Great White Throne Judgment and Judgment Seat of Christ


Peace and blessings,

I was examining a statement of faith from a Baptist church, and I came across something that perplexed me, which I had never heard of before. I’d appreciate if people can explain this to me.

The statement was that after the Lord’s millennial reign he will judge the living and the dead at a, “Great White Throne Judgment.” They went on to say that this is distinct from the Judgment Seat of Christ where Jesus judges the Church.

Can someone explain this to me? I’ve never heard of the belief of two judgment seats… or two general judgments. Thanks and God bless.



Does anyone have an idea?



Rob: What they are referring to is actually the general judgement at the end of time, although they don’t understand it that way. They believe in the so called “rapture” of all Christians before the end of time where Christ comes to call up “saved” folks, after which the rest of the world will suffer tribulation. There is no concrete scriptural basis for this however even though the So. Baptists are a sola scriptura denomination. If the rapture was a fact, then that means Christ will come again twice, not once as promised in Holy Scripture. So check threads on Rapture and the Catholic Church’s understanding of that topic and you’ll find more info.

God Bless!


The Great White Throne judgment is supposed to occur after the 1000 year reign and only involves those who are unsaved. The “judgement seat of Christ” or the “bema” judgement only involves the saved and deals with the distribution of rewards. In other words, there is no final general judgement that involves the saved and the lost.

God Bless,


Bema, is the greek word used for the judgment seat of a king, or governor, or some similar ruler with authority. The belief in two separate judgments is an attempt by some (rapture believing Baptists in my experience) to reconcile scriptural verses that clearly say we will be judged according to our works. This doesn’t fit with a faith alone theology where works don’t matter and salvation is a one time event which you can’t lose. 1 Corinthians 3:14-15, for example, talks about less than stellar Christians losing their reward and suffering loss, yet still being saved as by fire.

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.

Most Catholics, I believe, see this as a reference to purgatory. A typical protestant reply is that this does not refer to purgatory, but rather to the loss of a reward (or crown) in heaven, and some believe this “loss” occurs at the bema seat judgment. The problem for the bema seat/reward argument is that Jesus was condemned to death from the bema seat (which Pilate sat upon) and Paul was accused before the bema seat of grievous acts for which the Jews wished him to be severely punished and/or killed. The bema seat is not merely a seat for handing out rewards, it is rather a seat for determining guilt or innocence and administering justice, including severe punishment and death. There is no bema seat judgment in heaven or on earth that only hands out rewards like an Olympic medal ceremony.


Good stuff, guys, thanks. If you guys can elaborate any more or give me links on it, I’d much appreciate it.

The belief in two separate judgments is an attempt by some (rapture believing Baptists in my experience) to reconcile scriptural verses that say we will be judged according to our works.

Indeed-- whenever Jesus says he’ll judge us according to our works (i.e., Matthew 25, or in Revelation as He often says, he will give up recompense according to our works), or even Paul in Romans 2:6-8. This makes sense-- there needs to be an explanation.

God bless.



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