“Finally, we believe, according to the Word of God, when the time appointed by the Lord (which is unknown to all creatures) is come and the number of the elect complete, our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, bodily and visibly, as He ascended, with great glory and majesty to declare Himself judge of the living and the dead, burning this old world with fire and flame, to cleanse it [2 Peter 3:10].”
Then all people who have ever lived “will personally appear before this great Judge…For all the dead shall be raised out of the earth, and their souls joined and united with their proper bodies, in which they formerly lived. As for those who shall then be living, they shall not die as the others, but be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and from corruptible, become incorruptible [1 Thess. 4:16-17]. Then books shall be opened, and the dead judged (Rev. 20:12) according to what they shall have done in this world, whether good or evil. Nay, all men shall give account of every idle word they have spoken [Matt. 12:36], which the world only counts amusement and jest; and then the secrets and hypocrisy of men shall be disclosed and laid open before all.
“And therefore the consideration of this judgment is justly terrible and dreadful to the wicked and ungodly, but most desirable and comfortable to the righteous and elect; because then their full deliverance shall be perfected, and there they shall receive the fruits of their labor and trouble which they have borne. Their innocence shall be known to all, and they shall see the terrible vengeance which God shall execute on the wicked, who most cruelly persecuted, oppressed, and tormented them in this world, and who shall be convicted by the testimony of their own consciences, and shall become immortal, but only to be tormented in the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels [Matt. 25:41].
But on the contrary, the faithful and elect shall be crowned with glory and honor; and the Son of God will confess their names before God His Father and His elect angels; all tears shall be wiped from their eyes; and their cause which is now condemned by many judges and magistrates as heretical and impious will then be known to be the cause of the Son of God. And for a gracious reward, the Lord will cause them to possess such a glory as never entered into the heart of man to conceive.
Therefore we expect that great day with a most ardent desire, to the end that we may fully enjoy the promises of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. AMEN.
Amen, come, Lord Jesus. Rev. 22:20.”
- Belgic Confession, article 37