Chapter 20: 11-15
“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. 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.
Wow, what a response to last week’s break! God always knows what He is doing. It seems like a lot of people needed the encouragement, as did I. Today we will venture back into the Revelation. We will look at some of the most somber words in the history of man, and as yet, there is a chance for people to avoid being a part of this event. This event, the one we are about to explore in Revelation 20, is going to happen. God says it will, and there is no avoiding it without Jesus as Savior.
We humans are a funny group. God designed life to mimic the realities of eternity. As such, we have a court system, there are judges, and these judges execute judgments. We have multiple levels of court, and a Judge’s words are final. There can be appeals, but for the vast majority of court cases, the judgments are final. In man’s courts, your past is taken into consideration as to what kind of citizen you have been, what contributions you have made to society, and on and on. But you are judged based on the Law books, and you are sentenced according to the guidelines in those books. God set up life so that we have no excuses; we see His patterns right before us every day.
We live in a time where people think that no one has the right to judge them. And, if they find that you are a Christian, they love to point out that the Bible says to ‘judge not.’ Matthew 7:1-2 reads this way,
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
The premise is that we are not to be hypocrites in our judging; be honest. When we judge others, understand that we will be held to the same standard. The idea is judging must be honest, careful and that we are to first judge ourselves correctly before we judge others. But at no point are we told not to judge.
Our entire life is built on judging. Most will not go to a restaurant unless they have 4+ stars on Google; this is called judging. We make judgments about clothing brands, shoes, cars, houses, and the lists go on. We love contests; they judge one contestant better than the other as long as both play within the rules and keep in bounds.
The Judgment of the Judgment, Matthew 27
In verse 50 in particular, we see these words: “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.” Jesus died. He had spent a long night in front of the High Priest, then Pilate, then Herod, then Pilate again. Sometime around the 9 o’clock hour in the morning on that fateful day, He was placed on the cross (the time of the morning sacrifice), and He ‘gave up the ghost’ at about 3pm that afternoon (the time of the evening sacrifice).
Jesus is the end of all blood sacrifices. He is the First and the Last of all that was required by a perfect God to redeem ALL of the imperfect men from Adam to the very end. Thus, in Jesus, God has judged judgments. He executed His judgment on Jesus so that He would not have to execute His judgment on you and me.
In 2 Peter 3:9, we see these words of hope: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
God did not want anyone to perish; that means to get to the judgment we are considering today in Revelation 20. He was not wanting any to perish at all. He was so adamant that He sent Jesus, God in the flesh, as a man; and He, God, executed His wrath on Jesus so that you would have the option to avoid the Revelation 20 judgment. Notice very clearly that the verse says that God wanted ALL to come to repentance. For those that do come to repentance we can find joy in verses like Romans 5:1-8,
“Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Look at the first verse, we are ‘justified,’ declared righteous by our faith in Jesus; and with this justification, we have peace with God. Later in Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” In Jesus we now have the spiritual birth; and as such, we are no longer under condemnation before God. Later in that chapter, we are told that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. God judged the judgment and provided a way, at great expense, for you and me to avoid any kind of judgment at all.
The Final Judgment, Revelation 20:11-15
First of all, it cannot be avoided; no one will be able to hide from God’s eyesight. All will be exposed. There, both the dead and the living are judged. Notice once again that all are there, and there is a level ground; the small and the great are before God. Then the books are opened; these refer to the 66 books of the Bible. These are, and all will be judged by the things written in the books (see verse 12). See John 12: 47-49,
“As for anyone who hears My words and does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I have not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects Me and does not receive My words: The word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. I have not spoken on My own, but the Father who sent Me has commanded Me what to say and how to say it.…”
Notice that Jesus tells us that the ‘words I have spoken will judge him on the last day.’ The spoken words of Jesus are written in the books of the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, these are the spoken words of Jesus. It is these words by which people are judged. Notice that He also tells us that there is a ‘judge for the one who rejects me.’ Notice that there is a distinction made here: some will reject His words, then the contrast is also true; some will accept His words. Thus, those at the judgment in Revelation 20:11-15 have chosen to be there by rejecting Jesus’ words.
There is another book called the book of Life. In it are listed the people who, from the time of Adam and on, were known by God to have been the recipients of the redemption. These are the ones who accepted the free gift of God. Romans 6:23,
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Again, in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Salvation is a gift offered to mankind by a loving, merciful and kind God. Sadly, billions over the 6,000 years of man’s existence have rejected the free gift. This is their judgment. Since they rejected God’s free gift of justification and the end of condemnation, they will have to suffer their judgment and be condemned forever.
Many will say that the punishment does not fit the crime – what kind of ‘loving God’ torments people for eternity? The kind of loving God who is also Holy and requires perfection. This is one of the things that people don’t get. God can only fellowship with perfection as a Holy and perfect God. You and I cannot be perfect in and of our own powers. We must have perfection imputed to us, given to us, accounted to us by One who is perfect for us. That person is Jesus; He is perfect for us. He offers perfection to us in Jesus, and those that reject Jesus must be put away.
Thus, at this judgment, all whose names are not found in the book of Life go to the lake of Fire forever. No exceptions, no appeals, no excuses and no adjournments. What a sad day that will be in the short history of man. It will be a solemn day. I suspect there will be lots of tears and weeping, lots of begging and pleading. Just thinking about it hurts me and causes chills. Lest you think God to be heartless, we find this summary of God’s emotions right before the flood. See Genesis 6:6,
“And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”
Nonetheless, His holiness required judgment, and God is able to balance the two – His love and His holiness. Make no mistake, only faith and trust in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection will save you from this final judgment. Jesus is the answer; He has been since Genesis 3:15, and He is still the answer today. Call on Him today.
Check us out on FB, Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church.