THE BEEMA OF CHRIST
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Beema is the Greek term used in the New Testament for “Judgment Seat.” It is being taught today that the beema of Christ is a kind of awards banquet in which every person who has taken the four steps of salvation will receive a prize of some sort. Assuredly, no believer will hear anything negative at the beema.
However, according to the New Testament usage of the term, a beema is a court where an accused criminal is tried.
THE BEEMA OF CHRIST
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10—NIV)
Beema is the Greek term used for “Judgment Seat.” It is being taught today that the beema of Christ is a kind of awards banquet in which every person who has taken the four steps of salvation will receive a prize of some sort. However, according to the New Testament usage of the term, a beema is a court where an accused criminal is tried.
The present essay in addition to the previous one (The Eternal Removal of Sin) has resulted from last Tuesday night’s Bible study.
There are two ladies in the class who are well versed in traditional Christian teaching. We were expounding on the following passage from the Book of Galatians:
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21—NIV)
We stressed that if a Christian continues to walk in the sinful nature he or she shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, according to the Scripture.
The discussion turned to the beema, the Judgment Seat of Christ. The two ladies agreed that the beema had been presented to them as having no terror for Christians. The beema will be a place where every believer will be rewarded by the Lord Jesus Christ, receiving His “Well done!”
When we consider the main verse concerning the beema, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad,” we see at once that not everyone will receive something good. Some will receive bad, according to their behavior during their lifetime on the earth.
And let us point out, considering the context of Chapter Five of the Book of Galatians, and the text of Chapter Five itself, that there is no indication whatever that the verse in question is not being addressed to Christians. I know such gymnastics are performed in order to validate the current lawless-grace teaching, but no sincere student of the Bible will accept that II Corinthians 5:10 is not addressed to Christians—perhaps, in fact, to all people who have ever lived.
Scholars inform us that the beema was a raised platform reached by steps. Its main use in the New Testament is to denote a place where a defendant stood during a trial, a place for the administration of justice.
Let us now look at twelve usages in the New Testament of beema. As far as I can tell, there are no additional passages. We are not interested primarily in previous uses of the term, such as in the days of Homer, or usage after the time period we are investigating. Our concern is with the manner in which beema was employed at the time of Christ and particularly during the time of the Apostle Paul.
- Matthew 27:19
- John 19:13
- Acts 7:5
- Acts 12:21
- Acts 18:12
- Acts 18:16
- Acts 18:17
- Acts 25:6
- Acts 25:10
- Acts 25:17
- Romans 14:10
- II Corinthians 5:10
While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat (beema), his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” (Matthew 27:19—NIV)
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat (beema) in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. (John 19:13—NIV)
He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground (beema). But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. (Acts 7:5—NIV)
The above verse emphasizes the meaning of beema as a place to set one’s foot, reflecting a primary meaning of the noun.
On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne (beema) and delivered a public address to the people. (Acts 12:21—NIV)
While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court (beema). (Acts 18:12—NIV)
So he had them ejected from the court (beema). (Acts 18:16—NIV)
Then they all turned on Sosthenes the synagogue ruler and beat him in front of the court (beema). But Gallio showed no concern whatever. (Acts 18:17—NIV)
After spending eight or ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he convened the court (beema) and ordered that Paul be brought before him. (Acts 25:6—NIV)
Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court (beema), where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well.” (Acts 25:10—NIV)
When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court (beema) the next day and ordered the man to be brought in. (Acts 25:17—NIV)
You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat (beema). (Romans 14:10—NIV)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat (beema) of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10—NIV)
Our discussion in this essay revolves around II Corinthians 5:10.
First of all, it is obvious Paul is including Christians (“we must all”). It is my personal opinion that all people who have lived on the earth will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, including the sheep and goats of the nations and those who are raised before the white throne in the last judgment. Since God has given all judgment to Jesus Christ, I can see no solid biblical basis for thinking that the Judgment Seat (beema) of Jesus Christ is only for Christians.
Jesus Christ shall judge all people, including Christians.
For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:31—NIV)
I believe Christian scholars have viewed the Judgment Seat of Christ as being separate from the other biblical judgments because of their belief that somehow Christians will not really be judged, or if they are the judgment will be moderated in such a manner that it is not to be feared. This concept of the way Christ deals with Christians in judgment probably has done more to destroy the spiritual life of the churches of today than any other doctrine.
Will Jesus Christ judge His people? Indeed He shall—more severely than the people of the world, because more has been given to us. Judgment always begins with the family of God.
I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (Revelation 2:23—NIV)
Since in II Corinthians 5:10 we are dealing with a court in which people are repaid according to the good they have done or the evil they have done, we will examine only those verses that appear to apply:
“While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat (beema), his wife sent him this message: ‘Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.’”
