Judgment Day: How Does God Judge Us?

Why Judgement is Actually Good News!
Why Judgement is Actually Good News!

Imagine a courtroom scene. 

The certainty of the prosecutor. The determination of the defense attorney. The decision of the jury. The very personal anxiety of the defendant. The solemness of the judge. 

A judges gavel resting on an open Bible laying on a wood grey washed table.

The courtroom is our best attempt at being fair. We give the accused a chance to defend their actions. We try to find justice for victims and punishment for criminals. 

Despite our best efforts, however, we don’t always get it right. Sometimes we punish the wrong people. Sometimes a criminal is acquitted.

Fortunately that isn’t the case with God’s perfect judgment.

But how does God’s judgment work? What does the Bible tell us?

Let’s take things step by step and answer these common questions about The Judgment:

  • What is meant by “The Judgment” in the Bible?
  • By which standards does God judge humanity?
  • Who is in the “courtroom” when my case is tried?
  • Why is Satan my accuser?
  • What does Judgment Day look like for me?
  • If I’m already a Christian, do I still need to ask for forgiveness?
  • What if I’ve committed the unpardonable sin?
  • At the Judgment, what happens to people who have never heard of Jesus?
  • God is the Judge, but is there anything we can judge?
  • When is the Judgment?
  • 3 phases of The Judgment 
    • The pre-advent judgment
    • The millennial judgment 
    • The executive judgment
  • Phase One: The Pre-Advent Judgment
  • When will those who are dead hear the voice of God? Will there be more than one resurrection?
  • Phase Two: The Millennial Judgment
  • Phase Three: The Executive Judgment
  • The Judgment is Real, But You Don’t Have to be Scared

What is the Judgment?

In the Bible, the process of deciding what will happen to us after our life here on earth is called the Judgment. God does this to honor our freedom of choice by examining our hearts, setting apart those who choose Him from those who do not. 

This judgment happens before the Second Coming of Christ. 

“For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

God’s desire is to save every person. He wants to welcome everyone into Heaven.

The Judgment became needed after the first sin of Adam and Eve, as part of the plan of salvation. Because humanity demonstrated their weakness against temptation to sin, God had to step in to allow us a way to be redeemed. And that would be through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus.

When Jesus came to earth, He came to save us from the finality of the consequences of our sins (Matthew 1:21). He came to make a way for us to be given eternal life with Him. He came to this wicked world to show us a better, healthier, happier way to live. 

When He sacrificed His life, He did it so the consequences of sin could be paid for every person. His death made it possible for you to live with Him in heaven. 

Sweating man gripping beam in arm.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, KJV).

After Jesus was raised from the dead, He spent some time with His disciples. A few short weeks later, He returned to Heaven. He said, “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

As He rose up into the sky, His disciples looked longingly after Him. “Men of Galilee,” a voice spoke, “why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Jesus sent His angels to reassure the early disciples He would come again.

At the end of Revelation, Jesus promises, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12). 

When He comes back, He promises to have a reward (eternal life). This promise requires that judgment will have been decided for what reward each person will receive.

What standards does God use to judge humanity?

When it comes down to it, God uses two standards that are actually one: our response to Jesus’ offer of salvation, and His Law. 

Jesus was the embodiment of the Law of God. He lived out the goodness of the Law in perfect love. 

Man with hands raised palm up in front of face.

It is the rejection of the word of Jesus that condemns us in God’s judgment. 

So God will use His law to “judge the world in righteousness” (Psalm 9:8). 

In Genesis, it says that Abraham believed in the Lord, and God “accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). Righteousness must include a belief in the Lord as the King of our life.

In Deuteronomy, Moses declares, “Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us” (Deuteronomy 6:25). 

Righteousness includes following God’s laws.

David also shares a link between righteousness and God’s law. 

“Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your law is truth” (Psalm 119:142). 

“All Your commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172).

In Proverbs, King Solomon shares, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). 

Sin is the opposite of righteousness. It’s the breaking of God’s law (1 John 3:4) by choosing our own way over God’s.

What kind of things are sins? The Bible helps us determine that as well. Galatians 5:19-21 gives us a list of such sins: 

Wooden cross with words written on paper and the paper nailed to the cross. The words say, fear, lying, lust, apathy, judgmental, idolatry, ego, envy, guilt, isolation, doubt, unforgiveness, jealousy, passive aggression.

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (NKJV).

Notice how all of those actions come from a place of self-serving, often at the expense or neglect of others. They are the opposite of love. 

