What will Judgment Day be Like?
Mention the phrase “Judgment Day” to ten different people and you’ll probably hear ten different explanations of the biblical term. Some promote the false idea that Christ may return in some sort of covert mission, and if we’re not equipped properly we’ll miss it like people who can’t see a 3D movie because they don’t have the special glasses. Others figure that Christ’s coming on the last day to end the world is such a long time off that they can eat, drink, and be merry with no concern for spiritual priorities. Still others accumulate their good works like vouchers for eternal life, waiting for the day when they can cash them all in to an extremely impressed God. So what will it really be like?
Do you feel even just a little anxiety about where you’ll be on Judgment Day, how you’ll respond to the global chaos, and what kind of forms you’ll need to fill out at the pearly gates, if you even make it there safely? And what if, in heaven, they use Word Perfect instead of Microsoft Word, and what if dogs are allowed in heaven but no cats, and what if you can’t bring any beverage containers filled with your favorite soda or coffee – we’ll only drink prune juice in paradise?
Like a promotional brochure for the perfect vacation, the Bible answers any anxiety about Judgment Day and heaven not with every specific little detail (although we do have a few) but with the big, reassuring promise: Judgment Day will be just right. Plan for it. Anticipate it. But don’t worry about it.
In a response to this confusion concerning Judgment Day, the Bible touches us with the actual temperature of Judgment Day. The Bible wants us to have the full assurance that Judgment Day won’t be so hot that it burns us with fires only meant for hell, and Judgment Day won’t be so cold and heaven so sterile that we’ll be frozen with boredom and chilled with thoughts of how nice we had it on earth. “God’s judgment is right,” the Bible reassures, and then adds, “God is just” (2 Thessalonians 1:1-2). Those two words, “right” and “just,” actually mean the same thing, and putting them together is a perfect way to capture and convey their correct meaning. Just right. That applies to God, it applies to every one of his actions, and it applies to Judgment Day.
God is just right when he says that you have wronged him and others sinfully. God is just right when he says that his Son, Jesus Christ, has paid with his life for your sins and has risen from the dead to blaze a path of eternal life for you. Put your worries about Judgment Day to rest in the hands of a gracious God.
Therefore you are not worried about Judgment Day when by faith you understand that heaven’s owner has already written your name in heaven’s reservation book. It’ll be just right, even if you’re not too sure about the details. God will take care of anyone who trusts him. He’ll send his angels to escort you safely through the chaos with priority, first-class service. He’ll welcome you warmly as a host expecting you. He’ll show you to the spread of his banquet of love and let you taste of his eternal feast.
But what if, on Judgment Day, you choose door number two instead of door number three? What if, on Judgment Day, you zig instead of zag? What if you’re miles away from loved ones or minutes short of accomplishing a really good thing? How can you live knowing that you might mess it all up and miss out on heaven forever? You can live knowing that God will never mess it up, and will never miss the slightest technicality when it comes to taking you to heaven. Your perseverance through earthly life as well as your perpetual heavenly life are both in God’s hands. Judgment Day will be just right.