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 20:11-15 (KJV)
We now come to the last judgment. It is the judgment that many want to deny and that many, if they could, would completely dismiss as a lie. However, “Let God be true and every man a liar”.
There may even be some who see this as a time when they can present all their “good deeds” before God and believe He will justly award them eternal life. If you are at this judgment all you will receive is eternal damnation. Those reveling in their own good works had better take another think.
The “great white throne” of judgment is the judgment of the wicked dead. The dead who have died without saving faith. Please note again verse 6, “…on such the second death hath no power…”, [speaking of those who believed in Jesus] and look at verse 14, “This is the second death” concluding what the great white throne judgment is really about.
He that sits on the throne is God in the person of Jesus Christ (John 5:22). It is certain that the wicked dead will try to flee from His presence, but they cannot. This could be the meaning of “…earth and heaven fled away…” It could also mean that at this time is the old heavens and earth are destroyed (2 Peter 3:10). At any rate, it certainly implies the end of the wickedness of mankind and of their eternal destruction. There is “No place” for the wicked to flee from this judgment, except for now, we may flee to the cross of Jesus – until this door is closed.
It does not matter what class of people – the small and great will stand before God at this judgment.
There are at least three books opened. One book records their birth and life. One is the Word of God, the roadmap to justice and eternal life. The other is the Book of Life in which is recorded the names of every child of God redeemed to eternal life.
Who are these present at the great white throne? Those whom death and hell have delivered up. The saved dead have already been raised and rewarded (19:9; 20:6).
Hell would better be referred to here as sheol or hades – the abode of the wicked dead until the great white throne of judgment. It is the abode of the rich man in Luke 16:23-24 where he cries out, “I am tormented in this flame”.
There are many who want to do away with Hell by claiming only its fiery symbolism. The fire may indeed be symbolic, but only in that, there is no other human terminology to describe its pain and eternal torment. “This”, John writes, “is the second death”.
If your name is not in the Book of Life your eternity will be spent in the “lake of fire” to “be tormented day and night forever and ever” (v. 10b).
There are two classes of people mentioned in chapter twenty: 1.) Those who have part in the second death, which is eternal torment in the lake of fire, because they refused the free gift of God’s grace; 2.) Those who have part in the first resurrection by faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning work on Calvary.
I am not exactly sure of what those of us who have part in the “first resurrection” will be doing in the kingdom of Christ on earth, but I do know that I will be with Him. How about you? If you do not have an assurance of salvation, then, call on the name of Jesus in faith and He will hear you and save you unto eternal life.