Today, we begin by examining the Greek word “ekdemeo” (G1553) meaning “to emigrate, thus, figuratively to vacate or quit.” “Ekdemeo” is found only 3 times in the New Testament (NT), all here in 2nd Corinthians 5; it’s translated “we are absent” in verse 6; “to be absent” in verse 8 and “absent” in verse 9. Its use in these 3 verses emphasize the truth that all believers, while alive on earth are absent from the Lord, 2 Corinthians 2:66 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
but are confident (exercise courage) and willing (take pleasure ) to be absent from these bodies to be present with the Lord, 2 Corinthians 5:88 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
; thus they labor (eager/strive/ambitious) that whether present or absent, they may be accepted (well pleasing, agreeable) to the Lord, 2 Corinthians 5:99 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every (each) one may receive the things done in (by means of) his body, according to that he hath done (practiced), whether it be good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:1010 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
The words “judgement seat” in verse 10 translate the Greek “bema” (G968), found 12 times in the NT. Strong gives its meaning as: “from the base of the Greek “basis” (G939); a step, that is, foot breadth; by implication a rostrum, that is, tribunal: - judgement-seat, set [foot] on, throne.” It occurs first in the NT in Matthew 27:1919 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
translated “judgment seat” upon which Pilot sat when Israel’s Chief Priests and Elders accused Jesus of saying He was the King of the Jews. John 19:1313 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.
records this same incident (where it is also translated “judgement seat”) but provides additional details. It indicates Pilot’s Judgement Seat was located on a mosaic in the Roman tribunal (court or forum of justice) in Jerusalem. In Acts it is translated “judgement seat” 6 times; “throne” once and interestingly, during Stephen’s address to Israel’s High Priest, Scribes and elders it is translated “to set his foot on” (with the Greek word for “foot”) in Acts 7:55 And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.
. Here, Steven is referring to when the Lord told Abraham to go into the land He promised him; Abraham obeyed, but once there, he did not own any land so much as to stand on. That is, Abraham had no authority in Canaan, but he never-the-less obeyed God and lived there. (God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled 100’s of years later when He delivered Abraham’s seed, the Nation of Israel, from Egypt and 40 years later Joshua led them into Canaan. However, their possession of the land proved tenuous then, even as it does today. However, God’s promise will be fulfilled in perpetuity after the Tribulation when Israel will live under the rule of The Lord Jesus Christ and possess all the land God promised Abraham.)
Over the last almost 2000 years the criteria for being saved from eternal damnation has been to truly believe from the heart the Gospel of Grace revealed to the Apostle Paul; which is that we are sinners, Romans 3:2323 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
; that Christ died for our sins and was buried and rose again, 1 Corinthians 15:1 - 41 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
; Romans 3:22 - 2622 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
. Doing so, a person becomes a Member of the Body of Christ, Romans 12:55 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
with the only judgement to face being the Judgement Seat of Christ when taken up to be with The Lord Jesus Christ (the Rapture), 1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 1813 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
The Apostle Paul uses the Greek “bema” only twice in his epistles translated “Judgement seat” but specifically identified as being “of Christ”: “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat (bema) of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Romans 14:10 - 1210 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
. The second is in our text 2 Corinthians 5:10 - “For we must all appear before the judgment seat (bema) of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” In another passage Paul describes what will occur at the Judgement Seat of Christ without naming it as such: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:11 - 1511 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
. The Judgement seat of Christ is unique and pertains only Members of the Body of Christ.
