Last Judgment

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This page is about the Christian concept. For paintings of the same name, see The Last Judgment (painting). Judgment Day redirects here - for other meanings see Judgement Day (disambiguation).
Last Judgement. 12th-century Byzantine mosaic from Torcello Cathedral.
A 15th century mural in Voroneţ Monastery (Romania) showing an angel playing a bucium at the onset of the Last Judgment

In Christian eschatology, the Last Judgment or Judgment Day is the ethical-judicial trial, judgment, and punishment/reward of all individual humans (assignment to heaven or to hell) by a divine tribunal (God) at the end of time, following the destruction of humans' present earthly existence. Some Christians say that God does not judge, since He finds "all to be precious".

Some Christians hold that it will be the only judgment, that the soul is not conscious between death and the Last Judgment. The majority, however, hold that the soul is conscious and is punished or rewarded after a particular judgment, in which the individual soul is judged and learns what the judgment is. This particular judgment is contrasted to the Last Judgment as the General Judgment, where everyone is judged and knows every judgment.

This eschatology has spawned numerous artistic depictions.

The equivalent in Islamic eschatology is Qiyama. Jewish eschatology is concerned with the Jewish Messiah. Garuda Purana in Hinduism speaks in length about trials and punishments after death.


[edit] Sources

The doctrine and iconographic features of a "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 Book of Matthew:

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world...Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels...And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matt 25:31-34, 41, 46)

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)

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.

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!

Acts 17:30-31:

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 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.

[edit] Catholicism

Belief in final judgment is held firmly by the Roman Catholic Church and its followers. The Roman Catholic Church believes this last judgement is not a literal trial, as those who have already died are either in Hell, Heaven, or awaiting Heaven in Purgatory, as a result of their particular judgment on their death.

The last judgement instead will occur after the resurrection of the dead and the reuniting of the body and soul, in which the sins and judgement for each person will be made present to all before their status in eternal life is resumed. At this point both the pleasures of Heaven and the pains of Hell will be perfected in that those present will also be capable of physical pleasure/pain.

[edit] Esoteric Christian tradition

Although the Last Judgment is preached by a great part of Christian churches, the esoteric Christian tradition, Essenian, Christian Science, Rosicrucian <ref>Max Heindel, The Rosicrucian Christianity Lectures (The Riddle of Life and Death), 1908, ISBN 0-911274-84-7</ref>, 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, in the Rosicrucian case teaching 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. 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 <ref>Max Heindel, Death and Life in Purgatory - Life and Activity in Heaven</ref>. 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".

[edit] New Church

The New Church, or Swedenborgian Church, holds that the last judgment in the Bible does not refer to events in this world but to events that took place in the spiritual world when the former Christian church ceased to have any truth or goodness in it. Emanuel Swedenborg wrote that this judgment took place in 1757. He discusses the last judgment and the establishment of the New Church in particular in The Last Judgment, Continuation concerning the Last Judgment, and Apocalypse Revealed. Swedenborgians consider everything in the Word, including prophecies about the destruction of the world, to have been written by means of correspondences.

[edit] Artistic Representations

Image:Last judgement.jpg
Detail of The Last Judgment by Michelangelo

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).

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

[edit] The Last Judgement 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.

[edit] References


This article incorporates text from the public-domain Catholic Encyclopedia.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

de:Jüngstes Gericht es:Juicio Final eo:Lasta juĝo fr:Jour du jugement it:Giudizio universale he:יום הדין lt:Paskutinis Teismas nl:Dag des oordeels pl:Sąd Ostateczny pt:Juízo Final ru:Страшный суд fi:Tuomiopäivä sv:Domedagen

Last Judgment

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