The Great White Throne Judgment

by Mike Ratliff

11 Καὶ εἶδον θρόνον μέγαν λευκὸν καὶ τὸν καθήμενον ἐπ᾽ αὐτόν, οὗ ἀπὸ τοῦ προσώπου ἔφυγεν ἡ γῆ καὶ ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ τόπος οὐχ εὑρέθη αὐτοῖς. 12 καὶ εἶδον τοὺς νεκρούς, τοὺς μεγάλους καὶ τοὺς μικρούς, ἑστῶτας ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου. καὶ βιβλία ἠνοίχθησαν, καὶ ἄλλο βιβλίον ἠνοίχθη, ὅ ἐστιν τῆς ζωῆς, καὶ ἐκρίθησαν οἱ νεκροὶ ἐκ τῶν γεγραμμένων ἐν τοῖς βιβλίοις κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτῶν. 13 καὶ ἔδωκεν ἡ θάλασσα τοὺς νεκροὺς τοὺς ἐν αὐτῇ καὶ ὁ θάνατος καὶ ὁ ᾅδης ἔδωκαν τοὺς νεκροὺς τοὺς ἐν αὐτοῖς, καὶ ἐκρίθησαν ἕκαστος κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτῶν. 14 καὶ ὁ θάνατος καὶ ὁ ᾅδης ἐβλήθησαν εἰς τὴν λίμνην τοῦ πυρός. οὗτος ὁ θάνατος ὁ δεύτερός ἐστιν, ἡ λίμνη τοῦ πυρός. 15 καὶ εἴ τις οὐχ εὑρέθη ἐν τῇ βίβλῳ τῆς ζωῆς γεγραμμένος, ἐβλήθη εἰς τὴν λίμνην τοῦ πυρός. (Revelation 20:11-15 NA27)

11 And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. From his presence fled the earth and heaven, and a place was not found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, having taken their stand before the throne, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged by the things written in the books according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead in it and Death and Hades gave up the dead in them and they were judged each one according their works. 14 And Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the Second Death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1) 

In Revelation 2:11 in his message to the Church at Smyrna, our Lord Jesus said, “Ὁ ἔχων οὖς ἀκουσάτω τί τὸ πνεῦμα λέγει ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις. Ὁ νικῶν οὐ μὴ ἀδικηθῇ ἐκ τοῦ θανάτου τοῦ δευτέρου.” Or, “The one having ears let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one overcoming will never be hurt by the second death.” What is described in Revelation 20:11-15 is the judgment of those going into “the second death.” These are people who have already lived their physical, temporal lives on earth and have died physically, but now they stand before the great white throne to receive the judgment of God.

There are some things we must take notice of in this passage. The first is that the judgment of those who go to the lake of fire is according to their own works not just because of the original sin of Adam. Also, the reason for their judgment of being thrown into the lake of fire, which is the second death, is that they are not found in the Book of Life. All are born dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-10), but the sin that is basis for this judgment is ones own works. Those who escape this judgment are those who are in the Book of Life and our Lord makes that clear as well in Revelation 2:11. Do those whose names are found in the Book of Life also have works that would otherwise cause them to be thrown into lake of fire? Of course! Yes indeed, those whose names are in the Book of Life have been redeemed and the Lord Jesus Christ is their propititiation as they have been justified by grace through faith. Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to their account while their unrighteousness was imputed to Christ’s account on the Cross. His death there paid the penalty for their sin and satisfied the wrath of God against their sin, but these whose names are not found written in the Book of Life, they have no Advocate before the Father as those in Christ.

Notice also that there is a real difference between those whose names are in the Book of Life and those whose names are not. Those who in the Book of Life also overcome as we saw in my post Faithful. Those who do not listen, i.e. do not repent after being convicted and warned, prove their disingenuousness as believers by not overcoming and eventually becoming apostate (1 John 2:19).

God’s wrath against sin is real. Judgment is real and the second death awaits all who are not in Christ. We all know people who are in that danger. Are we praying for them daily? Are we witnessing to them when we can? What about all those people all around us who are lost in their trespasses and sins? We have no idea who the elect are, therefore, we must give the Gospel to everyone. Our Lord builds his church. We do not do that. Our part is to obey him by making disciples from the people around us wherever he has us.

Time is short.

Soli Deo Gloria!

19 thoughts on “The Great White Throne Judgment

  1. Exactly!
    From this:

    To this:

    Same person same song. It grieves me to say hearers of the Word and not doers of the Word are the sadest folks on earth.
    It also is a clear picture of the majority of churchianity today. Again, same person? Or new creation in Christ Jesus. She got all the words right…till she didn’t.

    Let us always renew our love for the Lord, and His will to be done, as we preach the Gospel to the who so evers that will listen, for we know not who the elect are.
    Please pray for my father as he reaches the end of his flesh journey. He has had a wonderful life in the flesh…much to be thankful for. God has been good to him, yet he rejects Jesus.

