Bible Question:

Is the Goat and Sheep judgment also the White Throne judgment?

Bible Answer:

The question we are concerned with is, “Is the Goat and Sheep Judgment also the White Throne Judgment?” Is there a difference between them or are they the same?  The confusion between the two judgments is resolved by first understanding that one occurs before the kingdom and the other occurs afterward.  What follows explains why this is true. For a detailed explanation of the tribulation and the second coming you may visit Visions of the Night and The Final Kingdom. For a summary of prophecy about the future, visit God’s Plan For The Future — What does the Bible say about the future?  Daniel 9:27 teaches that the future tribulation is a seven year period of time.

Goat and Sheep Judgment and White Throne Judgment

Goat and Sheep Judgment Occurs Before the Kingdom

What follows will provide Scriptural evidence that the Goat and Sheep judgment occurs before the kingdom. Then in the next section, we will learn that the White Throne judgment occurs after the kingdom.

We will begin with Matthew 24:3-31 where Jesus confirmed to His disciples that the tribulation (v. 15, 21; Daniel 9:27) will occur before the second coming of Christ (v. 29-30). Beginning in Matthew 24:15 Jesus speaks about the middle of the tribulation. In that verse, Jesus spoke of the abomination of desolation which is described in Daniel 9:27. Daniel 9:27 prophesies that the abomination of desolation will occur in the middle of the tribulation. Daniel 8:10-14 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 explain that the abomination occurs when the antichrist enters the temple in Jerusalem and declares that he is God. Verse 15 refers to the middle of the tribulation.

Then Jesus referred to the great tribulation in verse 21 which is the last half of the tribulation. Revelation 7-19 is about the last half of the tribulation, which ends with the battle of Armageddon and the second coming of Christ. Next, Jesus prophesied that the Second Coming will occur after the tribulation, which is described in Matthew 24:29-31. For more Scriptures about the tribulation and the second coming of Christ, please read Joel 3:1-16; Zechariah 12:1-14:7.

Beginning in Matthew 24:42-25:30, Jesus told the disciples how to prepare for the kingdom. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus began explaining the Goat and Sheep Judgment. He told them and us that only believers or Christians will enter the kingdom. Notice that Jesus refers to the kingdom in verse 34, and in Matthew 25:40 Jesus refers to the King of the kingdom. But in verse 34, Jesus said that only those who sit on His right side will enter the kingdom. Then Jesus proceeds to describe the actions of a true Christian in effect qualifying that only Christians enter the kingdom (v. 34).

Starting in verse 41, Jesus refers to the goats who are on His left side. These are unbelievers who will still be alive after the second coming of Christ. Jesus explains that the goats will not be allowed to enter the kingdom, but will instead be sent to hell. Eventually, they will be sent to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15). In verse 46 Jesus describes this as eternal punishment. Hell is described as a fiery place in the New Testament (Matthew 5:22; 18:9). This means that only Christians will enter the kingdom. This means the Goat and Sheep Judgment occurs before the kingdom.

Unfortunately, some people think the kingdom is heaven. But that is not true since Revelation 20:4-6 refers to the one thousand year kingdom and then Revelation 21-22 describes the eternal heaven. The one thousand year kingdom is promised to believers who will eventually then enter the eternal kingdom.

Goat and Sheep Judgment and White Throne Judgment Timeline

White Throne Judgment Occurs After the Kingdom

Maybe the clearest prophecy in the Bible that describes the future timeline of the millennial kingdom and the end of the universe is found in Revelation 20:3-15. Verses 3-7 refer to the one-thousand year earthly kingdom. Verses 7-10 describe a brief rebellion that God will suppress. Then verse 11 says that God will destroy the current earth and heaven and then the White Throne Judgment will occur (Revelation 20:11-15) . It is important to notice that the White Throne judgment is for non-Christians (Revelation 20:5-6, 12-15). In summary, the eternal kingdom occurs after the White Throne Judgment.

Goat and Sheep Judgment Is Not the White Throne Judgment

Since the Goat and Sheep Judgment occurs before the one-thousand year earthly kingdom and the White Throne Judgment occurs after the kingdom, we have discovered the Goat and Sheep Judgment is not identical to the White Throne Judgment. The Goat and Sheep Judgment determines who are Christians and only allows them to enter the kingdom. When the kingdom ends, those who are Christians (immortal and mortal) will enter the new heaven and new earth in Revelation 21-22. For more information visit When and where does the Goat and Sheep judgment occur?

The non-Christians who survive the battle of Armageddon will not be allowed to enter the kingdom. They will be sent to hell. Later after the kingdom, they will stand before God at the White Throne and receive their final judgment, which has already been determined. They will be sent to the lake of fire and live there for eternity. That is, the Goat and Sheep Judgment is not the White Throne Judgment.

Conclusion

In summary, the Goat and Sheep Judgment occurs before the millennial kingdom and the White Throne Judgment occurs after the millennial kingdom. It is important to understand that the millennial kingdom, the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God that Jesus and the apostles referred to do not refer to heaven. Every time the kingdom refers to the one-thousand year earthly kingdom about which the Old Testament prophesied. So, the Goat and Sheep Judgment allows only Christians to go into the millennial kingdom, and after the kingdom those who are Christians will enter the eternal heaven which is described in Revelation 21-22.

Suggested Links:

When and where does the Goat and Sheep judgment occur?
Does two men in the field, one taken and one left refer to the rapture?
How should we understand Luke 17:34?
Are the Old Testament saints resurrected at the rapture?
Bema Seat Judgment – When are Christians judged?
Bema Seat – When in the future will Christians be judged?
Visions of the Night
The FInal Kingdom
Thy Kingdom Come
God’s Plan For The Future — What does the Bible say about the future?