Catholicism - Now I Get It!


Study Guide to CHAPTER 9: "Now I Get . . . Judgment Day"




How will you know when it is Judgment Day? What will you see in the sky? Will everybody in the world know it is Judgment Day?

What are some things that must occur before Judgment Day?

What will Jesus say to all of us on Judgment Day?

What will happen to the Earth as we know it on Judgment Day?

What is the difference between the particular judgment and Final Judgment (General Judgment)?

Will people who are alive on Judgment Day have to die before going to heaven or hell?

One of the following will cease to exist starting on Judgment Day. Which is it? Hell, heaven or purgatory?

For His Second Coming, will Jesus look different than when he walked the Earth in the first century? How so?

According to the Bible, what are a few things that will determine how we are judged?

Among the elect, will some people receive greater rewards in heaven than others?

Among the damned, will some people receive worse punishments than others?


Suggestions for further reading:

Will Catholics Be Left Behind? by Carl Olson

The Rapture Trap by Paul Thigpen

Salvation Controversy by Jimmy Akin


Helpful entries from the online Catholic Encyclopedia.

General Judgment





HELPFUL WEB SITES (St. Augustine's City of God, Chapter on Last Judgment) (Last Things)


SCRIPTURE What does the Bible say about Judgment Day?

Mt 12:36  I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter

Mt 24-31  For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.  "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken;  then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Mt 25: 31-46 When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of 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 drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?' And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'  Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, 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 no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?'  Then he will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Acts 17:30-31  The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead

Lk 12: 2-3  Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

2 Peter 3: 10-But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace

Rev. 11:11-15 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up hither!" And in the sight of their foes they went up to heaven in a cloud. And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.  The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come. Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever."

Romans 14:12-13   So each of us shall give account of himself to God. Then let us no more pass judgment on one another

Daniel 12:1-2  "At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time; but at that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Also see: Isaiah 66:18, Eccles 3:16-17, Joel 3:12, Mich 7:4, Soph 3:5,8, John 5:28-29, John 7:48, Rev 1:7, Rev. 11:11-13,15, 17, 18, Rom. 14:10, 12, Soph 1:14-18, Psalms 9:8-9, and Psalms 95:12-13.

According to the Bible, how will we be judged? What role will our love and deeds have?

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body . . . (2 Cor. 5:10)

  [God] . . . will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for every one who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality (Rom. 2:6-11).

  . . . all were judged by what they had done (Rev. 20:13).

For thou dost requite a man according to his work (Ps. 62:12-13).

  “For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done” (Mt. 16:27).

  [God] judges each one impartially according to his deeds (1 Pet.1:17).

  Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not requite man according to his work? (Prov. 24:12)

  For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints . . . (Heb 6:10).

  Their end will correspond to their deeds (2 Cor. 11:15).

  Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward (Gal. 6:9).

  . . . knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will receive recompense for the wrong he committed, and there is no partiality (Col. 3:24-25).




St. Augustine: From this time shall they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds." What is, "from this time"? Will not the Lord come in later times, when all the tribes of the earth shall mourn? He first came in His own preachers, and filled the whole round world. Let us not resist His first coming, that we may not tremble at His second . . ." [Exposition on Psalm 96, 14]

St. Augustine:  He will come, whether we like or not: for because He cometh not just now, it is no reason that He will not come at all. He will come, and when thou knowest not; and if He shall find thee ready, thy ignorance is no hurt to thee. "Then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord; for He cometh:" at His first coming. And what afterwards?   For He cometh to judge the earth. And all the trees of the woods shall rejoice." He came first: and later to judge the earth: He shall find those rejoicing who believed in His first coming, "for He cometh." [Exposition on Psalm 96, 14]

St. Augustine: " . . . they have sought men's praises, and have had them. These praises of men aid them not in the judgment day. . . " [Sermons on the New Testament, Sermon 43]

St. Augustine: " . . .that Christ shall come from heaven to judge quick and dead, this we call the last day, or last time, of the divine judgment . .  " [City of God, Book 20]



673 Since the Ascension Christ's coming in glory has been imminent,566 even though "it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority."567. This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are "delayed".568

674  The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus.569 St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old."570 St. Paul echoes him: "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?"571 The "full inclusion" of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of "the full number of the Gentiles",572 will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all".573

The Church's ultimate trial

675 Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.574 The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth575 will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.576

676  The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism,577 especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism.578

677  The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.579 The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.580 God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.581


678 Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgment of the Last Day in his preaching.582 Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light.583 Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God's grace as nothing be condemned.584 Our attitude to our neighbor will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love.585 On the Last Day Jesus will say: "Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."586

679  Christ is Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgment on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as redeemer of the world. He "acquired" this right by his cross. The Father has given "all judgment to the Son".587 Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself.588 By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one's works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love.589


680 Christ the Lord already reigns through the Church, but all the things of this world are not yet subjected to him. The triumph of Christ's kingdom will not come about without one last assault by the powers of evil.

681 On Judgment Day at the end of the world, Christ will come in glory to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil which, like the wheat and the tares, have grown up together in the course of history.

682  When he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, the glorious Christ will reveal the secret disposition of hearts and will render to each man according to his works, and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace.


1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.592 The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul--a destiny which can be different for some and for others.593

1022 Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification594 or immediately,595 -- or immediate and everlasting damnation.

At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.


Further Helps

Whenever we are tempted to judge others, remember, we are going to be judged before God and the whole world.

Mt 7:1-5  "Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

Fortunately, it is not only our sins that will be made known, but also our charitable deeds and words that were done in secret that will also be proclaimed from the rooftops on Judgment Day.

The teaching of Jesus is difficult, but it's the one that leads to eternal happiness. Before we can see Jesus face to face, we not only have to be good, we must "be perfect." Are we on the right road? Are we moving forward? Are we seeking out the sacraments so that progress on this road will be possible?

Mt 5: 39-48:  But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you. "You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.



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