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When and how long is the the Judgment Seat of Christ?

This post is posited as a theory by Pastor Gene Kim. We are going through the church age now. After that is the tribulation and then, the second advent of Jesus Christ followed by the millennium. It is common knowledge  that the Judgment seat of Christ is before the second advent.

Pastor Kim believes that it’s not going to be right before the second advent. There’s going to be a time gap between the Judgment seat of Christ and the second advent.

Christians have to go through the Judgment seat of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

Paul is referring to saved believers here. All saved Christians go before the judgment seat of Christ. This is when God rewards them according to their works in their body. You can also look at 1 Corinthians 3 for more detail. God judges us and gives the Christians a reward, if they have been faithful.

First theory

The judgment seat of Christ happens at the rapture

It’s interesting because when Paul died, he said something about this. We don’t know the start of the judgment seat of Christ. Yet, Pastor Kim’s theory is that it happens when we are raptured. Paul says that when he dies, he goes immediately to heaven and that the judgment is in a future tense.

2 Timothy 4:6: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.”

Paul is ready to die soon.

2 Timothy 4:8: “henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

He puts it in the future tense. He says, “at that day.” This seems to be the day that Christians get rewarded and crowned, the judgment seat. Then as he continues, he seems to reference the “appearing” of Christ, the rapture. So it seems that the judgment seat begins when He appears.

In the meantime, we go to heaven and enjoy our mansion up in heaven.

John 14:2: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”

Notice that Christ’s intention is to have for us a mansion in heaven for us to enjoy. He is saying that when He comes down, He is going to come down so that we might enjoy that mansion. If that’s the case, how can we say that the judgment seat of Christ occurs all the way from now until the end of the tribulation? Then we wouldn’t have time to enjoy our mansion in heaven.

Remember that we are ruling over the earth with Him for one thousand years when we come down with Jesus. We aren’t back in our mansion. Back in 2 Corinthians 5, Paul says, “we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” He also says that we have a house in the heavens waiting for us. This implies an immediacy that we are in the house that the Lord has prepared once we die.

So, we’ll be enjoying our mansion, then the judgment seat of Christ, and then the marriage supper of the Lamb. However, it may be longer than we often think. Go to Luke 12. Here, Jesus comes down sometime at the end of the tribulation and raptures them up. Yet where is He returning from? He is returning from the wedding! This may imply a longer time gap than we often think.

Luke 12:36: “and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.”

This is the rapture for the tribulation saints. Notice that when He returns from the wedding, this means the wedding had already been going! This seems to imply that the judgment seat of Christ may be over a shorter time span than we think.

Second theory

Revelation 4:10: “the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying…”

Notice that the four and twenty elders cast their crowns before the throne. Who are they?

Revelation 5:9: “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”

These are saved Christians!

In Revelation 5, they have already received their rewards! Remember chapter 4, where they’re casting their crowns before the throne? They’ve already received the crowns. This is before Revelation 6:1. Since they are saying that He is worthy to open the seal, the seal has not yet been unleashed. Tribulation hasn’t even started yet! They already have the rewards before the seals are opened. That would make the judgment seat of Christ short. Yet this makes sense because the Bible talks about the rapture as “the day” or “the day of Christ” and also calls it the judgment seat of Christ. These two things are intertwined.

The question is this: how can God judge every saved Christian in such a short time span?

The answer is quite easy. 2 Peter 3. A day with the Lord is 1,000 years and 1,000 years is but a day. Scientifically, time works differently as you go outwards into space compared to here on earth. One day to Him may be very different to 1 day for us. Do you think an omnipotent God is weaker than the power of the universe to make time different at the judgment seat of Christ? Of course not! This isn’t a problem for God. Even in Revelation 4, God jumped John thousands of years forward to see these things.

We also have to understand that this isn’t something we can get away from. Paul called it terror for a reason. It’s going to be a terrible event and maybe a lot slower than we might think. For all we know, it could be longer than the longer timetable most people believe in. Yet these are all theories, and it should be a lesson for us not to take chances when it comes to the judgment seat of Christ.