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Friday, June 23, 2017

Great White Throne Judgment - Expounding Revelation 20:11-15 (Judgment of the Lost)

Great White Throne Judgment - Expounding Revelation 20:11-15 (Judgment of the Lost)
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Revelation 20:11-12
“[11] And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. [12] And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

In this article we will expound these verses from Revelation chapter 20, including verses 14 and 15. (1) We will look at how judgment shall befall the people that are dead and separated from God. (2) We will see how Almighty God will have to judge all men according to their choices that they made; whether they trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation, or not. (3) We will also see how judgment will be given depending on how rebellious the lost souls were while they lived on the earth. In another article, we will look at the question: “Can a Christian fall away and no longer know God’s Name?”

(1.1) Judgment on the Lost: The Location of Hell

When you die, there are two places you can go after you leave your body. Many have heard about Heaven and Hell, but few know what the Bible has to say about both places. There are many testimonies of people who died and saw either Heaven or Hell. These people describe intense torment in Hell and great peace and joy in Heaven. But, we must base what we believe on the Bible. The Bible is the solid foundation for truth.

When a lost soul dies, he (or she) leaves his body and is taken to a region deep in the earth, called Hell. We know it is deep in the earth because the Bible has many verses about its location. Here are a couple:

Ezekiel 32:18
“Son of man, wail for the multitude of Egypt, and cast them down, even her, and the daughters of the famous nations, unto the nether parts of the earth, with them that go down into the pit.”

Ezekiel 32:24
“There is Elam and all her multitude round about her grave, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which are gone down uncircumcised into the nether parts of the earth, which caused their terror in the land of the living; yet have they borne their shame with them that go down to the pit.”

The people killed by the sword, who did not trust in God, went down “...into the nether parts of the earth...” “Nether,” in this context, refers to being underground. In this region that is underground, deep in the earth, are souls that have left their bodies at the time of death. They are in torment and in pits of fire. David wrote about these deep pits that were filled with fire in the Psalms. (The Bible says that every word in the Bible is God breathed. 2 Timothy 3:16-17. See Endnote.)

(1.2) Judgment on the Lost: The Torment of Hell

Psalm 140:10-11
“[10] Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again.
[11] Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him.”
Psalm 11:5-6
“[5] The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
[6] Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.”

In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said: “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”

The fire and torment of Hell is everlasting. In Revelation 14, we read how those who do not know God, and who worship the Antichrist, will be cast into Hell, where they will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur (brimstone) forever.

Revelation 14:9-11
“[9] And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, [10] The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: [11] And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”

The Greek word for brimstone is theion. It means: “brimstone, sulfur”. Brimstone, according to dictionaries, is another word for sulfur. Intensely hot fire and brimstone were poured out on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in the days of Lot (Genesis 19). God does not let sin continue. He will judge those who continually rebel against Him. According to God’s Word (in Revelation 20), all who do not have their names written in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire, where they will remain forever. This is very sobering to think about. Let’s look at Revelation 20 again.

(2) Judgment According to Choices Made

Revelation 20:13-15
“[13] And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. [14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. [15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

These events happen at the end of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ when He returns, in a physical appearance, to planet Earth. He will rule for a thousand years. After that time, the earth will be destroyed and all God’s people will be in Heaven. But, the wicked will be brought up to a place outside the gates of Heaven where God will set His throne. God will then judge the wicked (i.e. unbelievers) according to their works. Those whose names were not found written in the book of life were “...cast into the lake of fire.” This punishment of fire is eternal (Revelation 14:9-11).

(3) Judgment will Be According to the Hardness of Heart

So, why would unbelievers be judged according to their works? A just judge does not punish people for crimes they didn’t commit. He only punishes them for crimes they have committed. Sodomites (homosexuals and fornicators) will be given a different level of torment than liars. False Christians, who deceived many, will suffer worse torment than those who were deceived by them, who fell away from the truth.

