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Faith & Wisdom

The Judgment Day: Meaning and Bible Verses of God's Final Verdict

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If you regularly reflect on the Book of Matthew, you may be familiar with verses 12:36-37: "But I say unto you that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment. For by thy words thou shelf be justified, and by thy words, thou shalt be condemned." 

This verse (as well as many other Bible verses) references Judgment Day — an apocalyptic day that will end the world as we know it. 

Though most churches discuss Judgment Day frequently, many Christians still have big questions about it. 

In this article, we'll answer some of those questions. We’ll cover what will happen on Judgment Day, when Judgment Day is, and how you can prepare for your divine judgment.

What happens on Judgment Day in Christianity?

Judgment Day (sometimes called "The Final Judgment," "the day of the Lord," "Doomsday," or "the second coming of Jesus Christ") is the day that Jesus will judge humanity and destroy Earth and Heaven. 

Specifically, Jesus will raise the dead and gather everyone before him. Then, he'll individually judge each person by looking at their actions, feelings, thoughts, words, and sins (sins are anything that goes against God's law and will). You won't be able to hide anything from Jesus at this moment, as he'll see it all. 

After Jesus judges each person, he'll divide them into two groups: the "saved" and the "damned." At the end of Judgment Day, Jesus will condemn the damned to hell with Satan and take the saved with him to a new Heaven. 

Every human will face judgment on Judgment Day — including Christians, non-Christians, sinners, holy men and women, judges, and commoners. 

If you want to visualize Judgment Day, you can take a look at Michelangelo's painting "The Last Judgment." The painting covers the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.

If our sins are forgiven, why are we judged on Judgment Day?

Though many Christians learn about Judgment Day from a young age, there are many common misconceptions about it. One of the most popular is the idea that there is nothing for Jesus to judge if God forgives our sins. 

As our Savior, Jesus died for our sins. But this act of sacrifice didn't rid the world of sin. Every person on Earth (including even the most devout Christians) has sinned at some point. 

1 John 1:9 tells us that God forgives our sins when we atone for them, but our sins don't disappear. Thus, Jesus will judge you for the sins you've atoned for on Judgment Day alongside your other deeds.

Should I fear Judgment Day?

Another popular misconception about Judgment Day comes from Christians who fear Jesus can't save them because they've sinned in the past. 

As outlined in God's promise, God expects obedience and humility from you — but He doesn't expect perfection. Humans are inherently flawed, and we all make mistakes (whether it's hurting someone, telling a lie, falling through on a promise, or committing a crime). 

Jesus will judge you on your thoughts and actions, as well as how you atone for your sins on Judgment Day. But as you might imagine, there's a massive difference between sinning and atoning and just sinning without consequences. 

If you learn from your sins, atone, and work to be better, you don't need to be afraid of judgment because Jesus will save you. 

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When is Judgment Day?

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No human (no matter how smart) knows when Judgment Day will be. According to Mark 13:32, only God knows when it'll fall: "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man — no, not the angels who are in Heaven, neither the son, but only the Father." 

However, the Bible says there are many signs of the end times. These include:

  • Wars between nations, famines, and earthquakes (Matthew 24:7 and Luke 21:11)
  • Large-scale pandemics and epidemics (Luke 21:11)
  • Lawlessness and coldness from people living on Earth (Matthew 42:12)
  • Large waves and signs from the sun, moon, and stars (Luke 21:25)

The Bible also describes the events of Judgment Day in detail in the Book of Revelation.

Bible verses about Judgment Day

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Though many Bible verses describe aspects of Judgment Day, the most explicit description of the apocalypse comes from Revelation 20:11-15. 

In these verses, the Bible describes Jesus on a great white throne separated by earth and sky. Jesus will then raise the dead from their graveyards and the sea and bring them before the judgment seat of Christ. As he judges each person, Jesus will consult the Book of Life and view the person's soul. 

Once he's passed judgment, Jesus will condemn those who aren't in the Book of Life or who don't pass judgment into the lake of fire. 

Revelation 20:14 describes this as the "second death": "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." 

Matthew 25:41 also describes this moment: "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."

Alternatively, those whom Jesus saves will go with him to Heaven. Specifically, Revelation 21:4 tells us that Jesus will free the saved from pain, worry, death, and fear: "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away."

At the end of the last day, Jesus will destroy the world and create a new Earth.

How to prepare for Judgment Day

As God is in control of the world, we can only control our immediate actions. Thus, the best way to prepare for the end of the world is to embrace God's plan for you and live for Him. 

You can do this by:

  • Consulting scripture and living by it 
  • Praying diligently 
  • Accepting Jesus as your Savior 
  • Confessing your sins and atoning for them 
  • Working hard to do the right thing
  • Loving your friends, family, and community unconditionally 
  • Accepting yourself as flawed and working to do better
  • Trusting God faithfully (2 Corinthians 5:7: "For we walk by faith, not by sight")

Many people do good deeds for the purpose of getting into Heaven on Judgment Day, but this isn't God's will. Doing good things for a heavenly reward is ultimately self-serving, and thus, a sin. 

Instead, follow God's word with modesty, faith, and humility, and live for Him. There's no "hack" to get into Heaven.

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God's final judgment: How will you fare?

Understandably, many Christians are terrified of the judgment of God. But you don't need to be afraid. 

Our God is a loving God. He's not looking to hurt, torture, or punish you needlessly. If you're a good person who tries your best and acknowledges your sins, Jesus will likely judge you favorably.

If you'd like to learn more about Judgment Day, listen to the episode "Heavenly Rewards?" from our series "God's Judgment" with Andrew Farley. Alternatively, if you'd like to listen to other content, you can download our app from the iOS app store or the Google Play store.

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