What happens at Judgment Day?

This series of blogs on eschatology continues with the topic of Judgment Day.  Eschatology is the study of the last things: death, resurrection, Judgment Day, and the eternal states of heaven or hell.  This aspect of theology is very intriguing since we all want to know what will happen at the end of our life. 

After Jesus returns to earth and the dead are resurrected, judgment will commence. Isaiah 24:21 says, “In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below.” In other words, both the natural and supernatural realms will be subject to judgment, whether the inhabitants are demonic or human.

Judgment Day is a day when God decides who is worthy to be in His presence. Joel 3:14-16 says, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.” God’s holy and perfect character cannot abide sin in His eternal presence, but He provides a “refuge” for His people: Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Therefore, God’s Judgment Day decision is based on whether a person knew His Son as Savior or not.

In John 3:16-18 Jesus said, “‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.’” Therefore there are simply two groups of humans on the Last Day, but it is not the good and the bad.

No one is good because we are all sinful, as Romans 3:10-12 clearly points out: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” No, the two groups of people on Judgment Day are the saved and unsaved. Jesus portrayed that symbolically in His parable of the sheep and the goats.

Matthew 25:31-33 says, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” The goats in the parable symbolize non-Christians, and the sheep symbolize Christians. The sheep will be separated from the goats because they are part the Good Shepherd’s flock. Jesus said in John 10:14-15, “‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me…and I lay down my life for the sheep.’”  The next blog will tell what happens to the “sheep and goats” in this parable.

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