The purpose of this blog is to address the assertion of a growing number of people that there will be no future judgment. I have seen this view presented in two primary forms.
On the one hand, there are some Progressives who combine Jesus’s statements, “the Father judges no one,” and “I judge no one” (Jn 5:22; 8:15), and proceed to argue from this that God will never judge anyone.
On the other hand, the Full Preterists teach that everything prophesied in Scripture, including the Second Coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the binding of Satan, the creation of the new heavens and the new earth, as well as the final Great White Throne Judgment, were all fulfilled in 70AD when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman armies.
These recent interpretations (and I emphasize recent) are appealing to our present permissive society in which many, even within the churches, want salvation without repentance, relationship without commitment, and freedom without accountability.
“God Judges No One”
Many Progressives teach that God does not directly judge anyone, but rather each individual judges themselves upon seeing their life review. This concept seems to have gained popularity from William Paul Young’s bestseller, The Shack, which came out in 2007. In the Shack, when the time came for Mack’s judgment, Jesus didn’t even accompany him, but simply said: “You have an engagement… I’ll wait for you here.”  When he entered the judgment chamber, Mack was met by a beautiful woman named Wisdom who said to him, “…you are not on trial here… You will be the judge!” 
As I previously mentioned, in order to substantiate the idea that God judges no one and that we simply judge ourselves, they often quote phrases from two different passages out of their context:
“For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.” (John 5:22)
“You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one (present tense).” (John 8:15)
Based upon these two phrases they conclude that, since the Father, who judges no one, has committed all judgment to the Son, and the Son in turn said, “I judge no one,” we will therefore never have to appear before God in judgment. William Paul Young expresses this by presenting Christ as simply telling Mack that he had an engagement and that He would be waiting for him outside. They also quote John 12:47 which says:
“And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him (present tense); for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”
However, in John 8:15 as well as 12:47 Jesus was not speaking of an eschatological judgment which all must face, but rather was referring to the judgments we make against people in the present. In this sense, Jesus was saying that He wasn’t judging anyone since His purpose in becoming incarnate was not to judge the world but to save the world.
This in no way negates the fact that the Father has committed all judgment to the Son and that a judgment day is coming when all (even believers) must appear before Him to give an account for the deeds done in the body (Rom 14:10). Paul made this clear on various occasions:
“And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He (Jesus) who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:42)
“He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained (Jesus). He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31)
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom.” (2 Tim 4:1)
While justified believers are resurrected in the first resurrection unto life rather than the resurrection unto judgment 1,000 years later (Jn 5:29, cf., Rev 20:4-6), all without exception must appear before Christ to give an account of themselves to God. For believers their judgment is for rewards or loss of rewards, rather than it being a penal judgment. I describe the nature of the judgment of believers with more detail in my blog: Rewards for Good Works. However, it is God to whom each of us must give an account, not ourselves.
While the notion that one is not accountable to God is appealing to many in this generation, it has no support whatsoever in Scripture. Even if one were to reject the authority of Scripture by saying that they are followers of Jesus, not the Bible, as most Progressives do, they are still faced with Jesus’ own declaration that the hour is coming when He will exercise His authority to execute judgment (Jn 5:26-29).
“The Final Judgment took place in 70AD”
Full Preterism, (especially the Universalistic varieties of it), are also very appealing to the unrepentant, since they interpret Jesus’ words such as Matthew 12:36-37 as meaning: “I say unto you that for every idle word men (living in this Old Covenant age) may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment in 70AD.” According to them, when Paul said that God had ordained Jesus to be the judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42), it only applied to those who were living or had died prior to 70AD, which, according to them, marked the close of the Old Covenant age. Paul also spoke of a judgment which included all believers, saying:
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2Cor 5:10). “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom 14:12).
In spite of what Paul says here, according to Full Preterists, believers today will not have to give an account of themselves to God, since Paul in his epistles was only addressing Old Covenant believers who lived prior to the Preterist’s 70AD judgment. They say that the Great White Throne Judgment took place in 70AD, and for the past two millennia we have been living in the new heavens and the new earth and there is no future judgment awaiting anyone, whether they be believers or nonbelievers.
