separation of His people from all types of ungodliness and evil people.  This last separation will not be for our spiritual growth.  It will for God’s pleasure.   The faithful people from all times will enjoy a new society free of evil.  The place Jesus is now preparing for us will be in the kingdom of God in heaven (John 14:1-4; II Thess. 1:5-10).

On Judgment Day there will be a separation made between the wicked of the world and the citizens of God’s kingdom.  Just think, every person who ever lived will be present.  There will also be a separation made within the church between those who walk by the law of life and the lawless.  It should be carefully noted by those who embrace the doctrine of “once saved always saved;” the lawless and stumbling blocks will be removed from God’s kingdom and cast into the furnace of fire.  Please read from Matthew 13: Jesus’ parable of the tares, verses 24-30; also His explanation in verses 36-43.  Also, Jesus’ parable about the dragnet in verses 47-50.  Add to this, Paul told the Christians in Galatia they could be severed from Christ if they sought justification by the Law of Moses (Gal. 5:4).  He told the Gentile Christians they would be “cut off” if they became unfaithful (Rom. 11:19-23).  Peter said, “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”  I Pet. 4:17.  It is possible some members of the church will go to hell.

Judgment will be the final separation, but even more so, judgment will be much harsher for the wicked than a mere separation.  It will be a day of wrath from God upon those who have mistreated His servants and blasphemed His Holy Name (Rom. 2:5).  Please consider the following:

For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.”  And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  Heb. 10:30, 31

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  Rom. 12:19

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.  For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come.  Col. 3:5, 6

When Jesus comes again He will take full vengeance on all sinners whose sins have not been removed from the mind of God.  This includes those in the church, “who have trampled under foot the Son of God,” and those in the world who have taken advantage of Christians (Heb. 10:26-31; Rom. 12:18-21).  God knows how “to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,” just as He is keeping certain angels who abandoned their proper abode in eternal bonds under darkness for judgment (II Pet. 2:9; Jude 6).  The Roman Christians were told God “will render to every man according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.”  Rom. 2:8.  We will study more about the condition of the lost in our next lesson.

We might ask, if Christians are to be like Jesus, then what is wrong with being wrathful like Him?  Jesus, who is perfect, can function as a complete person.  He can love in His wrath.  God has asked Christians to abstain from taking vengeance on our enemies because we are not perfect.  James said, “For the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”  Jas. 1:20.

No one need be surprised at the criterion for the Day of Judgment because it is clearly revealed in the Bible.  Jesus said, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him in the last day.”  John 12:48.  Judgment will be based on the teachings of Jesus and it will be very personal and extremely intimate.  The secrets of men will be revealed along with all hidden things (Rom. 2:16; I Cor. 4:5).  Every careless word will be discussed (Matt. 12:36).  Paul said, “The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sin will follow after.”  I Tim. 5:24.  Both good and bad deeds will be evaluated (II Cor. 5:10).  This applies to sinners and saints alike.

Judgment for sinners will consist of an explanation of why they are going to hell (Matt. 25:41-46).  There is no question about where they will go, but first they will fulfil Paul’s inspired prediction when he said, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Phil. 2:10, 11.  John said, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”  Rev. 20:15.  The Lamb’s book of life is the guest book for those who will make the heavenly journey with Jesus (Rev. 21:27).  Any mature person who is not cleansed of their sins by the blood of Jesus, and who has not served Him, is not attired to abide in the presence of God (Matt. 22:11, 12; Rev. 19:7-9).

Christians will be judged by the same standard as the world.  We will be judged by the word, but James suggests there will be an evaluation of our performance when he said, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.”  Jas. 3:1.  In other words the criterion for our judgment will be the word of God.  The determining factors considered by Jesus will be about our abilities, our opportunities and time in service.

The more perfect concept Christians have of our judgment, the better we can prepare for that Day.  All eternity depends upon the outcome.  An important point to remember is there will be only two groups: those who are condemned, and those who receive rewards.  To receive a reward we must be a faithful steward.  The condemned will be made up of two groups: those who are bad stewards, and those who never accepted stewardship at all.  Please read Jesus’ parables from Matt. 25:14-30 and Luke 19:11-27.

