Posted in 1Corinthians, 1Thessalonians, 2Peter, John, Revelation

Two Very Different Judgments

“Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did good to a resurrection of life, those who committed evil to a resurrection of judgment.” John 5:28-29

Our souls go to heaven or hades when we die but our bodies are held by death until the second coming of Christ. Every human being that ever lived will receive a new body, of which their body on earth was a seed (it doesn’t matter if people were cremated or buried); and then will be judged by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The judgment of those who trusted Him as their Savior will be very different from those who rejected Him in three ways.

  1. The timing of the judgment. Those who trusted Christ will be raised first and that will begin at what is commonly known as the rapture of the church. Paul tells us that “..the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” (1Thessalonians 4:16-17) The second resurrection doesn’t happen until after the millennium: “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. (Revelation 20:13)
  2. In what is being judged. Those who trusted Christ will not be judged for their sins – that judgment happened already on the cross. Jesus, in the text above, says their resurrection is to life, not judgment. However, believers will be judged for their works and 1Corinthians 3 says that some will have all their works burned up in the fire of God’s judgment, even though their souls will still be saved. The righteous are only judged to determine their rewards, not their salvation. Those who reject Christ will be judged for all their sins. They chose to pay their own penalty, so they will. 
  3. The kind of body received. The righteous are raised immortal and their new bodies are imperishable. (1Corinthians 15:42) Those who reject Christ are given a new body but it is perishable like the one they had on earth. Jesus says they will perish – John 3:16; Paul says they will perish – 1Corinthians 1:18; and Peter says they will “perish like the beasts.” (2Peter 2:12)


Pastor at City Church in Madison, Wisconsin