For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
(2 Cor 5:10 NASB)
Inevitably, every human being will appear before the eternal Judge to give an account for his life on earth (Mat 16:27; Rom 14:12), for Almighty God will finally judge the whole world with equity, (Ps 75).
Many have lived and died since Adam. Those who died in their sins are awaiting their final sentence in Sheol (Hebrew), or Hades (Greek), the place of the dead, (Ps 49:13-14; Ps 9:17). This final sentence to Hell, the eternal lake of fire and brimstone, will take place at the end of the Millennial Rulership, at the White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 20:11-15, and is known as the ‘second death’ (Rev 20:6), for then, the unrighteous will be separated from Almighty God’s presence for eternity.
On the other hand, the dead in Christ, who endured to the end and have kept their faith in Messiah, are ‘enrolled in heaven.’ They are with Messiah in Paradise and are referred to as ‘the general assembly’ and ‘the spirits of righteous men made perfect,’ and from here they await their final redemption on Judgment Day, (Heb 12:22-24; Luke 23:42-43; Phil 1:21-23). These will come with Messiah (Zech 14:4-9; 1 Thes 4:13-14), when He appears for a second time to establish for them ‘a redemption without reference to sin,’ (Heb 9:27-28; Rev 19:11-14). The righteous will now receive their eternal reward, the promise of their inheritance, namely, the resurrection of their glorified bodies (Rom 8:18-25; 1 Cor 15:42-55), and an eternal glorified Kingdom in which they will rule and reign with Messiah for 1,000 years, (Rev 11:15-18). Over these, who partake of the first resurrection, ‘the second death has no power,’ (Rev 20:4-6).
It is evident from the aforementioned Scriptures that the fate of those who died is already sealed. Yet, on Judgment Day, the righteous will be rewarded an eternal body to receive an eternal Kingdom (1 Cor 15:42-57; Rev 11:15-18), and will rule and reign with Messiah for 1,000 years, (Rev 20:4-6). Judgment Day, on the other hand, will usher in the wrath of God as the foretold ‘destruction of ungodly men’ before the onset of the Millennial Rulership,(Rom 1:18; Rom 2:5-11; 2 Peter 3:3-7). [See also Is 13; Is 24; Is 34; Jer 25:15-33; Ps 75.] Finally, at the end of the Millennial, the unrighteous will appear before the White Throne of God for their sentence to Hell, the lake of fire and brimstone, (Rev 20:11-15).
Judgment Day will thus be the ONE DAY in the history of mankind when Almighty God will draw the line for redemption! On this awesome DAY Almighty God will execute His final judgments before mankind will enter into the dispensation of the restoration of all things to their former glory, (Acts 3:19-21).
Concerning this DAY, the apostle Paul warns those who live in the latter days, ‘Know this first of all, that in the last
God’s grace and mercy unto salvation are being extended to all of humanity! While Judgment Day tarries, Almighty God will show “kindness to ungrateful and evil men.” YET, as we approach Judgment Day, we are warned that a final harvest will be gathered on the threshing floor to separate the wheat (righteous) and the chaff (wicked) – gathering the wheat into the barn and, the chaff (grapes) into the winepress of God’s fierce wrath (Mat 13:24-30, 37-43; Rev 14), and one will once again be able to make a clear distinction between the righteous and the wicked, (Mal 3:16-18; Mal 4:1-3). YET, finally, on Judgment Day, the Book of Life will be opened, and those who are recorded for life will inherit an eternal Kingdom, and those whose names are not found in the book, will be cut off from the presence of Almighty God, (Mat 25:31-46).