(a summary is in topics: letter R)


The bible teaches about a general everlasting destiny for all members of the human race.
John 3:36, "The one who believes in the Son has everlasting life; but the one who does not obey the Son (that is, does not believe) will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him."
Traditionally and simplistically, it is heaven or hell.

This is also described from the perspective of the resurrection of the body.
One OT summary is at at Dan. 12:2
At that time: This is given in an end-times context. Gabriel states that there will be two resurrections. The details are not provided, but within the scenario of end-time events, there will be
(1) a resurrection to everlasting life
(2) a resurrection to shame and everlasting rejection.

Jesus described it at John 5:29,
"a time is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come out: those who did the good to a resurrection of life, those who committed the bad to a resurrection of judgment."

The good that needs to be done is indicated by verse 24, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the one who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life."
At John 6:29-30 the people asked Jesus, "What are we to do, so that we may accomplish the works of God?" And He told them that the only deed or work that is acceptable to God for salvation is the action of putting faith in Him as the Savior of the world.
"This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."

The bad is indicated at John 3:36, "The one who believes in the Son has everlasting life; but the one who does not obey the Son (that is, does not believe) will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him."

At Acts 24:15, Paul described this as the hope of Israel that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous."

Prior to the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, everyone who died went into Hades deep in the heart of the earth.
This area was divided into two parts: paradise and torment
All unbelievers went into the place of torment to await the resurrection unto judgment. Of course at that time they were well aware of their failure to adjust to God's justice through faith in the salvation promise. But the formal judgment will not occur until they are resurrected and appear at the great white throne after the 1000-year Davidic kingdom.

All who believed in God's plan of salvation through trust in the promise of a Savior, were considered SAVED from sin.
The principle of Rom. 10:13, Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved."

When these died they went into paradise, and experienced comfort and joy.
When Jesus ascended into heaven after His resurrection, He took those believing souls into the third heaven to await the future physical resurrection of the body.
The place of paradise is now located in the third heaven and believers who die go right into the presence of the Lord in the third heaven. 2Cor. 5:8.

Now, in general, there is one recompense or expression of divine justice for believers in Jesus
and one expression of justice to unbelievers.
This is found in many passages as a summary statement.
Such as at Isaiah 62:11, "Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your salvation is coming;
Behold His reward is with Him, and His compensation before Him."

And at Isaiah 40:9, "Go up on a high mountain, Zion, messenger of good news,
Raise your voice forcefully, Jerusalem, messenger of good news;
Raise it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, Here is your God!
10 Behold, the Lord Yahweh will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him.
Behold, His compensation is with Him, And His reward before Him."

Jesus stated it at Mat. 16:27, "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every person according to his deeds."

Solomon summarized it at Ec. 12:14, "for God will bring every act to judgment; everything which is hidden, whether it is good or bad.

As we saw earlier at John 5:29, there will be a resurrection to judgment and a resurrection to everlasting life.

The resurrection to everlasting life; the resurrection of the righteous is called the first resurrection and will occur in stages.
At 1Cor. 15:23, the first stage is "Christ the first fruits."
And the second stage is stated as, "After that those who are Christ's at His coming."
That is, all believers from all of history up to and including those who are alive at that time.

This is described at 1Cor. 15:52,
"in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."
And at 1Thes. 4:16-17,
"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds for a meeting with the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord."
And at Mark 13:27,
"And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect ones out from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven."

Also during the time frame of Christ's presence, all believers who will die after the rapture will be resurrected at the start of the 1000 year earthly kingdom.
And then, at the end of the 1000 year earthly kingdom all believers who have died and are alive at that time will be resurrected.

The resurrection of the unrighteous will not be in stages but will be completed in one event after the kingdom.
That is described at Rev. 20:11-15 as the judgment at the great white throne.
I will look at that later.

Now, the evaluation of the believer's works is also different from that of the unbeliever.
At the last judgment the unbeliever's works are mentioned to establish the fact that they have come short of God's righteousness.

Believers on the other hand have trusted in Christ's one work that paid for the sins of the world,
and on that basis are viewed by God as righteous. Rom. 3:22, "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ is for all those who believe."