“When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat (beema) in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.”
“While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court (beema).”
“So he had them ejected from the court (beema).”
“Then they all turned on Sosthenes the synagogue ruler and beat him in front of the court (beema). But Gallio showed no concern whatever.”
“After spending eight or ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he convened the court (beema) and ordered that Paul be brought before him.”
“Paul answered: ‘I am now standing before Caesar’s court (beema), where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well.’”
“When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court (beema) the next day and ordered the man to be brought in.”
“You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat (beema).”
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat (beema) of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
In the examples above, it is clear the term beema is referring to a court of justice where someone accused of a crime is examined. The difference between the beema of Pilate, Caesar, and the others, and the Lord Jesus Christ, is that in their beema the most favorable verdict would be that of “innocent” whereas in the beema of Christ the most favorable verdict would be to receive marvelous rewards, depending on our conduct.
But in all cases, that of the secular tribunals and the Judgment Seat of Christ, a verdict of “guilty” can result in death or much suffering.
That a person who has “accepted Christ” could receive death or much suffering at the Judgment Seat of Christ will not be received by most Christian scholars, it appears. But they are doing the devil’s business when they assure all Christian believers they never could be severely punished at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Christian ministers are not teaching what the Scripture states. My impression is that the philosophy of Humanism has entered Christian thinking to such an extent that what is written clearly in the Bible is rendered of no effect. The words of the text cannot be perceived because of such blindness.
A while back, at a college class designed to improve the knowledge of working pastors, the Book of Second Corinthians was part of the course of study. An acquaintance of mine was in attendance.
He said to the effect: “As the course of study led to II Corinthians 5:10 you could feel the tension mount in the room full of pastors. When the teacher came to the verse in question, she explained that there was no need to fear the Judgment Seat of Christ. No Christian would hear anything negative there.”
My friend said you could feel the tension in the room relax.
Let us look at the verse again, understanding that the beema is a place where justice is administered.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10—NIV)
“We must all” certainly includes Christians, and perhaps the entire population of the earth.
“Appear” means to be made manifest.
“The judgment seat of Christ” is a court where justice is administered, not a place where only rewards are distributed.
“That each one may receive what is due him.” Each Christian will receive what is due him. We have emphasized lawless grace for so long that we cannot accept we will receive what is due us. We are not adhering to the Scriptures today. We are preaching a false gospel, not the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
We have departed from God’s Word!
The Bible states clearly that each believer will be revealed at the beema of Jesus Christ and receive what is due him or her. If this is not true, then what verses of the Bible are true? The ones we have chosen to be true? Do we have a private interpretation of the Scriptures?
The Bible says we must all, each Christian, be revealed before the Judgment Seat. There we shall receive what is due us. There is no way around it. Either we accept the Scriptures as inspired by the Lord or else we do not.
Is Paul implying that mercy and grace shall intervene and we will not receive what is due us? If this were the case, Paul would have said so. There is no indication whatever in the sense and context of the verse that tells us somehow believers will be spared from what is due them.
God will go easy on the people of the world in the day of judgment because they have had so little light, so meager an understanding of God’s Person and ways.
But Christians, especially those of our day who have been given so much spiritual understanding, shall be judged much more sternly than the secular population. To whom much has been given, of him shall much be required. To whom little has been given, of him little shall be required.
We have turned this eternal Kingdom principle upside down by our self-love, our unscriptural teaching of lawless grace.
In the Day of the Lord we shall reap what we have sown. We will not face all the sinful acts we have performed if we confess them today, renounce them, denounce them, and through the Holy Spirit put them to death. If we have not been diligent in putting away the sins the Spirit has shown us, we surely shall answer to Christ for our carelessness. You can count on this.
Whoever, Christian or not, continues to act according to his or her sinful nature will reap corruption in the day of resurrection, especially the Christians. This is what the Bible says.
We can turn away from our sins today, and if we do they will not be held against us in the day of judgment. But if we do not follow Jesus Christ diligently but instead trust in the current teaching of grace, we will face an angry Christ in that day.
“That each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
“For the things done while in the body.”
The reason we sin is that we are bound by sin. We have had a sinful nature from the time we were conceived, according to the Scriptures. We did not ask to be born bound by sin. Many of us do not want to be bound by sin. We hate being bound by sin.
God understands better than we that we did not choose to be born with a sinful nature. God did His part by giving His only Son as a sin-offering so we could be forgiven. God also has provided many Divine virtues, including the forming of Christ in us, so we can cease our sinning and begin to live righteously.
