Todd’s note: Most Rapture Ready writers place the sheep and goats judgment at Christ’s Second Coming, but Dennis is entitled to his unique view.
There have been several requests recently to review the Crowns and Judgments and to provide Bible verses for these. Even though there are several “events” listed, we must understand that our final destiny will be in one of two places: Heaven or Hell. Our souls are eternal, and ceasing to exist is not an option. (any emphasis is mine)
Where we will spend our eternity is totally up to each one of us. Because our bodies are mortal, and if we are here long enough, or circumstances cause it, we will die. The body will cease to function, but our “soul” does not. Depending on choices we will have made, we will either be in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ, or we will be in a state of torment, waiting for the Great White Throne to receive what degree of punishment we will suffer forever. Please note, this last judgment is not temporary, or has a time limit as some false prophets are saying. It’s Forever. More on this further on.
First, the Crowns
There are several places in the New Testament where there is mention of “crowns” or “rewards.” Five different crowns are spoken of, and they are given for different reasons. Only those who will be spending eternity in Heaven with Jesus are even considered for these.
The one crown that all believers should receive is the Crown of Righteousness. This is in 2 Timothy 4:8. “Henceforth, there is laid up for me [Paul] the Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” Everyone that is a true believer, and is watching for, longing for, and praying for Jesus’ soon appearance will receive this crown.
Next, is the Imperishable or Incorruptible Crown. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, Paul states, “Do you not know that in a race, all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath; but we an Imperishable Crown.” Being persistent in our daily walk with the Lord, and maintaining self-control is the key here. This does not mean we will be sin-free, but that we don’t engage in “habitual” sinful ways. All who have accepted Jesus as Savior receive the gift of eternal Salvation, and when (not if) we do slip and sin, we follow 1 John 1:8-10 to receive the promised forgiveness.
Third is the Crown of Rejoicing, as given in 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20. “For what is our joy or Crown of Boasting [rejoicing] before our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.” We rejoice for all souls who accept our Lord and Savior, and give praise and rejoicing to the Father for giving us His grace and mercy.
Next is the Crown of Glory. This is in 1 Peter 5:2-4, “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd [Jesus] appears, you will receive the unfading Crown of Glory.”
Anyone who claims to be a preacher/teacher, and claims to represent the Lord in leading others, really needs to go over these verses very carefully. Today, we see more and more false prophets who are twisting the word of the Lord for their own financial gain, or to keep membership coming by not giving the True Word that our Heavenly Father provided for us. Some are even carrying out an agenda for Satan. Not only will there be no crown for them; but the Great White Throne will be their destiny. God does not change His mind, and what was an abomination since the creation of this earth is still an abomination today.
Finally, the Crown of Life, also known as the Martyr’s Crown. This has been in effect all along, but will especially be for those who call out to Jesus during the Tribulation/Wrath to come into their hearts as their Savior. Revelation 2:10, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you in prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the Crown of Life.” We can say without a doubt, all who are being martyred around the world today because they have chosen to receive Jesus as their Savior will receive this crown.
Then, we have the judgments: three for righteousness, and one for condemnation.
For all who have been In Christ from Calvary to the present time, and are taken up in the Rapture, we will stand before Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ. In 2 Corinthians 5:10, we read, “For we [all believers] must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he/she has done in the body; whether good or evil.”
Some may say what we get is based on our “works,” but that isn’t so. We have all been given talents of varying degrees, and how we used our individual talent will determine our reward, or lack of. Some will have faithfully used their talent in serving the Lord, and some will have not. This judgment is not to determine if we will be with Jesus, as all that are at that judgment already have an eternal Heavenly Home. (Also see 1 Corinthians 3:13-15.)
Next is the Judgment for the Tribulation Martyrs in Revelation 20:4. “Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom authority to judge was committed. Also, I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God; and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image; and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life, and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
Anyone who enters the Tribulation/Wrath 7-year period will have done so because they did not accept the Savior prior to this. They may still be able to be saved, but most likely at the cost of their lives. Those who are persecuted or martyred because of Jesus will be at this judgment. Again, only those who will have eternal life with Jesus will be at this event. All others who perished will have to wait for the final judgment.
Then, we have the End of The Millennium Judgment as given in Matthew 25:32-46. “Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate people from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep [saved] from the goats [lost]. 33 And He will place the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left.” [The ones on the right are heaven-bound, and the ones on the left will join that very long line at the final judgment for the lost.]… “46 And these [goats on the left] will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous [sheep on the right] into eternal life.”
Finally, the Great White Throne Judgment. The antichrist and false prophet will have already been judged, and will be the first occupants of the Lake of Fire that was made for Satan and his demons (Matthew 25:41). This is given in Revelation 19:20, and the fate of Satan is given in Revelation 20:10 – he is the third to occupy the hell fires. After that, everyone from earth’s creation to Calvary that were not in the will of God, and all from Calvary through the millennial reign of Jesus that did not accept Him will be cast into the lake. At the judgment, they will receive their eternal punishment decrees (Revelation 20:11-15). There are no suspended sentences; no time off for “good-behavior; or any reprieve of any kind. Each one entering eternal hell will know exactly why they are there.
Not everyone will die before their judgment. The time described in 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is rapidly approaching. When the call comes, all believers will be taken up from this earth to fulfill God’s promise that all believers will not go through the Wrath. We will rise up to meet Jesus in the Air, and to be forever with Him. This will not be a long, drawn-out event, as it will be over in a “twinkling of an eye” as described by the Apostle Paul.
Everyone else will enter the 7-year period of Tribulation, and it will be the worst time anyone can ever imagine.
Right now is a good time to call on the Lord to be your Savior (Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:9-13). Secure your reservation for the Rapture (Harpazo) now. To wait could be the worst gamble you will ever make as this event could take place at any moment now. All the signs are in place, and this is the last prophecy that needs to be completed before the Wrath.
Jesus is waiting for your call, and He will turn no one away who sincerely seeks Him to be their Savior. He will not force anyone, and it is an individual choice to make. It will absolutely be the most important decision of your life, which will extend into all eternity.
Hope to see you at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Shalom! Maranatha! (Peace, Come Lord Jesus)