One must pretty much reject the entire New Testament in order to reject the truth of there being a judgment day. The writer of the book of Hebrews stated, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). We know that it will be the Lord Jesus Christ who shall judge the world on that day (II Tim. 4:1; Acts 17:31). However, there are other things about that day that we are not told. We do not know what the Lord will look like, whether we will actually see things as with our eyes or will it all be in a spiritual form. When we form a picture in our mind, we probably all have a slightly different picture from others. There are a few things that we can know that we should leave out of our mental picture of the judgment day scene in our minds, for we can know that we will not see them on that day. Let us consider just a few.
First of all, you will not see a single unbeliever there on that day. Oh, there will be plenty of souls present that died unbelievers, but they will be believers as they stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ…” (II Cor. 5:10). Though Paul had been an unbeliever, when he came into the presence of Jesus Christ, all he could do was tremble and say, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6). Because of this, Paul continued his writing to the Corinthians saying, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” (II Cor. 5:11). Every soul will bow the knee, recognizing Jesus Christ as the son of God (Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10-11; Rev. 1:7). No unbelievers there that day.
Another thing that you will not see at the judgment is material possessions. Both the small and the great will stand before the Lord (Rev. 20:12). From the richest to the poorest, all will be present. But, they will all have brought the same amount of earthly possessions with them. Absolutely none at all. No matter the size of their portfolio, their house or their luxury cars, they will bring nothing. Those material things will truly be immaterial then. As the apostle Paul stated, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (I Tim. 6:7). Peter said of the Lord’s return, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Pet. 3:10). Since material possessions will be absent on that day of judgment, maybe we should put a little less importance on them in this life and more on the things that will be of value then (Matt. 6:19-20).
A third thing that will be conspicuously absent on the day of judgment is secrets. There is no doubt that many have many secrets that they have been successful in keeping hidden from even those closest to them, but they will not be hidden on the day of judgment. On more than one occasion the word of God says, “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see…” (Psalm 14:2). The Lord knows those things we keep secret. The Hebrew writer states, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). Solomon the wise wrote, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14). The psalmist said, “Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance” (Psalm 90:8). In a court of law, one may not tell everything, but instead keep some things secret. On the day of judgment, such an attempt will be to no avail.
On the day of judgment, there will be no calls for a mistrial or to appeal to a higher court, for the Judge will be one who can make no mistakes and there is no higher power to appeal to. As already noted, we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ (II Cor. 5:10). God will “…judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). This Judge with all authority will judge based on what our actions have been in this life as compared to what the commands of God we have been given said for us to do. The psalmist said, “Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work” (Psalm 62:12). And, Paul said that “…every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10). The apostle John wrote, “…and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Rev. 20:12).
We will close with two things which will not be at the judgment. There will be no baptistery nor will there be one last invitation song. The time for heeding the gospel call (II Thess. 2:14) and putting Christ on in baptism (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27) will have passed you by. It will be too late to try to grab at an eternal home in heaven.
Robert Oliver is pastor of The Church of Christ and a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent. Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]