THE FINAL RESURRECTION AND JUDGMENT OF UNBELIEVERS –

THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT – REVELATION 20: 11 – 15

In our last study we were continuing to look at the coming final judgment, that great day when all unbelievers shall stand before God and give an account of their life before God.  As we have seen, the final judgment is called the “Great White Throne Judgment”.

Probably all of us know people who scoff and laugh at the concept of sin but also the fact that Scripture emphatically declares that the judgment of the unsaved is coming.  The Bible is clear there will be a future judgment for all sin.  These folks generally also laugh at the idea of hell. However, as we have seen Scripture emphatically declares that hell is the future abode of the unsaved folks.  It is a place of fire and brimstone and folks are placed there because they have rejected God’s Son. (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-13; Hebrews 2:6; Ephesians 2:8-9)

NOTE:  These passages declare emphatically that, in this life, you can accept God’s Son as your personal Savior and thereby avoid hell.  However, don’t wait too long and miss heaven.  No excuse will help you if you die and find yourself at the Great White Throne.  Then you will hear your destination for all of eternity pronounced by God as  He assigns you to the lake of fire and brimstone, there you will be joined by Satan, the Anitchrist and the false prophet, to be tormented day and night forever.

Now let’s start with Revelation 20:11, a passage we have already reviewed.  It will help us to understand the future.  Unbelievers at the Great White Throne will also find out that there will no longer be a world for them as unbelievers.  Why?  Because the current world and the heavens have been destroyed.  The unsaved do not belong in heaven with a Holy God and so there will be no place for them. Note some Scripture

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”  (Matthew 24:35)

“But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:7)

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation {behavior} and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”  (2 Peter 3:10-13)

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.”  (Revelation 20:11)

“And I saw a new heaven and new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. ” (Revelation 21:1)

“Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth:  and the heavens are the work of thy hands.  They shall perish, but thou shalt endure:  yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:  but thou are the same, and thy years shall have no end.”  (Psalm 102: 25-27)

“And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll:  and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine and as a falling fig from the fig tree.”  (Isaiah 34:4)

“Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath:  for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner:  but my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.” (Isaiah 51:6)

“For, behold, I create a new heavens and a new earth:  and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”  (Isaiah 65:17)

Now let’s consider Revelation 20:12, key word “judgment”.

There are the persons to be judged.  Both small and the great will be judged.

  1.  Ordinary men and women will be judged:  Let’s consider some types of people who are judged.

           *Those who are the average and common people of the earth; the blue-collar worker

             the employees and workers of the earth.  They shall be judged.

*Those who are the slaves and servants of the world.  They shall be judged.

*Those who commit the sins that society considers somewhat small and sometimes understandable:  sins of selfishness, hoarding, banking, complaining, laziness, slothfulness, indifference, arguing, gossiping, backbiting, criticizing, immorality, stealing, and lying.  They shall be judged.

     2. Great men and women will judged:

* Those who are in positions of authority:  managers, foremen, supervisors, officers of corporations, owners of business, rulers, and kings.  They shall all be judged.

*Those who misuse their authority, abuse, and take advantage of others, who ignore and neglect others, and in some cases destroy and kill others.  They shall be judged.

*Those who sin with a daring and a flair, who love their sin and revel in it.  They shall be judged.

Every unbeliever [someone who has not accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son] in this lifetime on the face of the earth will stand before God and be judged.  No matter how small or great, the unbeliever might be he or she shall stand before the Great White Throne judgment of God and be sentenced.  Those who are sentenced to hell are those who, during their lifetime, have rejected God’s Son and God’s free gift of eternal life.  (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-13; Hebrew 11:6)  THEY ARE:

*The small and the great shall stand there.

*The low and the high shall stand there.

*The unrighteous and the self-righteous shall stand there.

*The nonreligious and the religious shall stand there.

*The unknown and the known shall stand there.

(see The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible, pages 272-273)

FACT:  No unbeliever will be exempt; no unbeliever will be overlooked or missed.  All unbelievers, each in his own time, will be called forward by name and face Him who sits upon the throne.  Every unbeliever will have his day in the great tribunal of God.

