Q. I have a difficult question which has been puzzling me, which I hope you might be able to answer please. If a person dies not having heard of Jesus, “when” would you think he /she would be judged – at the Bema judgement or would they be part of the Great White Throne judgment and therefore could be saved out of it (if they would have accepted Jesus had they heard)?
A. We can only find the answer to this question by looking into the character of God. Being a just God, He can not hold us accountable for something we couldn’t possibly have known. And yet Jesus said that no one can come to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6) That means that everyone has to have had some opportunity to know God during his or her lifetime. I think it works like this.
In Romans 1:20 Paul wrote that the creation makes God’s existence so obvious that men are without excuse. No one can say, “I never heard of you.” I believe that once a person has concluded there’s a God and begins to seek Him, God will make sure that person hears the gospel. Jesus said that everyone who seeks Him will find Him. (Matt. 7:7-8). How or when it happens is not important. What is important is that God has promised it in His word.
Hebrews 9:27 says all this has to happen during our lifetime. There’s no opportunity to be saved after we die. Since both the judgments you cited take place after death the salvation issue cannot be part of them.