Instead of choosing God and His way, sometimes we choose what we think might gratify us faster. We might think these habits will satisfy our heart’s longings. Unfortunately, it will only make us feel more empty. Ultimately, these habits can keep us from eternal life with God in Heaven.

Man sitting in a dark room in front of a computer with a red light shining on him. His hands cover his face.

Righteousness is what God wants to see in the lives of His children. God’s plan is for us to claim His grace to turn away from sins and to choose His path of righteousness.

In Romans, Paul shares that we have two choices in deciding who we will serve with our life: “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16).

In Matthew chapter 19, a young man came to Jesus asking Him how he could have eternal life. Jesus said, “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17). 

“Which ones?” he asked. Jesus went on to name several of the laws contained in the Ten Commandments, first written in Exodus 20.

Does this sound overwhelming? Don’t worry! This isn’t impersonal legalism like the world can resort to. 

The Law of God exists purely as a guide to our highest, happiest state of being. It teaches us to love God and to love others. Ultimately, this is nothing we don’t already want to do—even if we are imperfect at keeping it (see Romans 7:14-25).

God is longing to help you transform your life. Jesus gave His life so that you can have hope. God is fair, God is just, and God is merciful. He is in the business of salvation.

Who is in the Courtroom When My Case is Tried?

God is your judge.

“I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated. … The court was seated, and the books were opened.” (Daniel 7:9, 10). 

“O Lord of hosts, You who judge righteously,” writes the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 11:20). 

“For He [the Lord] is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with His truth.” (Psalm 96:13).

And in Daniel’s visions of the future, we see thrones being set up and the “Ancient of Days,” God the Father, seated as the Judge.

The court was seated, and the books were opened.” (Daniel 7:9, 10). 

God the Father presides over the judgment.

Jesus is your attorney, your advocate.

In John 5:22 we are told that the Father “has committed all judgment to the Son.” 

And 1 John 2:1 lays it out for us: 

“And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 

During the judgment, Jesus Christ is our Advocate, our defense attorney. He pleads our case. He shows the wounds in His hands and feet and claims His blood as the price already paid for our salvation.

Picture of Jesus hands with the nail marks in them and the sun shining behind.

Psalms 119:165 tells us, “Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.” When we surrender our will to Jesus, and choose to follow His laws, He fills our heart with peace. We don’t have to be afraid of the judgment because our Advocate and Friend has never lost a case!

Satan is your accuser.

We have a prosecutor—an accuser: Satan. In Revelation, he is called “the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10)”.

The record of your life is the evidence on trial.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Both God the Father, the Ancient of Days, and Jesus, love you very much. In talking of His Father, Jesus said, “the Father Himself loves you” (John 16:27). While He presides in the judgment, His goal is to help you to be acquitted on the basis of His Son’s sacrifice. 

Jesus has many roles in the Judgment. Not only is He your defense attorney and your advocate, He also has a part to play in deciding the final outcome of your case.

Satan is the only member in the courtroom who is bringing accusations against you.

Why is Satan my Accuser?

When sin originated with Lucifer, now called Satan, his jealousy turned him into God’s enemy. He became obsessed with sabotaging God’s efforts at any cost. And he does that by striking at those God loves dearly—trying to turn them against Him.

When Adam and Eve yielded to Satan’s temptation, they opened the door to Satan’s free reign of terror and destruction. Since that time, he has argued that he is the rightful ruler of the world—and of us.

That is why Satan is referred to as the “accuser of our brethren” (Revelation 12:10, NKJV). 

And he even tried to deceive Jesus Himself when He came to earth the first time. 

He came to Jesus when He would be in a weakened state. After Jesus had fasted for 40 days, Satan tempted Him to turn stones into bread to prove that He was God (Matthew 4:3). 

Then he asked Him to jump from a high place to prove that angels would rescue Him (Matthew 4:6). 

Picture of man looking into a bright light.

Finally, he took Him to a place where He could see for miles around. Satan “showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me’” (Matthew 4:8, 9).

Why did Satan use these things to tempt Jesus with?

He hoped Jesus would fall for the trap and validate his claim to ownership of this world. He tried to trick Jesus into agreeing that he was the rightful ruler of this world. 

But Jesus, even in His weakened human state, didn’t fall for his lies. 

“Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’ ” (Matthew 4:10).

So even though Satan relentlessly accuses us, trying to make us feel worthless and unloved, Jesus left us hope that we can overcome Satan by relying on God’s power.

What Does Judgment Day Look Like for Me?

On the day of judgment, you already have a vote against you. Satan will always vote against you because he wants you for his own. Scripture refers to him as the “accuser of our brethren” (Revelation 12:10).

