And just as it is destined for people to die once, and after this comes judgment Heb 9:27

  • Some say this is the stage prior to the 'lake of fire'.

  • Some say it is a condemnation of the guilt borne by every sinner (except those found in Christ).

There are lots of other ideas regarding judgement. The Judgement of Heb 9:27 concerns the unsaved, who after Jesus' return, are either of two separate groups.

  1. Those alive at Jesus' return having survived the tribulation.
  2. Those sinners who are raised in the Second resurrection who are the multitudes back to Adam.

2 Answers 2


Context first

The term "judgement" is actually a translation two one of two Greek nouns:

  • Krino: This verb denotes the act of separating or deciding, judging. It occurs 8 times in Revelation (6:10, 11:18, 16:5, 18:8, 20, 19:2, 11, 20:12, 13) and 106 times in the rest of the New Testament.
  • Krisis: This noun denotes the investigation or court trial, the judgement process, the process of collecting evidence, preceding the final decision. The word is often used to refer to the end-time judgement in the phrase, “day of judgement”, that is the eschatological cosmic trial in which all matters will be resolved (Matt 10:15, 11:22, 24, 12:36, 41, 42, Luke 10:14, 11:31, 32, 2 Peter 3:9, Jude 6). Since a trial is a neutral process, this can refer to justice (Matt 12 18, 20, 23:23, Luke 11:42, Acts 8:33) or condemnation (Matt 23:23, John 5:24, 25, James 5:12, Rev 18:10).

The intensive form, katakrisis, literally means the process (or evidence) leading to condemnation (2 Cor 3:9, 7:3).

These "judgement" nouns are used in the NT to denote a variety of judgments - see appendix below.

Judgement following Death

Heb 9:27 discusses the judgment after death, presumably the great eschatological judgement of all people about which there is much debate, but always associated with one of the three "Great White Throne" judgments described (eg, Rev 20:11, etc). I do not intend to discuss these as the understanding of these varies so greatly with a person's theology.

APPENDIX - Judgments

In “The New Unger's Bible Dictionary”, we also have a list a several judgments. According to Unger, an inductive study of the Scriptures shows that there's more than one general judgement (with which I broadly agree) and goes as far as to specify eight distinct judgments described in the Bible

  1. Judgement of the Cross - This is the judgement upon sin effected by Christ when He said "It is finished" (John 19:30). It is the basis of the believer’s salvation when he believes. Christ has borne the sinner’s guilt and in Him, as a substitute for all on behalf of whom He died, sin has been judged. The one who believes on Christ has been released from judgment, and “there is therefore now no condemnation” (John 5:24; Rom. 8:1; Gal. 3:13; Heb. 9:26– 28; 1 Pet. 2:24).
  2. Judgement of Believers - This takes the form of divine correction and chastisement (1 Cor. 11:30-32; Heb 12:3-13; John 15:1-9). The apostle Paul says: “But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world” (1 Cor. 11:31–32). This, then, involves God’s disciplinary action against a sinning saint. “The sin leading to death” (1 John 5:16; cf. 1 Cor. 5:1–5; Acts 5:1–11) occurs when the believer, through deliberate continued sin, brings reproach upon the name of Christ and upon his salvation by free grace, and forfeits his physical life “that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
  3. Believer's Works - This judgement concerns only Christians and it is not a matter of judgement for sins that have been judged at the cross and with which the believer will not again be faced (John 5:24; Rom. 8:1); it involves instead the divine appraisal of the Christian’s works and service. This will entail reward or loss of reward (2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10, 12; Eph. 6:8; 2 Tim. 4:8).
  4. Judgement of Self - This is referred to in 1 Cor. 11:31-32. It has reference to stern criticism of a Christian of his own ways with accommodation to the divine will and immediate confession of and turning away from all sin (1 John 1:7–9). True confession is equivalent to self-judgment and involves immediate cleansing and restoration to fellowship and walking “in the light.”
  5. Judgement of the Nations - This judgement is referred to in Matt. 25:31-46. It involves divine dealing with the nations on the basis of their treatment of [figurative] Israel. The “goat” nations on the left hand involve those peoples who are sent to the lake of fire. The “sheep” nations on the right hand enter the millennial kingdom. The peculiar basis of this judgment is the way all nations have dealt with Israel during the Tribulation period preceding the second advent of Christ. OT prophecy is clear in its prediction that some Gentile nations will enter the coming kingdom of Israel (cf. Isa. 60:3; 61:6; 62:2). These nations will be subordinate to Israel. As the millennial state merges into the eternal state, Gentile nations are still asserted to be on the earth when the heavenly Jerusalem descends from heaven (Rev. 21:24, 26).
  6. Judgement of Israel - Ezekiel 20:33-44 clearly teaches that Israel must come into judgement before being restored in the millennial kingdom. This OT teaching has confirmation in the NT from the parable of the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1–13 (see Joel 3:11–15). Prophecy seems to teach that there will be a general resurrection of all truly regenerated Israelites of the past dispensation to be judged. Those who had a kingdom hope are to arise and enter the earthly glory (cf. Ezek. 37:1–14; Dan. 12:1–3).
  7. Judgement of Angels - These are fallen angels and are evidently judged in connection with the great white throne (1 Cor. 6:3; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 1:6).
  8. White Throne Judgement - This last great judgement comprehends the judgement of all unsaved of all ages (Rev. 20:11-15). The basis will be works, which evidently suggests differences and degrees of punishment. All who are not found in “the book of life” are cast into “the lake of fire.” This is called “the second death,” which means final and complete cutting off from God’s presence and a sin-cleansed universe.

