Judgment seat translates bema, which, in its simplest definition, describes a place reached by steps, or a platform. The Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) uses it that way in Nehemiah 8:4. In Greek culture bema referred to the elevated platform on which victorious athletes received their crowns, much like the medal stand in the modern Olympic games. In the New Testament it was used on the judgment seats of Pilate (Matt. 27:19; John 19:13), Herod (Acts 12:21), and Festus (Acts 25:6, 10, 17). There was also a bema at Corinth, where unbelieving Jews unsuccessfully accused Paul before the Roman proconsul Gallio (Acts 18:12, 16, 17). A person was brought before a bema to have his or her deeds examined, in a judicial sense for indictment or exoneration, or for the purpose of recognizing and rewarding some achievement. Writing to the Romans of this same event, Paul described it as “the judgment seat [bema] of God” (Rom 14:10). God the Father is the ultimate Judge, but He has “given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).
[Jesus was] led to slaughter in the greatest act of injustice from a human standpoint ever enacted to achieve the greatest act of justice from a divine point ever accomplished.