No claims of absolute originality are made for this material. As one man said, "I milk a lot of cows, but I churn my own butter." Please use these sermons as the Lord leads, but nothing on this site may be used for profit without my expressed, written permission!
Revelation 20:11-15 T
Intro: Some time ago there was a young foreign student who flunked out at the University of Michigan. In shame he decided to disappear. For the next four years he hid in the unused attic of an Ann Arbor church. Taking great pains to conceal himself, he quietly prowled around only at night, living off food and water from the kitchen. He never left the building or spoke to a soul. No one ever suspected he was there. Then one day a slight mistake gave him away. Accidentally the young recluse made some noise, the police were called, and he was finally discovered.
How foolish this young man was to try to hide from his failure. Still, he is not as foolish as that person who thinks they can hide from God! The world is filled with people who live as though they have no sin. They live as though God did not exist. They live as though they will never face God in judgment.
What they hope for will never come to pass. These verses tell us about judgment day. They speak about that terrible day when every lost sinner will face the Lord in judgment. There will be nowhere to hide on that day. No one will hide behind excuses, ignorance, false professions, etc. Everyone will face Jesus Christ as Lord and Judge and they will all receive a just sentence for their sins.
Today, I want to examine the facts concerning an event that is known as The Great White Throne Judgment. Before I begin, I want you to know that there will not be one single born again individual that will stand in judgment here. This is a judgment seat for the lost. Let’s notice the facts surrounding this judgment as I preach on The Great White Throne Judgment.
I. V. 11 THE JUDGE AND THE
A. The Picture In This Throne - There are two adjectives used to describe this throne.
1. It is called Great - This word refers to “its power”. This is the highest court in the universe! This is no small claims court! When judgment is rendered from this throne, there is no appeal to a higher court, for there is no higher court! This is the place of highest authority and final judgment. We can best understand this court by comparing it to our Supreme Court. There is no higher court in the land. All judgments rendered here will be final!
2. It is called White - This speaks of “the purity” of this court. All human courts are tainted by sin, prejudice and fallibility. This court, on the other hand, is absolutely perfect and the judgment rendered here will be perfectly fair and righteous. The Judge who occupies this bench is infallible. He cannot be tainted by sin or prejudice, but He renders judgment in perfect righteousness and fairness.
Not a single person judged here will cry “unfair” when their sentence is handed down. Every sinner judged and sentenced will know that they have received perfect and fair judgment.
B. The Person On This Throne - The Bible tells us that this throne is occupied by a Person. However, His identity is not revealed here. The Bible tells us in other places just Who is on this throne.
1. His Name - The man on this throne is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, John 5:22, 27, 30; Acts 10:40-42; 2 Tim. 4:1. The Savior will be the Sentencer in that day!
2. His Nature - This is no lowly Nazarene Who occupies this throne. This is not a poor, humble carpenter. This is a resurrected conqueror. This is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. His appearance is described for us by the prophet Daniel, Dan. 7:9-10.
His presence is so terrible and powerful that even the heavens and the earth flee from before Him. Nature has the good sense to bow before this judge! Why is it that sinners have such a difficult time doing the same?
It is also worthy to note that this is where the earth is purified by fire, 2 Pet. 3:10-13; Rev. 21:1. God destroys this ruined creation and remakes the universe as it was before sin invaded and devastated it.
(Ill. I just want to remind you that we still live in the day of grace. During this time in history, a sinner can come before God and cry out for forgiveness and the Lord will receive them and save them by His grace. Today is the day of grace. Today is the day of forgiveness. Today is the day of repentance. Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day of mercy. There will be none of those things given out in that day! Only judgment, swift and sure, will issue from this great white throne and from the Lord Jesus Christ!)
C. The Perception Of This Throne - The Bible tells us here that there was found no place for the heavens and the earth to hide from the gaze of the One on the throne. It needs to be remembered that this righteous Judge sees all and He knows all. There is no sin hidden from Him and no thought has ever been concealed. There will be no pretending and no pretense on that great judgment day, but only a sure recounting of every sinful deed and every sinful thought, Luke 8:17; Eccl. 12:14. Nothing will be hidden!
(Ill. Some think they are getting away with things now, but the truth is, God knows all about you and what you have been doing and thinking. He knows everything there is to know about you! Ill. Psa. 33:13-15; Psa. 44:21; Pro. 5:21; Pro. 15:3; Pro. 21:2; Heb. 4:13. You haven’t hidden a single thing from God! And, you can be sure, one day, those sins will come back to haunt you - Num. 32:23; Gal. 6:9.)
You will not hide from this righteous Judge! He will know all there is to know about you before you appear in His presence. He knows you intimately!)