To this list, Unger might have added one more:

  1. Judgement of God – this is the doctrine of Theodicy – where everyone is to judge whether God has been just or otherwise and is mentioned several times in places such as Rom 3:4 (“when You are judged”), Rev 14:7 (the judgement of God), Rev 16:4-6 where people declare God to be righteous and just. See also Ezra 9:15, Ps 51:4, 119:33, Neh 9:33, etc.

What is Judgement?

There are many ideas, but if most are based more on tradition and myth than the bible, we have to pick one to trust. We must choose God or men. The Day of Judgement does not result in death, torture or eternal punishment. Judgement is a pronouncement of guilt or innocence and an aspect of the salvation process. It is not an execution of penalty.

The judgement concerns those not in Christ. All those who are genuinely saved in Christ are judged already (prior to his return) so this doesn't concern them.

But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world. 1Cor 11:32

Truly, truly, I say to you that the one hearing my word and believing the One having sent me, he has eternal life and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24

All can be saved.

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all. . . 1 Tim 2:3-6

Notice this passage is referring to the presently unsaved - 'all people', 'mankind', 'ransom for all'. God's plan will have Jesus (the ransom) as the mediator between Him (God) and mankind.

How can one be counted in Christ? Only by knowing who Jesus is and understanding what Jesus' life and death (and life again) has accomplished. One can only grasp this spiritual reality by spiritual means - not from the spirit of the world, but God alone - who desires all men saved.

But God has revealed it to us by the spirit. The spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 1 Cor 2:10

It is from this unique vantage that salvation is offered to all - the truth about God and His son. No part of this world's system offers this true understanding - it comes only from God. Each will have opportunity to make their own, informed, rational, conscious, undeceived choice.

Judgement is part of salvation

Clearly, only a fraction of mankind has had this opportunity. Is God willing that the remote village that was never reached by the 'flat-tyred-missionary', miss out on their chance, their choice? What an absurd concept - all constructed from a skewed understanding of the bible as we'll see.

Each and every life is made in God's image and each is precious to God - who 'desires all be saved'. At the very least - that they all be given a proper choice! The bizarre rationale that man has 'freewill' while under the deception of the great deceiver is without merit. This is not freewill, but merely the illusion of freewill. The father of lies is the god of this world, this age is his, most people are his, but only for a time. Many seem to trust his perverted version of salvation instead of God's.

