The Fate of the Excluded (1)
We don’t know too much,
but it seems there will be
varying degrees of
punishment for some
believers in the
What will be the fate, during the Millennium, of those believers who are not faithful to Christ in this age, and who will thus discover, at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10), that they are not qualified to reign with the Lord for that coming 1,000 year period of His kingdom upon the earth?
My own understanding in this regard has been very much revised recently, as a result of doing a three-part series of podcasts on the warnings the New Testament gives the believers about their coming judgment before the Lord. (The first of these is Episode #63,; the others are and .)
In particular, as I studied this matter I was helped by a statement D.M. Panton makes in his brief, but classic, work, The Judgment Seat of Christ. He begins, on page 76, by commenting,
Let us grant (if we choose) that God has shrouded the temporary fate of the excluded in impenetrable mystery, [still,] the fact of exclusion remains, resting securely on its own abundant Scriptures.
So, we cannot say too much about how the defeated believers will spend that 1,000 years, before being brought back into the fullest degree of blessing to reign with the Lord, and with all the saints, for eternity (Rev. 22:5). But, what the New Testament is clear about is that at least some believers will not be reigning with Christ for that time.
Mr. Panton then goes on to say that while there is much we don’t know about this matter, “Scripture is not wholly silent on the location of the excluded.” He then gives some examples of his own understanding of what their fate may be.
What especially helped me was his comment that most of the excluded believers will probably be in a much more pleasant situation than they are in today, with all their sufferings over, even having a much higher degree of the Lord’s presence than we can have in this present age. They will, however, miss the topmost enjoyment of reigning with Christ in His earthly kingdom; that will be their discipline, which of course is quite a serious matter.
For others who are excluded, however, there will be a far more serious punishment than that.
So, while we can’t say too much, it does seem there will be varying degrees of punishment for the excluded, just as there will be varying degrees of reward for the overcomers (Rev. 20:4).
We will consider what these degrees of punishment may be in the next Note in this series.
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— 30 November 2023 —