Thankfully, on judgment day you already have a vote in your favor. God always votes for you. In 2 Peter 3:9, it says that God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

With one vote for you and one vote against you, your verdict is tied. How will the outcome be decided? There is good news! The choice is yours. 

You don’t have to wait until you are facing the judgment. You can make this choice today. You can swing the vote in your favor!

God says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Revelation 3:20). He desperately wants you to make the decision to open your heart, accept His salvation, and surrender your life to Him. When you do, He can write your name in the Book of Life.

When you make a decision for God, Jesus’ perfect life, His “rich robes”, will cover you. When you confess your sins, God can blot them out. In Isaiah 43:25, He promises, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” 

What an amazing picture of God’s love! He longs to see you make the choice to surrender your life to Him and accept His free gift of salvation.

Want to learn more? Check out our free online Bible studies.

If I’m already a Christian, do I still need to ask for forgiveness?

Woman sitting in a window, praying.

Think of it like this. Even if someone’s already your best friend, you still apologize if you’ve hurt them. Even accidentally. Even if they already know you’re sorry.

God knows everything. Nothing is hidden from Him. When we ask for forgiveness, it is not telling God something new. He keeps a record of everything we say and do. 

“Every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). 

Even words that we speak without thinking, God hears and remembers. 

This is great news for us! It means He truly understands the struggles you face. He knows the battles you fight inside that no one else sees. His heart of love reaches you wherever you are. He wants to take away your sins. He wants to give you power to live a victorious life. He wants to give you hope!

Jesus has already paid the price for sin. His sinless life and His death on the cross will cover every sin, no matter how dark. However, because God values our free will, He will not force forgiveness on us. We have to ask for His forgiveness.

This is so important. When God looks over the record of our life, He wants to see that we have asked Jesus to cover our sins. He wants to welcome us into His presence for eternity. However, if there are things that we haven’t asked forgiveness for, He can’t cover those sins for us.

In 1 John 1:9, He promises that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” There is nothing that is too dark for Him to forgive. 

There is no human being too wicked for Him to forgive. Our part is to ask for forgiveness. God’s part is to give us the gift of forgiveness. God delights to forgive us and help us to live happy, holy lives.

When we ask for forgiveness, God’s grace covers our sin. By accepting His forgiveness, we give God permission to work in our lives to “will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

What if I’ve committed the unpardonable sin?

Man sitting in a yard on a pipe with his head in his hands.

It can be a scary thought just to know that there is an unpardonable sin. But we actually don’t need to fear this! So let’s look at what Jesus means by this.

In Matthew 12:31 it says, “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.” 

This is often called the “unpardonable sin.”

What does it mean to have “blasphemy against the Spirit”? 

After Jesus’ resurrection, He promised that He would ask God to send another Comforter, “That He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16, 17, NKJV). “He will teach you all things” (John 14:26), Jesus promised.

The Holy Spirit works through your mind. He speaks to your conscience. As long as there is any hope of you listening, He will keep talking to you. “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).

The trouble comes if you repeatedly and intentionally reject His voice, or regard His influence with deliberate hostility. 

Over and over He comes to guide us in the right ways. But we are willfully persistent in refusing His guidance, His voice gets quieter and quieter. After a while, His voice will get completely shut out. 

In Hebrews, it talks about becoming hardened “through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). Verse 15 goes on to say, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”

It’s not that God stops knocking at the door of our hearts, it’s that we wouldn’t hear it anymore. And when we can’t hear God’s voice for guidance, we can’t choose the way He wants us to go. The reason pushing away the Holy Spirit is unpardonable is because God then has no other way to reach us. 

He respects your freedom to choose, so He won’t force the door open. 

It saddens Jesus’ heart to see that we are not accepting His gift of salvation. He says of those who reject Him, “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:40).

But take comfort in this—if you are at all worried about committing the unpardonable sin, you have not committed it. 

God is still calling to your heart. If you are searching after the Lord God, He can work with you. He is overjoyed to do so. There is nothing in your past too big for Him to forgive, and He will help you rebuild your life.

Man kneeling in a church pew with bowed in prayer.

What about people who have never heard about Jesus?

God promised that before the second coming of Christ, all the world would hear the message of God’s love. 

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). 

We know that every person living at the time of Christ’s coming will have heard the gospel message and have had a chance to join God’s Kingdom.

But what about past generations? What about someone who never had anyone tell them about Jesus?

In Romans, Paul talks about people who do not have the Law of God available to them. God still works with their hearts. 

“When Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things of the law…” “show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness” (Romans 2:14,15). 

