‘For it is time for judgement to begin with the family of God and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God ?’ ( 1Pt 4 : 17 )
‘For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.’ ( 2Co 5 : 10 )
‘For we will all stand before God’s judgement seat … each of us will give an account of himself to God.’ (Ro 14 : 10 – 12 )
So believers will have to stand before judgement seat of Christ, but it is not for condemnation, ‘for there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live according to the Spirit’ ( Ro 8 : 1 ), but to be judged and rewarded accordingly.
When will this happen ?
God has appointed Jesus as the Judge of the living and the dead ( Acts 10 : 42 ). So there are two groups that needs to be judged. The ‘judgement of the dead’ will happen only after the 1000 year rule of Christ.
‘Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it … And I saw the dead … standing before the throne … The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the book … each person was judged ( not for reward) according to what he had done … If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.’ ( Rev 20 : 12 – 15 )
But the ‘judgement of the living’ will happen before the Millenial rule of Christ, when he takes his seat on his throne together with his Apostles, on the thrones set for them.
“I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” ( Mt 19 : 28, Lk 22 : 30)
‘I saw thrones on which were seated those who had authority to judge.’ ( Rev 20 : 4 )
The three parables we read in Mathew 25 also gives us an insight into the timeline of events. The ‘parable of the ten Virgins’ ended with the door being shut and the foolish virgins being left behind while the virgins who were ready went in with the bridegroom to the wedding banquet, denoting rapture. (Mt 25 : 10 )
Soon after this, Jesus said the ‘parable of the talents’, wherein he spoke about judgement of his servants, the Church.
“After a long time the master returned to settle accounts with them”. ( Mt 25 : 19 )
“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” ( Rev 22 : 12 )
“For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” ( Mt 16 : 27 )
All these passages indicate that the saints will be judged and rewarded at the second coming of Jesus. Paul had this blessed hope when he said : ‘Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that day – and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.’ ( 2 Tim 4 : 8)
After he said the ‘parable of the talents’, Jesus ended his conversation with ‘parable of the sheep and goats’.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations ( meaning all the people in the nations who will survive the tribulation and will be still alive ) will be gathered before him and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and goats on his left … Then the King will say to those on his right … whatever you did for one of the least of these ‘brothers of mine’ you did for me … Then he will say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me … into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” ( Mt 25:31-41 )
So the remnant of the living, left alive on earth after the tribulation, will be judged according to their works ( Vs 35 – 36 ) and then it will be decided who will go into the Millennium and who will not!
“The Son of Man will send out his angels and they will weed out of his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” ( Mt 13 : 41 – 42 )
“They will be tormented with burning sulfur … the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.” ( Rev 14 : 9 – 11 )