  2. This also speaks volumes to the apostate streams of psycho self help gospels that walk arm in arm with Oprah.

  3. It’s a sad scenario. Many people have a form of godliness and deny it’s power. Jesus said he who is not with me is against me and he who does not gather with me scatters. It’s clear that there is no middle ground and there isn’t any one foot in this world and one in heaven.

    the moment I pulled my yahoo page up yesterday and read about Whitney, tears filled my eyes. Lord knows I don’t wish anyone to hell. My heart just breaks and I have that renewed urgency all the MORE to be BOLD for sharing the truth-the gospel with people.

    I have shared but it seems like it goes in one ear and out the other. I can only return to the power of God’s salvation that he would grant them eyes to see and ears to hear as he’s the only SAVIOR and only one worthy of SAVING anyone. To God be ALL the glory-Soli DEO gloria

    We can only pray for those who are alive and struggling with addiction that they would take heed and that God in his marvelous grace would grant them the Fear of the LORD

  4. I’m pretty asounded at the reaction Whitney’s death on here. Some Christians live lives that look like shipwrecks but we have to be careful, we are saved by grace. By grace, by grace, by grace. If Whitney witnessed that Jesus loved her, I will quieten myself unto the day, continue to preach the full gospel and give God the glory.

  5. Maninacave, can you give me a Biblical reference that gives us an example of a genuine Christian whose life looked like a shipwreck and never repented even unto death? On the other hand, I can give you 2 Peter 2:20-22 which gives us the opposite…

    I think her death is tragic not something to make sensational.

  6. Maninacave, can you give me a Biblical reference that gives us an example of a genuine Christian whose life looked like a shipwreck and never repented even unto death?

  7. Mike,

    the scriptures rightly urge us to be holy, sanctified, to keep in step with the Spirit and to live up to the full stature of Christ. We can preach and teach nothing other than that.

    I agree that 2 Peter 2: 1,2 points out the error false teachers can teach, preach live and carry others along with them. It is a serious warning.

    There are instances, and I think here of the O.T. where there are more bio sketches of men (I often wonder about Saul – was his rejection absolute?) who lived lives waaay off-kilter but without indicating they were totally rejected of God as Hophni and Phineas were. If by grace then by grace alone, and I am more than uneasy about second guessing the Judgment of individuals (not that you did that but the thread seemed to me as going down that route).

    I have appreciated this blog, well written and lucid, and I intend to keep reading it though I am finding it a bit harsh on other Christian leaders, not least John Piper). I need to find out more about what it is you oppose in him. His wonderful books have so encouraged me.

    I may be a tad liberal for this here site. But I know this blog has a heartbeat for truth and I have bookmarked it (I haven’t bookmarked many). Nor will I ever use it to bate anyone or bang a drum.

    I just feel uneasy on this issue…I wanted to put another view even if it were rejected. I’ll leave it there.

    Warmest regards, Phil (AKA Maninacave)

  8. Phil, those like Piper, Warren, et al are to be held to highest level of accountability. Yes, John Piper has written some good books. Yes, he has preached some good sermons and recommended some good books which I have read, but how do you separate that from his partnering with men whose theology and actions mark them as either apostates or heretics? It not just what a Christian leader says, but what he does that counts and that includes the likes of me as well. However, the judge is God, not us. We are simply to rebuke and warn, which I do.

  9. Mike, I have been reading and I hope paying attention. I know that you assert that apostasy is not only turning one’s back on the faith but (as it were) serious corruption of the faith from inside. I agree, even if you are trying to drag the word back to a meaning it seems to have left behind in popular thought (no objection there).

    … also I acknowledged that you didn’t judge or condemn Whitney.

    I’m still not sure what Piper has done, who was he with and did it amount to ‘partnering’ …can you point me to an article that will explain?

    I tell you something else that puzzles me. I support the persecuted Church through the UK Barnabus Fund. They are brave people, they get death threats so often they but keep on keeping on ……… Anyway, many of these Christians who suffer imprisonment and worse for Christ’s name (“Blessed are they….”) – well if they came over to the patch of the vineyard that our little church labours in and set up a church nearby – we wouldn’t have anything to do with them. We have little or no ecumenical impulse because the need for doctrinal purity is so important to us and as a pastor I have to feed and protect the flock. A bit of a dislocation there methinks. Yes it puzzles me…

    Thank you for your answers. I can assure you I’m not egging you on. I don’t write much on the internet these days, and indeed I will slink back into the background soon I suspect. Still this is illuminating.

    warmest regards from South Wales UK.

