The Bible teaches us that the spirits of the dead await reunion with their resurrected body counterparts on the last day when the trumpet sounds. This can be validated with the Biblical verses where the apostles wrote that the Lord will shout out with the voice of the arch-angel and the dead in Christ will be raised first then the wicked to the resurrection of judgment followed by condemnation to the lake of fire.

1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

John 5:28-29

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

Now Jesus taught about the tale of a certain rich man who had gathered much riches and said to himself it is now time to sit and enjoy his riches but God said onto him, ye fool for your soul is required of you this day

Luke 12:19-21

And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

It sounds like the soul of the rich man was required to account and that is why he died, so is judgment an ongoing process that has already began or will it happen in the future?

1 Answer 1


The question of the OP is that it assumes "judgement" is used in the NT in a single way. However, Biblical usage suggests that it is a broad concept that covers several ideas including both the investigation and the sentence.

One more caveat - none of the OP's references ever mentions judgement except John 5:29 - "condemnation" is a (valid) translation of the Greek word κρίσις (krisis = "judgement").

In “The New Unger's Bible Dictionary”, we have a list a several judgements. 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 judgements 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. For more information, see also Ezra 9:15, Ps 51:4, 119:33, Neh 9:33, etc.

Thus, "judgement" covers a range of things: John 5:28, 29 is discussing the great eschatological judgement; while Luke 12:19-21 is not discussing judgement at all (it is never mentioned) but rather, the results of selfish attitudes where God's protection is withdrawn and people suffer the consequences of their own choices.

  • Your answers are really great, thanks Dottard. I will read it over and over again to understand the different types of judgment
    – Dong Li
    Commented Apr 6 at 11:29
  • Isn't the GWT judgment ultimate and that there is no judgment for the dead in christ for they have passed from death to life for believing in God's only begotten Son
    – Dong Li
    Commented Apr 6 at 11:46
  • 1
    @DongLi - see 2 Cor 5:10 & Rom 14:10
    – Dottard
    Commented Apr 6 at 21:06

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