Therefore the Judgment Seat of Christ is not God’s way of adding to our problems by punishing us for our sinning when He knows we have a sinful nature we can’t control. This would not be righteousness on God’s part.
Rather, what we shall be judged for are the actions over which we do have control.
Think about the punishment of the foolish virgins or the man who buried his talent. The virgins could have been diligent if they wanted to. The man who buried his talent could have put it in the bank instead. Their judgment was harsh because they did not do what they could.
The Book of Hebrews tells us that we shall not escape if we neglect our salvation. If we do not seek Christ each day and receive the wisdom and power that will bring forth a new, righteous creation in our personality, we shall be punished for not being diligent and also for the wicked things we have done because we did not apply ourselves to God’s salvation.
All of us have an adamic nature that looks to the world system for security and survival. All of us have sin dwelling in our flesh and soul that produces lustful actions. All of us have a will that does not enjoy obeying God sternly.
There is virtue, wisdom, and power in the Divine salvation that can help us overcome every area of sin in our life. At the Judgment Seat of Christ we will answer for our diligence, or lack of it, in applying the grace of Christ to our life.
To be able to act righteously is a reward for diligently seeking Christ each day. We shall be rewarded for our diligence and then for the righteous, holy, and obedient behavior that has resulted from our diligence.
If we have not been diligent but have neglected this great salvation, we shall be punished for our neglect and then punished for the wicked acts we have performed because we did not lay hold on the Virtue of Christ to the point of being able to behave in a manner suitable to the Kingdom of God.
- The Lord Jesus Christ actually has the power to remove the original sinful, adamic nature from us so we no longer crave to be part of the world system.
- The Lord Jesus Christ actually has the power to deliver us from the lusts of our flesh and soul.
- The Lord Jesus Christ actually has the power to deliver us from self-seeking and personal ambition.
How do we know Christ has such power? Because the Bible speaks of the Bride of the Lamb as being without blemish of any kind.
The sinful, adamic nature is a blemish. The Lord can remove it by His Virtue and power.
The lusts of the flesh and spirit are a blemish. The Lord can remove them by His Virtue and power.
Our stubborn, willful, self-seeking ambition, our determination to maintain our own way and will, is a blemish. The Lord can remove it by His Virtue and power.
If the Bible did not speak of a Bride without blemish we would not have such hope. But it does, and so we diligently follow the Spirit of God until we are without blemish.
And to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:27—NIV)
Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (II Corinthians 7:1—NIV)
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. (II Peter 3:14—NIV)
To those who would maintain that the Bride of the Lamb will be glorious only by imputation, not by actual transformation, we ask you: “Do you genuinely believe the spotless Lamb of God would desire a bride who in actuality has an adamic, sinful nature, who is driven by the lusts and passions of the flesh and spirit, and who strives continually to maintain her own way?
Do you really believe the Lamb is ravished with a counterpart whom He cannot relate to except as He refuses to see her actual personality? Do you actually believe this? Do you truly believe the Song of Solomon is speaking of a bride who is beautiful by imputation?”
If not, then you suppose at some point she will be transformed in personality into that which would actually ravish the Lamb. And this is all we are saying. The issue is, however, that we are maintaining this program begins now and is what salvation is.
We have no scriptural promise that we can ignore what the Spirit wants of us now in the hope that when the Lord comes everything will suddenly be made right. The illustrations of the foolish virgins and the man who buried his talent tell us the currently expressed hope of Christian teaching is not based on the Scriptures.
Whether Christ brings us through such total deliverance in the present hour or at some future time is not an issue, as far as the Bible is concerned. The all-important issue is that we obey Christ at each moment today. If we do not we shall be judged as an unfaithful, disobedient servant. It is not permitted to us that we can disobey now and then be saved from our sinful nature at some future point. Today is the only day of salvation as far as we are concerned. All there is, is now. There is no tomorrow with the Lord in the sense in which we are speaking.
“The things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
In today’s Christian ministry we are overemphasizing belief. At the Judgment Seat of Christ we shall be judged according to “the things done in the body.” This is what the Bible says.
We may notice in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation, the chapters telling of the rewards to the overcomer, that little or no emphasis is placed on our beliefs. The rewards are given to us according to what we have done.
“The things done in the body.” These are the basis for what we shall receive in the day of resurrection.
“Whether good or bad.”
Does the Bible tell us the Lord’s servants can receive good?
How about the rewards to the overcomer? These promises are staggering. They range from eating of the tree of life all the way to sitting on the Throne of Christ. There can be no greater reward than to sit on the Throne of Jesus Christ!
Today’s Christian teaching is that no believer in Christ will receive anything bad at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is not what the Bible proclaims.
