Summary: The final judgment is called the “Great White Throne Judgment.” Many people scoff at the idea of it all and refuse to believe that there will be a future punishment for sins.
We hear it preached, we read about it, and for the most part, we all believe it—the final judgment is coming, that great day when all unbelievers will stand before God and give an account to God. The final judgment is called the “Great White Throne Judgment.” Many people scoff at the idea of it all and refuse to believe that there will be a future punishment for sins.
They laugh at the preaching and teaching about hell, but the Scripture emphatically declares that there will be a final judgment for unbelievers, every unbeliever small and great. They will all stand before the throne of God and give an account to Him. That is where we are going tonight as we talk about the final resurrection and judgment of unbelievers, “The Great White Throne Judgment.”
Tonight’s study is one of the shorter ones but I wanted there to be a definite separation between this section of Revelation and the next.
READ 11. First we see the place of the judgment, the great white throne of God. This is the very throne of God. Standing there they will see exactly what John saw. There they will know that they should have never rejected and cursed God and Christ. Let’s look at how the throne is described.
First, the throne of God is a great throne. It is far greater than any judicial bench of any supreme court. It is greater because God Himself sits upon it. When He speaks and makes a decision the decision is final, it is for eternity, and it can never be appealed.
But the throne is great for another reason. Its decisions concern a great salvation. Everyone who stands before the great white throne of God has rejected the great salvation of God’s Son. They have rejected the only way to God. That is what makes this so serious.
The second description of the throne of God is that it is a white throne. As we know, white stands for purity, holiness, and righteousness. We can never forget that no person is perfect. No person is perfectly pure or righteous. Only God is perfect. The only way a person can ever live with God is if his imperfections are removed. How is that done? It is done through Jesus Christ. Jesus died for our sins. He took upon Himself the sins of man so that man can be counted as righteous before God. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we can then reside with God.
The point is that no unbeliever has done this. Everyone who stands before the great white throne of God will be bearing his own sins.
Also in verse 11 we see the time of the judgment. When will the great white throne judgment take place? When the earth and the heavens flee away. This is a poetic way to describe the destruction of the present heavens and earth. Remember: God has promised a new heavens and earth. To do that, He must destroy the present heavens and earth.
Picture the scene. There stand all the unbelievers. Billions and billions of unbelievers stand upon the great sea of glass before the throne of God. Then all of a sudden there is a massive explosion of atoms. A chain reaction sets off all the atoms throughout the whole universe. A universal atomic explosion destroys the whole universe.
Imagine the shock to these unbelievers. The idea is that they will witness the fiery destruction of their world. Note the words, “there was no place for them.” That is speaking of the unbelievers. They had lived for the world and now that world is gone. They don’t belong in heaven so there is no place for them.
READ 12. Here we see the people who will be judged.
• Both the small and the great.
• Ordinary men and women.
• Those who were average and common people of the earth.
• Those who are slaves and servants of the world.
• Those who are in positions of authority.
• Those who misused their authority.
Every unbeliever on the face of the earth will stand before God and be judged. Also in verse 12 we see the basis of judgment. Note exactly what is said.
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. It is the book that includes the names of everyone who has ever lived or ever will live upon earth. God wants everyone to live with Him forever, so every person’s name is recorded in the book of life. But when a person fails to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior, his name is erased from the book, and he loses the right to live as a citizen of heaven with God.