By Ray Wooten
humans have many things in common, but, like snowflakes, no two people
are exactly alike. Everyone is unique in his own order within God’s
family plan. However, one thing that is common to all is shown in the
bible. Heb 9:27, “--- it is appointed unto men once to die, but after
this the judgment:”
= Greek, apokeimai. This Greek word is used four times in the bible.
Let’s take a brief look at them to help us see the truth.
Heb 9:27, here it is used as appointed, regarding death.
2. Col 1:5, “--- because of the hope which is laid up for you in the
heavens, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,”
Laid up= apokeimai. Literally, our hope is "laid away or by."
3. 2 Tim 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.” Here
a crown is laid up, or laid "away."
4. Luke 19:20, “Lord, behold, (here is) thy pound, which I kept laid
up in a napkin:” This gives us the idea of what the word conveys. Lay
up is to lay away in store.
the proliferation of credit card buying many retail stores featured
a “lay away plan” in which consumers could choose their merchandise
and the company would put in storage or lay away their goods until the
buyer paid the full purchase price. They were then free to take their
goods. So, when death is appointed it is “laid away in store” for everyone.
You and I will die. That is an appointment we all must keep.
9:27 also states that after death, comes judgment.
Judgment = Greek, krisis. Man has to meet Christ as Judge, as Jesus
himself graphically pictures (Matt 25:31-46; John 5:25-29).
most of mankind judgment is an alarming word. We tend to conjure up
all sorts of punishment in our minds. We have been conditioned to believe
that God is some kind of harsh ogre with a determination to severely
punish everyone he finds doing something wrong. We don’t understand
that the awesome God, our Father, is making every effort to give us
eternal life in His very own Family. To us judgment implies that we
don’t have a chance to be saved. We seem to know inherently that we
have been bad or, at least, anything but good. And we deserve harsh
judgment and cruel punishment. But, this is a complete misunderstanding
of God and His purpose.
no mistake about it; all humans are “bad” and deserve eternal death.
Jer 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately
wicked: who can know it?” KJV
Rom 7:22-23, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my
mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my
And, “---- the wages of sin is death;” Rom 6:23, KJV. (If you would
like to study this point further, request our booklet, “The Two Adams”).
But, our Creator, God has lovingly planned a way for our eternal salvation.
Rom 6:23, “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ
our Lord.” KJV And, our eternal judgment is intimately connected with
our acceptance or rejection of that plan. That plan is through Jesus,
the Messiah, who was God in the flesh that lived and died for our sins
so that we may die “in Him” and, therefore, live “in Him”, (see “The
have accepted God’s plan and have been redeemed, saved from the penalty
of sin, i.e. eternal death (God’s Law demands the death of all sinners).
If you have, that is good. If you have not, isn’t it time you did? Don’t
just shrug this off. Salvation can be yours! Don’t think that you already
know and immediately disagree with the truth of this subject. It is
way too important for that.
let us notice one of the most astounding, fascinating and exciting truths
that the Bible reveals. What is it? God is not trying to
save the entire world now! Yet, conversely, it also reveals
the entire world, all mankind, whether they are alive now, have lived
in the past and died, or whether they will live in the future, will
have an opportunity for salvation. 1 Cor 15:22, “For as in Adam all
die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” KJV
can both these teachings be true? If God is not trying to save the world
can all humanity have a chance for salvation? The answer to the seeming
dilemma is in the bible doctrine of eternal judgment.
all the billions of people who lived from Adam until now, who never
knew of the name of Jesus Christ, the only name under heaven by which
people can be saved (Acts 4:12). Are they lost forever -- doomed to
die with no hope for eternal life? What about the idolaters and heathen
you have had family members or friends who have died without accepting
the grace and truth of Jesus Christ. What is their fate? Are they lost?
Or what about little babies who died and never understood enough to
accept Jesus? Since they were born “in Adam” they, too, must have a
savior. These questions need to be answered. And, they are!