And the believer's evaluation of life and deeds is actually separate from resurrection.
This evaluation is described from two perspectives.
(1) the FACT of salvation; the possession of everlasting life. John 5:24
"Truly, truly, I say to you, the one who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has everlasting life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life."

(2) the evaluation of the believers works to determine the quality of rewards and recognition throughout eternity.

And this is where the issue of the judgment seat of Christ comes into our study.

The concept of the judgment seat is taken from the Greek, BEMA.
It was a place where justice is administered. Humanly speaking - a tribunal or judicial bench. Mt. 27.19; Jn.19.13; Acts 12.21;18.12,16-17; 25.6, 10,17.
John 19:13, "when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat."
Acts 18.12, "The Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat."

The BEMA is Paul's vocabulary (only 2 times), and it is not used anywhere else in Scripture for divine evaluation.
Rom. 14:10-12, "But as for you, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or you as well, why do you regard your brother or sister with contempt? For we will all appear before the judgment seat of God.
For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, to Me every knee will bow, And every tongue will make acknowledgement to God. So then each one of us will give a word concerning himself to God.

2Cor. 5:9-10, "Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home in heaven or alive here on the earth, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive compensation for his deeds done through the body, in accordance with what he has done, whether good or bad."

Both passages simply state the FACT of an evaluation event for every believer. It does not say WHEN that evaluation will occur.
And at that evaluation event -
God will reject what is unacceptable in His eyes, and praise what is acceptable.
And then He will assign rewards to each individual believer according to His own standards of righteousness.

A more detailed description of that evaluation is written at 1 Cor. 3:10-15.
"According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each person must be careful how he builds on it. For no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw, 13 each one’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each one’s work. If anyone’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet only so as through fire.

This passage deals with the MECHANICS of evaluation rather than the time of the evaluation.
And I suggest that it will occur in an instant of time and is probably a private event.

Now, there are two categories of works that are mentioned.
Valuable building material symbolized by gold, silver and jewels.
And non-valuable material symbolized by wood, hay and straw.

The issue is: good vs. bad; light vs. darkness; pure vs. impure; righteous vs unrighteous.

And it is the very nature of God's perfect justice - an indiscriminate fire - that will do the purifying.
"the DAY will show it" (That is, the light of God's character), because it is to be revealed by FIRE to test the QUALITY and show what is pure and what is impure.

The results of the evaluation will be a combination of "receive a reward" and "suffer loss." (that is, suffer loss of reward).
And regardless of the disparity between the two, the believer himself will be saved.

Then, immediately at the conclusion of the evaluation, the believer will of course, totally agree with God without question, all to the glory of God's perfect righteousness.

And here as before, Paul establishes the FACT of the evaluation without indicating the TIME of the evaluation.

The question then - is this: when will this evaluation occur?
Many passages indicate that there will be an evaluation of the believer's works at the time of Christ's second coming.

Let's look at some of them:
1 Cor. 4:5, "Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of human hearts; and then praise will come to each person from God."

This certainly sees an evaluation of works at the time of Christ's coming.
It's at that time that every believer who is alive on the earth and is raised up with Christ at the rapture, will receive an evaluation of life and deeds. Paul is simply stating the fact that there will be this evaluation at Christ's coming.
And on that basis, leave the judging of other peoples lives in God's hands and He will evaluate what was good and what was bad.

Rev. 22:12, "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to reward each one as his work deserves."
The teaching to John and through him to the church, states the importance of being prepared to meet the Lord.
The word group, "quickly" basically indicates the idea of "without delay." That means that the plan of God is progressing according to schedule and everyone needs to focus on faithfulness and service.
This is the same thing that John exhorts at 1John 2:28.
"Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not draw back from Him in shame at His coming."

1 Peter 1:6-7, "In this salvation, you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, as necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the approval of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

This is a specific promise to all believers, but the exhortation is to those who are alive on the earth and suffering at the time of His coming. This is not really an issue for those who have died and are presently face to face with the Lord.
This, as with the other passages, is viewing the second coming as an event that could occur in the foreseeable future of John's letter. But it should be kept within the same context as 2Ths. 1:6-10. There, Paul wrote that the present sufferings of the believers could possibly escalate into the tribulation that was prophesied by Jesus.

