Last Judgment: Wikis


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For other uses, see Last Judgment, Judgment Day and Qiyamah
The Last Judgment by Lochner in the 15th century.

The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Judgment Day, or Day of the Lord in Christian theology, is the final and eternal judgement by God of all nations.[1] It will take place after the resurrection of the dead and the Second Coming (Revelation 20:12–15). This belief has inspired numerous artistic depictions. There is little agreement among Christian denominations in Christian eschatology as to what happens after death and before the Last Judgment.



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Salvation  (cat.)
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General concepts
Particular concepts

The doctrine and iconographic depiction of the "Last Judgment" are drawn from many passages from the apocalyptic sections of the Bible. It appears most directly in The Sheep and the Goats section of the Gospel of Matthew where the judgment is entirely based on help given or refused to "the least of these":[citation needed]

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and He will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at His right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” ... “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

Then He will say to those at His left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” ... “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matthew 25:31-36, 40-43, 45-46 NRSV)

The doctrine is further supported by passages in Daniel, Isaiah and the Revelation of Saint John the Divine:

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Rev 20:11-12)

Christ Pantokrator and the Last Judgement (mosaic, Baptistry of San Giovanni in Florence, c. 1300).

Adherents of millennialism, mostly Protestant Christians, regard the two passages as describing separate events: the "sheep and goats" judgment will determine the final status of those persons alive at the end of the Tribulation, and the "Great White Throne" judgment will be the final condemnation of the unrighteous dead at the end of all time, after the end of the world and before the beginning of the eternal period described in the final two chapters of Revelation.[citation needed]

Also, Matthew 3:10-12:

Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. ‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

Matthew 13:40-43:

Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

Luke 12:4-5,49:

‘I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! ... ‘I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!



Roman Catholicism

Belief in the last judgment (sometime said universal judgment) is held firmly inside Roman Catholicism. Immediately upon death each soul undergoes the particular judgment, and depending upon the state of the person's soul, goes to heaven, purgatory, or hell. The last judgement will occur after the resurrection of the dead and the reuniting of a person's soul with own physical body[2].

The Catholic Church teaches that at the time of the last judgment Christ will come in his glory, and all the angels with him, and in his presence the truth of each man's relationship with God will be laid bare, and each person who has ever lived will be judged with perfect justice. Those already in heaven will remain in heaven; those already in hell will remain in hell; and those in purgatory will be released into heaven. The Roman Catholic Church holds no doctrinal position on the fate of those in Limbo. Following the last judgment, the bliss of heaven and the pains of hell will be perfected in that those present will also be capable of physical bliss/pain. After the last judgment the universe itself will be renewed with a new heaven and a new earth.

Eastern Orthodoxy

The last Judgment 17th-century icon from Lipie (Historic Museum in Sanok, Poland).
The Last Judgement, mural from Voroneţ Monastery, Romania.

The Eastern Orthodox Church teaches that there are two judgments: the first, or "Particular" Judgment, is that experienced by each individual at the time of his or her death, at which time God will decide where[3] the soul is to spend the time until the Second Coming of Christ (see Hades in Christianity). This judgment is generally believed to occur on the fortieth day after death. The second, "General" or "Final" Judgment will occur after the Second Coming. Although in modern times some have attempted to introduce the concept of Soul sleep into Orthodox thought about life after death, it has never been a part of traditional Orthodox teaching—in fact, it contradicts the Orthodox understanding of the intercession of the Saints.

Eastern Orthodoxy teaches that salvation is bestowed by God as a free gift of Divine grace, which cannot be earned, and by which forgiveness of sins is available to all. However, the deeds done by each person is believed to affect how he will be judged, following the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. How forgiveness is to be balanced against behavior is not well-defined in scripture, judgment in the matter being solely Christ's. Similarly, although Orthodoxy teaches that salvation is obtained only through Christ and his Church, the fate of those outside the Church at the Last Judgment is left to the mercy of God and is not declared.


The theme of the Last Judgment is extremely important in Orthodoxy. Traditionally, an Orthodox church will have a fresco or mosaic of the Last Judgment on the back (western) wall, (see the 12th-century mosaic pictured at the top of this page) so that the faithful, as they leave the services, are reminded that they will be judged by what they do during this earthly life.