II. V. 12-13 JUSTICE AND THE GREAT WHITE THRONE
A. The Defendants Appearing At The Throne - Here we are told that those appearing before the throne are the “dead”. This proves that there will not be a single born again believer in the group. Why? The Bible tells us that we who have trusted Jesus as our Saviour have “passed from death unto life”, John 5:24. We have been given eternal, abundant life through the blood of the Lamb and can never lose that or be dead again for ever.
This can only mean one thing: this mass of humanity will be made up completely of those who are spiritually dead, Eph. 2:1. Note also that this group includes all the spiritually dead! God raises their dead bodies from their tombs. He knows where every particle of human dust is located and He is well able to bring it together and raise it to life. He calls their bodies from the ground and their souls from Hell. He reunites them in a pitiful procession of anguish and hopelessness.
None is left out! The king, the pauper, the general, the foot soldier, the master, the slave, the borrower and the lender will all stand before God. None will escape and none will hide, but all will face the Righteous Judge in judgment that day! Preachers, deacons, church members, popes, priests, nuns, choir members, drunks, whores, drug addicts, pimps, pushers, grandmothers, grandfathers, teenagers, moms and dads, will all stand together with Cain, Judas, Hitler, and every other person who chose wickedness over righteousness, before the throne to face their judgment! There will be no escape and there will be no exceptions.
Every person who has ever died without Jesus Christ will face Him in this Judgment on that day! Ill verse 13, it reminds us that all who died, regardless of where they died will appear before Jesus in judgment. Even those who are in Hell will be brought out for this judgment. Every lost sinner from Cain to the last sinner slain in the Millennium will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ! (Will you be in that number?)
This horrible assembly stands trembling before the Lamb of God. They are forced to look on the face of the One they spit upon. They can see the nail prints in His hands. They can see where the thorns pierced His brow. They can see the awful things He suffered to atone for sin. They see Him as He is and they are filled with fear!
B. The Documents Used At The Throne - The Bible tells us here that the “books” will be opened. Only one of these books is named and it is called the “book of life.” I don’t know all the books that will be used that day, but I am sure of a few that will be opened. Allow me to share them with you for a moment.
1. The Bible - Jesus Himself reminded us that we would be judged out of His Word - John 12:48. This Bible that sinners mock and refuse to heed will be used to render judgment upon their lives that day. Better to believe it now and go to Heaven than reject it and then face it in judgment and go to Hell!
2. The Book Of Deeds - In Heaven, a record is being maintained of the deeds of all men. One day, every lost person will stand before the Lord and hear the record of his life read from the throne. Every deed, both good and evil will be mentioned. Every sin will be read aloud: Sins of commission, sins of omission, flagrant sins, secret sins, sins of the heart and sins of the mind. All will be brought out into the open on that day. Verse 12 makes it clear that the lost will be judged according to their works.
(Ill. A man can either choose to stand on his own record and face God in his sins, or he can come to Jesus and have his record expunged. Faith in Christ wipes our record clean. It replaces the record of our sins with the record of His righteousness. When our book is opened all it says is “See Calvary and an empty tomb - This man’s record is clear!”)
3. The Book Of Life - This is just Carr Theology so you can take it for what it is worth, but I am of the opinion that there is a book of life, or a book of the living.
Every name of every person who would ever be born was in this book, Rev. 3:5; Rev. 17:8. When a sinner dies without trusting Christ as his Savior, their name is removed from this book. While your name remains, there is hope for you, but when you die, or you reject Jesus for the last time, you are numbered with the eternally dead and there is no more opportunity for you to be saved.
4. The Lamb’s Book Of Life - This book contains the names of those who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus. When a sinner repents, their name is written in this book. This is the reason Jesus told His disciples to rejoice, Luke 10:20. This book records who has and who has not accepted Jesus as their Savior. When the Great White Throne Judgment comes about, both this book and the book of life will match perfectly!
(Ill. Imagine the horror of standing there that day and hearing your sins recounted. Imagine being forced to admit your sins and the fact that you are a sinner. Then imagine Jesus opening the book of life and showing you where your name was removed. Then imagine Him opening the Lamb’s book of life and showing you that every slot in that book is filled and that your name does not appear!
Is this fantasy? I don’t think so! It is a time of such horror that nothing in life can compare with it! You need to be sure you are saved today! You need to be sure that your name is written in the Lamb’s book of Life. If I were you, I wouldn’t wait for the invitation. If there was a doubt, I would get in this altar and get it settled right now!)
C. The Decision Made At The Throne - The last phrase in verse 13 tells it all. When these books are opened, judgment is rendered based on the evidence found in the books. You can be sure that the evidence is accurate, and that the record is complete.
