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Revelation 2:10

10 Fear nothing that you are about to suffer. [Dismiss your dread and your fears!] Behold, the devil is indeed about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested and proved and critically appraised, and for ten days you will have affliction. Be loyally faithful unto death [even if you must die for it], and I will give you the crown of life. [Revelation 3:10,11.] AMP

Revelation 3:10-11

10 Because you have guarded and kept My word of patient endurance [have held fast the lesson of My patience with the expectant endurance that I give you], I also will keep you [safe] from the hour of trial (testing) which is coming on the whole world to try those who dwell upon the earth.

11 I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one may rob you and deprive you of your crown. AMP

Revelation 4:4

4 Twenty-four other thrones surrounded the throne, and seated on these thrones were twenty-four elders ( the members of the heavenly Sanhedrin), arrayed in white clothing, with crowns of gold upon their heads.
AMP

Revelation 4:10

10 The twenty-four elders ( the members of the heavenly Sanhedrin) fall prostrate before Him Who is sitting on the throne, and they worship Him Who lives forever and ever; and they throw down their crowns before the throne, crying out, AMP




B. The Judgment Itself



Though not specifically stated, this judgment will apparently take place immediately after the Rapture of the church, since the twenty-four elders who likely represent believers have their crowns in the scene in heaven at the beginning of the Tribulation (Revelation 4:4,10). Further, when the bride returns with Christ at His second coming, she is clothed with the righteous deeds that have survived the examination of this judgment (19:8).

Revelation 19:8

8 She has been permitted to dress in fine (radiant) linen, dazzling and white for the fine linen is (signifies, represents) the righteousness (the upright, just, and godly living, deeds, and conduct, and right standing with God) of the saints (God's holy people). AMP


The site of this judgment is the bema of Christ. Earthly bemas were raised, thronelike platforms on which rulers or judges sat when making speeches (Acts 12:21) or hearing and deciding cases (18:12-17).

Acts 12:21

21 On an appointed day Herod arrayed himself in his royal robes, took his seat upon [his] throne, and addressed an oration to them. AMP

Revelation 18:12-17

12 Their merchandise is of gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls; of fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet [stuffs]; all kinds of scented wood, all sorts of articles of ivory, all varieties of objects of costly woods, bronze, iron, and marble; [Ezekiel 27:12,13,22.]

13 Of cinnamon, spices, incense, ointment and perfume, and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, fine flour and wheat; of cattle and sheep, horses and conveyances; and of slaves (the bodies) and souls of men!

14 The ripe fruits and delicacies for which your soul longed have gone from you, and all your luxuries and dainties, your elegance and splendor are lost to you, never again to be recovered or experienced!

15 The dealers who handled these articles, who grew wealthy through their business with her, will stand a long way off, in terror of her doom and torment, weeping and grieving aloud, and saying,

16 Alas, alas for the great city that was robed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, bedecked and glittering with gold, with precious stones, and with pearls! [Ezekiel 27:31,36.]

17 Because in one [single] hour all the vast wealth has been destroyed (wiped out). And all ship captains and pilots, navigators and all who live by seafaring, the crews and all who ply their trade on the sea, stood a long way off, [Isaiah 23:14; Ezekiel 27:26-30.] AMP


Only believers will stand in this judgment, for Paul made clear that it relates to those who have built on the Foundation, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11-12).

1 Corinthians 3:11-15

11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

12 But if anyone builds upon the Foundation, whether it be with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,

13 The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done.

14 If the work which any person has built on this Foundation [any product of his efforts whatever] survives [this test], he will get his reward.

15 But if any person's work is burned up [under the test], he will suffer the loss [of it all, losing his reward], though he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has passed] through fire. [Job 23:10.] AMP


The nature of the believer's works will be examined in this judgment to distinguish worthy works from worthless ones. These works are the deeds done by the believer during his Christian life. All will be reviewed and examined. Some will pass the test because they were good; others will fail because they were worthless. Both good and bad motives will be exposed; then every believer will receive praise from God (1 Corinthians 4:5). What grace!