The icon of the Last Judgement traditionally depicts Christ Pantokrator, enthroned in glory on a white throne, surrounded by the Theotokos (Virgin Mary), John the Baptist, Apostles, saints and angels. Beneath the throne the scene is divided in half with the "mansions of the righteous" (John 14:2), i.e., those who have been saved to Jesus' right (the viewer's left); and the torments of those who have been damned to his left. Separating the two is the River of fire which proceeds from Jesus' left foot.


The theme of the Last Judgment is found in the funeral and memorial hymnody of the Church, and is a major theme in the services during Great Lent. The second Sunday before the beginning of Great Lent is dedicated to the Last Judgment. It is also found in the hymns of the Octoechos used on Saturdays throughout the year.



Lutherans do not believe in any sort of earthly millennial kingdom of Christ either before or after his second coming on the last day.[4] On the last day,[5] all the dead will be resurrected.[6] Their souls will then be reunited with the same bodies they had before dying.[7] The bodies will then be changed, those of the wicked to a state of everlasting shame and torment,[8] those of the righteous to an everlasting state of celestial glory.[9] After the resurrection of all the dead,[10] and the change of those still living,[11] all nations shall be gathered before Christ,[12] and he will separate the righteous from the wicked.[13] Christ will publicly judge[14] all people by the testimony of their faith,[15] the good works[16] of the righteous in evidence of their faith,[17] and the evil works of the wicked in evidence of their unbelief.[18] He will judge in righteousness[19] in the presence of all and men and angels,[20] and his final judgement will be just damnation to everlasting punishment for the wicked and a gracious gift of life everlasting to the righteous.[21]


William Blake's Vision of the Last Judgment 1808

Particularly among those Protestant groups who adhere to a millennialist eschatology, the Last Judgment is said to be carried out before the Great White Throne by Jesus Christ to either eternal life or eternal consciousness in the lake of fire[22][23][24] at the end of time. Salvation is granted by grace based on the individual's surrender and commitment to Jesus Christ.[25][26][27] A second particular judgment they refer to as the Bema Seat judgement occurs after (or as) salvation is discerned when awards are granted based on works toward heavenly treasures.[28]. What happens after death and before the final judgment is hotly contested; some believe all people sleep in Sheol until the resurrection, others believe Christians dwell in Heaven and pagans wander the earth, and others consider the time to pass instantaneously. Nevertheless, the body is not fully redeemed until after Death is destroyed after the Great Tribulation.

Protestant Millennialism falls into roughly two categories: Premillennialist (Christ's second coming precedes the millennium) and Postmillennialist (which sees Christ's second coming as occurring after the millennium).

Dispensational premillennialism generally holds that Israel and the Church are separate. It also widely holds to the pretribulational return of Christ, which believes that Jesus will return before a seven year Tribulation followed by an additional return of Christ with his saints.


Amillennialism is common among some "mainline" Protestant denominations such as the Lutheran, Reformed and Anglican churches. Many, but not all, partial preterists are amillennialists. Amillennialism declined in Protestant circles with the rise of Postmillennialism and the resurgence of Premillennialism in the 18th and 19th centuries, but it has regained prominence in the West after World War II.

Esoteric and Gnostic tradition

Although the Last Judgment is preached by a great part of Christian mainstream churches; the Esoteric Christian-Gnostic tradition—composed, among others, by the Essenian and Rosicrucians—the Spiritualist movement, which includes Christian Science, and some liberal theologies reject the traditional conception of the Last Judgment as inconsistent with an all-just and loving God, in favor of some form of universal salvation. The Rosicrucians teach that all beings of the human evolution will ultimately be saved in a distant future as they acquire a superior grade of consciousness and altruism by means of successive rebirths.[29] This salvation is seen as being mentioned in Revelation 3:12 (KJV), which states "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God and he shall go no more out". However, this western esoteric tradition states—like those who have had a near-death experience—that after the death of the physical body, at the end of each physical lifetime and after the life review period (which occurs before the silver cord is broken), it occurs a Last Judgment, more akin to a Final Review or End Report over one's life, where the life of the subject is fully evaluated and scrutinized.[30] This judgment is seen as being mentioned in Hebrews 9:27, which states that "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment".