He goes on to talk about the “day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ” (Romans 2:16). Even those people who were not directly taught about God will have an opportunity to have eternal life. If they allowed His voice to be their guide, even if they couldn’t name it as God or the Holy Spirit, their allegiance is the same.

God will judge these people based on how they responded to the truth that they were able to understand. In Luke it says, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required” (Luke 12:48). For those who knew little, if they lived up to what they understood, God will judge them accordingly. Their general behavior would reveal whether the saving work of the Holy Spirit was active in their hearts. 

Similarly, for us today, with the wealth of knowledge we have available to us, God will judge us for the use we make of it.

When Jesus sent out His disciples to share the good news of salvation, He talked about how dangerous it is to reject light. For cities that rejected their message, He said, “it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city” (Mark 6:11). In other words, the more light we have access to, the more responsibility we have to learn and grow in our Lord Jesus Christ.

We can rest in the assurance that God is our Judge, and He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows all the possible paths we can take with our lives. 

For those who persistently shut out His calls to mercy, He does not force His truth on them. Those who have done this would not even be happy in heaven, even though that is hard to imagine. 

Ultimately, God’s decisions are fair and just. His desire is salvation for everyone, but each human being must make that decision for themselves, using God’s gift to us of the freedom to choose.

Is there anything we can judge?

We make judgments every day.

“Is this food healthy?” 

“Will these clothes work for my job? Are they a good value?”

“From what I’ve seen, can I trust this employee to handle the responsibilities of the promotion they’re applying for?”

We are constantly judging! If we didn’t make these types of judgments, our lives would be a mess.

When Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1), He wasn’t talking about our day-to-day decisions. Jesus was speaking about judging people’s value

It is easy to look around us and compare ourselves with others. It is tempting to pass judgment on someone, and to feel a little better about ourselves in the process.

Man screaming with 4 hands pointing at him.

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus talks a lot about a person’s motivation—why people do what they do. In this context, it is never right to judge another person. We know nothing of the inner battles others face.

God is working His hardest with everyone. As people open their hearts to Him, He is leading them to follow Him more and more. It is never right for us to make judgments on this process.

Is it ever okay to judge someone else? What about the verse that says, “By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20)? In this verse Jesus is talking about religious leaders. It is very important that we test everything by the Bible. If a pastor or teacher is sharing something that does not agree with the Bible, we should not follow them. 

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

While we can judge a person’s teachings, we are not to judge their relationship with God. We cannot judge someone’s heart. The Lord God is the only one who sees the heart. It is our job to make sure we are following God ourselves. We can pray for others, but we need to resist the temptation to pass judgment on them.

It is also important that we search the Bible to make sure what we are being taught is true. The Bible says we should have “Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little,” (Isaiah 28:13). 

We want to be like the noble Bereans who “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). We can compare Scripture with what someone teaches, and know whether they are being true to the Bible.

While we should not judge motivation, we can see actions. Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Malachi 3:18). 

Not judging others does not make us naïve. Not judging others does not mean that we let people walk all over us. When someone is hurtful or manipulative toward us, we can distance ourselves from them. This is not judging—this is protecting ourselves. And God can help us do this.

While it is important to love everyone, we have to put God first. When someone is not following God, we may need to limit our time with them so we will not be tempted to walk away from God. We don’t need to judge these people—we need to pray for them!

When is the actual Judgment?

The judgment starts before the second coming of Christ. We know this because He promises that His rewards will be with Him when He comes. In order to have a reward, the decision about who gets a reward would have to be made.

In Revelation, John saw a vision of three angels bringing important messages to the world during the last days. The first message states, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come” (Revelation 14:7). This announcement occurs in the last days, before Jesus returns a second time. 

During the judgment, God examines the record of our life, and determines whether we have made a choice to follow Him and surrender our lives to His guidance.

In God’s word, we read about the courtroom scene we looked at earlier. “The Ancient of Days was seated…the court was seated, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9,10). God the Father, the “Ancient of Days,” examines the books and rules on our cases with divine judgment. And this all takes place before Jesus returns at His Second Coming.

Paul speaks of his friends “whose names are in the Book of Life” (Philippians 4:3). In Revelation it tells us that only those whose names are written in the Book of Life get to enter the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:27). Our name must be in the Book of Life in order for us to have eternal life.

So how do we get into God’s Book of Life?

That happens when we accept Christ’s sacrifice and forgiveness. Otherwise, everything we’ve ever done is subject to His judgment.

“God will bring every work into judgment,” (Ecclesiastes 12:14). In heaven, a record is kept of our every word, thought, and action. God will examine our actions and decisions to determine what our reward will be. If we accepted Jesus as Savior, our sins will have been forgiven.

