The revelation of Jesus Christ is important because it is God’s speaking to His people about when Jesus Christ will return. It is the final glimpse into the final judgment that will occur at the end times. The importance of the Book of Revelation lies in the fact that it explains what will happen to all people at the time of Jesus Christ’s return. It explains what happens to believers, those that are uncertain, and those that have rejected Jesus Christ completely.
We also see the final judgment of man. This last judgment is known as the great white throne judgment and is described in Revelation 20:11-15. This is the final judgment before the lot is cast into the lake of fire. We will take a deeper look into this final judgment understanding important facts about this judgment and why we need to understand his judgment in our lives as believers today.
The great white throne judgment happens right after the defeat of Satan.
This is since God had dealt with Satan he now has moved to judge his followers. It is referenced as the “white” throne to symbolize the theme of purity and holiness that have been associated with it throughout the book. Such as Christ having white hair, sitting on a white cloud, and returning on a white horse, and much more seen in the book of Revelation (Osborne 720). In addition, his judgment is more universal in the begging with the judgment of the saints and then finishing with the sinners.
One can see the great white throne judgment in Revelation 20:11-15 when Paul writes:
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that was in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that was in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)
John describes something that is for all people. This judgment could not be ignored or avoided by any believer or atheist. This is because before the new age can begin, this age must cease. We see this very fact in Isaiah 51:6 and several other passages of scripture. The new heaven and new earth can only come about with this earth being judged and passing away (Revelation 21:1).
We will first look at who stands before this judgment of God. As stated before this judgment is both for the righteous and unrighteous. We first see the judgment of the righteous in Revelation 20:12. The Bible never says what exactly this “judgment” will be, and we know that we have been forgiven for our sins and will be rewarded for our service to God. It must suffice to say that we will be faced with our sin and then be forgiven and will be rewarded for the good we have done. Though Christians are held accountable for their actions, they are forgiven in Christ and their names were written in the “book of life from the creation of the world” (Revelation 17:8). We also know from Scripture that it is at this judgment when the dead will be “judged according to what they had done” (Revelation 20:12) and that “anyone’s name” that is not “found written in the book of life” will be “thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).
This leads to the ext type of person in the great white judgment which is the unrighteous sinner who is judged for their sin and rejection of Jesus as their Savior.
Revelation 20:13-15 speaks of the unrighteous sinners who have rejected the “great salvation” (Hebrews 2:3) and now must stand before a great Judge to listen to their final sentence. Their bodies are brought forth from every depository that holds their bodies. whether the remains of the wicked dead are in the sear or on earth, God will see to it that they are raised. All ranks and degrees of the saved sinner will experience this great throne of judgment. This is because the books that are opened (Revelation 20:12) contain records of everyone’s deeds, whether they are good or evil, because God knows everything that has ever been said, done, or even thought, and He will reward or punish each one accordingly (Psalm 28:4; 62:12; Romans 2:6; Revelation 2:23; 18:6; 22:12).
This is important to believers today because the great white throne judgment is the response to the unmasking of the terrible evil of this world. Jesus Christ will be the judge, all unbelievers will be judged by Christ, and they will be punished according to the works they have done. The Bible is very clear that unbelievers are storing up wrath against themselves (Romans 2:5) and that God will “give to each person according to what he has done” (Romans 2:6). This should give us urgency and excitement about seeing others come to Christ. Without Jesus, sinners are helpless against the wrath of God. In addition, they will follow Death and Hades into the lake of fire and share the eternal torture with those who chose not to believe. They will be thrown into the lake of fire and experience. a second death. Believers will also be judged by Christ, but since Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to us and our names are written in the book of life, we will be rewarded, but not punished, according to our deeds. Romans 14:10-12 says that we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and that each one of us will give an account to God.
This should give us excitement in knowing that as believers we are already written in the book of life and that Jesus has paid the ultimate payment and punishment for our sins.
In conclusion, we can see how important John’s vision of the judgment of the great white throne has on believers and non-believers today. John gives believers a clear picture, that in the end men will either share in the enjoyment and blessings of heaven or find their place in the lake of fire. No matter what happened every person who has lived upon earth will have to make this choice. This should challenge Christians today to live a missional life and have a sense of urgency in reaching the lost so that when the great white judgment occurs they can have the assurance that they will receive eternal life, only offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.