The Last Judgment by Michelangelo

Artistic representations

In art, the Last Judgment is a common theme in medieval and renaissance religious iconography. Like most early iconographic innovations, its origins stem from Byzantium. In Western Christianity, it is often the subject depicted on the central tympanum of medieval cathedrals and churches, or as the central section of a triptych, flanked by depictions of heaven and hell to the left and right, respectively (heaven being to the viewer's left, but to the Christ figure's right). Often the damned disappear into a Hellmouth, the mouth of a huge monster, an image of Anglo-Saxon origin.

The most famous Renaissance depiction is Michelangelo Buonarroti's The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel. Included in this fresco is his self portrait, as St. Bartholomew's flayed skin.[31]

The Last Judgment and the Day of Atonement

Some Bible teachers have considered that the Day of Atonement, a future tenth day of Tishrei on the Hebrew calendar, may well mark the last day of this present age. It would be that "day of reckoning" just before the return of the Messiah.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: General Judgment: "Few truths are more often or more clearly proclaimed in Scripture than that of the general judgment. To it the prophets of the Old Testament refer when they speak of the "Day of the Lord" (Joel 2:31; Ezekiel 13:5; Isaiah 2:12), in which the nations will be summoned to judgment by the Fathers. In the New Testament the second Parusia, or coming of Christ as Judge of the world, is an oft-repeated doctrine. The Saviour Himself not only foretells the event but graphically portrays its circumstances (Matthew 24:27 sqq.; 25:31 sqq.). The Apostles give a most prominent place to this doctrine in their preaching (Acts 10:42; 17:31) and writings (Romans 2:5-16; 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:5; James 5:7). Besides the name Parusia (parousia), or Advent (1 Corinthians 15:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:19), the Second Coming is also called Epiphany, epiphaneia, or Appearance (2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1; Titus 2:13), and Apocalypse (apokalypsis), or Revelation (2 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Peter 4:13). The time of the Second Coming is spoken of as "that Day" (2 Timothy 4:8), "the day of the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 5:2), "the day of Christ" (Philemon 1:6), "the day of the Son of Man" (Luke 17:30), "the last day" (John 6:39-40). The belief in the general judgment has prevailed at all times and in all places within the Church. It is contained as an article of faith in all the ancient creeds: "He ascended into heaven. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead" (Apostles' Creed). The two shall come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead" (Nicene Creed). "From thence they shall come to judge the living and the dead, at whose coming all men must rise with their bodies and are to render an account of their deeds" (Athanasian Creed). Relying on the authority of Papias, several Fathers of the first four centuries advanced the theory of a thousand years' terrestrial reign of Christ with the saints to precede the end of the World (see article on MILLENNIUM). Though this idea is interwoven with the eschatological teachings of those writers, it in no way detracted from their belief in a universal world-judgment. Patristic testimony to this dogma is clear and unanimous."
  2. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 990
  3. ^ The Orthodox do not have an understanding of "Purgatory." Rather, they believe that the souls of the departed will await the Final Judgment either in heaven or hell--but that there are different levels of heaven and different levels of hell--and they believe that the prayers of the Church can help to ease the sufferings of the souls, but do not dogmatize as to how exactly this is accomplished.
  4. ^ John 18:36, Augsburg Confession, Article 17, Of Christ's Return to Judgment.
  5. ^ John 6:40, John 6:54
  6. ^ John 5:21, John 5:28-29, Matthew 25:32, 2 Corinthians 5:10, Acts 24:15
  7. ^ Romans 8:11, Philippians 3:21, 2 Corinthians 5:10, Job 19:26, 1 Corinthians 15:44, 1 Corinthians 15:53, John 5:28, Revelation 20:12
  8. ^ Daniel 12:2, Matthew 25:41-46, John 5:29
  9. ^ Daniel 12:1-2, John 5:29, 1 Corinthians 15:52, 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 1 Corinthians 15:49-53, Philippians 3:21, Matthew 13:43, Revelation 7:16
  10. ^ John 6:40, John 6:44, John 11:24
  11. ^ 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
  12. ^ Matthew 25:32, Romans 14:10, John 5:22, Acts 17:31, Revelation 1:7
  13. ^ Matthew 25:32, Mark 16:16
  14. ^ 2 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Corinthians 4:5, Romans 2:5, Romans 2:16
  15. ^ Ephesians 2:8-10, 2 Corinthians 5:10, Matthew 25:35-36, Matthew 25:42-43
  16. ^ Isaiah 43:25, Ezekiel 18:22, 1 John 2:28
  17. ^ Matthew 25:34-35, John 3:16-18, John 3:36, Revelation 14:13, Galatians 5:6, John 13:35
  18. ^ Matthew 25:42, Matthew 7:17-18, John 3:18, John 3:36
  19. ^ Romans 2:5, Acts 17:31, Romans 2:16
  20. ^ Luke 9:26, Matthew 25:31-32
  21. ^ Matthew 25:41, Matthew 25:34, Matthew 25:46, Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. pp. 233–8. 
  22. ^ Passage: Luke 13:28 (ESV Bible Online)
  23. ^ Passage: Matthew 25:30 (ESV Bible Online)
  24. ^ Passage: Matthew 24:51 (ESV Bible Online)
  25. ^ Passage: john 3:16 (ESV Bible Online)
  26. ^ Passage: romans 10:9-13 (ESV Bible Online)
  27. ^ Passage: eph 2:8-10 (ESV Bible Online)
  28. ^ Passage: Matthew 6:19-24 (ESV Bible Online)
  29. ^ Max Heindel, The Rosicrucian Christianity Lectures (The Riddle of Life and Death), 1908, ISBN 0-911274-84-7
  30. ^ Max Heindel, Death and Life in Purgatory - Life and Activity in Heaven
  31. ^ Janson, H. W.; Janson, Dora Jane (1977). History of Art (Second Edition ed.). Englewood and New York: Prentis-Hall & Harry N. Abrams. pp. 428. ISBN 0-13-389296-4. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Last Judgment or Judgment Day is a concept common to all Abrahamic religions, and elsewhere in faiths like Zoroastrianism and Duat, under which God will bring about the destruction of the Earth and individual humans will then be judged to determine their place thereafter.


