Summary: We Will Stand Before God’s Judgment Throne 1) Are you ready for what you’ll see? 2) Are you ready for what He’ll see?
The Internet is a handy tool, don’t you think? For example now, before you go on a trip, you can see whether or not that lodge described as “rustic” is a comfy place with oversized chairs and fireplace, or whether it’s nothing more than a bunkhouse that lacks indoor plumbing. You would want to know which one it was so you could plan accordingly.
Like a website that helps us prepare for a place we’re thinking of going, our sermon text gives us a preview of Judgment Day. With vivid pictures it gets us ready for what we’ll see as we stand before God’s judgment throne, and it also sheds light on what God will see as we stand before him.
The prophet Daniel was the first one to see this preview of Judgment Day. The vision he received began with four terrifying beasts coming out of the ocean. Each beast represented a different world power starting with the Babylonians and ending with the Romans (Daniel 7:1-8). This vision may have made Daniel think that evil governments control world events. That of course is not the case. God made that clear when the reign of the beasts abruptly came to an end and in their place countless thrones were set up in heaven and on one of those thrones the “Ancient of Days” took a seat (Daniel 7:9).
The Ancient of Days is, of course, God. Does that title make God sound like some guy stooped with age? Isn’t that how many people picture God? They see him as a kindly grandfather who really doesn’t care or know what’s going on among his grandchildren. Others think that God doesn’t have the power to control events in the universe. Is that the impression we’ll get as we stand before God’s judgment throne? Not at all! Listen to how Daniel went on to describe God. “His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. 10 A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him” (Daniel 7:9b, 10a).
Although the white hair may further the impression that God is old and the wheels on his throne may make it sound like he’s sitting in a wheelchair, the fire consuming his throne and the river of fire emanating from his being tell us that God is no weakling. He is the authority in the universe. Sure he looks old but that’s because he is. He’s been around forever, literally. That means that there’s no chance of fooling him, of pulling the wool over his eyes when we stand before his judgment throne. He’s seen all the tricks. He knows what we’ve all been up to. And his throne, by the way, is not a wheelchair; it’s a chariot. So there’s no running from God.
All in all that’s a pretty scary vision of God - especially the fire surrounding and coming out of the Ancient of Days! What effect will that fire have on us when we stand before God’s judgment throne? To answer that question let’s find out what God will see when we stand before his throne. Daniel reports: “Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:10b).
The court that God presides over is no kangaroo court. God has done his homework and has books filled with evidence he needs to make judgment. What’s in your evidence book? Would you be willing to have that book, which contains a record of every moment of your life, made into a movie? If so, what would that movie be rated? Would it be suitable for general audiences? Would you let your children or your parents see that movie? I don’t think so. Wouldn’t the sexual content of our thoughts be enough to make that movie one we’d want destroyed? But there is no destroying the evidence. Therefore when God looks at us as we stand before his judgment throne he sees sinners. He sees people who deserve to be eternally burned by the river of fire that flows out of him.
But wait! Do you remember how Daniel said he saw thousands upon thousands attend God, and ten thousand upon ten thousand standing before him (Daniel 7:10b)? In the book of Revelation we see a similar scene in which God is surrounded by thousands of angels and thousands of people dressed in white (Revelation 4). Those dressed in white are people like you and me. They have stood before God’s judgment throne but were not burned by the fire coming out from God. Instead they were purified by it. Why? Because they believed in Jesus. They believed that Jesus took the blame for their sins. Think of it this way. Did you ever receive a report card for which you knew your parents would discipline you? Didn’t you think of ways of changing the grades on your report card? Didn’t you wish you could trade your report card with the smart kid in your class so that you wouldn’t get in trouble at home? In essence that’s what Jesus did; he traded report cards with us so that when we stand before God’s judgment throne, God looks at the evidence and he doesn’t see any sin. Instead he sees only a perfect life because he sees Jesus’ life in place of ours.