1 Corinthians 4:5

5 So do not make any hasty or premature judgments before the time when the Lord comes [again], for He will both bring to light the secret things that are [now hidden] in darkness and disclose and expose the [secret] aims (motives and purposes) of hearts. Then every man will receive his [due] commendation from God. AMP




C. The Outcome of Judgment




The outcome will be either reward or deprivation of reward. Salvation is not in question, for those deprived of reward "shall be saved, yet so as through fire" (1 Corinthians 3:15). Yet, as mentioned above, apparently every believer will have done some things that God can praise.

1 Corinthians 3:15

15 But if any person's work is burned up [under the test], he will suffer the loss [of it all, losing his reward], though he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has passed] through fire. [Job 23:10.] AMP


Nevertheless, the deprivation is real and may involve forfeiture and shame. Certainly it means forfeiting rewards that otherwise might have been received. The word zemioo in 1 Corinthians 3:15 carries no idea of suffering in the sense of physical or mental suffering. Its basic idea is loss in the sense of forfeiture of reward that could have been received.

John clearly taught that rewards may be lost because of unfaithfulness during one's lifetime (2 John 8). His concern was that his readers would receive a full reward, that is, receive all that could be theirs through continued faithfulness. This same idea of loss is part of Paul's analogy of the Judgment Seat with running a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). His concern was that he not be disapproved, that is, do nothing that would make him unworthy to receive rewards. Perhaps even more vividly John wrote about the possibility of a believer being ashamed at Christ's coming (1 John 2:28). "The passive voice coupled with the expression autou suggests that a believer withdraws in shame. It suggests a shrinking back from Christ, perhaps from a sense of guilt, with the believer producing the action [rather than Christ putting the believer to shame]."

2 John 8

8 Look to yourselves (take care) that you may not lose (throw away or destroy) all that we and you have labored for, but that you may [persevere until you] win and receive back a perfect reward [in full]. AMP

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours.

25 Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither.

26 Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary.

27 But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]. AMP

1 John 2:28

28 And now, little children, abide (live, remain permanently) in Him, so that when He is made visible, we may have and enjoy perfect confidence (boldness, assurance) and not be ashamed and shrink from Him at His coming. AMP


Summarizing in a very balanced way, Hoyt concluded as follows:

The Judgment Seat of Christ might be compared to a commencement ceremony. At graduation there is some measure of disappointment and remorse that one did not do better and work harder. However, at such an event the overwhelming emotion is joy, not remorse. The graduates do not leave the auditorium weeping because they did not earn better grades. Rather, they are thankful that they have been graduated, and they are grateful for what they did achieve. To overdo the sorrow aspect of the Judgment Seat of Christ is to make heaven hell. To underdo the sorrow aspect is to make faithfulness inconsequential.





II. JUDGMENT OF OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS




Daniel 12:1-3 speaks of the Tribulation period (v. 1), resurrections of the righteous and the wicked (v. 2), and rewards for the righteous (v. 3). Many understand the resurrection and reward of the righteous to refer to the resurrection and judgment of believers of the Old Testament at the conclusion of the Tribulation. New Testament revelation places the resurrection and judgment of the wicked of all time at the conclusion of the Millennium (Revelation 20:11-15). Of course it is not unusual for Old Testament prophets to place side by side events that later revelation separates by some period of time.

It is possible that Daniel 12:1-3 refers only to the resurrection and rewarding of Jewish believers of the Tribulation days. They will be rewarded for having insight for seeing through Antichrist's deception and for leading others to faith during the Tribulation days.

Daniel 12:1-3
12:1 AND AT that time [of the end] Michael shall arise, the great [angelic] prince who defends and has charge of your [Daniel's] people. And there shall be a time of trouble, straitness, and distress such as never was since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the Book [of God's plan for His own].

2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake: some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt and abhorrence. [John 5:29.]

3 And the teachers and those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness (to uprightness and right standing with God) [shall give forth light] like the stars forever and ever. [Matthew 13:43.] AMP

Revelation 20:11-15