  • Avoid cruelty and injustice for, on the Day of Judgment, the same will turn into several darknesses; and guard yourselves against miserliness; for this has ruined nations who lived before you.
    • Muhammed, Riyadh-us-Salaheen, Hadith 203
  • Dies iræ! dies illa
    Solvet sæclum in favilla
    Teste David cum Sibylla!
  • Certe adveniente die judicii, non quæretur a nobis quid legimus, sed quid fecimus; nec quam bene diximus, sed quam religiose viximus.
    • At the Day of Judgement we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done; not how well we have spoken, but how holy we have lived.
    • Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ (c.1418), Book I, ch. 3
  • Now shall the promises made to Christ by God the Father before the foundation of the world, the promises of the covenant of redemption, be fully accomplished. Christ shall now have perfectly obtained the joy set before Him, for which He undertook those great sufferings in His state of humiliation. Now shall all the hopes and expectations of the saints be fulfilled. The state of the church before was progressive and preparatory; but now she is arrived at her most perfect state of glory. All the glory of the church on earth is but a faint shadow of this her consummate glory in heaven.
    • Jonathan Edwards, A History of the Work of Redemption including a View of Church History (1839)
  • Cependant la terre chancelle sur ses bases, la lune se couvre d'un voile sanglant, les astres pendent à demi détachés de leur voûte: l'agonie du monde commence. Tout à coup l'heure fatale vient à frapper; Dieu suspend les flots de la création, et le monde a passé comme un fleuve tari.

    Alors se fait entendre la trompette de l'ange du jugement; il crie: Morts, levez-vous! Surgite, mortui! Les sépulcres se fendent, le genre humain sort du tombeau, et les races s'assemblent dans Josaphat.

    Le Fils de l'homme apparaît sur les nuées; les puissances de l'enfer remontent du fond de l'abîme pour assister au dernier arrêt prononcé sur les siècles; les boucs et les brebis sont séparés, les méchants s'enfoncent dans le gouffre, les justes montent dans les cieux; Dieu rentre dans son repos, et partout règne l'éternité.