Now, there are also crowns that are promised to faithful believers.
And they are mentioned also in a context related to the second coming of Jesus.

Whether the crowns are literal or symbolic is not an issue for this study.
At 2 Tim. 4:7-8, the crown of righteousness is mentioned.
"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that the day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing."

This is the reward for consistent faithfulness in following the standards of Christianity throughout one's life.
It seems that Paul has in mind the day of Christ's return.
But what is interesting is that he also seems to view this time that he calls "on that day," as an event that will occur at sometime after his death; that is, after his departure.

At James 1:12, the crown of life is mentioned.
"happy is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him."

The TIME of "once he has been approved" is not indicated.
But as with the other passages, it probably has in view, the day of Christ's return.

At 1 Pet. 5:2-4, the crown of glory is mentioned.
This is a reward to recognize fulfillment of one's spiritual gift. The gift in view is pastor-teacher, but the principle should apply equally to everyone who fulfills his own spiritual gift. And if not - it doesn't change the TIME of reward that is in view.
Verse 4, "And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory."

This is stating the expectation of the reward that will be assigned or given at the second coming of Jesus.
So at the second coming of Jesus, the rapture will occur. And all believers will receive a resurrection body.
The souls of those who have died will be reunited with their resurrected physical bodies and join the living believers for a meeting with the Lord in the air. At that time each believer who was alive on the earth will stand in the presence of Jesus for the first time. And at that moment his life and deeds will be evaluated by the fire of divine justice.
There won't be any waiting for a future evaluation.
It is not reasonable to think that the raptured saints would live in heaven after the rapture without having their evaluation completed.

Now - the rapture certainly includes all believers - both living and those who have previously died.

But - what about all those believers who will have died before the second coming of Christ?
It seems kind of pointless for the multitudes of believers who died before the rapture to reside in the third heaven with Jesus (2 Cor. 5:8) and STILL to not have had their life and deeds evaluated.

So I suggest that it is at the time of each believer's death - that his life and deeds are evaluated by God and the various rewards in view are assigned.
It's at that moment, immediately upon being face to face with the Lord -
and in a mere instant of time - that anyone who died was evaluated.
And for any one of us who may die in the future, it will be at that time that we will be evaluated.

This is in total agreement with the PRINCIPLE of divine evaluation.
And it doesn't conflict with the evaluation that is directly associated with Christ's return.
Furthermore, I suggest that this evaluation will not be a collective event, but will be private and personal.
That is, it is only between each individual and God.

Let's look again at Rom. 14:11-12.
"But as for you, why do you judge your brother? Or you as well, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all appear before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written:
As I live, says the Lord, to Me every knee will bow,
And every tongue will confess agreement to God.
So then each one of us will give a statement of acknowledgment concerning himself to God."

The FACT of evaluation is stated here without reference to any specific moment in time.
But at the time that evaluation is completed, then "each one will give a word (statement) of acknowledgment concerning himself to God."

Verse 11 is a reference to Isaiah 45:23. It is not a direct quote.
The words are not the same either in the Hebrew or in the LXX.
The Greek word for give praise is exhomologeō. It means to say the same thing. This means to confess or agree about something. It does not mean to praise. The translation should be, "and every tongue will confess agreement to God."
Paul explains what it means at verse 12.
"Therefore, each one of us shall give a statement concerning himself to God."
The structure here is the verb didomi which means to give.
What is given is a statement. The Greek word is logos, which means a word or statement.
Then there is the preposition, peri, which means about or concerning, plus the pronoun, heautos, which means himself.

Paul's reference to Isaiah is used to express the ULTIMATE and FINAL acknowledgment by all of creation that God is perfectly righteous. This will occur at various times before and at the time of the great white throne judgment.
He then makes a temporal application to the believer - and the point in time when after the evaluation of life and deeds, that believer will "give a word (logos) concerning himself to God." That is, he will make a statement, totally agreeing with God about the results of the evaluation. Verse 12.