“…In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel”. (Romans 2:16)

“We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”  (Romans 14:10)

“But  I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”  (Matthew 12:36)

“Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.”  (Matthew 18:23)

“So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”  (Romans 14:12)

“For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:  wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:  who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick [living] and the dead.”  (I Peter 4:3-5)

Now let’s examine Revelation 20:12 – key words Judgment 

Book of life:  There is the basis of judgment.  Note exactly what is said.

“…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 the their works.”  (Revelation 20:12)

There are two kinds of books kept in heaven.  Both will be present at the Great White Throne judgment.

1.  There is the BOOK OF LIFE.  This is the book where every human being who has ever lived has his name written.  God longs for everyone to live with Him forever; therefore, every person’s name is recorded in the BOOK OF LIFE.

However, when a person fails to receive Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior (John 3:16), his or her name is erased from the book of life, and he loses the right to live as a citizen of heaven with God.  Scripture after Scripture tells us this.

Moses said“Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.  And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever, hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.”  (Exodus 32:32-33)

“Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.”  (Psalm 69: 28)

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people:  and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time:  and at that thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”  (Daniel 12:1)

“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you;  but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”  (Luke 10:20; John 3:16; Romans 10:9-13)

“And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life.”  (Philippians 4:3)

“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”  (Revelation 3:5)

“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”  (Revelation 13:8)

“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition:  and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”  (Revelation 17:8)

“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.”  (Revelation 20:12)

“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  (Revelation 20:15)

“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie:  but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”  (Revelation 21:27)

“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”  (Revelation 22:19)

2.  There are the books of records.  These books are records of all the works of unbelievers.  When a person’s name is found erased from the book of life, then the BOOKS OF RECORDS are opened, and he is judged out of them.  Note two things.

a. These books are not opened to see whether or not a person is doomed to hell.  The Book of life tells that.  The book of records shows the degree of punishment a person is to receive.   A man such as Hitler or some other terrible ruler will be punished and judged much more severely than a petty thief.  Both are doomed for hell, but both will not suffer the same amount of punishment.

“But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.  And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell:  for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained unto this day.”  (Matthew 11:22-23)

And that servant, which knew the lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.  But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.  For whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required:  and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”  (Luke 12:47-48)

b.  The BOOK OF RECORDS mean that the judgment will be exact and fair.  an unbeliever will be treated justly.  There is a record of his works, of exactly what he has done and not done.  There is a record of secret sins, of the sins committed in the dark and behind closed doors,  of ill feelings within the heart, of evil thoughts of the mind.  There is a record of all the works of the unbeliever.  Therefore, he can be treated with fairness and perfect justice.  He will be judged and punished for exactly what he has done, no more and no less.  NOTE SCRIPTURE:

“Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy:  for thou renderest to every man according to his work.”  (Psalm 62:12)

“I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”  (Jeremiah 17:10)

“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of the Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”  (Matthew 16:27)

“But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.  For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required:  and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”  (Luke 12:48)

“And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourned here in fear.”  (I Peter 1:17)

“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.”  (Revelation 20:12)

“And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”  (Revelation 22:12)

NOTE:  Many people say, “I’m doing the best I can.”

*He will be judged on that basis.

*He will be judged for all the good things that he did as well as for all the bad things that he did.

*But Note:  He is still doomed for hell.  Why?  If he did mostly good in his life, why is he still doomed for hell?  Because he is not perfect–never has been perfect and never will be perfect–not within himself.

A person’s only hope for perfection is to trust in Jesus Christ, to trust that Jesus Christ has taken his sins [all of them] and borne them for him.  (John 3:16)

But the unbeliever who does not accept Jesus Christ in this life, no matter how mild a sinner he may be, he is still a sinner and imperfect.

Consequently, he has to bear his own sins and have them read out loud by God.  If the unbeliever had only trusted Jesus Christ in this life, he would have been free of sin.  Then he or she would be perfect before God.  There would have been no record of sin against him.  Why?  Because Jesus Christ would have borne all his or her sins.  Jesus Christ would have freed the unbeliever of sin and presented him perfect before God.