    • Meanwhile the globe begins to tremble on its axis; the moon is covered with a bloody veil, the threatening stars hang half detached from the vault of heaven, and the agony of the world commences. Then, all at once, the fatal hour strikes; God suspends the movements of the creation, and the earth has passed away like an exhausted river.

      Now resounds the trumpet of the angel of judgment; and the cry is heard, "Arise, ye dead!" The sepulchres burst open with a terrific noise, the human race issues all at once from the tomb, and the assembled multitudes fill the valley of Jehoshaphat.

      Behold, the Son of Man appears in the clouds; the powers of hell ascend from the depths of the abyss to witness the last judgment pronounced upon the ages; the goats are separated from the sheep, the wicked are plunged into the gulf, the just ascend triumphantly to heaven, God returns to His repose, and the reign of eternity commences.

    • François-René de Chateaubriand, Le génie du Christianisme (1802), trans. Frederic Shoberl, part VI, book VII: Le dernier jugement
  • The ink of scholars is weighed on the Day of Judgement with the blood of martyrs and the ink of scholars out-weighs the blood of martyrs.
  • Oh, on that day, that wrathful day,
    When man to judgment wakes from clay.
    Be Thou, O Christ, the sinner's stay,
    Though heaven and earth shall pass away.
    • Walter Scott, The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805), canto VI, stanza 31
  • Then, when the glorious end,
    The day of God shall come,
    The angel reapers shall descend,
    And heaven sing, "Harvest-home!"
  • Winds, storms, tempests, thunders, lightnings, raging flames, dissolving elements, the archangel's trump smiting the silence of the tomb, the universal air blazing with disastrous splendors, " the tribes of the earth mourning and beating their breasts," the wicked calling on rocks and hills to fall upon them and cover them, the shouts of the saved, the howlings of the damned—all, all will then utter one voice, all will pierce our very souls with their tones; all will repeat these words, "God alone is great, and God's salvation alone deserved the cares, toils, sacrifices of an immortal spirit."
    • Richard Fuller, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 359.
  • We are all approaching that dread tribunal. However diversified our paths, they all converge toward that common centre. The young, with their elastic tread, are striding to the judgment; the old, with their tottering limbs are creeping to the judgment; the rich in their splendid equipages are driving to the judgment; the poor, in rags and barefooted, are walking to the judgment. The Christian making God's statutes his song, is a pilgrim to the judgment; the sinner, treading upon the mercy of Jesus, and trampling upon His blood, is hastening to the judgment. "We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ."
    • Richard Fuller, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 360.
  • Standing on my watch-tower I am commanded, if I see aught of evil coming, to give warning. I solemnly declare that I do discern evil approaching; I see a storm collecting in the heavens; I discover the commotion of the troubled elements; I hear the roar of a distant wind — heaven and earth seem mingled in the conflict — and I cry to those for whom I watch, " A storm! A storm! Get you into the ark or you are swept away." Oh! what is it I see? I see a world convulsed and falling to ruins — the sea burning like oil —nations rising from under ground — the sun falling — the damned in chains before the bar, and some of my poor hearers among them! I see them cast from the battlements of the judgment scene. My God! the eternal pit has closed upon them forever!
  • Glorious transformation! glorious translation! I seem already to behold the wondrous scene. The sea and the land have given up their dead! the quickened myriads have been judged according to their works. And now, an innumerable company, out of all nations and tribes and tongues, ascend with the Mediator towards the kingdom of His Father. Can it be that these, who were born children of earth, who were long enemies to God by wicked works, are to enter the bright scenes of paradise? Yes, He who leads them has washed them in His blood; He who leads them has sanctified them by His Spirit.
    • Henry Melvill, Sermons 1833-8, vol. II (1870), sermon VII: "The Ascension of Christ"
  • The deeds we do, the words we say,
    Into still air they seem to fleet;
    We count them ever past;
    But they shall last —
    In the dread judgment they
    And we shall meet.
    • John Keble, "Early Warnings," from Lyra Innocentium (1846)
  • Oh, remember that as certain as the historical fact,— He died on Calvary; so certain is the prophetic fact, He shall reign, and you and I will stand there. I durst not touch that subject. Take it into your own hearts, and think about it,— a kingdom, a judgment-seat, a crown, a gathered universe; separation, decision, execution of the sentence.
    • Alexander Maclaren, Sermons Preached in Union Chapel, Manchester (1859), sermon XIII: "The Dying Thief"
  • We should not hold on so strongly to those who are going to leave us some day anyway. We should not feel excessive attachment for them. We have to keep it in moderation. But there is One who will never leave us, One who will never perish. God will never leave us, not in the kingdom of heaven, nor in the kingdom of hell, nor in this world. And since judgment is in His hands, He is the only attachment we must have. If we hold on to only that one attachment, then we will have joy throughout our lives and even at the time of death. On Judgment Day we will know that joy, because we will be with Him.
  • Surely they think it to be far off, and We see it nigh: on the day when the heaven shall be as molten copper, and the mountains shall be as tufts of wool, and friend shall not ask of friend (though) they shall be made to see each other.
  • When the sun is overthrown, and when the stars fall, and when the camels big with young are abandoned, and when the wild beasts are herded together, and when the seas rise, and when souls are reunited, and when the girl-child that was buried alive is asked for what sin she was slain, and when the pages are laid open, and when the sky is torn away, and when hell is lighted, and when the Garden is brought nigh, (then) every soul will know what it hath made ready.
  • When the Judgment Day comes civilization will have an alibi, "I never took a human life, I only sold the fellow the gun to take it with."
    • Will Rogers, as quoted in Joseph H. Carter, The Quotable Will Rogers (2006).