Does the Bible tell us the Lord’s servants can receive bad?
- How about being cast into the outer darkness?
- How about having the Lord say, “I never knew you. Depart from me”?
- How about having the door shut in our face when the Lord returns?
- How about being cut in pieces and being appointed a portion with the unbelievers?
- How about being beaten with many lashes?
“Yes,” today’s ministers will say, “but none of these apply to a Christian because we are saved by grace.”
This is the sort of destructive ignorance that fills the United States of America in our day. This is why the true testimony of Christ has all but vanished from our country. We have an abundance of ministry in America but little witness of Christ’s Person and way. And this is why our government, our schools, and our courts are in such an undesirable condition.
Considering for a moment the parables of the foolish virgins and the man who buried his talent, precisely who are these people? The Jews? Are the unsaved the Lord’s servants who are given talents? Are the unsaved Jews the ones who will have the door shut in their face because they do not have enough of the Holy Spirit?
Whomever Jesus is addressing must be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of God; must abide in Christ if they are to bear fruit, and will be removed from Christ if they do not bear fruit.
If it is the Christians who must be born again and who must abide in Christ, then it is the Christians who are in danger of having the door shut in their face and who will be thrown into the outer darkness if they bury their talent.
There absolutely is no scriptural basis whatever for chopping up the Words of Jesus Christ in this fashion. We of today’s Christian preachers and teachers are the blind leading the blind, and that is the best that can be said for us.
Our lampstand of witness has been removed because we have not adhered to the Word of God.
We are preaching God’s love but the Apostles in the Book of Acts preached repentance. We have been overcome with Humanism, the love of man for himself. It is time to return to God’s Word.
We indeed shall receive the good we have done. We indeed shall receive the bad we have done.
It will be too late to do anything about this when the Lord returns. Now is the time to change what we are sowing
Second Corinthians 5:10, like every other Word of Jesus Christ, stands exactly as written. Every one of us shall appear before Christ and give an account to Him for the way we have lived since we have received Him.
- Have we taken up our cross and followed Him each day, as He commanded?
- Have we presented our body to God as a living sacrifice?
- Have we each day counted that we have died with Christ on the cross and have risen from the dead with Him and have ascended with Him to the right hand of the Father?
- Have we crucified our flesh with its lusts and passions?
- Have we learned to pray without ceasing?
- Have we meditated in God’s Word until we can cut a straight path in the Word of truth?
- Have we earnestly desired the best gifts of the Spirit that we might build up the Body of Christ until it attains the stature of the fullness of Christ?
- Have we forgiven our enemies?
- Have we strengthened the weak?
- Have we followed the Spirit of God as He has guided us in putting to death the actions of our sinful nature?
- Have we endeavored to maintain peace and love in our local assembly, gathering together on a regular basis with fervent believers?
- Have we come boldly to the Throne of Grace for help when we understood we were not obeying the commandments of Christ and His Apostles?
- Have we given of our substance to those in need as the Lord directed?
- Have we sought Christ each day that we might know His will and do it?
The above behaviors constitute the normal Christian life. If we love Jesus Christ we will keep His commandments and those He has given through His Apostles.
But we can be assured of one thing—if we do not do these things, if we trust in the lawless-grace-rapture teaching of today, if we occupy ourselves with the business of today’s American culture and neglect to pray each day, neglect to meditate in the Scriptures each day, neglect to assemble with fervent believers on a regular basis, we will not be kept by the Lord in the coming days of judgment on the United States of America.
We shall suffer and our family shall suffer because we have not been faithful to the Lord. We have not kept the word of His patience and so He is not obligated to keep us from the hour of temptation.
These is no greater joy in life than to turn from the spirit of the world and serve the Lord with a perfect heart. It certainly is a life of discipline, but to not serve the Lord is to suffer as a sinner. The way of the transgressor is hard, the Bible says, and so it is. Drugs and alcohol are the problem they are because the life of the sinner is hard and he is trying to survive.
Serving Christ with a perfect heart brings the best life has to offer now, and blessing and glory in the life to come.
Neglecting to serve Christ now with a perfect heart results in a life filled with pain and remorse, followed by corruption and destruction in the life to come. This is what the Bible teaches and it cannot be changed in any manner.
We shall receive the good we have done. We shall receive the bad we have done. Let him who is teaching “another gospel” now turn to the Lord. Otherwise he may find himself standing before Christ one day, surrounded with his followers, and be required to answer why he led people into destructive error. This indeed would be a dreadful future for us.
Let us return to the Bible and begin to believe and expound the Scriptures, not repeating the vain, ear-tickling traditions that have accumulated during the twentieth century.
(“The Beema of Christ”, 3974-1)