There are more problems with this view than I can address in this brief article. In the first place, while Israel was judged by God and left desolate in 70AD, Christ did not personally come to judge Israel at that time, much less all the living and the dead among the nations. When Christ does come a second time it will be to deliver Israel, not to destroy her (Rom 11:25-28). Jesus said that Israel wouldn’t see Him again until they say: “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matt 23:39). That certainly wasn’t the case in 70AD. I demonstrate that the Second Coming of Christ is yet future in my blog: Where is the Promise of His Coming? Since His judgments take place at His appearing and during His kingdom reign, they are all yet future (2Tim 4:1).
There are two judgments which are said to take place at His coming. First, there is the Bema Seat Judgment of Christ in which believers are rewarded according to their works (Rom 14:12; 3:11-15; Rev 22:12). There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, so this judgment is not penal, as it is for the unjust, but rather for rewards or loss of rewards. The result of this judgment is that each one will receive praise from God (1Cor 4:5).
The other judgment which takes place when He comes and sits upon His throne is the judgment of the nations as described in Matthew 25:
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.” (Matt 25:31-32)
This is not the judgment of believers, but the judgment of the living Gentiles among the nations who will either be granted or denied entrance into His eonian kingdom, depending upon how they treated Christ’s brethren in their tribulation. Christ’s brethren would be all the born-again sons of God living at that time who suffered the great tribulation, including all Israel who will be saved when they look upon Him at His coming (Rom 11:26; Zech 12:10, cf. Rev 1:7).
The sheep are not part of the body of Christ. They are not granted entrance into the kingdom based upon faith in the gospel but simply for having shown kindness to Christ’s brethren. They, along with the believing Jews, will repopulate the earth during the Millennium. The goats will be denied entrance into the kingdom, instead being sent into eonian punishment or correction (κολασιν αιωνιον).
Neither the judgment of believers, nor the judgment of the nations, can reasonably be seen to have been fulfilled in 70AD. Life went on as usual in the Church until it eventually merged with the Roman Empire, sinking the Church into the Dark Ages. Not something we would expect of a Church which is co-reigning with Christ over the nations. Nor can the sheep and the goats among the nations be seen to have been separated in 70AD. After nearly 2,000 years have passed there is just as much evil and injustice in the world, if not more.
However, those are not the only judgments which will take place after Christ returns. In Revelation 19 thru 21 we see that after Christ returns, Satan will be bound for a thousand years in the abyss and the saints will be resurrected to reign with Christ over the earth for a thousand years. After the thousand years have ended Satan will be released from his prison and will deceive the nations which will have repopulated the earth during the Millennium. Those deceived by Satan will mount a final rebellion against Christ and His saints, but fire will come down from God out of heaven and devour them.
Then all who were not part of the first resurrection at the beginning of Christ’s reign, as well as those who lived and died during the Millennium, will be resurrected for judgment at the Great White Throne Judgment. All whose names are not found written in the book of life at that time will be cast into the lake of fire. After this we see the new heavens and the new earth, with the New Jerusalem descending from heaven upon it. In this new earth it says:
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev 21:4)
According to the Full Preterists, nearly two millennia have passed since the Great White Throne Judgment and the creation of the new heavens and the new earth. Yet death is still universal, as is sorrow and weeping. How can anyone reasonably believe that all judgment has passed and that we are now living in the new earth?
Both Full Preterists and Partial Preterists attempt to argue that the Millennium should not be understood as a literal 1,000 years. The Partial Preterists, believing that the Great White Throne Judgment is yet in the distant future, must stretch 1,000 years out so that it lasts thousands of years. The Full Preterists, on the other hand, must shrink the 1,000 years to a ridiculously short period of time, considering that Scripture calls it 1,000 years.
Since Full Preterists argue that the Great White Throne Judgment occurred at or around 70AD, they must somehow make the 1,000 year Millennium fit within that timeframe. Some argue that the 1,000 years is the 38 years from the ascension of Christ to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. Others take the 1,000 years as being the 3-year timespan between the destruction of Jerusalem and the fall of Masada in 73AD. Still others stretch the 1,000 years out to extend from 70 to 135AD, which was when the Bar Kochba revolt was suppressed.
