What happens when we first arrive in Heaven? What will we be seeing and experiencing in Heaven, as the world behind us endures the seven years of Darkness called the Tribulation? Scriptures strongly imply that one of the very first things to happen upon entering Heaven will be to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ or, "Bema Seat”(The word, "Bema" in Greek, simply means raised platform; in Ancient Rome it was where a Roman magistrate or ruler sat to make decisions and pass judgments; but, this word was also used by Paul in association with the Greek athletic contests known as the, "Isthmian Games", where winners of each event would be taken to a, "Bema" platform by the judge to receive his reward, usually in the form of a laurel wreath (crown of branches and leaves)): Romans 14:10-12, 2 Corinthians 5:10-11, John 19:13, 1 Corinthians 9:24-25.
In all that we will read concerning the Bema Seat Judgment, only Christians are involved. 1This is not a Judgment before God deciding whether you will enter Heaven or not, as we often see in illustrations or cartoons; this was decided long ago, and the fact that you were Raptured from earth with the other Saints has already confirmed your Salvation. (There is a judgment, called the Great White Throne Judgment, which will occur much later, at the end of the Millennium on earth. This judgment is for the lost only, as they stand before God in condemnation.) Revelation 20:6, 2 Timothy 4:8. The Bema Seat Judgment seems to be the first thing that happens in Heaven after the Rapture 1) a number of Scriptures declare that our judgment as Christians will come on, "that Day" of His appearing 2) it would stand to reason that the first thing we would do upon reaching our goal, finishing the Race, would be to receive our reward 3) It also stands to reason, this would be the time to reflect on everything about the life we are now leaving to summarize and reflect on all that has brought us to this point wo see, based on this review, why our righteousness is from Christ alone; to see the reasons for all of the rewards we will receive 4) so that we may be assigned our position in Heaven as we enter. Based upon this judgment, we will receive the assignments we have earned, positions awarded, titles to be held in Heaven, for all eternity. Matthew 25:21 5) Scriptures show that we have been awarded robes of righteousness before we go to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. Romans 19:7-9. The white linen represents, “righteous acts of the saints” meaning she has been judged and rewarded already, and brought to her Feast in undeserved, but lavished honor—the honor that Christ won for her, and gave to her, on His behalf. Remember, this Judgment is not to decide our eternal fate (it is finished), instead, this is what will happen: Every action, word, thought, and motive of your life will be openly displayed and reviewed by Jesus Christ Himself; not just the good things, that merit reward, but all the bad as well. Matthew 12:36-37, Romans 14:12, Luke 12:2-3, Jeremiah 17:10, 1 Corinthians 4:5, 2 Corinthians 5:10. He will take these actions, thoughts, words, and motives, and test them according to His Word. Test them, not only in apparent goodness and value, but per the heart behind each action. And, all the works that were not done for Him and others, in love, will be done away with forever. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. These failures and sins of our lives will not be revealed so that we may be punished—our sins have been forgiven and paid for. Consider how we will feel standing before Jesus Christ Himself, as all the secret sins we've committed are replayed in His Presence; all the terrible, spiteful, lustful thoughts we've hidden are revealed; all the words we've spoken to people in private heard openly. It will probably be at this moment, more than any other time in eternity that we love, praise, and appreciate his terrible sacrifice for us when we realize just how unworthy we were. After this horrid review, He will look at us with eyes of deep love and total acceptance and say, "I have already suffered for these things; I have already been embarrassed, and humiliated, and rejected, and abandoned for all these sins; Look what I have earned—I want to give it to you!" And He will place a robe of the purest white linen, you've literally ever seen, around you. [How wonderful will that robe feel against your skin? The soft warmth of Your Salvation! A physical sign of Christ’s love & sacrifice around you.] (When you read Scriptures of Saints wearing robes of white, you can imagine the worth, the value, the honor those Saints place on that beautiful garment of Righteousness, because they now truly know the cost). Everything that you have ever done to serve Him, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, will be openly praised by Him, and rewarded. 1 Corinthians 15:58, Galatians 6:9, Mark 9:41, Colossians 3:23-25, 1 Corinthians 2:9, Matthew 25:21. We'll be rewarded with Crowns of recognition and notoriety; with treasures and joys that we cannot even begin to imagine or express on this earth; with incredible positions of honor and authority over people and places; with His favor and praises. Here is where those that seemed to have lived a hard, over-tasked, poor, or uneventful life according to the world, for a few short years, will have an eternity of honor, position, and rewards beyond anything we can compare here on earth, while those that focused everything on here and now, and those who did good for the sake of obligation or looks, will already have used up their rewards. Mark 10:31. Imagine Jesus with excitement and pride giving you these rewards—how wonderful to see His joy in you; how awesome to drink in this moment that your whole life has come to, and hear of all that He praises and rewards. but, how unworthy will we feel accepting these rewards, standing there in robes of righteousness that we know do not belong to us; standing there after just seeing how selfish and sinful we were the whole time we did any of the things He rewards us for (our best works were as, "dirty rags")—no wonder we'll cast our crowns at His feet.