During the last days of earth’s history, God will work with men to proclaim His truth, and to share His love with as many as will listen. God will leave no stone unturned to make sure that everyone has a chance to be saved. 

He has enough space in His book of life for everyone’s name. Right before sharing the message of the first angel, John writes that this angel has the “everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6). 

Man holding Bible.

The three phases of The Judgment

Phase One: The Pre-Advent Judgment

The pre-advent part of the judgment, the part that takes place before Jesus’ second coming, is the courtroom scene we have described: The Investigative Judgment. God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy angels examine the records of each person who has ever lived. 

God, as the Judge, examines the life story of every person to determine what their eternal destiny will be.

The judgment is not a competition. God does not compare us to other people when He judges us. He looks at our life story and judges our heart. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, His perfect life stands in place of ours. If we continue to accept His gift of forgiveness and salvation, we don’t need to be afraid of the judgment.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, as our Advocate, pleads our case. He presents His sacrifice as the reason that we should be saved eternally. 

“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (Revelation 3:5).

After the destiny of each person has been decided, God the Father entrusts the execution of this judgment to His Son. 

“He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained” (Acts 17:31). 

Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, returns a second time to fulfill the promise He made to the early disciples. “I will come again” (John 14:3), He told them.

“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice,  and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28,29).

But when will those who are dead hear the voice of God? Will there be more than one resurrection?

The Apostle Paul writes, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

The “dead in Christ” will be resurrected when He comes a second time. 

What about those who haven’t made a decision for Jesus?

Speaking of those who do not return with Jesus to heaven at the Second Coming, the Scriptures say, “But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:5).

That brings us to phase two.

Phase Two: The Millennial Judgment

During the Millennium, the thousand years spoken of in Revelation 20, we will have a chance to be a part of the judgment. In 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3, it says,Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? … Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” 

In Revelation 20, we see a picture of saints sitting on thrones and reigning with Christ. “Judgment was committed unto them” (Revelation 20:4).

God gives us an opportunity to review His records. We can read each person’s story and see what choices led to their final decision for or against Christ. We can read about the Devil and his angels. We can see all the destruction and misery they have manufactured for humanity. 

Imagine if a dear friend was not with you in Heaven. Would you question why they were missing? Think about seeing someone who had deeply hurt you in Heaven—you would want to understand how they came to be there. 

This second phase of the judgment will answer all our questions about who is and who is not in Heaven. After we have reviewed all the records, we will say,Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!” (Revelation 15:3).

Phase Three: The Executive Judgment

When the thousand years (Revelation 20) are finished, Jesus, His angels, and the saints will return to the earth. And the holy city of New Jerusalem will descend from heaven onto the earth (Revelation 21:2).

Those who did not have part in the first resurrection, the “rest of the dead” (Revelation 20:5) are raised back to life. This will be their opportunity to see all that they have missed because of their choices. 

At the same time, the devil, who has been chained to the earth without anyone to tempt, finds that he has something to do. “Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea” (Revelation 20:7, 8).

While he knows in his heart he has lost the war, he pushes his followers to engage in one last battle, claiming they can be forever rid of God and His people.

They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city.” (Revelation 20:9).

Then God, who gave the very best that heaven could give—His Son—now destroys those who have chosen against Him. His heart breaks as He sees so many who refused to make a choice for Him. Revelation 20:9 says, “And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.” 

Sin and those who would not let go of sin, along with the devil and his angels, are forever gone. Nahum 1:9 tells us, “Affliction shall not rise up the second time.” The universe is forever safe from the threat of sin, suffering, and death.

The third and final phase of the judgment is complete. God has judged the world in righteousness (Psalm 9:8), and now He can make a new heaven and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17). 

Mountain landscape with sun setting in the background.

The Judgment is real, and it’s something we can even be joyful about!

Having the assurance of salvation because of Jesus’ sacrifice is what can “drive out fear” (1 John 4:18, CSB) when we learn about how God judges all of humanity. 

While the judgment is very serious, you have the best Attorney. He has a winning record, and He wants to fight your case for you. All you have to do is surrender your life to Him. He will give you a new heart and help you to grow as His child. 

Man standing in front of the ocean with hands on his chest.

The Apostle John writes, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12). 

Our job is not to judge others, nor is it to earn salvation or worthiness. 

Our job is much easier—it is to receive the free gift of salvation. Our job is to surrender our hearts to Jesus. 

If we will give Him our heart, He will lead us in His way. We do not have to fear the judgment because He will cover us with His perfect life.

Learn more about the perfect love of Jesus. Choose a Bible Study option.