However, it should be readily obvious to any reasonable mind that none of these Jewish revolts which were squelched by the Roman armies are in any way comparable with the Great White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 21. There is a great difference between the Roman army putting down a Jewish rebellion and the Great White Throne Judgment in which all the dead, small and great, must stand before the Judge of the earth, being judged according to their works.
There is no justification for understanding the Scripture’s reference to 1,000 years as not being a literal 1,000 year time-span. Preterists often cite examples where the number 1,000 is used in Scripture in a nonliteral manner. In order to demonstrate that 1,000 can mean less than 1,000, Full Preterists often cite 1 Samuel 18:7, which is the song that the women of Israel sang after David had slain Goliath. They sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” They argue that, since it says that David slew thousands when in fact he had only slain Goliath, we should not take the reference to Christ’s 1,000 year reign literally either.
On the other hand, the Partial Preterists who want to stretch out the 1,000 years to represent several millennia appeal to certain Psalms which would seem to allow for the number 1,000 being representative of a larger number. For example, one Partial Preterist says:
“Another example is the claim that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (see Ps. 50:10). Actually, God owns all the cattle on all the hills of the planet, yet to the Jewish reader, using the number one thousand was not limiting God’s cattle ownership! A third example is in this verse: Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere... (Ps. 84:10). If understood literally, this verse would mean 1,001 days elsewhere would be better than a day in the house of God. Clearly, that was not the psalmist’s message.” 
However, what Preterists fail to take into account is that these are simply examples of poetic prose where everyone reading them immediately knows that they were not intended to be understood literally. On the other hand, the number 1,000 to the Jewish people would be taken with wooden literalness if it had reference to specifics such as the number of cattle that one owned, monetary sums, units and measures, as well as a census or a timespan such as the duration of Christ’s earthly reign.
Daniel understood the prophesied 70 years of the Babylonian captivity in a literal sense, and indeed it was literally fulfilled. In fact, there is no instance in the Scriptures where the Jews understood specified timespans in a nonliteral sense. Preterists themselves argue for a literal fulfillment of the 1,260-day prophecy, claiming that it was the exact length of time during which the siege of Jerusalem took place, from AD 66–70.
I would also point out that the Early Church Fathers, who spoke in the original Greek language of the New Testament, took both the 1,260 days and the 1,000-year reign of Christ literally, as I demonstrate in my blog: Premillennial Futurism – The Belief of the Early Church and also in my book: Last Days – Past or Present? What more reliable authority could possibly be appealed to as to the way we should understand the reference to the 1,000 years than looking to the Early Greek Fathers!
Clearly, there is no reasonable way that one can interpret the Scriptures using a normal literary hermeneutic and conclude that all judgments are past and that we are living in the new heavens and the new earth. If, instead of interpreting Scriptures normally, one resorts to spiritualizing and allegorizing the plain teaching of Scripture, it is possible to make the Bible appear to say whatever one pleases, but that will not change the fact that the day is coming when Christ will literally judge both the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom (2Tim 4:1). To tell the unrepentant otherwise is a grave omission, to say the least (Ezek 3:18-19).
It is easy to see why the Preterist and Progressive views are becoming so popular in our Postmodern culture, in spite of the fact that they lack any solid biblical foundation, since they offer salvation without repentance, relationship without commitment and freedom without accountability. Just as the false prophets who spoke soothing words of peace and prosperity to Israel when in fact God was about to judge them for their sins, all too many teachers today do not tell the unrepentant what they need to hear but only what they want to hear.
In conclusion, I would like to leave my readers (especially those who consider themselves to be spiritual teachers) with Paul’s instructions to Timothy in light of the fact that Christ is going to judge both the living and the dead at His appearing, since I believe that it is very relevant to the times in which we are living:
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:
2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2Tim 4:1-5)
 Young, William P. The Shack . Windblown Media. Kindle Edition. Loc. 2502
 Young, William P.. The Shack . Windblown Media. Kindle Edition. Loc. 2634
 Welton, Jonathan (2013-11-01). Raptureless: An Optimistic Guide to the End of the World - Revised Edition Including The Art of Revelation (Kindle Locations 5374-5385). BookBaby. Kindle Edition.