Part 004 – The Judgment Seat of Christ

The Book of REVELATION

A Study

Part 004

The Judgment Seat of Christ (Rev. Chapters 1 to 4)

Seven churches & seven angels

Christ is seen holding seven stars in His right hand and standing in the midst of seven golden lampstands. As explained in Rev.1:20, the seven stars are the angels of the seven Churches and the seven golden lampstands are the seven Churches. The seven Churches are named in Rev.1:11 and also in Chapters 2 and 3. These seven Churches existed in Asia during John’s time. Seven is a number showing the completeness of what is in view. These seven churches represent the whole Church, all the believers who lived on the earth throughout the present dispensation and each and every one of them standing in front of the Judgment Seat of Christ at the end of this dispensation. It is also evident that a history of Christendom is shown through the activities in these seven churches. The angels of the churches cannot be men, because of the following three reasons: 1) they are shown not to be integral with the churches; they are stars and the churches are lampstands, 2) the word angel in the whole Bible (“aggelos” in Gk) is not generally used for men and, 3) in the New Testament Church, pastor/elder is always in plural and never in singular. We see here that an angel is placed over each local church just as an angel is sent forth to minister for each individual/child within the church (Heb.1:14; Matt.18:10).

 

The seven epistles

In Chapters 2 and 3, we find the seven epistles sent backwards, from the Judgment Seat of Christ to the seven churches existing on the earth during John’s time. Each of these epistles has the command, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” The Lord in His mercy has sent these epistles to admonish, exhort and prepare all believers for that day of our Judgment. All the seven epistles are written in the same pattern. Firstly, there is a brief description of the Son of Man, and then the statement, “I know thy works.” This is then followed by appreciation of good works and condemnation of bad works. Then there is a call to repent or hold fast and finally there is a promise for overcomers. All these epistles are judgmental in nature and all the overcomers’ promises are to be realized in the coming millennial kingdom.

 

Are you ready to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ?

What we see in these chapters is going to take place very soon. Suddenly, the whole Church, that is, all the believers who were on earth throughout the present dispensation, are going to be raptured (caught up — 1Cor.15:51, 52; 1Thess.4:16, 17) and will be standing in front of the Judgment Seat of Christ (Rom.14:10-12; 1Cor.3:12-15; 2Cor.5:10, 11). On that day, there is going to be one major difference — we will not hear the command to repent or to hold fast. But as of today, though we are saved, we have not become perfect; and there is an opportunity to continually examine our life and set matters right and grow spiritually (1Cor.11:27-32; Acts 20:32). But on that day, the Lord will not anymore be on the mercy seat, instead He will be on the judgment seat (2Pet.3:9). There will be no more chance to repent and set right any matter in our personal life or in our relationships with the Lord and with others (Matt.5:23-26). We will be judged and rewarded according to our works. Today our Lord is seated on the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace (Heb.4:16); and if we confess our sins and transgressions and sincerely repent, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (Heb.2:17; 1John 1:7-10).

 

Overcoming & Rewards

All the saved individuals are saved by grace through faith and not according to our works (Eph.2:8, 9); but on the other hand, we are saved for works, that is, after being saved, our faith should result in works (James 2:14-26). These works are those done in complete obedience to the One on whom we have put our faith. When we overcome our fleshly and worldly desires and submit/yield to the indwelling Holy Spirit, these works are accomplished by our Lord Himself, in and through us. Such works will be rewarded with positions of power and authority in the coming glorious Millennial Kingdom of our Lord (Rev.2:26, 27; 3:21; Luke 19:17, 19; Matt.24:47; 25:21, 23). In I Cor. 3:12, these works are depicted by “gold, silver, precious stones.” On the contrary, when we are overcome by the flesh and the world, the resulting works are depicted by “wood, hay, stubble” and we will be rebuked and punished and we will have no part in the glorious kingdom of our Lord (Matt.7:21-23; 18:32-35; 24:48-51; 25:24-30). Works will be tried by fire at the judgment seat (v. 13). That depicted by “gold, silver, precious stones,” emanating out of faithfulness, will pass through the fire unscathed; but that depicted by “wood, hay, stubble,” resulting from unfaithfulness, will be consumed by the fire.

 

Part/No Part in the coming glorious Millennial Kingdom

Those individuals shown to have possessed works described by the former (“gold, silver, precious stones”) will experience the end result of the salvation of their souls, which will allow them to become joint-heirs with Christ and have a part in activities attendant the bride and Christ’s coming reign. But those individuals shown to have possessed works described by the latter (“wood, hay, stubble”) will, instead, “suffer loss” (the loss of their souls), though they themselves will be “saved [their eternal salvation unaffected]; yet so as by ['through'] fire” (I Cor. 3:15) and they will have no part in activities attendant the bride and Christ’s coming reign.