This is why the deceiver is removed from the world during the Millennium. This time of renewing the earth and readying it for the second resurrection of all who ever lived and died, is done by the remnant of the world led by Christ and his transformed-to-spirit-life saints. (This is NOT the 'new heavens and earth' spoken of in Rev 21)

an angel. . . seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he cast him into the abyss, and shut and sealed it over him, so that he should not deceive the nations any longer Rev 20:2-

In Rev 20 the "1000 years" is mentioned 6 times in 7 verses! This is not a figurative expression meant to be interpreted anyway we might imagine. There is a clear sequence revealed and to dismiss it as allegory is to lose sight of the plan where God 'desires all be saved'.

Notice - 'not deceive the nations'. So there are still nations of physical mortal people who have survived the tribulation and are present at Christ's return. Those who survived the end of this age will be able to understand and choose God unhindered by millennia of untruth and mystery. 1Tim 2 again

Their new reality living under Christ's reign of truth will be contrasted with the memory of living under the reign of evil, lies and terror they endured under the curse of sin and the dreadful consequences of that self-centred way of life and their choices. Only now, can they make an informed choice and decision - only now - in Satan's absence, do they have true freewill in order to make such a decision and choose wisely.

God has prepared a sequence of events to make it possible for all to choose life over death. This is not a 'second chance' as some like to protest.

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself... we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God... that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2Cor 5:19-

Then Paul continues in Ch 6, only a couple of translations show the true message.

for He says, “In an acceptable time I heard you, and in a day of salvation I helped you, behold, now [is] a well-accepted time; behold, now, a day of salvation.” (YLT, LSV)

Notice it is not, 'now, is the day of salvation', as most bibles have it, rather as Paul quotes Isaiah 49:8, it is A day. There are more than one 'day of salvation' - not for each person, but for mankind in general. Each will have their opportunity and this age is not it for the vast majority!

We might heed the admonition in Isaiah 55:6 very seriously.

Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

Again, when is God near? Only when He makes Himself near - so that we believe, understand and trust. For those so enabled, this is 'their' day of salvation - there will be no other. God has not been 'near' to the billions who never heard of Him or understood who Jesus is and what he accomplished for them. Perhaps for millions of Christians this is not their day either. Maybe they are nominal Christians only and have never been called by God. He is the one to know who He has called and who He has not! We must remember,

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ Phil 1:6

If God starts something in a person to reconcile him to Himself, He will bring it to completion. Certainly some might fall away, but that is not God's doing.

History repeats

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live. Deut 30:19

The Israelites here were God's chosen people - they had a measure of freewill only and were generally without God's spirit. Today, true Christians are able to exercise freewill and choose God's way of life, empowered by the indwelling Lord Jesus via the spirit - this the Israelites never had. But this is only made possible by God's express intervention to call each one to Himself - He always makes the first move. We never will, and cannot, know him unless He first makes Himself known.

Israel was a trial run of sorts. A physical people from one Abraham who had a chance at great life in this world, to be God's people and model nation. The future is not governed by a covenant of sin and death, of sacrifices, laws and human priests. The new covenant is about life, spirit, grace and one sacrifice of holy blood and an eternal High Priest.

This is what will happen in the Day of Judgement at Christ's return.

  • people will be set free from deception.
  • they will encounter Jesus and his saints (Abraham, David and whoever else is raised to immortal life in the First Resurrection).
  • they will be made aware of their guilt - both inherited and earned.
  • they will be pronounced guilty, and as Adam was told, the penalty is death.
  • they will be offered a choice to repent of that old way and choose a new way - just as it is today, it will not be by works, but grace and by the sacrifice of Jesus. None are left out of this offer! (For God so loved the world John 3:16, who takes away the sin of the world John 1:29, he might taste death for everyone Heb 2:9)

But I tell you that men will give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matt 12:36-37

The words of each, like works, are another expression of faith - either in God, or in the world's ruler. Our words (and works) are a sign of where our worship has been directed.

Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. Luke 12:48

This is why it will be 'more tolerable' for those who are not expected to know right from wrong (gentiles for eg.), as much as those who were and did not choose it - effectively rejecting it, and God who offered it.