Romans 2:5-6 says: “[5] But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; [6] Who will render to every man according to his deeds:”

Salvation Is Not by Our Works

But, salvation is not by our works. It is only by faith in Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross, shedding His blood for our sins to wash them away. We are saved if we believe this and if we believe on Him. Paul writes in Romans 4 how that we are saved by faith in Jesus and not by works.

Romans 4:1-5

“[1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2. For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

In Romans 5, Paul writes how God justified us by Jesus Christ’s blood, reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ’s death, and saved us by Christ’s life. Jesus alone is the atonement for our sins.

Romans 5:8-11
“[8] But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”

The Greek word for justify is dikaioó. It means: “to show to be righteous, declare righteous”. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines justify as: “2. In theology, to pardon and clear from guilt; to absolve or acquit from guilt and merited punishment, and to accept as righteous on account of the merits of the Savior, or by the application of Christ’s atonement to the offender. St. Paul.”

Not only are we justified when we get saved through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, but we are reconciled to God. Katallassó is the Greek word for reconcile. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines reconcile as: “ restore to friendship or favor after estrangement;...” It also means: “ bring to agreement…”

Through Christ’s death on the cross, we are reconciled to God. We are restored to friendship with God after we had been estranged by sin. Also, we are brought into agreement with God and His Word. Being a Christian means that one is walking in agreement with God and His ways. As Christians, we should and must forsake sin when we feel convicted of resisting God, and we should desire to fellowship with God. He deeply desires to fellowship with us.

Sin brings us away from God’s heart...

Sin brings us away from God’s heart, and if sin is not repented from, it eventually leads to eternal separation from God. (Look at Hebrews 10, Hebrews 6, and Hebrews 3.) I have other articles about how Christians can forsake God and no longer desire God’s ways. (If you want: Read this article about the falling away and “hyper grace” teaching exposed.)

It is very sobering to think about Hell and about the consequences of not repenting (changing one’s mind) from sin. It is very sad what shall happen to the rebellious people who will hear on judgment day that they cannot enter Heaven. But, God is just and good. He cannot let sin enter Heaven, because, as God said through Paul: [Galatians 5:9] “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”


Would you like to find out how to Know God's Name Personally?

IF YOU ARE SEEKING TO KNOW GOD, please read this message.

1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”

Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

Ephesians 2:8-9: “[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Proverbs 28:13-14
“[13] He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

[14] Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.”

God loves us so much that He sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins and shed His precious blood to pay for all of these sins (Romans 5 and John 3:14-20). It is not by any works of ours that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). (See John 3:16; and 1 Corinthians 15:3-5; and Romans 5:8-11.)

If you repent (turn away) from your sins (Acts 3:19), looking to God for help; and believe and confess aloud that Christ has paid for all your sins and washed them away (Romans 10:9-10); and have made Him your personal Lord and Savior (recognizing that only Jesus is your Savior) (again Romans 10:9-10) you are saved.

When you make Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior, you are choosing to look to Him for help in repenting (turning away) from sins and you are choosing to do His will. God will help you to repent from sin as you look to Him and make the choice to do what is right, and not what is wrong.

Seek God with all your heart. Seek to know Him and you will (Jeremiah 29:13). God wants to have a personal relationship with each one of us (through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord) (John 17:3, 1 John 1:3, 1 Corinthians 1:9).

Repenting After You Are Saved

Again, remember to repent whenever you are convicted about sin so that you can grow closer to Jesus Christ as you seek Him (1 John 1:9, Proverbs 28:13-14). Please also remember, you are not saved by works but by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Repentance is necessary for walking with God and getting close to Him. Willfully refusing to repent (when God convicts you about sin) is hardness of heart (see Hebrews 3).

John 17:3: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Jeremiah 29:13: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”



2 Timothy 3:16-17 says: ”[16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” The Greek word for inspiration is theopneustos. It means: “God-breathed, inspired by God, due to the inspiration of God.”

References: (For Greek lexicon and definitions)

Webster, Noah. American Dictionary of the English Language. United Books Press, Inc., 2009. (i.e. Webster's 1828 dictionary)

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