    Philip

  10. @ maninacave.
    Sorry you saw my comments as harsh or whatever word you prefer. I and others grieve for folks who have been duped by false gospels. This was a lady who had all the right people in her family to protect her from the road she traveled. She chose to do those things, including marrying Bobby Brown. Further, she chose to run to Oprah for spiritual counseling. What is sad is she had leaves but no fruit. We are to judge that. The point of my posting it was for all of us to consider how we present the gospel, and how we hold each other accountable.
    With regards to grace, there is common grace, which you might be referring to as courtesy with regards to my posting. God’s Grace is much more isn’t it? Question, do you believe that she is in the Lamb’s book of Life? If so, what are you judging her worthy with? You say you are “liberal.” Does that mean your idea of the Narrow Road is broader then mine?
    Words on a forum like this can seem much harsher then they really are. My questions to you are genuine Iassure you.
    Mickey Merrie

    By the way, I can show you pictures of her walking through the celebrity paperazzi and the word she is angerly using with the crowd is vulgar and it begins with F and it isn’t godly. Her eyes also show no love. That sir is harsh:

  11. Linda…………………it is not just grace,,,,,,,,,,, it is by grace through FAITH

    indeed and I can see and appreciate your point, though I never wished to deny that.

    ……………….Question, do you believe that she is in the Lamb’s book of Life? If so, what are you judging her worthy with?

    Mickey Merrie you ask Is she in the Lambs book of Life – I cannot know. Simple as that. I can make an earthly judgment call on what seems the balance of a life as I can observe it, but at the final moment I have to say I do not know. That does not stop me from warning against sinful behaviour, lack of wisdom and the realities of hell.

    Her worth? I know my worth. I know Jesus’ worth. They are more than poles apart. Unless His worth is credited to me I am eternally lost, and rightly so.

    ………………..You say you are “liberal.” Does that mean your idea of the Narrow Road is broader then mine?

    Now that is an interesting way of putting it. The narrowness of the road is objective and in one serious sense has nothing to do with our views on it, though of course I think we would both want to measure our understanding of it against God’s word. On that objective level I assert that not one person is lost from that road and no one is on it who has not been redeemed by Jesus’ blood. I can see the liberal slope in that position.

    Thank you for visiting my blog, I’m not phishing but your encouraging words were appreciated.

    Warm regards

    Philip

  12. By the way Phil, you are welcome here! We all get our moments of, shall we say, instruction from the family. This is a great site and you are right, His Truth is what we all seek. that is why you will be a welcome addition! Mike is quite good about allowing for good discourse… He is also an excellent “school master” LOL.
    Mickey Merrie

  13. Grace and peace in Christ Jesus!

    The question of Saul perplexed me too, and I finally got the answer in an Old Testament course.

    “So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord, because of the world of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a meduim, making inquiry of it, and did not inquire of the Lord. Therefore He killed him and turned the kingdom over to David the Son of Jesse.” 1 Chronicles 10:13-14 *see also 1 Samuel 13:14

    Psalm 32:1-2 “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit is no deceit!” *see also Romans 4:7-9
    Sadly, Saul did not get to heaven.

    However, an example of King Asa is a subject of deep consideration (2 Chronicles Chapters 15& 16). King Asa did not end well (2 Chronicles 16:12) Yet, it is written of King Asa “…the heart of King Asa was wholly devoted to the LORD all his days.” 1 Kings 15:14. This immediately brings this warning to mind “Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” 1 Corinthians 10:12. We need to walk very soberly in this world for we do not know the heart.

    Kept only by His grace, charisse

  14. Thanks Philip. With regards to whether she is “in” or “out,” I would simply add this:

    http://kingjbible.com/1_john/2.htm

    plus: John 15:18-19
    18If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
    Not what I saw from the Hollywood Elite…
    Again, we can look at the Michael Jackson issue, and many others. This is I believe, more a case of someone being told they were “christian” probably due to church membership when young and a “sinners prayer,” then someone “popishly” declaring them “saved” then hearing “once saved always saved” and “you can’t be plucked from His hand”… This becomes poison to an “In name only good person christian.”
    Make no mistake, I hate that things go like this. I hate that Satan gets a foothold anywhere in mankind. I hate most of all that there is a broad road to destruction that many enter in thereby, and then hear “Depart from Me, I never knew you worker of inequity”…”But Lord! LORD!!” they will cry…This grieves me beyond all of it. As you forsake everything for Him, you learn to love what He loves…and hate what He hates. Every singe person on that broad road to destruction are completely convinced they are fine…But they are just as convinced as the prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel.

  15. Charisse,

    thanks for the reply on the Saul point. You offer very important points and I do not wish to downgrade them. However there is 1 Samuel 10: 9a and I wonder how they fit with this nugget of information….

    Net Bible: As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed his inmost person.

    ESV: When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart.

    and I see this as a description of being born again. I then hold (as I am sure we all do) that no-one can loose their salvation.

    Clearly Saul was rejected by the Lord on earth as King and I guess that meant he had to die. The manner of his death is also problematical and adds weight to your view as you no doubt already know. ISo to say the least it did not end well with Saul. His life is littered with warnings for the believer today. Again though I am left with a kind of balance of probability about Saul’s eternal destiny (it doesn’t look hopeful) rather than a sure fire conviction either way.

    I think the issue you raise about King Asa is a good case in point. Again Lot seemed a rum sort of guy but it seems he was righteous and pained by what he saw….

    Mickey, I have no essential split with you on this. Scripture stand and I cannot gainsay it.

    Kind regards

    Philip

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