This is not giving any kind of excuse or explanation. It is simply stating a total acceptance of God's evaluation.
In the Hebrew and the Greek of the LXX, the words indicate the idea of giving glory to God.
And of course, when the believer acknowledges and agrees with God's evaluation,
this certainly fulfills the idea of giving glory to Him.

But still - this is written in a context that sees it as a future evaluation.
It's an exhortation to those believers who are alive -
and it can be viewed as either anticipation of what will happen at death -
or in anticipation of what will happen at the rapture when Christ returns.

Let's put the Old T. believers who have died into the mix. We learn about them from the story of Lazarus and the rich man at Luke 16. Both Abraham and Lazarus are in a place of comfort.
This suggests that any evaluation of their life would have already been completed.
The place of comfort is called PARADISE, which indicates that any "bad things done in life" would have been judged and rejected by God, and the "good things done in life" would have been praised.

Likewise all the OT believers who are now in heaven, as "the spirits of righteous men made complete" (Heb. 12:23) reside there having had their lives and deeds evaluated.

And then there are THE MARTYRS shown to John at Rev. 6:9-11.
He sees a specific group of souls that is A SYMBOLIC representation of martyrs who died because of God's word and their testimony.

"When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been killed because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who live on the earth?” And a white robe was given to each of them; and they were told that they were to rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers and sisters who were to be killed even as they had been, was completed also."

Some observations:
1. They are seen in heaven BEFORE the 6th seal arrival of Jesus and the rapture.
2. They are at rest: "rest a little while longer."
3. They ask God how long before He brings justice. That means the specific time of judgment is still future within the time line of John's vision.
4. It also indicates that in the mind of these martyrs as they call out to God for Justice that the persecutors are still alive on the earth. The martyrs are seen within the time line of the seals as dying AFTER the red horse rider, which probably represents the rise of the beast.

5. Each was given a white robe. The white robe usually symbolizes righteousness. This can indicate that they are saved - that is, possessing the very righteousness of God. Or it can indicate they have already received an evaluation of life and deeds, which is why they would be at rest.

The fact that they are specifically martyrs focuses on their faithfulness in the face of death.
But evaluation of faithfulness includes evaluation of every aspect of their life and deeds and will have already been completed at this time.
And of course, it is difficult to imagine that these believers are residing there in heaven "at rest" without having been evaluated as per 1Cor 3.

6. And lastly, these believers are not in a resurrection body since they are seen as "souls beneath the altar."
From a prewrath perspective, they represent martyrs who will die during the tribulation and before the arrival of Jesus and the rapture at the 6th seal. They will be seen later at Rev. 7:9ff in resurrection bodies as part of the multitude that comes out of the great tribulation after the 6th seal rapture.

These believers at REVELATION 7:9 are in a condition of peace and comfort. Evaluation and rejection of "bad" works will have been accomplished at that time or rather BY THAT TIME -

The prewrath camp sees these believers as those who will be raptured at the 6th seal arrival of Jesus.
In that case, since the rapture raises dead and living saints -
-For those who had previously died, the evaluation would have occurred immediately after their death and upon their arrival in heaven.
-For those who were living and then raptured, the evaluation will occur immediately upon their arrival in heaven.

Thus, all the believers at Rev. 7:9 are seen as "clothed in white robes" (righteous), which indicates that the evaluation of life and deeds had already taken place. Or, as mentioned earlier, simply the indication that they are saved.
Regardless, the description of their status indicates that at the time they are seen here in heaven, their life and deeds will have been evaluated.

Hebrews 12:22-24 tells us WHAT is in heaven at the time of writing and accordingly at this present time in history.
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant."

In the order listed there, we see -
the heavenly Jerusalem: This is a symbolic picture of heaven itself: The city of the living God.
Present there are:
angels, deceased believers of the church, God the Father, OT believers, and Jesus.

This is who we would see were we to be shown a vision of the heavenly setting.

