The White Throne Judgement
Greetings of peace in Christ to you all. I pray today’s message finds you and your families well.
No matter what any of us do in our lives, it all boils down to how you and I will be welcomed into eternity.
No matter our accomplishments, our failures, our difficulties in this life, our intelligence, our connections, our prestige, or our money, none of these things will matter as we stand before our Jesus at our judgment.
I guarantee every one of you this: All that will matter to any of us is what our welcome into eternity will be like. Will we be excited, blessed, awe-inspired, or will we be surprised, disappointed, and scared? Matthew 7:21-23,
"Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord; will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he or she who does the will of my Father in heaven."
"Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?"
"Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers."
Devastating. How absolutely devastating that will be to hear Jesus say this.
Today, we will study the judgment of the lost, the lost being the multitudes who will have chosen to not believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. These poor souls will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. Again, I will share some gleanings from scripture and Dr. M. R. DeHaan’s excellent book, Revelation: 35 Simple Studies In the Themes of Revelation.
And the judge at this Great White Throne Judgment will be the same judge that we, those who believe in Christ as their Savior, will have at the Mercy Seat (we’ll look at this next week), Jesus Christ. John 5:22 & 27,
"The Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son...and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the real Son of Man."
So, scripture tells us that Christ is the judge. Christ is in complete control of our judgment.
Just a note and reminder for those of us who tend toward being judgmental. We are not the judge. This is a hard lesson for those in our society today who seem to constantly be pointing their fingers of derision at others. Romans 2:1,
"You therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself.”
This is because we are all sinners.
Our judgment is not for our sins, because we are all guilty. Our judgment is on whether we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
It is not known where the Great White Throne Judgment will take place. We do know this though, it cannot take place on earth. This is because at the Return of Christ heaven and earth will have "fled away".
It cannot take place in heaven because no sinner may enter into the presence of God there. So, my guess is it takes place somewhere between heaven and earth. The Bible doesn't say.
This judgment will be on the Great Day, the day that Jesus comes back. This day will be great and miraculous for the believers in Christ. But also an awful day of reality for those unbelievers, deniers, and scoffers of Jesus Christ. Revelation 20:11-15,
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
"And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne…"
As John is looking at the Great White Throne he notices the dead. All of those who died without a relationship with Jesus Christ. These are the dead who did not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, the spiritually dead.
Great and small John tells us. This expression appears often in the Bible and over five times in the book of Revelation alone.
This expression, great and small, is there to remind us and emphasize to us that all classes of people will be present from all ranks in the church and the world.
There will be many religious people at the Great White Throne Judgment: philanthropists and preachers, miracle workers, and lay people.
Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus, and Protestants and Catholics and Baptists and Presbyterians, and Lutherans. People who believed in one god and those who believed in many gods. Priests, as well as, ministers, Nuns, and missionaries too. Those that became more interested in performing great deeds instead of knowing Jesus. Here is a quote from M.R. DeHaan in his book Revelation:35 Simple Studies In the Major Themes In Revelation,
“This judgment is not arbitrary, but based on absolute justice. The record books are opened and every thought, word, and deed of these lost ones is brought forth as evidence of the justice and righteousness which He is about to mete out to those who have rejected him. ‘Why is the Book of Life brought out here?’ you may ask. ‘If all these people at the Great White Throne are lost, why is this Book of Life here?’ The answer is plain. Read verse 15 of Revelation 20 again,
“If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
This Book of Life is there as God’s double-check on the lost. First, they are judged because of what is written in the book of their deeds, and then they are judged as a double proof of the righteousness of God by the fact that their names are missing from those in the book of life.”
If their names are not in the book of life, then the blood of Christ does not cover their sins.
If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Sadly, believing in your chosen truth does not make it true. There is only one truth that is relevant and that is the truth of Jesus Christ. John 14:6, this is Jesus speaking the plain truth,
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Imagine our live viewing of this proceeding, similar to John's view.
It will be a red carpet affair only the carpet leads to eternal fire and not the Academy Awards. It will be difficult to watch.
We will see famous people, powerful people, rich people, acquaintances, coworkers, friends, neighbors, and even family members being thrown into the fire. The reality and finality of this judgment will be overwhelming for all of us.
This is what drives me. Just imagine the regret and sense of loss at seeing our friends, family members, neighbors, coworkers, and people we just happen to recognize, all before the White Throne Judgment.
This is why I want to see as many people as possible give their hearts to Jesus and go to heaven. I do not want to see anyone I recognize go into eternal punishment. I don’t want to see anyone go into the lake of fire.
The One who spoke the world into being is the One who will ultimately make it right. The Bible promises us that we will be with Him forever because we put our trust in him.
The Bible also says that if you know Christ and are alive when Jesus returns, you will be caught up together to be with Him and taken to heaven. This means that these believers will never taste death. Wow, how cool is that?
If we die before Jesus returns, the Bible says that the dead in Christ shall rise first, and then those who are alive and remain will then be caught up together to be with Him, and so shall we forever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17,
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first."
"After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."
So, for the Christian, dead or alive, God has us covered. Revelation 21:1-4,
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”’
As I said a second ago, as Christians, dead or alive, God has us covered.
However, if you're not a Christian, the only way to avoid this Great White Throne Judgment is to put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Today, for salvation is always for today. Why? Because we may not have a tomorrow.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC