In our book, Simply Song of Solomon, A Book on Biblical Sex, Chapters 3, 9 and 16 are all titled “Consummation.” Chapters 3 and 6 describe Solomon coming for his bride on their wedding day and the consummation of their marriage. Chapter 16 describes Jesus coming to rapture His bride, the church, to be one with Him for eternity.
Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south;
blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out.
Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.
When Jesus comes for His bride, His reward will be with Him.
Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. Revelation 22:12
The New Testament teaches us about rewards and the judgment seat of Christ. Samuel Hoyt, author of The Judgement Seat of Christ, writes: “Within the church today there exists considerable confusion and debate regarding the exact nature of the examination at the judgement seat of Christ. The expression ‘the judgment seat of Christ’ in the English Bible has tended to cause some to draw the wrong conclusion about the nature and purpose of this evaluation. A common misconception which arises from this English translation is that God will mete out a just retribution for sins in the believer’s life, and some measure of retributive punishment for sins will result.”
As we look closely at the word of God it reveals that the judgment seat of Christ is not a place and time when the Lord will mete out punishment for sins committed by the child of God. Rather, it is a place where people will receive or lose rewards based on things done while on earth, whether good or bad.
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:8-10
Salvation is free; it is a gift we receive when we repent of our sins, confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead. Our good works do not save us, but the fruit of our salvation are works done for the glory of God and for His calling and purpose for our lives. God will reward these works.
Paul’s second letter to the Greeks in the church at Corinth explains all believers will stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
The first chain of events preceding the judgment seat of Christ is the rapture of the church or when Jesus comes for His bride, His church, to be with Him forever.
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you y the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with he trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the cloud to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 5:13-18
In that moment of time when Jesus descends from heaven, the dead in Christ will be raised and their bodies will be changed from mortal to immortal. Also, those alive on the earth will be raised up and our bodies will be changed from mortal to immortal.
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1 Corinthians 15:51-53
The next event is for all believers to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. The Greek word for judgement is “bema” and the apostle Paul knew the Greeks were knowledgeable of the bema seat as it pertained to the many athletic events where the contestants were judged and rewarded. The judges for these contests made sure every participant obeyed every rule. A judge led the winner who fully obeyed the rules to a platform called the Bema to receive a laurel wreath.
And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 2 Timothy 2:5
The author of the article from bible.org, as mentioned above, writes: “Paul was picturing the believer as a competitor in a spiritual contest. As the victorious Grecian athlete appeared before the Bema to receive his perishable award, so the Christian will appear before Christ’s Bema to receive his imperishable award. The judge at the Bema gave rewards to the victors. He did not whip the losers.
It is a reward seat and portrays a time of rewards or loss of rewards following examination, but it is not a time of punishment where believers are judged for their sins. Such would contradict the finished work of Christ on the cross because He paid the price in full for our sins.”
How is it going to work? Fire will test our works at the Day of the Lord.
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
The above writing is from Section 3, Lamb’s Wife, in our book, Simply Song of Solomon. Section 3 begins with Jesus accepting the cup of suffering from the Father and ends with the Bride of Christ, His church, being united with Israel, to become the Lamb’s Wife. It is truly the greatest love story ever!