Crowns and Judgments
By Dennis Huebshman
When the proper time comes, there will be Rewards and/or Judgments for everyone that will have lived on this earth. I believe I posted something about this quite a while back, but believe it needed to be refreshed a bit. When the Rewards and Judgments occur, and what is involved, depends on different circumstances. These are given in various places in the New Testament, and I will provide verses that reference each one.
The first section consists of Rewards or Crowns that are awarded for distinct reasons. It is possible for someone to receive more than one Crown. Our Lord and Savior will be the one giving out the Crowns.
#1. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (Victory)
Do you not know that in a race, all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So, run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an Imperishable Crown.
#2. 1 Thessalonians 2:19 (Rejoicing)
For what is our hope or joy or Crown of Boasting (rejoicing) before our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy. (another crown celebrating the coming of our Lord)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be nor more; neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
#3. 2 Timothy 4:8 (Righteousness)
Henceforth, there is laid up for me the Crown of Righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself. (Note, all who are eagerly awaiting His appearance will receive this Crown.)
#4. 1 Peter 5:2-4 (Glory)
Give a shepherd’s care to the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly as God would have you, not for shameful gain, but eagerly not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the Crown of Glory.
#5. Revelation 2:10 (Life)
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison that you may be tested, and for 10 days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death and I will give you the Crown of Life. (Martyr’s crown)
As believers, we wish for at least one Crown, not for our accomplishments because they are as filthy rags to the Father, but for what Jesus did for us at the Cross. It would be an honor to be able to lay our Crown(s) at the feet of Jesus and be able to truly worship Him face to face and glorify Him for giving eternal life to us.
There are four different Judgments that are given at separate occasions. If a person is a true believer, they will not face the fourth and final Judgment. Hopefully, the only one a true believer today will face is the very first one.
#1. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (Judgment Seat of Christ)
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers about those who are asleep that you may not grieve as others who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and arose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring Him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive who are left until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command with the voice of an archangel and with sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive who are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore, encourage one another with these words.
2 Corinthians 5:10
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 bad.
1 Thessalonians 5:9
For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Since therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.
#2. Revelation 20:4 (martyrs from the tribulation)
Then I saw thrones and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also, I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast in its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
#3. Matthew 25:32-33 (alive at His coming – beginning of millennium)
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. (Note: sheep go into the millennium, goats go to a holding place to wait for the final judgment.)
#4. Revelation 20:11-15 (Great White Throne)
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 in the lake of fire. (Note: ALL who are at this Judgment will not have their names in the book of life. This will be understood by ALL who stand before the Heavenly Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit)
There are three Judgments for believers and one for non-believers. Hell will not be populated until the anti-christ and false prophet are put there at the end of the 7-year tribulation. (Revelation 19:20) They are joined by satan first at the end of the millennium (Revelation 20:10) and after that all those from the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:15).
When an unbeliever dies, his/her soul is in what is called “hades” and is in the initial stages of torment. Example is the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Lazarus’ soul already went to be with the Lord (Abraham’s bosom) when he passed away. The rich man was already being tormented while waiting for the White Throne Judgment which will assign his torment forever. (Luke 16: 19-31)
There are people who say they don’t need a Savior and are willing to meet God on their own merits. They are foolish indeed. I know of some false prophets that are saying God will not send anyone to Hell. In a way, they are right, but for the wrong reason. God will not send anyone to Hell, but anyone ending up there will have chosen it for themselves. He doesn’t wish for anyone to fail but will allow them to do so by their own free will. (2 Peter 3:9).
Many souls will go into the Lake of Fire because they thought their works would save them or they regularly attended church or because of a member of their family that was saved. Attending church does not save anyone who has never accepted Jesus as their Lord. Also, coming to Jesus is an individual thing, and someone else cannot bring us in on their merits. Anyone who thinks they can “bargain” with God at the White Throne will be in for the greatest disappointment they will ever experience.
No one is justified by their own works. No one is perfect except for Jesus. He freely gives us the gift of eternal life just for truly accepting Him. There are numerous verses in the Bible that references this, but a few are John 14:6; John 3:18; Acts 4:12; and 1 John 5: 10-12. These are specific that Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father. Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13 all say that ALL who call on the name of the Lord WILL BE SAVED.
This is a voluntary act as Jesus will not force Himself on anyone. No one has been so bad that He will not accept them if they truly repent and ask Him to save them. There is only one unforgivable sin and that is to reject Him. He wants you to get to know Him, and this is done through reading His Word (Bible). He hopes you see there really is a free gift of eternal life and is offering it to ALL who will accept Him. No fancy prayers, not specific words or program – Just let Him know you want Him as your Savior. He leaves this up to you. Read His word daily and talk to Him (Prayer) regularly. He is there waiting and listening 24/7.
In this world, we will have trials and tribulations, but it is just for a short while. Eternity is a long time to not be with Him. Ask Him to come into your heart today. You may not have tomorrow.
Come Lord Jesus!