THE BOOK OF REVELATION
Revelation Revealed Chapter 20 v11-15 [THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT]
“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. 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. 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, and death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” [Revelation Revealed Chapter 20 v11-15]
This is the most monumental scene in Scripture. For it involves the destinies of all of God’s intelligent beings. Angels, demons and man….eternal life or eternal death. The statements made in these 5 verses are quick, profound and concise. They have been designed for impact. They are solemn and thought provoking. They leave no room for mistake. They are to be unquestionably taken as to happen literally. (Have I contemplated these Words to such a degree that I own them as Truth?)
Questions immediately come to the mind.
What does it mean that the earth and heavens of Genesis 1:1 had no place found for them, that they have “passed away”?
It could simply mean that since the Majestic Holy Judge took the seat on the Great White Throne, that those corrupted inanimate things had no place in this place or its proceedings. Then an inadequate example being the “all rise” as the Judge enters and takes his seat.
Think in terms of this realm as another material realm or of matter; as the universe we are generally confined to, is a created realm. Other than the Eternal realm of the Heaven where God resides. Meaning that the Great White Throne is set in Heaven’s realm, and all intelligent beings are now to stand before Him who is upon that Great White Throne. So the moving of all beings into that realm could of made this material realm appear to John’s eye as having “…fled away…” An example of this could possibly be found in Scripture in Christ leaving this realm for that realm. “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed through the heavens….” (Young’s literal translation of Hebrews 4:14) Meaning he did not go higher and higher until He finally reached Heaven, but that He literally passed through one realm into another.
Scripture does state that the actual dissolving and melting by intense heat of this realm is an occurrence associated with this final Great White Throne Judgment. The explanation becomes clearer then. Remove the façade and the real appears along with the new. This would explain, “..the earth and heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.” It also could explain the absence of mention of those then living not standing among the dead to be judged. They now are those of the nations inhabiting the new heaven and earth of the next chapter. [Chapter 21:1 with 24-27] The fire that falls down from heaven, and devours those enemies of God that come up in final battle against the saints and the beloved city in Revelation 20:9, is also that “…consuming fire…” [Hebrews 12:29] It dissolves the elements of the earth and its heavens, as correspondingly the fire of the lake of fire in the center of the earth now consumes the other locales of Death and Hades. Unrestrained now, it meets the fires from above, (Genesis 8:2) as suddenly all the dead are released from their dissolving restraints, and then all righteous living men are released from their clay bodies that held them to this material realm. And they are purged and reconstituted for the inhabiting of the reconstituted purged elements of the new heaven and earth. Simultaneously, ALL dead intelligent beings of the 2nd Resurrection, in a few moments, find themselves suspended upon the vast and endless landscape among the myriads before the Great White Throne Judgment. And there, far below, the lake of fire, that sea of molten glass now back within its banks, looms ominously. The only remaining trace and reminder of the dissolved ancient universe.
Scripture reveals in those other great Judgments of Genesis in its history wherein God has shown us that He does not utterly destroy or obliterate out of existence that which He has created and subsequently judges. But rather, by the methods of isolation, cleansing and purging He recomposes, or relegates to a different state both inanimate substance and animate intelligent beings.
For a clear type of God’s Judgments seen here we may look at Leviticus chapter 14 beginning in verse 33. That takes us to the beginning of the 7th day Millennial restructure of verses 39-42. And finally the end of the Millennial 7th day discovery of in type found in verses 43-45 that correspond to Revelation 20:10-15.
Why this great destruction?
By the sin of angels and men, the created habitat, the entire structure, the heavens and the earth; with both its present realms, on it and in it, having been infected and corrupted are to be cleansed or destroyed by the appointed agent of fire. [2 Peter 3:7, Job15:15, Psalm 102:26, Leviticus 18:25,27, Deuteronomy 21:23, Jeremiah 16:18, Matthew 24:36] Again, after the “spewing out”, (Deuteronomy 21:23) where would that leave them but before this Throne in Heavens realm?
Who’s on this Throne?
Judgment has been in the hands of the Son since John 5 and He has been exercising it in the Church on His Judgment Seat ever since. He then, after the setting up of the Judgment Throne of His investiture (Revelation 4:2) (that has to do with pre Millennial judgments at the end of the Age of Mercy and Grace) has additionally opened up the first seal and was the One who treads “ the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.”
To that we add that He is the Judge of the Millennial times of Justice. He finishes/completes the Work He has uniquely qualified as Worthy for. As the Son of God and Son of Man now sets upon the Great White Throne to finish Judging after the Millennium of Justice. He had previously Judged the Church and declared out of it “Overcomers” who were resurrected into His life in glory and then joined Him in ruling as His Bride in the these previous 1000 yrs. He now takes His place to Judge the “dead” as they are removed from the place of the dead. These are dead living in the state of dead, and in that state they are now raised or manifest before the Great White Throne to be judged to go forth in resurrected life or to go forth in eternal judgment of death state.
Their state at the 2nd Resurrection dead, is still in the state of death, this is quite different compared to the immediate changed state of those dead at the First Resurrection when raised. “…In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at (in) the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible…” These that came out from among the dead, pre-judged and found worthy and in the First Resurrection came forth instantly incorruptible, with glorified eternal life-filled souls and bodies. [1Corinthians 15:52,53]
What are these books that are referred to as opened, including the book of life?
