THE LOCATION OF THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST
[Tim Munger, email@example.com]
"The Scriptures detailing the Judgment Seat of Christ are found in Romans 14:9-12; 1 Cor 3:12-15; 2 Cor 5:10. How we know that the Judgment Seat of Christ takes place in Heaven comes from comparing Scripture with Scripture rather than from one single passage.
When Christ descends from Heaven into the air to Rapture the Church, 1 Thess 4:15-17 makes it clear that we will be taken to be with Him and 'so shall we ever be with the Lord.' Since He came from Heaven, we will return there with Him, because it is there that He is preparing for us our dwelling places (John 14:13). It is from there that He will return to the earth in Rev 19:11-16 with the saints and His army with Him. So for that reason I believe that the Judgment Seat of Christ will take place in Heaven.
I believe that the passage of Rev 4 does refer to the translated and rewarded Church for the following reasons:
1) The term describing this body is a term for church leaders (1 Ti 5:17; Ti 1:5; 1 Pe 5:1-5).
2) The number 24, while maybe peculiar, does combine the two groups that make up the church according to Eph 2:11-22, Jews and Gentiles. There were 12 Tribes of Israel and 12 Apostles of the Lamb. Significantly these two groups make up the foundations and the gates of the Heavenly City of Rev 21:1-22:7
3) The word 'crowns' given in Rev 4 is the same used to describe the rewards given to Church age saints in passages I cited in the earlier answer. Along with this is the fact that the elders have crowns, are clothed in white raiment and seated on thrones. Significantly in Rev 19:14, the armies that follow Him in His triumphant return are also clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
The New Scofield Reference Bible clearly asserts that these 24 Elders 'represent the Church' (NSRB, p. 1356).
Since the saints were to receive the crowns, and this obviously takes place in Heaven, they received the crowns at an earlier point. I think that this should allow for the consideration, if not the confirmation, that the Judgment Seat of Christ takes place in Heaven."
[Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, firstname.lastname@example.org]:
"Concerning your question about the timing of the Judgment Seat of Christ, the fact that this is an event that must take place after the Rapture comes out in 2 Corinthians 5:10 where the Judgment Seat of Christ is specifically what needs to be done while we are still 'in the body'.
The point is that the deeds that are going to be judged are the deeds we did while we were still in our physical bodies. This shows that the judgment will take place at a time we no longer have these physical bodies. That could only be true after the Rapture when our bodies have been resurrected from the dead. This shows that the Judgment Seat of Christ must take place after the Rapture of the Church when the bodies are resurrected and then we can be judged for what we did 'in the body.' That it does not take place after the Second Coming on earth is also evident from Revelation 19:6-8.
The Second Coming is described only as of Revelation 19:11 and the first ten verses talk about events in heaven preceding the Second Coming. Among these events in heaven is the marriage ceremony of the Lamb and he portrays the Bride as already being in heaven before the Second Coming wearing white linen. This he interprets to represent 'the righteous acts of the saints.' What this shows, then, is that by the time wedding takes place in heaven before the Second Coming, the Bride is already in heaven, and has undergone the entire Judgment Seat of Christ, which did away with the wood, hay, stubble, and purified the gold, silver, precious stone. Thus, all that is left showing on the Bride now is her righteous acts.
All of this shows that the Judgment Seat of Christ is a post-Rapture and pre-Second Coming event."