And this is what John was shown at Revelation 4 when within his VISION he was taken to that heavenly setting and saw SYMBOLS to represent things in heaven.
At Rev. 4:1 the vision takes John into heaven. This is not symbolic of the rapture. It is simply bringing John into a new setting to observe the things that will occur from a heavenly perspective.
And so, John is shown:
God the Father, angels, the 4 cherubim, the Holy Spirit, 24 old men, and Jesus portrayed as the Lamb.
But there is no specific mention of the millions and millions of believers who reside in heaven.
Except there is actually a SYMBOLIC mention of those believers.
The 24 old men - the word presbuteros refers to people; not angels; not animals - but people.
Within that symbol there are 12 men to represent the OT believers (who were transferred to heaven at the ascension of Jesus) and 12 to represent the NT believers who have died. (absent from the body and face to face with the Lord).
And this symbolic group of believers is seen as dressed in white and having crowns.
This, and the fact that they are in heaven indicates that they have already had life and deeds evaluated.
The crowns probably refer to the fact that these are overcomers by faith in the Messiah, which of course, is pertinent to both Old Testament and church age believers.

Let's look at Rev 11:15-18
Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying,

"We give You thanks, Lord God, the Almighty, the One who is and who was, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came,
AND the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to give their reward to Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth."

BRIEFLY - the rapture will occur at the 6th seal.
The trumpet judgments follow.
The 7th trumpet will end the 70th week. There will still be 30 more days before the beast is destroyed at the battle of Armageddon. This will happen at the 7th bowl judgment.
At the end of the week Christ ‎will begin his OFFICIAL reign over the kingdoms of the earth.
And it will NOW be time for several things to be set in motion.
All of these things will be triggered by the week coming to an end, but some of them will not occur until much later.

One of those things is - it is time to give reward -

This indicates that there will be a FORMAL recognition and presentation of the various rewards involved.
As seen already, every believer will have had life and deeds evaluated either at the time of their physical death or at the rapture.
So this must refer to some later event that will formally bestow rewards upon all who have earned them.
It seems then, that when the believers are evaluated - either at death or rapture - any rewards will be assigned to them at that time, but not actually bestowed upon them until a future and FORMAL presentation.

At Rev. 19:7-8 we see the bride of Christ (all believers who are in heaven) fully prepared and clothed in righteousness.
"the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has prepared herself. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints."

The verb "has prepared herself" (aorist middle indicative) indicates that the preparation has already happened. In other words, the evaluation that results in being clothed with fine linen has taken place before this scene occurs.

This fact of preparation of the bride does not look at each individual believer, but the entire body of believers - as one collective whole. It sees that each individual contributed whatever they did, the least of which would be simply saving faith in Christ; for although a believer might indeed "suffer loss" of reward, "yet he himself will be saved." 1 Cor. 3:15.

So then, this indicates that all the believers located in heaven at that time, will have had life and deeds evaluated. This could indicate that a formal reward event has occurred. Or the formal reward event could be delayed until a celebration during the wedding feast.
Whenever that FORMAL reward event will occur, it will be the fulfillment of Rev. 11:18, "it is time to give their reward."

Now, this condition or status of the bride is seen to be in heaven.
And it is time for the formal marriage event and marriage feast.
It has not yet occurred but the bride is prepared and waiting in the new Jerusalem until Jesus finishes the judgments on the unbelieving earth dwellers.
The natural understanding is that the time for the wedding is here
the bride has made herself ready.
Ready for what? Ready of course for the wedding event to take place.

Of course, these things have been discussed and debated for centuries.
I suggest that this passage shows the bride in heaven waiting for the wedding and the wedding feast. And I believe they will both occur at the start of the earthly kingdom after the battle of Armageddon.
It appears that this group of saints is designated as the bride and not yet the wife. It is the BRIDE (numphā) that descends onto the earth at the start of the earthly kingdom. Rev. 21:2 and 9 shows that this group is the bride, who is the wife of the Lamb. (numphā and gunā).
The word, gunā primarily means - woman.
This collective group of believers would not be BOTH the bride and the wife at the same time, but certainly can be described as the bride and the woman of the Lamb.

