15 And it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God.
16 And assuredly, as the Lord liveth, for the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away, that they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end.
In this chapter, Jacob clarifies the sequence of events which occur after death:
- The spirits of the righteous live for a time in paradise, while the spirits of the wicked are in hell (spirit prison).
- The spirits of both the righteous and the wicked are reunited with their bodies, and they become immortal and incorruptible.
- All are judged by God.
I find Jacob’s characterization of the Final Judgment to be sobering: “they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still.” Here’s how I interpret his statement: the decisions I make today are leading me toward the person I will be then. The Final Judgment is not so much a ruling imposed upon us as it is an illumination of what we have become. I think that’s why Alma said we are our own judges (Alma 41:7). I also think that’s one reason the Savior said “with what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged” (3 Nephi 14:2). The decisions we make each day determine the outcome of the Final Judgment for us.
Today, I will remember that, because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the grace of God, my eternal destiny is in my hands. I will remember that the decisions or judgments I make today will determine how I will be judged in the end.