(Ill. It is worthy of noting that every person will stand on his own! Regardless of the excuse you use to justify not coming to Jesus today, in that day you will stand under judgment by yourself! It won’t make any difference who hurt you, who stood in your way, what hypocrite you looked at, or whatever. It will come down to you and Jesus. How much better is it to come to Jesus in this day when there is still hope for salvation, than in that day when there is hope for nothing but judgment! Be saved! Be sure!)
III. V. 14-15 JUDGMENT AND THE GREAT WHITE THRONE
A. A Fearful Judgment - The sentence rendered from this bench is “Death”. Not just physical death, but the second death which is eternal separation from God in the fires of the Lake of Fire, 2 Thes. 1:9-10. This death involves no dying! There will be no end to the torment, to the hell, to the awful nature of what the sinner will face. It will be an eternal state of dying apart from the presence of God or anything good! It will be Hell! It is the “death” Paul refers to in Rom. 6:23 as the “wages of sin”.
Imagine the horror of hearing Jesus say the words that will condemn you to eternal torment! Imagine hearing Him say, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”, Matt. 25:41. Imagine living your life the way you wanted, without regard for God or His will and then having to hear the Lord Who loved you enough to die in your place speak those awful words. There could be nothing so terrible! (Ill. Some of those who will hear Him say, “I never knew you. There is no record of your birth. Depart from me!” Agrippa, Felix. Judas, Rich Young Ruler, etc.)
Perhaps the only thing that equals that would be for you to be a religious person, a church member, a regular attendee of the Lord’s worship services, and have to stand before Him and here Him pass judgment on your life. This very scene is spoken of in Matt. 7:21-23. Don’t let this happen to you! Come to Jesus while there is time. Come to Jesus while there is grace. Come to Jesus while there is hope! Come to Jesus now!
B. A Final Judgment - There will be no appeals; all judgments rendered from this bench will be final and they will be binding. This will be the last day any of these sinners ever see. This will be the end of the road for them, for they are forever consigned to the Lake of Fire to suffer torment for eternity! (Ill. The difference between Hell and the Lake of Fire. – Ill. Hades and Gehenna.)
(Ill. Many don’t believe this is true. They deny the reality of Hell and claim that such a notion is old fashioned and out of date. The Bible tells us that Hell is real and that lost sinners do indeed go there to spend eternity. Psa. 9:17; Luke 16:19-31.)
C. A Foolish Judgment - It is foolish only in the sense that it did not have to happen! Any sinner, who is willing to repent and turn to Jesus alone, by faith alone, can be eternally saved. The precious blood Jesus shed on Calvary is sufficient to the saving of any sinner who calls upon Him, Rom. 10:13. The grace of God is sufficient for every sinner who will come, regardless of the depths of their sins, Rom. 5:20. The love of God for the Lord is sufficient to receive all who will come by faith, John 6:37. Please don’t do a foolish thing and die without Jesus! Come to Him while the door is open!
Conc: I think that this is the most horrible scene mentioned in the Bible. I think the concept of people perishing forever is terrible beyond description. However, as horrible as it is, it is true nonetheless!
If you have never been saved, you need to come to Jesus. You need to be saved today! If you will just trust Jesus by faith, He will save you and spare you from this terrible time of judgment that is coming upon all the lost. Won’t you come?
To those of us who are saved, this passage reminds us of the terrible need of the world around us. If nothing else, it ought to move us to come before the Lord and cry out for the souls of our friends, neighbors and loved ones who need Jesus. It ought to stir our hearts so that we will not rest until we have tried to tell every lost person we know that salvation is available to them if they will come to Jesus! Surely we’ve not become so hardened that the thought of Hell no longer moves us. Won’t you come?
Arnold Lewis worked as a supervisor in a shipyard. His work took him from one ship to another all day long. One day an inspector who needed to consult with Arnold about company matters had to search several ships to find him. And of course he was impatient and frustrated by the time he found Arnold. Here’s the conversation that occurred.
The inspector said, “I’ve been looking all over hell for you”.
“That’s one place you will never find me,” was the calm reply. “I’ll never be in hell because I’ve been saved from hell by the blood of the Lord Jesus.”
No more was said on the subject, and the two men got their business settled. But at the end of the work day, just before the whistle blew, the inspector again came looking for Arnold.
“I’ve been thinking all day about what you said today,” he said. “I wish that I, too, could know that I am saved from hell.”
“You can know,” Arnold assured him. With verses from his pocket New Testament he explained God’s plan of salvation, and standing there on the deck of that unfinished ship, the inspector prayed to receive Christ.
That can be your testimony today! Wouldn’t like to be able to say about Hell, “That’s one place you’ll never find me!” You can come to Jesus right now!