After a careful study of these two parables, we can understand Jesus will use variable base points for calculating the judgment of His stewards.  There were three base points that varied numerically with the different stewards in the parable recorded by Matthew.  These three were their own abilities, the talents their king gave them and the expected gain that came from their stewardship of the other two.  According to Jesus’ parable, a part of our judgment will be based upon this formula: OA + T = G.  We will let OA stand for “own ability,” T for “talents” and G for “gain.”  In the parable everybody had enough ability to receive at least one talent.  Gain was required of all.  It was not enough to return the same amount.  We can see the evaluation of our gain must be done by a perfect person.  Our judge must be someone higher than mankind, and He will be.

Now, let us be as practical as possible about this formula so we fully understand the basis for judgment of our Christian stewardship.  Our own ability could be our role in life, for instance, a husband and wife may have the ability to produce and rear children.  Others have the ability to make money, speak, sing, teach, lead, and exhort – the list is endless.  Some may deny they have ability, but Jesus will disagree.

Please note, different quantities of talents were allocated based upon their own abilities.  The talents are sometimes misinterpreted as our native or learned abilities because of our general use of the word “talent.”  In the theatre it means one’s own ability but that is not the meaning of this word as it is used here.  What then do the talents represent?  We know whatever they are; they gained for the Master what He desired.  Since God wants a kingdom of sons, we can conclude the talents, when properly invested, will help give Him those sons.

The talents are the “wherewith” to expand God’s kingdom in both quantity and quality.  They alone will not cause this expansion, but the talents plus our own ability can satisfy God’s desire for the fruit of our stewardship.  The talents represent what comes from God and can be used to bring about gain for His kingdom; therefore, the talents represent such things as the word of God, the seed of the kingdom (Luke 8:11).  Christians may have the ability to speak and possess an education allowing us to understand words; however, this is not enough to be productive for God.  God must give us a powerful message to teach and preach.  He gives us the divine word.  He has provided a new realm to offer to His potential sons; therefore, all of the blessings in Christ can be classified as talents.  In fact, talents represent anything God authorizes us to offer in order to bring more sons to glory.

Notice how different amounts of talents were given based upon the stewards’ own abilities.  Does God give more of the Bible or of the blessings in Christ to one Christian over another?  Yes, in a way, because in the parable some received five talents, some two and others received only one.  Although our faith is produced by the word of God, it no doubt, becomes a part of our own ability when God gives us His word to teach and preach.  Christians with enough of their own ability to preach and teach and obtained five talents from God, has the ability to be stewards over more of God’s word than Christians who receive two, or just one talent.  Christians who have some native abilities and train ourselves well to teach and preach are ready for our King to give us something to sow, or invest.  Jesus will add the divine word and other talents: some five, some two and some one.  In this sense some Christians receive more of the word and blessings than others.  The equation at judgment for all stewards will be OA + T = G.  We must remember that as God increases the talents, so does He increase His expectation for gain from our lives.

Judgment, the talents, and the gain belong to God.  We have our own ability, and it appears the members of the Godhead do not have the kind of ability it takes to expand God’s kingdom in the manner He desires.  God wants more sons, and woe to us who will not use God’s talents in conjunction with our own ability to get Him gain.  For those who do, judgment will be a great day of reward.  For those who do not, it will be a very sad day indeed.  May God have mercy upon us if there is no gain either in quantity or quality.

To many peoples’ utter dismay, judgment will be based on works and not on God’s grace.  Christians are now being given every spiritual blessing made available by God in heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3; 2:6).   These blessings are supposed to produce disciples who are “zealous for good works.”  Tit. 2:14.  Our judgment will be focused on the gain from our works.  Merely, being religious does not help, we must build our character and personality by the law of life.  This is the law that gives us liberty over sin and death.  We remember Jesus said, “Not every one who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father, who is in heaven.”  Matt. 7:21.

