Q&A with Pastor Chris - When and Where will the Judgment of God Take Place?
Question: Dear Pastor Chris, in Hebrews 9:27, it says “it is appointed unto man once to die, after death, judgment”. Please explain when and where the judgment will take place. God bless you.
Answer: Firstly, it’s important for us to, read accurately what the Bible really says in that portion, Hebrews Chapter 9 verse 27; I’d like to read it to you properly, because I noticed that, all over the world [because it’s misquoted] they get the wrong interpretation. The bible does not say “it is appointed unto man once to die,” it doesn’t say so!
It reads thus: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" and the sentence is not over until you go into verse 28. It doesn’t say “It is appointed,” it says, “As it is appointed” and it starts with the word 'And'. 'And' - the Greek word there - could also be rendered 'now'. It says “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:", and then it says “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. [Hebrews 9:28]”
Now, you can get the real picture: He does not say that “It is appointed unto men once to die,” but that “As it is appointed”. In other words, because “it is appointed”, Christ died once. That’s the argument. You have to understand the context of Paul’s presentation here. He's trying to let us know that Christ took our place because “it [was] appointed unto men once to die”; because of that Christ died once – taking our place. So, the argument is not to present to us that man has to die once but that Christ had to die once because man was to die once. You remember he was trying to compare Christ as the sacrifice to the goats, and the bulls that were offered year after year continually by the priests of the Old Testament. And this was what he was trying to let us understand.
Well, anyways, your real question is to explain the judgment; you said, [according to the scripture] “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:“, your question is “Please explain when and where the judgment will take place.”
Okay, we have to understand the words of Jesus in St. John’s Gospel Chapter 4, when you read form verse 24. Jesus said “God is a spirit” [John 4:24] and you have to understand that man is a spirit, and since this judgment is going to be after man’s death, it means it’s got nothing to do with the body. Now, the bible does say specifically “after this the judgment,” it doesn’t say “after this, judgment.” Now, if it says “after this judgment,” if he has said that, then we would have had the option to look at what could he have been talking about because there’re different kinds of judgment that the Bible talks about. But it says “after this the judgment.” There is only one “the judgment” and that refers to “the judgment of the Great White Throne”, which Jesus pointed out, and Paul talked about. Peter talked about it and John talked about it. So, at this time, I’d like to read to you from the Book of Revelation, the judgment that He’s talking about. Revelation Chapter No. 20, I’ll read to you from verse 11; John tells us the visions that he saw from God : “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them,” verse 12 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. [Revelations 20:11-12]”
Did you notice, “the dead were judged.” This is important. So, he says, “As it is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment” that is the judgment that is coming after death. But, you see, for us Christians, Christ has died in our place, we don’t have to face that judgment and that’s why quoting that verse 27 [of Hebrews 9] correctly is very important, because there, he's not talking about physical death, he's referring to the death that everyone had to go through. So, it was appointed to man to die once. You see that? But, Christ has now died once and has died for us. Now, if he had been talking about physical death, then Lazarus died twice. Remember, he died, and then Jesus raised him up and then he died again. And then, the other ones whom Jesus raised from the dead died again; they’re all gone. That would mean dying twice. So, he wasn’t talking about physical death, he was talking about spiritual death. And those of us who are Christians, Christ has died in our place, and this is important.
So, here it says “I saw the dead,” in verse 11, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them,” verse 12“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God;” These are not bodies; these are spirits. They had died physically but now their spirits are before God and because they are spirits, don’t try to think about a large expanse of land because spirits don’t need to be on a land. They don’t need a land. It’s physical bodies that need a land; these are spirits, their bodies had died, but they’ve come up before God for the judgment. So, it says “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” These are not corpses; these are spirit beings standing before God to be judged. Verse 13, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them…” Those who had gone to hell and the spirit of death had held some in bondage and they were given up. It says “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them and they were judged every man according to their works.” So, they all stood before God. Now, and God is a spirit; look at verse 14: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”
You see, man didn’t have to die twice, spiritually, but once. But now, those who rejected the death of Christ in their place are the ones who have to go through this. It says “This is the second death.” “As it is appointed to men once to die”, that means to die once. Christ bore our sins - he took our place - that’s the 28th verse of that 9th Chapter in the Book of Hebrews; so he was making an argument for Christ. Now, here it says, Verse 14 and 15 “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”So, when you ask, “when will the judgment take place?” The judgment will take place…let me just give you a rundown of what’s going to happen.
Now, from today, what we are looking forward to is the ‘Rapture of the Church ‘, that is ‘the catching away of the Church’. Now, after that is the Great Tribulation which will begin in the middle of the 7 year period from when the Anti-Christ signs a deal for the protection of Israel, the nation of Israel. Now, that goes on till the 7th year, when Jesus Christ comes with his saints to this world, which is called the Second Coming of Christ and takes over the world for 1,000 years. You’re asking "when is this judgment?" That’s what I want to tell you. He [Jesus] takes over the world for 1,000 years called ‘the Millennial Rule of Christ’, and Satan is put at the bottomless pit and that continues until Christ and his followers leave to prepare for the Judgment; and then comes in the Battle of Gog and Magog. You see all of that in the Book of Revelation and then you also see from the Book of Ezekiel; you see all of these things there. Now, after that is when the real Judgment will take place - this Great White Throne Judgment takes place. So, that’s an answer to your question.