However, the judgment seat of Christ is not the only occasion Christ will judge mankind. He will judge everyone from Adam to the last person born: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in Himself; And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:25 - 2925 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
. Almighty God is completely just/righteous, therefore it was necessary to have a totally just/righteous Judge who was in all points tempted as a Man, yet without sin, Hebrews 4:1515 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
. But Jesus Christ’s right to judge did not come easily; He first had to die a terrible, painful death on the cross before being raised from the dead: “Because He (God) hath appointed a day, in the which He (God) will judge the world in righteousness by that (a) Man (Christ) Whom He (God) hath ordained; whereof He (God) hath given assurance unto all men, in that He (God) hath raised Him (Christ) from the dead.” Acts 17:3131 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
After The Lord Jesus Christ takes the Body of Christ to heaven (raptured), He will conduct two additional and separate judgements. Following the rapture, God’s dealing with the Nation Israel will resume with the 7-year Great Tribulation according to prophesy, first described in Daniel 9:2424 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
-27 and alluded to subsequently, including by Jesus Christ Himself in Matthew 24:15 - 2115 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
& Mark 13:14 - 1914 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:
15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house:
16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.
17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.
19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
. During those 7 years, God’s wrath will be poured out: “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” Matthew 24:2222 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
, also Mark 13:2020 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
The Tribulation will end with The Lord Jesus Christ’s return to earth: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 2 4:30 - 31, also Mark 13:26 - 2726 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
. At this time The Lord Jesus Christ will judge the inhabitants of the earth. Some have wrongly labeled this return as the same as the rapture of the Body of Christ. In doing so, they ignore the simple detail that at the rapture it will be believers who are taken away and carried to heaven while the lost (unbelievers/unsaved) are left here in earth. But when Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation, the unbelievers will be taken away leaving the righteous on earth because it will be as it was in the days of Noah when the unbelievers were taken away, i.e., killed, and only the 8 who had entered the Ark were left, Matthew 24:37 - 3937 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
. Thus, we read: “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken (to perdition), and the other left (to enter Christ’s Kingdom on earth). Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken (to perdition), and the other left (to enter Christ’s Kingdom on earth).” Matthew 24:40 - 4140 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Jesus Christ taught in parables how individual Israelites will be judged upon His return after the Tribulation. The parable of the 10 Virgins teaches the Jews they will have to constantly watch and be prepared for Christ’s return. Five of the 10 virgins did so (they stayed at the ready) and the Bridegroom (Christ) took them to the marriage whereas the other 5 did not (stay ready) and they were shut out, Matthew 25:1 - 131 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
. This teaches that during the Tribulation those Jews who believe Jesus Christ is their Messiah will know He is returning at any time and will look to and stay ready for his return whereas others will not and will enter into perdition. Then, the parable of the Talents (coins or sums of money) teaches about a Man traveling to a far country (Christ Who ascended into heaven) and left 3 servants to care for His property. To one He gave 5 talents; to another He gave 2 talents and to one he gave 1 talent. He gave these talents according to each man’s ability. While their master was gone, both the man with the 5 talents and he with the 2 traded and invested their talents that resulted in doubling their value whereas the man who was given one talent buried it in the ground. When the Master returned from His Journey, He told the first two they were good and faithful servants and had done well for Him. I heard a preacher recently, who should know better, teach that this judgement is the same as the Judgement Seat judgement of Christ. But during his sermon he failed to read the last verse of the parable indicating that the Master cast the man who had buried the one talent left him into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, Matthew 25:14 - 3014 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
. No Member of the Body of Christ will be cast into outer darkness; each will receive according to their works but all will abide in Heaven forever.
At the judgement following the Tribulation, the righteous dead from the past, e.g., Abraham, Job, Moses, David, the 12 Apostles, etc., will be resurrected to enter Christ’s Kingdom. Also, at that time Christ will judge the nations of the earth based on how they treated His people (the Jews) during the Tribulation. Those who succored/gave relief/ aided Jews during the Tribulation will be blessed by entering into Christ’s 1000-year Millennium reign here on earth while those who turned a blind eye upon the Jews will be cast out into everlasting punishment prepared for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:31 - 4631 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
The Lord Jesus Christ’s last judgement will be The Great White Throne Judgement described in Revelation 20:11 - 1511 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
. There, all unbelievers from throughout history including those who have not believed The Gospel of Grace during this age of Grace will be called up from the dead, judged and cast into The Lake of Fire for eternity.