Please could you show from Scripture where and when the Judgment Seat of Christ will take place?
Some have thought that it will be set up in the air immediately after the Rapture of the Church, but in all the references to it there is no hint of this. It is safe to conclude that it will take place in heaven, i.e. the Father's house. I judge it is the first scene to be experienced by the believer in heaven. The coming (presence) orparousia of the Lord will have a commencement at the Rapture (1 Thess 4.15). It will have a continuation in heaven (1 Thess 3.13), and then, at least seven years later, it will have a conclusion or climax at the Second Advent of Christ to earth (2 Thess 2.8). The Judgment Seat of Christ will take place during thisparousia or presence of the Lord in heaven with His saints. The Lord says in Matthew 5.12 that "great is your reward in heaven". This should settle the matter.
As to when it will take place, the Lord in Luke 14.14 speaks of some who will be recompensed "at the resurrection of the just". Paul clearly refers to the Judgment Seat in 1 Corinthians 4.5: "Judge nothing before the time until the Lord come". This reference provides another clue, for after the Rapture of the Church the Lord will take believers to heaven. There He will appraise service done for Him and examine the motives of the heart of each believer in life down here. In Revelation 22.12 our Lord says, "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be". The Lord's own words here show clearly that the time of reward will take place earlier, rather than later, in His presence with the saints.
Concerning the Marriage of the Lamb in heaven, it is stated of the church, the Lamb's wife that she "hath made herself ready" (Rev 19.7). This surely presupposes that the Judgment Seat has already taken place, for otherwise the Church could not be said to be ready. One point to make clear is that the Judgment Seat will not be judicial; rather it will be declarative, for it will be a time of manifestation, or a bringing to light our motives in service and whether or not our work for the Lord, which will be tested by fire, is determined to be destructible or indestructible (1 Cor 3.13).
John J Stubbs
Are Bible Readings a Scriptural method of teaching and, if so, how can they be encouraged in these days when they are declining in number?
It would appear to be an opportune time to respond to this question, bearing in mind the very helpful and instructive article written by Mr Ken Cooper and published in the January, 2008 issue of Believer's Magazine.
The present writer wishes to make it clear that he enjoys Bible Readings and has personally benefited from them. Indeed, not only has he actively participated in Bible Readings in his home assembly, but he has also been responsible for conducting such readings in various parts of the United Kingdom for the past thirty years.
It may, however, be difficult to substantiate convincingly that Bible Readings, as we know them, are a Scriptural method for teaching. The passage in Acts (15.30,31) refers to the reading of an epistle sent by the apostles and elders and brethren at Jerusalem to "the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia" by the hands of Paul, Barnabas, Judas Barsabas and Silas (15.22,23).
It has been suggested that 1 Corinthians 14.35, "And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church", implies that the men were to converse and to ask questions concerning the Scriptures in the gatherings of the church. However, it should be borne in mind that, at the time when the Epistle to the Corinthians was written, the canon of Scripture was not yet complete, and the gift of prophecy was still being exercised as fresh revelations were received from God Himself by way of New Testament prophets.
It has to be acknowledged that the divinely appointed way of communicating truth is by public preaching: "Preach the word" (2 Tim 4.2). One weakness of assembly testimony today in many locations is the lack of systematic, consecutive teaching of the Word of God; by gifted brethren.
However, Bible Readings do afford a means of considering the Word of God in a systematic manner and also give scope for younger men to develop any gift of teaching they might have.
David E West