You need to understand this for your own faith and for the wonderful
truth of what is “laid by in store” for all these people. Because of
all the misunderstanding and false teachings about this doctrine of
eternal judgment you should learn this well so you can explain it to
time of judgment for each individual is from the time of his calling,
(2 Tim 1:9, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling,”
---) until death or change into a member of God’s Family, composed of
spirit. It is during this time that a person is being judged by the
biblical standard of judgment. Too often we are told that we are judged
by our obedience to the 10 commandments. Let’s analyze that for just
a moment. Does the bible really say that? Well, yes it does, in a way.
We are told to “become like Christ” and to “grow in the grace and knowledge
of the Lord”. This goes way beyond the “do’s and don’ts” of one’s conduct
or how “holy” one may feel when he “keeps the law”. This is pertaining
to what is happening down in the innermost part of one’s being. What
one thinks and says really matters to God. If we are “in Christ” we
are saved, but, contrary to what “nominal Christianity” teaches, if
one stops at merely saying he accepts Jesus as Savior and never shows
any fruits of it, then the judgment must be that he, in fact has not
if he really is “in Christ”, then Christ is also “in him” Remember,
“Christ in you” is the “hope of Glory”, Col 1:27. If Christ is “in you”,
that will be reflected in your life. So, ask the question, what will
be reflected in me? Let the bible answer by telling us what was in Christ.
(John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we
beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
full of grace and truth.” John 1:17, “For the law was given by Moses,
but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”) KJV. This is why we are
admonished to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18). Christ reflected the Father through His
Grace and Truth; we should reflect Christ and the Father the same way.
If Christ is indeed “in us”, we will reflect it in our love, care and
concern for the people with whom we associate. The words of our mouths
will be blessings, not curses, truth, not lies and they will be as David
said; Ps 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my
heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”
KJV This will be God’s judgment of us whatever our time of judgment
different groups of people, this judgment will occur at different times,
either now (as in the case of the spiritual organism that the bible
calls God’s Church), during the Millennium for those who live over into
it and those who will be born during the Millennium or at the close
of the Millennium in the Great White Throne Judgment for those who will
be resurrected in the flesh at that time.
The teachings of many bible teachers are a long way from the clear revelation
of the Bible. Most churches do not even understand that God is not calling
most people to salvation now, let alone understand the connection between
the time of one’s calling and his period of judgment. They usually view
the judgment merely as the time of passing of a sentence upon a person.
Many people probably picture a courtroom, complete with a fatherly but
stern God in a black robe behind a large desk, faced by fearful sinners
awaiting His judgment to see if they will go “up” to heaven or “down”
to hell, but, this is not the picture presented by the Bible!
The astounding, central truth essential to understanding this topic
is that God is not trying to save the entire world now. Satan is said
to be deceiving the whole world (Revelation 12:9). If the whole world
is deceived, how can it be in the process of being saved? From the days
of Adam and his eviction from the Garden of Eden, through the days when
Moses told the children of Israel that “the Lord has not given you a
heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear” (Deuteronomy 29:2-4),
it has been obvious that God is not now saving the whole world.
said, “God hath concluded them all (mankind) in unbelief, that he might
(eventually, but not now) have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:32,)
No wonder Satan is called the “god of this world” (II Corinthians 4:4,)
and God’s way is called the way only “few” now take (Matthew 7:14).
No wonder Paul called the vast majority of humanity “strangers from
the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world”
why has God chosen not to save all people? The answer is that for God
to fulfill His master plan of creating us in His image and likeness
requires time. Jer 33:8, “And I will cleanse them from their iniquity,
whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities,
whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against
me.” KJV Pardon is done instantaneously through the blood of Jesus.
