Question: Hi Bob, Do you suppose when we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ that since there are so many people to judge that He will appear to all at once and judge us all at the same time. After all He lives in each one of us.
Response: I have wondered about this myself quite a bit. When I first became interested in the Bible in a serious way, my circle was all pre-Trib, and the consensus was that the Church was evaluated during the seven years of the Tribulation. Of course, even on that score pre-Trib doesn't line up with scripture (where the time of rewarding believers is very clearly the Second Advent: Matt.16:27; Rev.11:18; 22:12). Even if the pre-Trib theory were correct, it seems unlikely that seven earth-time years would be sufficient for going over all the relevant details of the lives of every believer who has ever lived from Adam onward. Some observations I am able to make at present:
1) With the incarnation, all judgment has been placed into our Lord Jesus Christ's hands (Jn.5:22; cf. Acts 10:42).
2) The time of the final judgment is yet future (Rev.11:18), and for both believers and unbelievers necessitates their resurrection prior to that judgment (compare Rev.20:11-15 with Dan.12:1-3).
3) The rewards that believers receive are operative in the Millennium (Rev.2:26-27; 3:21; 20:4-6). In fact, the "spoils" can only be given after the final victory is won (compare Ps.110:1-7 with Is.53:12; cf. Eph.4:7-8), and after we are able to receive them (in resurrection).
4) Our judgment by the Lord is quite detailed, covering all our positive and negative actions (1Cor.3:12-15), even our every word (Matt.12:36-37). This would take quite a lot of "earth time".
5) It is clear from these and other passages that it is a very specific and individual judgment, for our actions are individually evaluated, and the rewards we receive are all different.
But you, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you also belittle your brother? For we will all stand before God's tribunal as it is written: "As I live", says the Lord, "every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will praise God" [Is.45:23]. So then each of us will give an account concerning himself to God.
For we must all stand before Christ's tribunal, so that each of us may receive recompense for what he has accomplished through this body, whether it be good or worthless.
2nd Corinthians 5:10
6) Since we are resurrected at the point of our Lord's return and then immediately return with Him to earth (1Cor.15:23; 15:50-55; 1Thes.4:13-18), it would seem that the time of judgment must fall within the sphere of the seven Second Advent judgments and therefore begin shortly after our return with Jesus to the earth (discussed in part 6 of Coming Tribulation):
1. Babylon destroyed
2. The Armies of Armageddon destroyed
3. The Beast and the False Prophet consigned to the lake of fire
4. The Incarceration of Satan and his Demons
5. Fire upon Magog
6. The Regathering and Purging of Israel
7. The Judgment and Reward of the Church (see the link)
How long this last of the seven, the "judgment of the Church", takes is not set out in scripture, but on the basis of its association with the other Second Advent judgments it must surely be relatively short-lived (again, in "earth time). That would seem to me to suggest that this will be a case of our Lord doing almost instantaneously in terms of our time what would otherwise require a long period to accomplish if one were to be restricted to the laws of time and space (which He clearly is not, and, in resurrection, our current earthly restraints will be greatly changed as well). In other words, it will both be a short judgment (in calendar terms), and a long and detailed one (in terms of the precise and exacting evaluation of each of us). The fact that we like He at that point will no longer be subject temporal constraints in the same was as we are now (for we shall have been resurrected at that point) no doubt explains much about the potential to temporally compress this process from the earthly point of view.
Here is what I have written on this subject in Peter lesson #18 under "The Time of the Judgment":
When our Lord returns to the earth, in victory and glory, we too shall be gathered together to meet Him (1Thes.4:12; 1Cor.15:50-58). The time of our Lord's second advent and of our "gathering together with Him" (2Thes.2:1; cf. Is.27:12-13) also begins the time of our evaluation and reward (Matt.16:27; 19:28; Lk.14:14; Rev.11:18). Following his glorious conquest of the devil's world at the 2nd Advent (Matt.24:29-31; Rev.19:1-20:6), Jesus Christ will conduct a thorough evaluation of Israel (Is.1:25-28; 4:2-6; Ezek.20:33-38; Zech.13; Mal.3:2-3; Rom.11:26). It is also at that time that He will judge all of the newly resurrected believers (for the purpose of granting eternal rewards on the basis of service: Rom.2:16; 1Cor.3:10-17; 2Cor.5:10). This extended "judgment-day" will terminate with the final resurrection of millennial believers at the conclusion of "the Day of the Lord" (a term encompassing the 2nd Advent and Millennium as one grand event: compare 2Pet.3:10 with 2Pet.3:8; see also Acts 2:20; 1Cor.3:13; 1Thes.5:2; 2Thes.2:2), their judgment, and the final judgment of unbelievers at the Great White Throne (Rev.20:11-15).
It is a prudent and humble and appropriate attitude that you (and I hope I) are taking, namely, to want to put absolutely as much as possible "in the bank" against that great Day. But if it means anything, dear friend, from where I sit you have nothing to worry about on that score.
In the grace and mercy of our Judge, Jesus Christ the righteous,