Christians’ sanctification is ordered according to the law of life and the result is that we know God, that is, we think about life and others the way Jesus showed us.  Consequently, we understand our judgment will be an impartial evaluation of our works motivated by our faith and love (I Pet. 1:17; I Cor. 13:1-3).  We will be judged by the same law God wants to write on our hearts and minds (Jas. 1:21; Heb. 10:16, 17).  Since the result of the new covenant is that we should know God and Christ, our judgment will be based on the same principle; that is, “How well do we know God?”

Our behavior is generally a good reflector of our character; therefore, we can see how judgment of our works, or our behavioral pattern, will really be the judgment of our character.  If we know and love Jesus we will behave in the way He did.  We will work the works of His and our Father (John 6:28, 29; 14:15). Again Jesus said, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”  Matt. 7:22, 23For everything to come out right on Judgment Day for each person, personally, it is imperative that Jesus and he or she know exactly how each other feels about every important issue in the kingdom of God.  It will not be a time for getting acquainted; it will be a time of recognizing old acquaintances – my Lord and His servant.

We are happy we have a judge who knows all things.  Judgment is too much for man.  Jesus Christ will be able to do the job quite well.  Mercy will be available to those who have shown mercy, but Jesus “will render to every man according to his deeds.”  Rom. 2:6; Jas. 2:13.   He knows what kind of stewards we are today and that will be our Judgment.  At Judgment there will only be two groups, the sheep and goats.  How do we become a sheep or a goat?  The sheep minister to Christ by serving others in His name.  Sheep have transpersonal goals, goals requiring nutrient behavior to attain.  Goats are selfishly ambitious.  They serve themselves.  A goat today will be a goat at judgment.  A sheep today will be a sheep at judgment.

Some people appear to have more interest in when the day of judgment will come than in why and what will happen.  A Christian who is aware of the “what and why” of judgment will not be overly concerned with the “when.”  Peter connected the second coming of Jesus with the end of time (II Pet. 3:3-10).  Judgment is associated with these two events in Matthew 25:31, 32.  Speculation about the time is foolish because no one knows but God, the Father.  Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”  Matt. 24:36.  For those who insist on speculation, Jesus offers the parable of the fig tree.

Now learn the parable from the fig tree:  when its branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; even so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.  Matt. 24:32, 33

      People know summer is near in Israel when the fig tree branch is tender and puts forth its leaves.  They know, because they can see the leaves.  The leaves are their tangible evidence.  Likewise, we will know Judgment is near when we see Jesus coming in the clouds (Matt. 24:30).  Jesus in the clouds will be our tangible evidence our Judgment Day is here.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What did the apostle Peter predict about the present apathy in regard to Jesus’ next appearance?
  2. How do faithful Christians feel about the return of Jesus?
  3. How did Jesus describe His next appearance?
  4. What are the possible sequences for the events that will happen when Jesus returns?
  5. What is one purpose for Jesus’ Judgment?
  6. What will be different about the result of the next separation and all the previous separations which God has made?
  7. If Christians are to be like Jesus, then what is wrong with our taking revenge?
  8. Why is it unnecessary for any one to be surprised at Judgment?
  9. Why will the ungodly appear at Judgment, if all the people whose names are not found in the book of life are going to hell anyway?
  10. In what way will Christians’ Judgment be different from the people of the world?
  11. Identify the two groups that will make up the condemned on the Day of Judgment.
  12. What are the three variable base points Jesus will consider in His evaluation of His stewards at Judgment?
  13. What is the formula for Judgment of the Christians’ stewardship and how will it work?
  14. Explain the talents in Jesus’ parable.
  15. Explain how one Christian may be given more of the word of God as a talent than another.
  16. When God increases our talents what else increases?
  17. What will be the main subject at our judgment?
  18. Why is it important for us to know God?
  19. Why are Christians happy to have Jesus as our judge?
  20. How do we become a sheep or a goat?

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