After rapture, is the Judgment Seat of Christ, in heaven.
Bible teach us rapture is the end of the church age, because all believers in Christ (already dead in Christ and living Christians) will be taken to heaven at the time of rapture. Church age began on the day of Pentecost per Acts 2. From that day onwards, the Lord was adding to their numbers day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:47). Earlier before the death and resurrection of Christ, he said in Matthew 16:18, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.” Christ said in future tense- He will build the church. This means the church was not in existence at that time. After the death and resurrection of Christ, He commanded His disciples in Acts 1:4, ” not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ……..you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Jesus also said at that time, “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotes part of the earth.” As promised by Christ, the Holy Spirit came from heaven on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). It is the function of the Holy Spirit to build the church on this earth. Why? 1st Corinthians 12:13 informs us, “For by one Spirit (Holy Spirit), we were all baptized into one body (Christ’s body is the church and He being the Head of the church), whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink one Spirit”. From the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit convicts the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8). When a person comes to Christ in faith, Holy Spirit baptize him or her in to the body of Christ. This is the baptism work of the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit who convicts the hearts regarding the need of the savior Jesus Christ, indwells in a believer from the time of salvation. Holy Spirit is the agent for this work of regeneration and He indwells in a believer after the salvation and helps in the sanctification process. The Lord use people like you and me to preach or share the Gospel of Christ and when we share the Holy Spirit works in the heart of the hearer to convict them. This work is going on currently in the church age all over the world where Gospel of Christ is preached.
Bible also says one day in near future, the Holy Spirit will be taken away from here. 2nd Thessalonians 2:7-8, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who restrains will do son, until he is taken out of the way”. Who is the ‘he’ that restrains lawlessness now. Apparently this is a reference to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Lawlessness, wickedness and evil activities would have been much more worse, if Christ’s church and the Holy Spirit was not in this world. Fortunately God’s Holy Spirit is still at work in this world and he restrains lawlessness. When Holy Spirit is taken out of the way, “the lawless one” (referring to Antichrist) will be revealed. The coming of the antichrist is in accordance with the activity of Satan. He will do powers, signs and wonders. (refer 1st Thessalonians 2:8-9). The Holy Spirit is currently indwelling in all believers of Christ per Christ’s promise. Jesus said when Holy Spirit comes in this church age to build the church, He will be in you (John 14:17 (d). Today in this church age, the Holy Spirit indwells in the corporate body of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:16) because it says the Spirit of God dwells in you (plural). Again in 1 Corinthians 6:19 it says, “do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you… (singular ‘you’), Once the Church is raptured, then the special assignment of the Holy Spirit during this church age will be finished. Then the Holy Spirit will also be taken out of the way (1st Thessalonians 2:7).
The purpose of the Judgment seat of Christ.
Why did I say all these? Rapture is the end of the church age, because the church will be caught up to heaven and Holy Spirit will also be taken out of the way ( 2 Thessalonians 2:8). When all believers in Christ are in heaven after the rapture, each believer will one day stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of their life. Therefore, please remember the judgment seat of Christ is for believers in Christ only. All believers are saved, raptured and all of them are in heaven with Christ in their newly glorified heavenly bodies. At this time Christ will assess what we have done for Him while we lived in this world, in order to give reward for all of our works after our salvation. Judgment seat of Christ has nothing to do with our salvation or eternal life. As I said above, all believers there are already saved and raptured in glorified bodies. The good Lord want to reward us.
The idea goes back to the day of Paul’s lifetime. Judgment seat of Christ is also called Bema seat. This is the picture of the rewarding ceremony after the athletic games are over. A dignitary will sit on his seat on an elevated throne and he will give awards for winning athletes. The reward was usually a crown for victory. This is the picture Bible presents when it talks about Judgment seat of Christ. In the case of believers in Christ, each of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Christ will be on the throne and He will give rewards to us. Each of the believer will receive (or lose) rewards on that great occasion.
Distinction between Judgment seat of Christ and great white throne.
Some times there is a confusion between the Judgment Seat of Christ and great white throne. Great white throne is mentioned in Revelation 22:11-15. As the context teach us this great white throne is the throne where all unbelievers (those who didn’t accept Jesus as their savior) will stand to give account to God. These two events are different and not the same. Judgment seat of Christ for all believers in Christ and the occasion is to grant believers reward for their works. Great white throne is where the unbelievers will stand before they are thrown in to the lake of fire for eternal punishment. Great white throne will happen only after the millennium just before the new heavens and earth (eternity). Judgment seat of Christ will happen immediately after the rapture in heaven. The timing is different and the purpose is also different for these two judgments.