“Judgment Day” is a phrase that has struck fear in the hearts of many people for many centuries. It is often spoken with a heaviness and gloominess that can chill the bones. What’s more, it is often pictured as a literal day. When I was a child I used to imaging a day in which the sunlight was a bloody red, and long queues of people were inching slowly to a small table up a hill to receive their eternal fate. Most people were thrown down a hole, and only rarely would a rumor spread around the snaking queues that someone had made it through the pearly gates.
Judgment “Day” is a misnomer, because judgment does not happen in a literal day. And if it is a day, then it is a very long one, because Scripture teaches that Judgment has already began (Daniel 8:14) in the temple of God, that is, among the people who confess His name, the saints. He will return soon to rescue and reward those of them who live out this confession faithfully. The judgment of the wicked will then take place over the course of a thousand years, with Jesus inviting the redeemed saints to participate, so that His righteous justice is seen by all (Revelation 20:1 – 6).