But cleansing is a process that requires time. This time of judgment
is actually the time of one’s opportunity for salvation through pardon
and for preparing us for the duties we will have in the Family of God
through the cleansing process of washing by the Holy Spirit and through
the Word, which is Christ dwelling “in us”. 1 Cor 6:11, “And such were
some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified
in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Eph 5:25-26,
“even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26,
that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the
word,” KJV. This is true of all who are converted no matter which period
they are given their opportunity for salvation/judgment. Therefore most,
but not all, of humanity are being left to themselves now.
FIRST PERIOD OF JUDGMENT
Some are being called by God now to preach His message as a witness
to the world (not to proselyte or convert the world -- Matthew 24:14)
and to learn God’s way, so they may teach the masses when God finally
does call the rest of the human race and open their minds, (Rev 5:10).
key scriptures in this regard are II Corinthians 6:2 and I Peter 4:17.
II Corinthians 6:2 is misleading in some translations, which read that
God has succored us in “the” day of salvation. But this verse, both
in the original Greek and in the Old Testament verse from which it is
quoted, does not contain the definite article, but reads that now is
“a day of salvation.” Obviously, if now is a day of salvation, then
there must be other times when God has dealt or will deal with people.
Peter 4:17 makes the point that now is only a time of salvation more
clearly, showing for whom now is the time for salvation: “For the time
has come for judgment to begin at the house of God.”
that a judgment is now on the house of God -- the Spiritual Organism
-- but not upon others. And clearly this judgment is not a mere sentencing,
but a process of evaluation made by God as He watches over our growth
through a period of time. Of course, ultimately, judgment includes Christ’s
final proclamation that we are either sheep or goats. (Matthew 25: 31-46).
Obviously that is an analogy of our spiritual state. And that determination
has already been made. It doesn’t happen at a single “moment of decision”.
Those of us who are converted in this life are being judged based on
whether we are “in Christ” and Christ is “in us”. This will be obvious
based on whether we have the fruits of Christ’s “new commandment” in
our lives. John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love
one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John
15:12, “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have
loved you.” KJV
first period of judgment, when most will be deceived and only a few
will be called, is now (I Peter 4:17). This era ends with the return
of Jesus Christ to set up His Kingdom, and the resurrection to eternal
life of all who were called and cleansed from Adam’s time till then.
As Revelation 20:5 says, “This is the first resurrection.” It is the
time of redemption of the few “called” (Romans 8:28) who form the “firstfruits”
(not the whole spiritual harvest, James 1:18, Revelation 14:14) of God’s
if now is not the only time when God will call humanity -- that is,
give them opportunity for salvation and spiritual judgment based on
the grace and truth of Jesus that dwells “in them”, then, when are the
SECOND PERIOD OF JUDGMENT
The second time of judgment is during the Millennium, the 1,000 years
immediately after Jesus’ return to set up His Kingdom. One clear theme
running throughout the Bible is that during the Millennium all then
alive will know the truth of God (Isaiah 11:9, Jeremiah 31:34, Joel
2:32). This millennial period of judgment differs from the world now
in that all people then alive will have a chance for salvation.
those who lived and died from Adam till Jesus Christ’s return and the
first resurrection will not yet have had a chance. Apparently this will
be the largest of the three groups to be saved/judged. Their chance
will come, however. It is spoken of in Revelation 20:11, which describes
the Great White Throne Judgment. This is the time of the second resurrection,
when the dead from all time, small and great, will be raised to another
physical existence, except this time with a difference. This time the
“books” (Greek, biblos= the bible) are opened to their understanding
(verse 12), and they live out a full life span with the chance to know
God and the truth of salvation. This is the time when all the humans
who have not had a chance will be given one. This is the time of judgment
for Tyre and Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, as Jesus revealed (Matthew 11:22,
10:15). It is spoken of in plain terms by the prophet Ezekiel: “Behold,
0 My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up...I will
put My Spirit in you, and you shall live” (Ezekiel 37:12, 14).
