What does the Bible mean when it says judgment begins at the house of God?

Scripture: 1 Peter 4:17, Ezekiel 9:6, Revelation 14:7
In first Peter chapter 4 it speaks about the judgment beginning with believers. What does this mean and what is its significance?
When you post, you agree to the terms and conditions of our comments policy.
If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.
To help maintain a Christian environment, we closely moderate all comments.

  1. Please be patient. We strive to approve comments the day they are made, but please allow at least 24 hours for your comment to appear. Comments made on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday may not be approved until the following Monday.

  2. Comments that include name-calling, profanity, harassment, ridicule, etc. will be automatically deleted and the invitation to participate revoked.

  3. Comments containing URLs outside the family of Amazing Facts websites will not be approved.

  4. Comments containing telephone numbers or email addresses will not be approved.

  5. Comments off topic may be deleted.

  6. Please do not comment in languages other than English.

Please note: Approved comments do not constitute an endorsement by the ministry of Amazing Facts or by Pastor Doug Batchelor. This website allows dissenting comments and beliefs, but our comment sections are not a forum for ongoing debate.

Pastor Doug: We've been talking to Alan on line two. Alan, are you still there?

Caller: Yes sir.

Pastor Doug: Thanks so much. Now you had a second question.

Caller: Yes Pastor Doug - 1st Peter 4:17.

Pastor Doug: Okay let me find this real quick - 1st Peter 4:17 - and I like to always read it. Sometimes we have listeners that might be riding in their cars and they don't have their Bibles handy it makes it a little easier for them if we can read it for them. 'For the time has come for Judgment to begin at the House of God and if it begin with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the Gospel?' Okay - and you want me to elaborate on that a little bit?

Caller: I'd like to ask a question. First part is I thought judgment didn't come until after probation and the other part of the question is what is the Gospel of God?

Pastor Doug: Okay well there are two big questions there and I may not be able to give you an exhaustive an answer as it deserves. First of all, the word judgment has several aspects to it in the Bible. The Bible tells us that we should have good judgment, then in other places it says judge not, then you've got the big Judgment of God. There's a judgment of God's people before Jesus comes, are you aware of that?

Caller: No I'm not.

Pastor Doug: Well if you read in Ezekiel chapter 9, the first 9 or so verses there, it tells about these Angels of Judgment that begin at the Temple, that begin with God's people, and they put a mark on the foreheads of God's servants that sigh and cry for the abominations and the sins in the church, in the land. And they're protected - and the other people that do not care about the sin among God's people, they're judged and executed. That's Ezekiel 9.

Peter I think is referring back to that, when he says the time has come that Judgment must begin at the House of God. Now when Jesus walked on earth, when He began His Ministry, He cast the moneychangers out of the Temple and He said, 'You have made My Father's House a den of thieves and My Father's House is to be a House of Prayer', right?

Caller: Right.

Pastor Doug: At the end of His Ministry He walks out of that Temple and He says, 'Behold your house is left unto you desolate.' Remember when Jesus cursed the fig tree?

Caller: Right.

Pastor Doug: It was a symbol for impending judgment that was going to come on the House of God, the Temple. Remember when He told the disciples in Matthew 24 - He says, 'there will not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.' So there was a very literal judgment that happened to God's House and God's people in Jerusalem with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

But there's also a judgment that takes place, and you can find this in Revelation chapter 14. The Angel there says, 'Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His Judgment is come.' And so there is an aspect of judgment that takes place before the coming of Jesus. Now follow my logic okay? The Bible says in Revelation behold He's coming in the clouds and His reward is with Him to give to every man according to their works, right?

Caller: Right.

Pastor Doug: When He comes, He knows who's getting their rewards, right?

Caller: Right.

Pastor Doug: So some judgment takes place before He comes. Does that make sense so far?

Caller: Okay.

Pastor Doug: Now this is the first phase of Judgment. Then there's another phase that takes place after the 1,000 years. The Bible says we live and reign with Christ and thrones are set in place. And then there's the executive lake of fire White Throne Judgment that takes place at the end of the 1,000 years.

So there are three phases of the Judgment that the Bible speaks of. Peter here is referring to the one that takes place before the coming of the Lord.

And then your second question was, what about those who do not obey the Gospel - oh - what is the Gospel of God?

Caller: Right.

Pastor Doug: Well the word Gospel means 'The Good News'. And The Good News does require commitment.

Caller: Would that concern Romans 1:18 - that Jesus came for the salvation of the reconciliation....

Pastor Doug: Well yeah that would tie in to that.

Caller: Okay. All right. I understand that.

Pastor Doug: The Good News of the Gospel requires a commitment. Jesus said if we're going to live, we need to take up our cross and follow Him. And Peter is saying those that refuse to obey the Gospel aren't going to make it. So the Gospel is not just good news, it's good news with commitment. Hey you've asked some good questions!

Caller: Those were some good answers. Thank you very much!

Share a Prayer Request
Ask a Bible Question



Prayer Request:

Share a Prayer Request


Bible Question:

Ask a Bible Question