General judgment is the Christian theological concept of a judgment of the dead by nation and as a whole. It is related closely to Judgment Day and often is just another phrase for the Last Judgment or Final Judgement, but is not necessarily part of any eschatology. It is generally contrasted with a particular judgment right after death.
The position is hinted at in several places in the Old Testament and in the New, and the Catholic Encyclopedia says (here referring to the Last Judgment) "Few truths are more often or more clearly proclaimed in Scripture than that of the general judgment". When the individual dies, general judgment holds that the person's final dispensation will await the general judgment of the dead at the end of the world, rather than be judged immediately.[according to whom?] Additionally, "general judgment" may refer not only to the judging of each person, but also to the judgment of nations and peoples.
The concept of Last Judgment is similar but distinct. Various Last Judgment scenarios represent different forms of a general judgment, such as a global last judgment or a national last judgment. It is more concerned with the depictions and descriptions of particular versions.
A decisive factor in the Last Judgment will be the question of whether the corporal works of mercy were practiced during a lifetime or not. They rate as important acts of charity. Therefore, and according to the biblical sources (Mt 5:31-46), the conjunction of the Last Judgment and the works of mercy is very frequent in the pictorial tradition of Christian art.
Jesus provided examples and illustrations of judgments against cities and generations. Jesus warned his contemporaries that the men of Nineveh, who repented at the preaching of Jonah, and the Queen of the South would testify against them in the judgment. In the context of dispatching emissaries, Jesus asked them to shake off the dust of cities that would not receive them. In the same speech, Jesus declared woes upon the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida declaring that the cities of Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon would have a more tolerable outcome in the judgement.
- Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- Ralf van Bühren, Caravaggio’s ‘Seven Works of Mercy’ in Naples. The relevance of art history to cultural journalism, in Church, Communication and Culture 2 (2017), pp. 63-87.
- Matthew 12:38-42.
- Luke 10:1-16-
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