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Don Stewart :: Whom Will Christ Judge at His Second Coming?

Don Stewart
When Jesus returns to the earth at His Second Coming, He will return in judgment. Paul says.

And to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

The Second Coming of Christ will be a time of relief for believers and vengeance for unbelievers.

Who Will Be Judged?

The following people will be judged when Christ returns.

1. Those Living From The Nation Israel

2. The Gentile Nations

3. The Old Testament Saints

4. The Tribulation Saints

The church, the body of Christ, will have already been judged and rewarded before Christ returns.

1. The Living From Israel

When Christ returns, He will judge those from the nation Israel, who have survived the Great Tribulation. This judgment is described in Ezekiel 20:34-38. Jesus also illustrates this judgment in Matthew 25:1-30 in the parables of the ten maidens and the ten talents.


These survivors of the Great Tribulation will be regathered from all over the world to the land of Israel. This will follow the victory of Christ over His enemies at Armageddon.


The purpose is to determine which individuals will enter God's kingdom on the earth-the Millennium. The righteous from Israel, those who have put their trust in Christ, will enter God's kingdom. They will experience the long-promised blessings that God has given to that nation.

Unrighteous Sent Away

The unrighteous will be purged from the righteous and sent away. Jesus illustrated this truth in the parable of the talents.

As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30).

Awaiting Final Judgment

Although the Scripture does not say, they will probably be put to death. Their final judgment does not take place at this time. It will occur after the Millennium, the thousand reign of Christ upon the earth.

2. The Living Gentile Nations

Jesus spoke of judging the living Gentile (non-Jewish) nations at His Second Coming.

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of his glory All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31,32).

Those Surviving Tribulation

These Gentiles are people who are still upon the earth during the Great Tribulation. They are the living, not the dead. The dead will be raised to judgment in the future. The prophet Isaiah wrote of these.

Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as dust on the scales; see, He takes up the isles like fine dust. All the nations are as nothing before Him; they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness (Isaiah 40:15,17).


They will be brought to the city of Jerusalem and judged in the valley of Jehoshaphat.

For then, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will enter into judgment with them there, on account of My people and My heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations. They have divided My land, and cast lots for My people, and traded boys for prostitutes, and sold girls for wine, and drunk it down (Joel 3:1-3).

The righteous will enter into God's Millennial kingdom while the unrighteous will be taken to judgment. Like the unbelievers from the nation Israel, they will probably be killed at this time. Their final judgment is still future.

3. The Tribulation Saints

When Christ returns, those who were killed during the Great Tribulation will also be judged. They will be raised from the dead in a glorified body, receive rewards, and will enter into the kingdom of God. In the Book of Revelation we read.

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the Word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4-6).

4. Old Testament Saints

There will also be a judgment of the Old Testament saints. They will be raised from the dead and judged. Daniel wrote.

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2).

Jesus said.

For the Son of Man is to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will repay everyone for what has been done (Matthew 16:27).

Not Everyone Agrees

Not everyone believes in these different judgments. There are many Christians who do not believe in a literal Millennium, or thousand year reign of Christ on the earth after He comes. They see only one general resurrection at the end of time. All people who have ever been born, both the righteous and unrighteous, will be judged at this final judgment. The resurrection and the judgment of the nations are part of one great judgment.

All Will Be Judged

All Christians agree that everyone, both the righteous and unrighteous, will be judged of God. The righteous will go away into eternal life while the unrighteous will be eternally separated from God. The only difference among believers is the timing of these judgments, not the fact of these judgments.


When Christ comes back, He will judge the nation Israel, the living nations, the tribulation saints, and the Old Testament saints. He will separate them as a shepherd separates sheep from the goats. The sheep, the believers, will enter into His kingdom, while the goats, the unbelievers, will be sent to judgment.

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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