Embraced  by  Truth . . .
                                    reflections on theology and life

THEOLOGY > Future > The Final Judgment > The Judge      


In Scripture three separate and distinct references are made to those who will judge; God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the saints. Consideration of each one will be in that order.

God the Father

It should seem obvious and without controversy that God the Father will judge the world. Though the word “Father” is not used in each of the following verses, it is the Father who is the subject. God is the “Judge”; He will sit on “His throne,” His “judgment seat,” and He will judge “impartially” all people and all things.

Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just (Gen. 18:25);

He has established His throne for judgment; He shall judge the world in righteousness (Ps. 9:7-8);

He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth; He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with His truth (Ps. 96:13);

But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment (Eccles. 11:9);

For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil (Eccles. 12:14);

He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained (Acts 17:31);

We will all stand before the judgment seat of God (Rom. 14:10);

And to God, the Judge of all (Heb. 12:23);

And if you call on the Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds (I Pet. 1:17);

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it (Rev. 20:11).

When judgment is considered in terms of God, the point is that God will judge sin—man is accountable to God and must answer to Him. “We will all stand before the judgment seat of God” (Rom. 14:10) and will give account “to God, the Judge of all” (Heb. 12:23). It is proper for man to be judged by his Maker; and man will be judged, for it is before God that man must appear. The creature will be judged by the Creator—God will confront man.

Man cannot escape the day of accounting and reckoning; it is in the future, and it is certain. That eschatological day cannot be delayed nor denied. The Bible affirms: “He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world” (Acts 17:31). That date is set; it has been determined—appointed—by Him who determines all things (see: Theistic Determinism and All Things).

Additionally, God’s judgment is a righteous judgment because He is a righteous Judge (Ps. 96:13; 98:9); “He will judge the world in righteousness” (Acts 17:31). His judgment is not arbitrary; it is not without foundation, and the foundation is the righteousness of God Himself. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just” (Gen. 18:25)? “God shows no partiality” (Rom. 2:11; see: I Pet. 1:17). There will be no basis for appeal, and man will know appeal is without foundation.

God the Son, Jesus Christ

Joining the Father in judgment is the Son; in fact the Scriptures affirm that God will “judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained” (Acts 17:31). Therefore, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ (II Cor. 5:10).

For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will repay each person according to what he has done (Matt. 16:27-28);

The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son (Jo. 5:22);

And He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead (Act 10:42);

He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained (Acts 17:31);

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ (II Cor. 5:10);

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom (II Tim. 4:1).

To affirm that judgment originates from the Father and the Son is to affirm that the judgment is Trinitarian, that is, the judgment at the end-time is a judgment by the God who has revealed Himself in the Bible. And judgment is by no other. To affirm that judgment is Christological is to affirm that judgment is Theological, that is, to be judged by the Son is to be judged by God.

Also in connection with judgment by the Son is the fact that the Father defers judgment to the Son in order that the Son may be honored (Jo. 5:23). It is the Son who died and it is the Son who has been elevated—and “God has made Him both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). And all judgment has been given to the Son (Jo. 5:22), because the Father has appointed it to be so (Acts 17:31).


Following are quotes that associate saints with judgment:

You who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28; see: Lu. 22:30);

Do ye not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are ye incompetent to judge the trivial cases? Know you not that we are to judge angels? (1 Cor. 6:2-3, KJV);

If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him (II Tim. 2:11-12);

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne (Rev. 3:21).

Will saints judge or govern? What is to be made of the above references? How are they to be understood? Is the believer’s rule with Christ to be understood in a very literal sense? Will there be specific assignments, perhaps over territory or over people? Will there be precise questions to answer and decisions to make?

To relate the answers to these question to some eschatological chronology, thereby interweaving all of the verses that discuss this issue is not simple. In fact it is questionable whether it can be done. It is also questionable whether it should be done.

It seems that there are two options: one, affirm the fact that saints will literally judge, and confess that the content and manner of the judgment is completely unknown; two, understand that the judgment is not a literal judgment, but affirms the association of believers with Christ in His rule and reign.

Without being dogmatic, a moderate view along the lines of option two seems to be most wise. Affirming that believers will reign with Christ simply means that believers will be part of His rule; the believers will be with Him, adoring Him, and companioning with Him in His rule. Surely the rule is to be understood in some spiritually suggestive, even redemptive sense. There are no definitive answers—the precise nature of the participation with Christ in judgment is not delineated in Scripture.

It would appear proper simply to affirm that believers will not issue judgments affecting people and events but that they will accompany Christ in His judgments, supporting and praising Him for His righteous acts.  In other words the believer will be identified with Christ in His judgment, and in this sense the saints will judge.

Return to: The Final Judgment; Next Article: Universal Judgment 

For overview of THEOLOGY, see: Site Map - Theology
Copyright © Embraced by Truth
All rights reserved.
Materials may be freely copied for personal and academic use;
appropriate reference must be made to this site.
Links are invited.