As we follow along in the doctrine of dispensationalism and dividing verses to the right groups of people and time periods, we want to look at Luke 19 and the pre-tribulation rapture of the church. One of our most powerful arguments to prove this is that we have to go through the judgment seat of Christ. If you deny this judgment seat occurring while the tribulation is happening, you will try to say that the judgment will occur after the tribulation. Let’s look at the text often used for this, Luke 19.
Luke 19:15: “And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.”
This is the passage that is often used for the judgment seat of Christ.
Steven Anderson tries to prove that this is after the tribulation when God receives the kingdom. As Bible believers, we do use this to refer to judgment, but we don’t use it to refer to the judgment seat of Christ solely. This is not only doctrinal but also practical. Let’s assume God does this kind of judgment after He takes over the kingdom. Wouldn’t this be similar then to how things get judged at the judgment seat? This seems to imply that there are two different judgments. Let’s look at Matthew 25.
There is a judgment seat of Christ and judging of nations after He comes and sets up the kingdom.
Matthew 25:31-32: “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: 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:”
In this particular judgment, He divides the sheep from the goats. How is this determined? Verse 34 says, “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:” If you read on, you’ll see the sheep are defined by caring for strangers.
This makes sense considering the persecution of the people of God during the tribulation by the Antichrist. That’s why it makes sense that this judgment of nations occurs after the tribulation, as the conditions to go to the kingdom are particular to the tribulation. As you read on, it says that the goats are the opposite. They didn’t fulfill these conditions, and it sends them to hell. See, there is no way that the judgment seat of Christ is the same as the judgment of nations, or our salvation plan should look very different!
Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 3 and Revelation 3. Notice how different this judgment seat of Christ is and how it has to occur during the tribulation and before He enters the kingdom and takes over the world.
1 Corinthians 3:12-13: “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.”
There is a day that a Christian’s works will be judged. This judgment tries your works. From verse 14, “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.” If a Christians works are bad, the work is burned but they should be saved. In the other judgment, if a Christian’s work is poor, they go to hell.
Revelation 3:18: “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”
Notice that one is clothed in white raiment after this judgment. A Christian is clothed in white raiment well before the second advent.
Look at Revelation 19. This is before He comes down and the church is already up there.
Revelation 19:7: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”
The church (the wife of Jesus) is already clothed in righteousness from the judging of their works. This shows that a Christian is already finished in that judgment before His coming.
Revelation 19:9-10: “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”
Here is the second advent.
Revelation 19:14: “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”
These verses prove that the judgment seat of Christ gives us the clothing which happens before we come down with Christ to take over the kingdom. Post-tribulation believers think that this judgment takes place after He takes over the kingdom. Yet that would clearly contradict these scriptures. These clearly show that the judgment seat of Christ takes place before He takes over and that we then take over with Him.