First References to these books are found in Exodus 32 when Moses makes an appeal to God to remove him from His Book that He has written. To which God responds to him, “Whoso that hath sinned against me, him shall I blot out of My Book.” That Scripture is in direct reference to a specific sin done by individuals that was directly against God, “against me”. And had to do with them alone, either deserving to continue among the living or to be removed from the living. As to any eternal life ramifications, there is no mention.
We find another example of books with individual names of those who had been born again as a result of accepting the Atonement of Christ and thereby their names were written in the First Born’s Book that resides in Heaven in Hebrews12:23. And then again, Scripture reveals through Christ’s Words to His Disciples, “…but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Here is referenced the “Lamb’s book of life” as opposed to just the Book of life. It is to that Book Christ refers to in Revelation 3:5 and Revelation 22:19.
Taking all the Scriptural references it appears most likely that every man from Adam who has been born has his name written in the book of life and from there is based upon deeds. It then extends from there that there are books with the names who have received the Atonement of Christ having then been given the “gift” of eternal life on His warrant. Both sets of books record “things” that include every deed of every man, both good and bad. Out of these books, on that Great Day will come the great weighing out of life or death eternal. It’s comforting that it is Jesus Christ that Judges. And from Him nothing will escape His attention. Neither any evidence of past deeds, but most assuring, He will consider carefully the present state of the heart.
What are the distinctions of those 3 places from where the dead come from to before the Throne?
It is first understood from Scripture that the dead are all disembodied and are held in the center of the earth in a vast space. In the Hebrew called Sheol (almost always translated Hell in the English). A subterranean retreat/ the intermediate abode of the dead, and in the Greek Hades/ the place of departed. Scripture refers to specific places within Sheol/Hades by names:
- The place of Torment
- The place of Paradise [Luke16]
- The place of darkness outside the garden of Paradise [Matthew 8:12, 22:13, 25:30]
- The place called the Abyss/Bottomless Pit, Tartarus, Death [2 Peter 2:4, Luke:16, Revelation 9:1, 2,11, 11:7, 17:8, 20:1,3,14]
- And presumably is also the place of the Lake of Fire [Revelation 19:20,20:10,14,15 21:8] Probably in close proximity to Death, as it is called the Second Death.
What should be understood then when the distinction is made in Revelation 20:13,14, is that there are departed souls at the time of the Great White Throne Judgment in all of these locales. Although only 2 men, the anti-Christ and the false Prophet are in the Lake of Fire. All the rest, at this point, after the Millennium and before the White Throne Judgment, are spirits, including satan. But in the other 4 locales: Paradise/Abraham’s Bosom, the place of Outer Darkness, the Place of Torment, and the place of the Abyss/Bottomless pit/Tartarus/Death there remains the souls of dead men, dead and dead spirits.
Thus when Revelation 20 makes the distinction between Hades and Death, the giving up of the dead from the place/local of Death, it refers to the limited place/places that dead spirits are imprisoned. According to Scripture, (1Peter 3 & 4) there are “spirits in the prison of Tartarus /Death awaiting this final judgment ”. And “angels” “…which kept not their first estate…He hath reserved in age lasting darkness/abyss/Pit/Death unto the judgment of the great day.” [Jude 6]
The distinction extends to “the sea gave up its dead”. All has to do with the different beings that are detained in different locales for different reasons. But all locales will give up all its dead. It is highly unlikely that “the sea gave up its dead” means human souls that had drowned in it. When all examples of Scripture relate that when men die they go down to Sheol/Hades, the place prepared for them. As exampled by the Crucified Son of Man Himself. Both literally in the Anti-type, and in the type of Jonah who is said to have went down into Sheol. Most likely these are those other than human and angels. Intelligent beings that lost their lives and were disembodied in the Judgment floods of the pre-Adamic World of Genesis 1:1,2. Possibly the origin of some demonic forces, of which some were/are relegated to the sea. [Matthew 8:32] The sea disappears in the consuming fires of this material earth never to reappear.
The Lake of Fire is Eternal
It is the consummation and joining together of altar and laver. It is not earthly material as earthly materials and their different manifestations are but replicas of a type found in the spiritual realm. Such as the spiritual fire exampled in the chariots of fire Elisha saw. [2 Kings 2:11] All the beings now who are assigned to it consist of spirit- realm material. Earthly material fire cannot hurt spirit material beings.[Judges13:20] But there is a spiritual material that causes hurt and suffering to spiritual beings. The word “lake” speaks to the material being molten, all engulfing, and having perimeters. There is no hint in Scripture of a future reconciliation for these now condemned. On the contrary, Scripture always relates to this Lake of Fire and its prisoners as lasting forever and forever.
WILL THERE BE REGENERATED/SAVED PEOPLE AT THIS GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT?
WITHOUT ANY HESITATION, YES.
- Romans 2:1-16 depicts a certain universal group of people who lived without the knowledge of the law. But they were by the conscience guided in an acceptable way that their names might be added to the book of life.
- The statement of Revelation 20:15 says, “and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” It’s implied that there will be those found written. Why else the need for a search?
- Isaiah 65:20 speaks to both Godly and un-Godly people dying in the Millennium. See also Psalms 72:14 & 48:14 for other Millennial examples of death. These then, along with all the surviving living at the final battle and destruction of satan post Millennium.
These all will stand at the Great White Throne Judgment along with the now resurrected previously passed over and shut out Christians who were judged asleep, un-watching, un-wise virgins. These were surprised and discovered their light going out and having want of additional oil of the Spirit/spirit at the First Resurrection. See Matthew 25.
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