Questions and Answers
Q: "If Jesus is in fact our Judge (per John 5:21-23; Revelation 20:11), how can He also be our Advocate (per 1 John 2:1)? I don't believe the reference to "him" seated on the great white throne in Revelation refers to Jesus. I believe that John means here, God the Father. So, therein lies my confusion. All the more confusing in that John is the author of all 3 of these scriptures."
First, let's look at the passage in 1 John 2:1-2. "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for us only, but also for the sins of the world."We should note several truths from these verses. 1) This is written initially to Christians, as noted with the phrase "little children"; 2) Jesus Christ is the Christians Advocate when tempted by and succumbing to sin. He intercedes for us before the Father and defends us against our accuser—Satan; 3) Jesus Christ satisfied the righteousness of God as our propitiation; dying for our sin; 4) Jesus Christ paid the sin debt, not for believers only, but for the entire human race; appropriated by all who repent of their sin, trusting Him as their personal Lord and Savior.
Second, because Jesus Christ fulfilled the will of the Father and accomplished all that was needed for the redemption of man, Jesus was exalted by the Father. "Wherefore, God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.", Philippians 2:9-11. Note that everyone will confess Jesus as Lord! This does not mean everyone will be saved, but everyone will confess that Jesus is Yahweh, God incarnate, Jehovah!
Third, the Father has committed all judgment unto the Son, Jesus Christ. Why? So no one will have an excuse! Notice in John 5:23, the purpose is that all will honor the Son and the Father. However, the saved will be judged differently than the unsaved, John 5:24. The Father has given Jesus Christ authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man, John 5:27.
Fourth, all the saved will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is not to determine our eternal destiny; our salvation is eternally secure by the defining moment we repent of our sin and trust in Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. The redeemed stand before this throne for Jesus Christ to reward a life lived for Christ and for God after salvation,
2 Corinthians 5:20.
Fifth, those who do not trust Jesus Christ as their Savior will not have any excuse when they stand before the Great White Throne Judgment. They condemn themselves to an eternity in hell. "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the Son of God.", John 3:18. Notice it is the 'dead' in Revelation 20:11-15 that stand before the Great White Throne Judgment. Ephesians 2:1 speaks of the 'dead in trespasses and sins'.
Therefore, the saved will stand before the One, Jesus Christ, they trusted for their salvation and give an account of their life after regeneration. We will either receive rewards for a life glorifying to our Lord, or we will enter into heaven without excuse for not living for Him. He gave His life for us, we should give our lives for Him."And he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.",
2 Corinthians 5:15.
Then, the unsaved will stand before the One, Jesus Christ, who came from heaven out of
love for them and suffered, shed His innocent blood, and died as payment for their sin so they
could receive forgiveness and be spared the wrath of God. They will not have any excuse! Jesus
Christ will show them the marks of His suffering, for He will be seen as a 'Lamb as it had been
slain', Revelation 5:6.
The throne before which each will stand will be determined by their decision concerning Jesus Christ. Therefore, Jesus Christ can be both the believer's Advocate and the unbeliever's Judge. In the end, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!
"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick (redeemed) and the dead (unsaved) at his appearing and his kingdom.", 2 Timothy 4:1. (emphasis mine).