God's Future Judgments
Believer Vs Non-Believer Judgment OR
Bema Seat Vs White Throne Judgment
There are two different distinct future judgments they are:
Judgment to those who were believed and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord (Believers/Christians) while they live in this earth.
This is commonly called as Believers Judgment, Bema Seat Judgment, or Saved/Believers Rewarding Ceremony.
Judgment to those who were not believed and not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord (Non-Believers) while they live in this earth.
This is commonly called as Non-Believers Judgment, Unsaved Judgment, Final Judgment, or White Throne Judgment.
Let us see this in details:
Both these judgments are not about salvation. In other words these judgments never determine whether a person eligible to enter the heaven or not. Every person's eligibility to enter the heaven (Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven) which is called Salvation is determined by the individual choice while they live in this earth.
John 3:16-18,36 - 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God........36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
John 5:22,24 - 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. 24 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
Once we die either we go to Heaven or Hades. Based on the above verses each individuals choice determine their destiny. Once we die we cannot change our destiny by changing our decision. Jesus clearly demonstrated that in the following parable
Luke 16:19-31 - 19 "There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' 25 But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.' 27 Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' 29 Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' 30 And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31 But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.' "
Believers Judgment, Bema Seat Judgment, or Saved/Believers Rewarding Ceremony:
What is Bema seat means and Saved/Believers Rewarding Ceremony means?
Judgment seat of Christ is Bema in Greek. The "Bema seat" was an elevated seat located in Corinth. At this seat in the square, Roman magistrates would sit and administer justice. Athletes may also have appeared here and received rewards for having distinguished themselves. In other words, the king sat in the Bema Seat at the stadium in Corinth to present the winning athletes their crowns, judging them victorious.
So it is with the judgment of Christians. It’s more like an awards ceremony for the Christian. Since we aren’t saved by our works, but by our faith, this judgment is not related to salvation, but to the things the Christian has done since becoming saved that have furthered the work of the Kingdom. The “race we’ve run,” so to speak. Those things done solely out of gratitude for the free gift of salvation that the Christian has received, with no thought for personal gain, will earn the Christian various crowns. Those things the Christian has done for earthly credit or recognition or in an attempt to earn points with God, will be disqualified.
2 Cor 5:10 - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad
Rom 14:10-13 - 10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God." 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.
How this judgment happens for Believers/Christians?
Just believers pass through the fire with their works. Whatever the works done as per the plan and leading of Jesus Christ will be remain rest of the fake (pretended or hypocritical) works will be burnt in the fire.
1 Cor 3:11-15 - 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
When it will happen?
This judgment happens after rapture but before the 1000 years (Millennial reign of Jesus Christ). That means 1000 years before the non-believers/White Throne/Final Judgment.
1 Peter 4:17-18 - 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?" 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
NLT: 1 Peter 4:17-18 - 17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin first among God's own children. And if even we Christians must be judged, what terrible fate awaits those who have never believed God's Good News? 18 And "If the righteous are barely saved, what chance will the godless and sinners have?" 19 So if you are suffering according to God's will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.
The 24 Elders in Rev 4:4 are representatives of all believers raptured/caught-up to heaven after Church Age before the Great Tribulation or the God's Wrath starts. They wear the "Victor's Crowns" (the Greek word Stephanos). Only believers are rewarded with this Victor's crown after they have rewarded at Bema seat judgment.
Rev 4:4 - Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.
In Rev 11:18 the 24 elders again saying that God should reward His servants, the prophets, and the saints....Based on this verse this judgment may happen at the end just before the Jesus 2nd coming but before the Millennium reign of Jesus Christ. Definitely before white thrown judgment happens for non-believers
Rev 11:18 - 15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" 16 And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: "We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. 18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth."
.Based on Rev 4:4 and Rev 11:18 the Bema seat judgment/Believers Rewarding Ceremony starts immediately after believer raptured/caught up/taken up to heaven as batches, and ends just before the Jesus 2nd coming to this earth. But definitely no later than 1000 years Millennial reign starts. We all come with Jesus to this earth to rule and reign with Him.
Rev 19:14-15 - 11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Rev 20:4-6 - 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
NLT: Rev 20:4-6 - 4 Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus, for proclaiming the word of God. And I saw the souls of those who had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their forehead or their hands. They came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 This is the first resurrection. (The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years had ended.) 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years
What are the crowns/rewards are given?
The Victor's Crown / The incorruptible Crown
1 Cor 9:25-27 - 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
The Martyr's Crown / The Crown of Life
Rev 2:10 - Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
The Crown of Glory
1 Peter 5:2-4 - 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
The Crown of Righteousness
NLT: 2 Tim 4:8 - Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next
The Crown of Rejoicing / The Soul-winners Crown
1 Thes 2:19-20 - 19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.
The following Chart provides some more details about the crowns and rewards.
Non-Believers Judgment, Unsaved Judgment, Final Judgment, and White Throne Judgment:
Who will be judging Non-Believers?
Jesus Christ and Believers will be judging Non-Believers.
1 Cor 6:2 - 1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? 4 If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge?
NIV: Rev 20:4-6 - 4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
NKJV: Rev 20:4-6 - 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
When this will happen?
This starts after Christ's Millennial (1000 years) reign and ends before New Earth and New Heaven are created.
Rev 20:11-14 - 11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.