So ok - now -
Armageddon will be resolved 30 days after the end of the week based on comparing Dan. 12:11; Rev. 14:17-20; Rev. 16:12-21 and 18:21-24.
And the earthly kingdom will begin 45 days after that. Dan. 12:12,
"happy is he who waits and attains to the 1335 days."

I suggest that after the bride is seen in heaven -
by the way - she is waiting in heaven - NOT participating.

so after showing John the bride, he is shown a vision of Jesus coming out of the sky and descending ONTO the earth to engage in battle. This is His physical descent onto the earth several months after His initial return that is portrayed at the 6th seal. And the armies that follow Him are angels. The bride is still waiting in heaven for the victorious king to return. As I have claimed on several occasions, a king will simply not bring his bride into battle.
Now according to the Old Testament, when He descends onto the earth, He will go first to Edom, then to the Mt of Olives in Jerusalem, and then He will go to Megiddo for the final battle of Armageddon.

After Armageddon - chapter 20 shows the binding of Satan for 1000 years; the reign of believers with Christ for 1000 years; the last battle after the 1000 years; the judgment of the great white throne after the 1000 years; and the creation of the new heavens and earth after the 1000 years.

At Rev. 21:2, the vision backs up to the start of the earthly kingdom. John is shown a vision of the new Jerusalem, which symbolizes the bride, coming down to the earth prepared for her husband.
This represents the start of the 1000 year earthly kingdom and still sees the marriage as yet to occur.
Rev. 21:9-27 indicates this by showing John the bride (gumphā), the woman (gunā) of the Lamb.

And so the kingdom will begin with the bride ready for the wedding, and a group of wedding guests invited to join the celebration. These are seen at Rev 19:9 and refers to all believers alive on the earth after Armageddon.
The principle is seen at Dan. 12:12. "happy is he who waits and attains to the 1335 days."

So, after the dust settles from Christ's defeat of the armies gathered against Him,
there will be a 45-day period of time to prepare for the establishment of Christ's earthly kingdom.
During that time there will be an EVALUATION of all the people left alive on the earth.
They will be separated into two groups; believers and unbelievers righteous and unrighteous.
This will not be an evaluation of life and works for determining ultimate accolades and rewards in heaven. It will be a determination of who trusted in Jesus as the Messiah-Savior and who did not.
This will result in the removal of unbelievers from the earth and the confirmation of those who are believers, who then go alive into the earthly kingdom.

The Jewish believers who enter the kingdom are seen at Ezek 34:17-31.
"Therefore, this is what the Lord God says to them: “Behold, I, I Myself will also judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Since you push away with your side and shoulder, and gore all the weak with your horns until you have scattered them abroad, 22 therefore, I will save My flock, and they will no longer be plunder; and I will judge between one sheep and another.
23 “Then I will appoint over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the Lord have spoken."

The Gentile believers who enter the kingdom are seen at Zech. 14:16.
"Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of armies, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths."

Mat. 25:31-46 shows the believing survivors after Armageddon, but looks beyond their entrance into the earthly kingdom and just declares their eternal destiny.
"inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
"the righteous will go into everlasting life."

However, they will first go into the earthly kingdom as citizens under Christ's rulership.
These believers will enter into the millennial kingdom in normal, mortal bodies and live their lives under the jurisdiction of Jesus the king of kings and Lord of lords. The bride of Christ - all resurrected believers from all previous time periods - will reign with Christ from within the New Jerusalem and help govern the peoples of the world.
There will be marriages, births and deaths. We have no information about what will happen with believers who die or when they will receive a resurrection body for life throughout "eternity." But the pattern should still be in operation that every believer who dies will go into the third heaven and immediately have life and deeds evaluated.
At the end of the earthly kingdom, these and all believers alive at that time will probably be given a resurrection body and join all the other believers of human history for their eternal destiny with the Godhead.

At the end of the mil kingdom, after the Satanic revolution of Rev. 20:7-10, all unbelievers, both living and dead, will appear before the great white throne judgment and be sentenced to the lake of fire for all of eternity.

