Sep 8, 2008

Q & A

By J.R. Hall

Q: What happens in heaven after the Rapture?

A: The rapture is the event of Christians, dead and living, being provided with our glorified bodies and going to (or rejoining) the Lord in heaven (1 Cor 15:51-52, 1 Thess 4:16-18 and John 14:1-3). While Daniel’s 70th week (The Tribulation week – time of Jacobs trouble) unfolds on the earth, we Christians take part in two significant events prior to our return to earth with Christ as documented in Revelation 19:14.

The first event is the ‘Bema’ seat of Christ. This is the judgment seat for all Christians throughout the ages.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” – 2Co 5:10

“… for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” – Rom 14:10

Unlike the ‘White Throne Judgment’ which is for unbelievers and comes later (see Rev 20:11-15), the ‘Bema Seat Judgment’ is where the works of each Christian are evaluated for their worth. This is not a judgment of sin and salvation, but rather it is whether our works were done for the cause of Christ, or for the ‘works of the flesh’. A passage which gives some insight into this Bema seat is 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.

In this passage we see that our works will undergo a sort of ‘trial by fire’. Our works that have built upon the foundation of the Gospel of Christ and passed through the fire of testing will be rewarded. For those works with the wrong motives that burn up like chaff, it says that we will suffer loss. I’m not sure what that loss will be as the bible doesn’t say, but we can be sure it is not the loss of our salvation.

The bible is, however, clear on our rewards. The Bible speaks of believers receiving crowns for different things based on how faithfully they served Christ. The various crowns are described in 2 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; and Revelation 2:10. James 1:12 is a good summary of how we should think about the Judgment Seat of Christ,

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”

After the Bema Seat we have the symbolic ‘Marriage’ between Christ and the Church. The church today is betrothed as the ‘bride of Christ’ and in heaven the celebration of marriage will be complete. Christ will offer the church up to the Father, unblemished and clean, and the Father will give the church back to Christ in marriage; All for the glory of the Father.

After the marriage comes the ‘Marriage Supper of the Lamb’. John declares this marriage
supper in Revelation 19:7-10. There are some differing opinions on when the supper occurs (in heaven before the second coming, or on earth in the millennium), but the most important thing for anyone to consider is whether they will be invited to the marriage supper of the lamb.

Incidentally, rumor has it that the banquet speaker will be wonderful!