Tag Archives: Luke

God’s Judgment Events – The Judgment at Death

There are several judgment events promised in Scripture:

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27-28, ESV)

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5:10, ESV)

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. (Matthew 25:31-33, ESV)

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15, ESV)

The first judgment we must face is when we die (Hebrews 9:27).  Jesus depicts one such experience for two men, Lazarus and the rich man he begged from (Luke 16).

“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” (Luke 16:19-31, ESV)

It appears from this passage and others that when we die there is a separation made.  Those who know the Lord and trust in Him are assigned a place of rest and peace.  Our bodies are dead (“asleep” in Christian parlance), but our spirits are now with Jesus (see, Are My Husband and Father in Heaven Yet?).  Before Jesus took Paradise to heaven, this is where Lazarus was carried by the angels (see, Did Jesus not go to heaven immediately upon death on the cross? and, Did Jesus visit Hell?).  The rich man, on the other hand, went to a place of torment called Hades.  This is the Greek term equivalent to the Old Testament term Sheol.  It is a holding place for those who do not know the Lord until the final judgment (Revelation 20).

Do we actually make an appearance before God to receive our placement orders upon death?  We are not told.  But there is a judgment that has occurred that has determined that we either did indeed trust in Christ for our rescue or did not.  Hebrews 9:27, quoted above, seems to indicate that there are no exceptions.  No one’s ghost hangs around waiting for resolution of some earthly issue.  No one gets to come back and have a do-over.  If you did not embrace Christ in this life you have no chance to do so in the life to come.

For further reading:

What is Purgatory?


Oh the Deep, Deep Joy of Jesus

Jesus makes two remarkable statements in front of his disciples during their time in the upper room right before he is arrested and crucified:

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.”  (John 17:13)

So first of all, what was it that Jesus told them so that his joy would be in them and their joy would be complete?  He said, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” (John 15:10)  One of the things that brought Jesus joy was obeying his Father’s command and the enjoyment of his Father’s love.  Do you remember ever basking in your parents’ love for you, or in the love of a friend or spouse?  But you will certainly remember being out of sorts with a parent, friend or spouse and how joyless that was.

We find great joy in the very thing that defines how God relates and what we were made for in His image — LOVE.  Love has a way of transforming the cold, damp condition of our heart into a bright and burning ember of excitement.  And in our relationship with God it is obedience that most easily awakens us to the fact of how much He loves us.

In John 17 Jesus prays for his disciples and acknowledges that they have obeyed God.  He asks the Father to keep them in unity and to protect them from their enemies.  These are the things he is praying in front of them so that they will have the full measure of his joy in them.

Though we may say that the source of Jesus’ joy was his obedience to the Father, there is another passage that gives us another perspective.

“At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said…” (Luke 10:21).  What follows is a voicing of joyful worship on Jesus’ lips.  From the perspective of our responsibility, obedience brings joy as we bask in the Father’s love for us.  From the standpoint of God’s inner working in our lives, it is the Holy Spirit who is the source of our joy and causes us to erupt in worship.

Just as Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and walking in obedience to the Father, so we too can be full of the Holy Spirit and walk in obedience, and so experience the deep, deep joy of Jesus in all its fullness.  This is what Jesus wants for us.  This is his legacy to us.

When you come to him today, ask him to teach you his joy.