And that brings us to THE LAST JUDGMENT
To this very present time in history, whenever an unbeliever dies, they go to the place of torments in Hades. They reside there until the great white throne judgment of Rev. 20:10-15.

Rev. 20:11-15.
"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them; and they were judged, each one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Here it does appear to be a very formal and collective gathering of all unbelievers.
There is no indication that any believers appear there except for a couple witnesses called by God. These appear to testify in order to demonstrate to the unbelievers of the Messiah generation how serious was their failure to accept God's grace provision for salvation via the very PERSON of the Messianic promise; the Lord Jesus Himself. Mat. 12:39-42; Luke 11:29-32.
The men of Ninevah and the Queen of the South.
The greatest generation of all time to be recipients of God's grace is the generation that saw and heard the very presence of God's Messiah/Savior.
The witness of the Ninevites will be something along these lines. "We accepted the message of the prophet, Jonah, who faithfully proclaimed the Messianic promise. We cannot help but accuse you for rejecting the words and works of the Messiah Himself in the person of Jesus."

And the Queen of the South was so captivated with Solomon's - or rather God's wisdom, that she embraced the divine viewpoint and accepted the Messianic promise.
What she heard and believed MUST have been "redemption" information from Solomon.
Solomon's wisdom certainly included his knowledge as stated at Ec. 12:13, "the conclusion when all has been heard, is REVERENCE GOD and keep His commandments.
Reverencing God begins with accepting His policy for redemption.
The message of the everlasting gospel is "reverence God, give Him glory and worship Him who is the creator."
Keeping His commandments is accepting His policy for living here on earth after salvation.

So as a believer, the queen of the South will stand as a testament to God's grace, and rebuke that "evil and adulterous generation" for rejecting the very Person of the Messiah himself.

The books that are opened at this judgment refers to the record of all the humanly good deeds the unbelievers had done.
The deeds are listed and documented to establish the fact that no matter how many good deeds the unbeliever might have done throughout their life, all of them will come short of God's own righteousness.
Rom. 3:23, "for all have sinned and come short of God's righteousness."
Isaiah 64:6 states the principle, "all of our righteous deeds are like a garment of uncleanness."

All their humanly good things simply will not equal the very righteousness of God.
None of their good works can save them.
The principle is stated by Paul at Eph. 2:8-9. "we are saved by grace through faith and that salvation is not from ourselves, it is a gift from God; not from works.

The judgment on the unbelievers will also show that they failed to do the one and only good work that will bring salvation from sin. That one and only good work is to believe in Jesus. As He declared, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."

And so, that is why the book of life is opened.
From before the foundation of the world, the name of every single person who would live had their name recorded in the book of life.
Anyone who died without trusting in Christ as Savior had their name blotted out.
Only those who have trusted in Jesus for salvation have their names permanently recorded there.
This book is opened as additional documentation that these unbelievers never trusted in Jesus.
But the fact that there WAS a spot for their name indicates God's grace in doing everything He could to bring those people to a change of mind. But as the Scripture indicates in many places and summarized at Mat. 23:37,
"but you were not willing."
And so, the perfect justice of God will assign all of them to the lake of fire for all eternity.

It is described at Rev. 14:10-11. The unbeliever will "also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; they have no rest day and night."
Now whether this should be considered a literal FIRE or not, is not really the issue.
The issue is the experience that is described with the idiomatic expression, "they have no rest day or night."

Now I must admit - that appears to be very harsh, unfair and unloving.
But that is the age-old accusation from Satan against God's character and plan.
And it is perpetuated in the delusionary human logic of people all throughout history.
But when we truly understand God's righteousness, justice - and YES - His love -
we are able to accept - and indeed approve of - this divine verdict against all who have rejected Him.

But for those who have embraced God through faith in the person and work of Jesus -
there is the promise of everlasting life.
And there will be no more sin and unrighteousness; no more curse and no more death.
All who have trusted in Christ during their life on earth will live and reign with Him throughout the years, ages, time periods of eternity; and only God knows the details of that future eternity.


Questions and comments are always welcome

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