So speak and so act as being about to be judged by the Law of freedom. For judgment without mercy will be to the one not having shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:12

We see the emphasis moving from the law of sin and death to the law of spirit and life - a law of freedom,, 'mercy triumphs over judgment'. This was not possible before Christ's redeeming sacrifice. God does not want to kill, but to save. Killing is a last resort for those unrepentant - not for those without their chance, their choice.

For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them deep into hell, placing them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment. . . 9if all this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. 2 Pet 2:4-

Notice even here, 'hold the unrighteous for punishment' is not explicitly providing the punishment, they are held to account in a new environment of grace and freedom - only IF they are willing, now with their hinderances of deception removed, to embrace the forgiveness offered. Whatever the pending punishment is, it is not yet a fiery death. These are the 'nations' mentioned earlier.

2Now it will come about that in the last days, the mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it. 3 and many peoples will come and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; so that He may teach us about His ways Isaiah 2 Micah 4

During this Millennium, people will live just as they do now, having children and enjoying life in a restored and healed world, both physically and spiritually.

...that men will give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word...

At the end of the 1000 years comes the Final Judgement.

And when the thousand years shall have been completed, Satan will be released out of his prison, and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth Rev 20:7

This is when all who have lived and died, will live again and be judged just as in the first Judgement. The devil will be released and people will have their choice. They must choose darkness or light. (more on how this will work later)

Prior to the new heavens and new earth, all physical life will be finished Rev 21, Is 65. It seems there will be some who have not chosen True life or have somehow forfeited their chance, these will cease to exist in the second death. This number is probably small compared to all who have ever lived.

The Judgement then is an opportunity, not for some bizarre ongoing punishment and torture, but for redemption and salvation through grace and mercy - offered in the name and person of Jesus the Christ. It is not unconditional - it IS conditional - on accepting Jesus' sacrifice and choosing the life God offers on His terms. They are gracious and just.

God's Salvation

God called Saul (Paul) to follow His lead, just as He did Moses and David and all the others who lived their life under God's direction. He didn't call Judas to Himself, He didn't call Pharaoh - these were living under the rules of evil - the way of the world and God had a job for them to accomplish in this age. They provided 'resistance' to the right way, God's way. How could Joseph ever learn to follow God's will for him if it was easy? Jesus too endured harsh suffering so he too could learn obedience prior to the final test as the Lamb.

Are they any less precious to God than David, Paul or Abraham ? No. God's plan includes all who have ever lived and all will be offered the same salvation found in Christ - just at different times. Who are we to question how God does this or when He does it? He desires all men saved. Will they be? I think not, but all will have their opportunity. Clearly this extends to Muslims, Hindus and Jews and all the other religions who have not recognised Jesus as the name of salvation. We know even the Jews were hindered from understanding and believing.

For if glory was in the ministry of condemnation, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory! . . . Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness, and not as Moses would put a veil over his face for the sons of Israel not to look intently into the end of that fading away.

But their minds were hardened; for until the present day, the same veil remains at the reading of the old covenant, not being lifted, which is being removed in Christ. But unto this day, when Moses shall be read, a veil lies over their heart. But whenever one shall have turned to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 2 Cor 3:9-16

Anyone who cannot accept Christ still has a hard heart - no matter when they lived, God will see that they get their day of choosing and be relieved of their inability to choose Jesus. Their day of judgement is just the beginning of being offered that choice.

For the Lord disciplines whom He loves, and He scourges every son whom He receives. Heb 12:6

Blessed is the man You discipline, O LORD, and teach from Your law Psalm 94:12

And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.” Acts 1:18

Who are the gentiles? The opposite of His people - they had no law, no Godly principles, riddled with all kinds of sin, idolatry etc. Yet He had a place for them in His plan - even holding back the Jews for a time so they might be joined together as all people in Christ.

The sinners of the world - are they any different? They don't deserve a chance at true life according to the 'hellfire and torture' preachers. God says different! He desires all men saved - therefore, all will have ample, fair and just opportunity.