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun

Last Judgment


Last Judgment

  1. The judgment day; apocalypse.
    Do not wait for the Last Judgment. It takes place every day - Albert Camus

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

(Judicium Universale, Last Judgment).



1. Few truths are more often or more clearly proclaimed in Scripture than that of the general judgment. To it the prophets of the Old Testament refer when they speak of the "Day of the Lord" (Joel 2:31; Ezek 13:5; Isa 2:12), in which the nations will be summoned to judgment. In the New Testament the second Parusia, or coming of Christ as Judge of the world, is an oft-repeated doctrine. The Saviour Himself not only foretells the event but graphically portrays its circumstances (Mt 24:27ff; Mt 25:31ff). The Apostles give a most prominent place to this doctrine in their preaching (Acts 10:42; Acts 17:31) and writings (Rom 2:5ff; Rom 14:10; 1Cor 4:5; 2Cor 5:10; 2 Tim 4:1; 2 Thes 1:5; Jam 5:7). Besides the name Parusia (parousia), or Advent (1Cor 15:23; 2 Thes 2:19), the Second Coming is also called Epiphany, epiphaneia, or Appearance (2 Thes 2:8; 1 Tim 6:14; 2 Tim 4:1; Tit 2:13), and Apocalypse (apokalypsis), or Revelation (2 Thes 2:7; 1 Pet 4:13). The time of the Second Coming is spoken of as "that Day" (2 Tim 4:8), "the day of the Lord" (1Thess 5:2), "the day of Christ" (Pmon 1:6), "the day of the Son of Man" (Lk 17:30), "the last day" (Jn 6:39f).

2. The belief in the general judgment has prevailed at all times and in all places within the Church. It is contained as an article of faith in all the ancient creeds: "He ascended into heaven. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead" (Apostles' Creed). He shall come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead" (Nicene Creed). "From thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead, at whose coming all men must rise with their bodies and are to render an account of their deeds" (Athanasian Creed). Relying on the authority of Papias, several Fathers of the first four centuries advanced the theory of a thousand years' terrestrial reign of Christ with the saints to precede the end of the World (see article on MILLENNIUM). Though this idea is interwoven with the eschatological teachings of those writers, it in no way detracted from their belief in a universal world-judgment. Patristic testimony to this dogma is clear and unanimous.