God’s merciful, fair plan will be complete. All will have had a chance
for salvation, a period of living during which the truth of God will
be open to their minds, and they will be judged according to it -- their
judgment period. For the Church that period is now. In the Millennium
all those then alive will have their chance. Finally, during the Great
White Throne Judgment, all the former dead who didn’t have a chance
before will get their opportunity. No one will get a “second chance,”
but everyone will get one full opportunity for salvation.
did God choose this method? Think of the logic of this plan. The few
are saved first through the personal effort of Jesus. He has experienced
pressures, pains and heartaches of human life. He shows that His disciples
from that time until His return will continue the work of “feeding”
and caring for His “sheepfold” because we, too, have experienced the
trials, etc. of human life. Through this method He is, at this time,
working with the smallest numbers, maybe just the thousands. In the
millennium the thousands who have experienced the pressures, heartaches
and pains of human life will work with the millions. In the Great White
Throne period the millions will deal and work with the billions who
are resurrected to physical life. What a plan!
IS THE JUDGE?
There is one more thought that would be good for us to understand and
remember, that is, who is the judge? The Bible gives a clear answer
to that question. John 5:22-30,
“For the Father judges no man, but hath committed all judgment unto
23 That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.
He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which hath sent him.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears my word, and believes
on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into
condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when
the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear
26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son
to have life in himself;
27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he
is the Son of man.
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are
in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection
of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment
is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father
which hath sent me.” KJV
you really catch what Jesus said in verses 25 and 27? Jesus gives Life
because He is the Son of God and He executes judgment because He is
the son of man. Could it be any better than this? Jesus understands
our situation because He was man, yet, He does not condone sin because
He is (the Son of) God. So, He gave His life to pay our debt for sin
and He sends His Holy Spirit and gives us His Word to cleanse us. And
it is the same method for all people of all times.
me share this short scenario about the Judge in this wondrous plan of
God. Let us be thankful that no other man is our judge. Our Judge is
the same one who left heaven where He was God, came to earth as a man,
suffered total rejection by those who should have loved Him most, was
beaten into a “bloody pulp” by Roman soldiers with whips called “cat
o’ nine tails” then, suffered the ultimate indignity of being nailed
to a tree to die at the hands of Roman soldiers. But, they were not
the only ones responsible for that ignominious, illegal, murderous crucifixion.
Your sins and mine were just as responsible for that persecution, beating
and killing as the Romans. Yet, the victim of that horrendous maltreatment
did it all willingly. Jesus could have called 10,000 angels to save
him from all of that. But, He preferred our salvation over His own self
preservation and He wants you and me to have that same attitude. And
let me tell you friends and brethren, true believers and followers of
Jesus, the Messiah, will have that attitude.
know this is hard, but, Christ did not come to make it easy for us.
He came to make it possible for us. This all happens to us through our
being “in Him”, and “He in us.” Because, to take selfish, egotistical
people and transform them into loving, caring, sharing, outgoing, Christ-like
people requires a lot of sacrifice on the part of everybody, and Jesus
set the example of just such a life.
same Jesus who experienced all that I have described, and more, as He
was nearing the end of His human life made a request to the Father,
and let us always remember, the one who judges us is the same one who
said to His Father, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they
could only have worked by having someone who was perfectly sinless –
not an offspring of Adam – whose life was worth more than all human
life put together who was worthy to pay for the sins of all human beings.
The Son Of The Living God!
Him, do you? I hope so!
Here are a few key scriptures relating to eternal judgment. They will
help as a review.
Mark 4:11-12 and John 6:44 show that God is not trying to save all the
II Corinthians 6:2 explains that now is not the only day of salvation.
1 Peter 4:17 shows that judgment is a process of time while one is under
God and that judgment is now on the Church.
Revelation 20:1-12 describes the various resurrections that delineate
Isaiah 11:9 and Jeremiah 31:34 say that all people will know God in
Ezekiel 37:12-14 illustrates how the former dead will be raised and
given the truth of God during the Great White Throne Judgment.