What about the 'eternal punishment' construct.

And these will go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous into eternal life. Matt 25:46

Death is not some kind of eternal life in torture. I wont bother citing all the scripture that bears this truth. The soul that sins will die... etc.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 6:23


  • God grant immortality to the 'wicked' so they can be punished forever?
  • God's gift of life seem redundant if we are already immortal souls?
  • Death anywhere get described as ever-living?

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive an abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! Rom 5:17

Those in Christ are forgiven and declared righteous - they need no punishment. The wicked are brought before the Judgement seat and given the correction necessary to move ahead and leave the past behind. We even call our prisons Correctional Facilities. They are intended to redeem criminal hearts and minds, restoring them to function in society as contributors not takers - granting them an opportunity for a repentance of sorts. This is the ideal on an earthly level. God is much better at redemption and restoration on a heavenly, spiritual level.

Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, having indulged in sexual immorality and having gone after strange flesh, in like manner with them are set forth as an example, undergoing the penalty of eternal fire. Jude 1:7

Are they still burning? No.

Same Gr. word αἰωνίου aiōniou as Matt 25:46. This can readily be translated as 'age-long'. It is for a time. Eternal or everlasting is not required, but enforced on the text to maintain the hell for sinners construct. The 'age of fire' for Sodom has passed, the treatment God sentenced has been completed. They were an example to all who followed 2 Peter 2:6.

And these will go away into (not 'eternal' but) 'age-long correction or discipline' ... Matt 25:46

God is a God of salvation - not destruction. He is Saviour before He is Destroyer. He is a God of love, not of spite and cruelty.

God has planned a way that all will have opportunity to choose life - not multiple times - just once is enough. His grace and love and mercy is greater than evil and He will not allow evil to triumph because He is capricious - sending some into life and others to death because of a 'flat tyre' or deception not of their own making. The devil is the one God holds responsible and he will be held to account. But God holds a greater responsibility to all He has created - to give them a fair chance against the evil He wrote into His plan for man to produce a better eternal outcome than otherwise possible - that's why there were two trees in the Garden and a serpent who offered an alternative.

And when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then he will sit upon his throne of glory. 32And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And indeed he will set the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on his left. Matt 25:31-

The unrighteous will have their day in court. They, even some who thought they were safe, will be bitterly disappointed. Are they put to death in eternal fire? No, read on.

We can get misled by the 'eternal fire' - God uses fire to cleanse - it is not a literal fire^, but a severe trial and discipline to bring about change and repentance - just as He does when He calls any to Himself. God is a consuming fire. Is He consuming His beloved creation? Or the evil that has caused it so much grief? He is a God who grants repentance, who sent His only son to die for all - He so loved the world and all therein.

And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness. Mal 3:3

Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 each one’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each one’s work. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet only so as through fire. 1Cor 3:12

And the devil, the one deceiving them, was cast into the lake of fire and of sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet also are; and they will be tormented day and night to the ages of the ages. Rev 20:10

Here the beast and FP are given their dues. The Devil, an archangel, a spirit... what is fire going to do to him? We must be careful to correctly recognise the literal and the symbolic language and to seek out the actual meaning - not just accept the default one thrust upon us intended to create fear and anxiousness not love and trust.

There must be a second resurrection because there is a second death. We cannot have a second death w/o a second resurrection as the second death has no power over those in the First Res. So after the 1000 years, all others will rise to their judgement. Satan is released and they get to have their choice. Both sides will be represented - they have freewill at last to see and choose God or not. After this is the second death and permanent removal of all unrepentant flesh. Then, the new heavens and new earth is imminent.

There are many more details to unpack, but the point has been to show another, more biblical reading of how the end of the age will unfold.

For those who recognise the Jewish/Israelite Holy day sequence God ordained for His people, there is a plan of salvation outlined throughout - culminating in the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. While these are not required for salvation, they still exactly represent the plan God has put in place. He has allowed His people to glimpse and celebrate year after year, and as the promises get closer to fulfilment, His steady, inalterable focus on redeeming His creation will become apparent.

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