3. The Roman Catechism thus explains why, besides the particular judgment of each individual, a general one should also be passed on the assembled world: "The first reason is founded on the circumstances that most augment the rewards or aggravate the punishments of the dead. Those who depart this life sometimes leave behind them children who imitate the conduct of their parents, descendants, followers; and others who adhere to and advocate the example, the language, the conduct of those on whom they depend, and whose example they follow; and as the good or bad influence or example, affecting as it does the conduct of many, is to terminate only with this world; justice demands that, in order to form a proper estimate of the good or bad actions of all, a general judgment should take place. . . . Finally, it was important to prove, that in prosperity and adversity, which are sometimes the promiscuous lot of the good and of the bad, everything is ordered by an all-wise, all-just, and all-ruling Providence: it was therefore necessary not only that rewards and punishments should await us in the next life but that they should be awarded by a public and general judgment."


The Scriptures mention certain events which are to take place before the final judgment. These predictions were not intended to serve as indications of the exact time of the judgment, for that day and hour are known only to the Father, and will come when least expected. They were meant to foreshadow the last judgment and to keep the end of the world present to the minds of Christians, without, however, exciting useless curiosity and vain fears. Theologians usually enumerate the following nine events as signs of the last judgment:

General Preaching of the Christian Religion.

Concerning this sign the Saviour says: "And this gospel of the kingdom, shall be preached in the whole world, for a testimony to all nations, and then shall the consummation come" (Mt 24:14). This sign was understood by Chrysostom and Theophilus as referring to the destruction of Jerusalem, but, according to the majority of interpreters, Christ is here speaking of the end of the world.

Conversion of the Jews.

According to the interpretation of the Fathers, the conversion of the Jews towards the end of the world is foretold by St. Paul in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom 11:25f): "For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery, . . . that blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in. And so all Israel should be saved as it is written: There shall come out of Sion, he that shall deliver, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob".

Return of Enoch and Elijah.

The belief that these two men, who have never tasted death, are reserved for the last times to be precursors of the Second Advent was practically unanimous among the Fathers, which belief they base on several texts of Scripture. (Concerning Elijah see Mal 4:5f; Sir 48:10; Mt 17:11; concerning Enoch see Sir 44:16.)

A Great Apostasy.

As to this event St. Paul admonishes the Thessalonians (2 Thes 2:3) that they must not be terrified, as if the day of the Lord were at hand, for there must first come a revolt (he apostasia).The Fathers and interpreters understand by this revolt a great reduction in the number of the faithful through the abandonment of the Christian religion by many nations. Some commentators cite as confirmatory of this belief the words of Christ: "But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?" (Lk 18:8).

The Reign of Antichrist.

In the passage above mentioned (2 Thes 2:3f) St. Paul indicates as another sign of the day of the Lord, the revelation of the man of sin, the son of perdition. "The man of sin" here described is generally identified with the Antichrist, who, says St. John (1Jn 2:18), is to come in the last days. Although much obscurity and difference of opinion prevails on this subject, it is generally admitted from the foregoing and other texts that before the Second Coming there will arise a powerful adversary of Christ, who will seduce the nations by his wonders, and persecute the Church.

Extraordinary Perturbations of Nature.

The Scriptures clearly indicate that the judgment will be preceded by unwonted and terrifying disturbances of the physical universe (Mt 24:29; Lk 21:25f). The wars, pestilences, famines, and earthquakes foretold in Mt 24:6f, are also understood by some writers as among the calamities of the last times.

The Universal Conflagration.

In the Apostolic writings we are told that the end of the world will be brought about through a general conflagration, which, however, will not annihilate the present creation, but will change its form and appearance (2 Pet 3:10ff; cf. 1Thess 5:2; Rev 3:3, and Rev 16:15). Natural science shows the possibility of such a catastrophe being produced in the ordinary course of events, but theologians generally tend to believe that its origin will be entirely miraculous.

The Trumpet of Resurrection.

Several texts in the New Testament make mention of a voice or trumpet which will awaken the dead to resurrection (1Cor 15:52; 1Thess 4:15; Jn 5:28). According to St. Thomas (Supplement 86:2) there is reference in these passages either to the voice or to the apparition of Christ, which will cause the resurrection of the dead.

"The Sign of the Son of Man Appearing in the Heavens."

In Mt 24:30, this is indicated as the sign immediately preceding the appearance of Christ to judge the world. By this sign the Fathers of the Church generally understand the appearance in the sky of the Cross on which Jesus died or else of a wonderful cross of light.



