The Judgment of the Living Dead, Part 2


TEXT: Revelation 20:11-15

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

The Judgment of the Living Dead (Part 2)

Warren Wiersbe said, “The White Throne Judgment will be nothing like our modern court cases. At the White Throne, there will be a Judge but no jury, a prosecution but no defense, a sentence but no appeal. No one will be able to defend himself or accuse God of unrighteousness. What an awesome scene it will be!”

Right after the final battle on earth is won by Christ and His saints, John shifts to a new scene in the Lord’s Revelation: He says, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.”

This Great White Throne is something not mentioned anyplace else in either the Old Testament or the New Testament. It is right here, showing that this judgment takes place outside of time and in eternity. The throne is “great” because of the One who sits upon it. The throne is “white” because every judgment that proceeds from it is righteous and holy.

Who sits on the Great White Throne? We are not told specifically, but it most likely will be Jesus Christ himself. He had stated in the Gospels, “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” In one of the final acts written about in the Bible, Jesus is acting as the Judge of the Universe. Although He is Savior and Shepherd, His judgment is nothing to be trifled with. It is serious business, as we are told, ‘from before His face, earth and heaven fled away.’

W.A. Elwell said, “John’s vision of the throne of God is so powerful that everything else is seen to fly from the presence of the almighty God who sits in judgment. Nothing can stand in his presence. Earth and sky have fled in terror, for the day of mercy has ended. Now only the judgment of God remains.” The Bible predicts that ultimately the Heavens and the Earth that exist presently will be destroyed to make way for a new Heaven and a new Earth. This might be the time when that occurs. Nature itself — corrupted, tainted, ravaged by centuries of sin — can no longer exist before its Maker. It rushes away when the day of judgment comes, and the Bible says, “there was found no place for them.” It can go nowhere and hide from Jesus’ sight; it is ultimately destroyed.

But not before all those who have lived upon it are called forth. John says, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” We know that these are the unsaved dead because those who have believed in Jesus have already been resurrected. That resurrection — which Jesus calls the “resurrection unto life” — took place during the Rapture and the Second Coming. The only dead who remain on the Earth are those who have rejected Christ and those who sided with the Antichrist and Satan during the Tribulation and MIllennial Kingdom.

John says these dead are “the small and great”, that is the seemingly insignificant people and the seemingly important people — kings, heads of state, business tycoons, everyone who rejected Christ. No sinner is too small for Jesus to overlook; none too important for Jesus to give special treatment to. All stand equally before the Great White Throne.

John emphasizes this point when he says, “the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them.” How a person died does not matter here. Even if their body was burned to ashes and scattered on the ocean waves, that person will be resurrected in bodily form to face Jesus Christ at the Great White Throne. This is what Jesus calls the “second resurrection”, the resurrection of the living dead.

One reason why John specifically mentions the “sea” giving up its dead is because the Jews believed that a person who drowned in the ocean did not go to the place where the rest of the dead went, rather they remained trapped beneath the water. But the water will not hold any souls or bodies when Jesus calls the dead to face judgment. The fact that “death” and “hell” give up their dead proves that those who die without Christ do not go to a waiting state. Their bodies are dead, but their spirits are in Hell. When the resurrection of these dead takes place, their spirits will be returned to their bodies and they will stand before the Judge.

Dear Christian friend, these solemn truths ought to motivate us to share the Gospel with everyone we can so that they can take part in the first resurrection — ‘the resurrection unto life.’ The image of Jesus on the Great White Throne ought to remind us that although Jesus is our loving Savior, He is also a righteous Judge who will not allow sin to go unpunished.


If you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you how you can trust Him for salvation so that you can be ready for His return.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

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