There is one more thing we need to understand and imagine about this moment, to be completely real and fair. Imagine reviewing all of the sins, seeing all He suffered to take them away for you; imagine feeling Him wrap His Glory, His Robe of Righteousness around you in love, and then, realizing you have no works that showed how much you loved Him back. Imagine standing there and seeing your whole life burned away for self, the disappointment in His eyes, the agony of realizing there is no more time to do anything for Him; the only chance you've had is gone forever— imagine walking away with such a gift of love, and nothing to offer Him, clutching your brilliant White Robe—will we be able to feel remorse or shame at this moment in Heaven? 1 Corinthians 3:15, 1 John 2:28. [Will you be ‘Purified’ or ‘Refried’ on that day?] It is most probably at this event, Jesus Himself will place a White Stone in your hand, with a new name for you that only He knows. Revelation 2:17. Why will He give this Stone to you? There are several theories, but one hold much promise, considering the times this was written, and the moment of gifting the Stone. Again, Ancient Rome would award athletic game winners a white stone with their name inscribed on it. This stone served as a ticket to a special banquet given in their honor. Could this be our personal reward, with the New Name that Jesus Himself has given us? According to how we have lived for Him? [What would your name be? (According to how lived)] Could this be our ticket to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, to come later?
Let's reflect on how Jesus seems to purposefully mirror the Hebrew Marriage after His Plan of redemption thus far: The Groom agrees upon a price for the potential Bride. (Mohar) “Slain before the foundation of the world!” The Groom pours the cup of wine and offers a Covenant of Marriage to the potential Bride, with a betrothal ceremony called the "B'rit", meaning covenant. This was at the Last Supper, representing His Blood of the Covenant. The Bride was to wear a ceremonial veil from that point, until the Groom came back to get her (As He went to prepare a place) The veil showed that she was, "Set apart!" for Him only. [Do we live, set apart for Him?] Sometime after the Betrothal, the Bride to be must take a ceremonial cleansing bath to be clean and ready for her Groom, called a, "Mikvah!" (Baptism) [Have you taken your ceremonial cleansing bath?] Then, the Groom returns unexpectedly with shouts and the blowing of trumpets, to take His Bride home with Him again. When the Groom takes her to His Home, they go into the marriage chamber together to consummate the marriage. Someone of the Bride's family waits outside until proof of the virginity and consummation of marriage is given. The party begins for the guests, as the newly married Couple spend their first seven days together alone. At the end of this seven days, the Couple enter the festivities and celebrate with a Wedding Feast. At this point in our studies: the Groom has brought us to His Home prepared; has lavished us in gifts of love; has placed a Wedding Garment of pure white on us and we will spend the next seven years with Him in His chambers consummating the marriage in an intimacy like we have never experienced before. We will celebrate with Him, while the Angels bring His wrath to the inhabitance of earth.
How will these days of consummation be spent? This will be a time of two lovers getting to know one another. Will He talk and share intimate things about Himself? Will He share the reasons He is so in love with us? Will He talk of future plans and things to be done and seen? Will we see and hear an intimate and exciting side of our Beloved that no one has ever known, now that we are consummated? He died to have the intimacy with us, that He now shares with the Father (What will that be like?) Because we are there now, we will also witness His Glory, Splendor, Holiness and Power as He opens the Seals of Final Judgment on earth, that only He is worthy to open and we will witness it with the pride of knowing that is my Savior, my King, my Beloved who opens those Seals. It makes sense that Jesus would share this most Glorifying moment, with the precious Bride He most wants to impress. In the Hebrews Marriage ritual, they spend seven days in intimacy, consummating the Marriage, and then, at the end of seven days, they come out to the guests to celebrate with a Feast—at the Home of the Groom, not the Bride. At the end of the Seven Year Tribulation, the last event written of, before Jesus Returns with His new Bride to take back the earth: Revelation 19:5-9: Here, it would seem, at the end of the Seven Years in Revelation, the Angel shows John, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb occurs; when we come out of our Seven Year Consummation, dressed in White, to sit with Our Beloved, Our King, Creator, Master, God—we’ll have our Stone, we'll have our Robe, now, the Cup. Scriptures say that He will serve us at this Feast. Luke 12:37. What humility; what honor; how undeservedly loved are we? [Will He reflect on the following passages from His Eternal Word, before breaking bread and serving wince? Luke 22:14-18. It is apparent, this is a special and anticipated event for Jesus, simply because He speaks so many times of the Marriage Feast in His parables and stories. If this is the Event to Celebration Jesus' Ultimate Victory in the War for His Bride, that has waged for all mankind's history; is there any doubt that He will have the absolute best of everything Heaven has to offer? Imagine what this banquet area for millions will be like; the foods we will see and taste; the wine; the conversations we will have at this table with loved ones from our entire lives there; with loved ones we've waited years to meet there; with Jesus Christ Celebrating His victory there; with talk of the events seen, and to come. Several times Jesus mentions the place we will have at the Marriage Feast. Based upon the honor bestowed upon each guest, where will we be seated? Wherever it is, we will be wearing His Robe of Righteousness.
How many need to say "Yes!' to His proposal? Ephesians 2:10.
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