As was stated above, the signs that are to precede the judgment give no accurate indication of the time when it will occur (Mk 13:32). When the Disciples asked the Saviour: "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" He answered: "It is not for you to know the times or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power" (Acts 1:6f). The uncertainty of the day of judgment is continually urged by Christ and the Apostles as an incentive to vigilance. The day of the Lord will come "as a thief" (Mt 24:42f), like lightning suddenly appearing (Mt 24:27), like a snare (Lk 21:34), as the Deluge (Mt 24:37).

Place of the Judgment.

All the texts in which mention is made of the Parusia, or Second Coming, seem to imply clearly enough that the general judgment will take place on the earth. Some commentators infer from 1Thess 4:16, that the judgment will be held in the air, the newly risen being carried into the clouds to meet Christ; according to others the prophecy of Joel (Joel 3:1f) places the last judgment in the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

The Coming of the Judge.

That this judgment is ascribed to Christ, not only as God, but also as Man, is expressly declared in Scripture; for although the power of judging is common to all the Persons of the Trinity, yet it is specially attributed to the Son, because to Him also in a special manner is ascribed wisdom. But that as Man He will judge the world is confirmed by Christ Himself (Jn 5:26f). At the Second Coming Christ will appear in the heavens, seated on a cloud and surrounded by the angelic hosts (Mt 16:27; Mt 24:30; Mt 25:31). The angels will minister to the Judge by bringing all before Him (Mt 24:31). The elect will aid Christ in a judicial capacity (1Cor 6:2). The lives of the just will in themselves be a condemnation of the wicked (Mt 21:41), whose punishment they will publicly approve. But the Apostles will be judges of the world in a sense yet more exact, for the promise that they shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Mt 19:28) seems to imply a real participation in judicial authority. According to a very probable opinion, this prerogative is extended to all who have faithfully fulfilled the counsels of the Gospel (Mt 19:27f). Nothing certain is known as to the manner in which this delegated authority will be exercised. St. Thomas conjectures that the greater saints will make known the sentence of Christ to others (Supplement 88:2).

Those to be Judged.

All men, both good and bad, according to the Athanasian Creed, will appear in the judgment to give an account of their deeds. As to children that have personally done neither good nor evil, the baptized must be distinguished from the unbaptized. The former appear in the judgment, not to be judged, but only to hold the glory of Christ (Supplement 80:5), while the latter, ranked with the wicked, although not judged, will be enabled to realize the justice of their eternal loss (Suarez). The angels and the demons will not be judged directly, since their eternal destiny has already been fixed; yet, because they have exercised a certain influence over the fortunes of men, the sentence pronounced on the latter will have a corresponding effect on them also (Supplement 89:8).

Object of the Judgment.

The judgment will embrace all works, good or bad, forgiven as well as forgiven sins, every idle word (Mt 12:36), every secret thought (1Cor 4:5). With the exception of Peter Lombard, theologians teach that even the secret sins of the just will be made manifest, in order that judgment may be made complete and that the justice and mercy of God may be glorified. This will not pain or embarrass the saints, but add to their glory, just as the repentance of St. Peter and St. Mary Magdalen is to these saints a source of joy and honour.

Form of the Judgment.

The procedure of the judgment is described in Mt 25:31ff, and in Rev 20:12. Commentators see in those passages allegorical descriptions intended to convey in a vivid manner the fact that in the last judgment the conduct and deserts of each individual will be made plain not only to his own conscience but to the knowledge of the assembled world. It is probable that no words will be spoken in the judgment, but that in one instant, through a Divine illumination, each creature will thoroughly understand his own moral condition and that of every fellow creature (Rom 2:15). Many believe, however, that the words of the sentence: "Come, ye blessed", etc. and "Depart from me", etc. will be really addressed by Christ to the multitude of the saved and the lost.


With the fulfilment of the sentence pronounced in the last judgment the relations and the dealings of the Creator with the creature find their culmination, are explained and justified. The Divine purpose being accomplished, the human race will, as a consequence, attain its final destiny. The reign of Christ over mankind will be the sequel of the General Judgment.

Portions of this entry are taken from The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907.
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Simple English

In Christianity, the Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Judgment Day, or Day of the Lord is where God judges people in all nations at the end of the world.


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