The Judgment of the Living Dead, Part 3

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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 3)

We have already identified several key aspects of the Great White Throne Judgment. When will it take place? After the 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth. Who is the judge at this judgment? Jesus Christ himself. Who stands accused at this judgment? Every person who lived on this earth who died without accepting Christ as their Savior.

Now, let’s look at the procedure of this courtroom. You can imagine Jesus sitting on His throne. The jury box is empty because there are no jurors. (There is no need for jurors when the righteous, perfect, infallible, and holy Son of God is presiding over the trial.) There is a poor sinner standing behind the defendant’s table. Imagine yourself there for a moment. You look bewildered and frightened. Of course you would because you’ve just been jolted back to life and given a resurrected physical body. You can feel and sense things just like you used to on earth. You can feel your hands trembling and the sweat running down your brow because you’re looking up into the face of the Son of God you once rejected. Now, it’s all too real — He’s real. You wish you could run and hide, but there’s nowhere to go. Behind you, there’s a vast multitude of people — generations upon generations of the living dead — awaiting their trials.

The trial begins. The Bible says, “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.” These books are what bring the accusations and determine the judgment of those who are on trial before the Great White Throne.

We are not specifically told what these books are. However, the first set of “books” — the books referred to in the plural — are most likely the books which record all of the actions of human beings — good and bad. Everything you and I have ever done — be it good or bad, significant or insignificant, secret or out in the open — is recorded in Heaven. These books are opened at the Great White Throne Judgment in order to bring the charge of sin against the living dead. The Bible says these people are “judged out of those things which were written in the books.”

Then, we see that “another book is opened”; this book is given a name — “the book of life.” This book contains the names of all those who are alive — not physically alive, but spiritually alive. Only those who have received eternal life by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ are listed in this book. As each poor sinner takes his place at the defendant’s table, the book of life will be consulted, and the Bible says, “whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” All of the living dead at the Great White Throne Judgment will find that their names are absent from the book of life, and they will go out into eternity to suffer forever in the lake of fire.

But, there is one caveat that we must take note of. Some might ask, Why consult the books of works if the fate of these people is already determined because their names are not in the book of life? Well, here we must acknowledge the justice and fairness of Almighty God. The reason why the books of works are consulted is because there will be degrees of punishment in the lake of fire. (You might think of Dante’s Nine Levels of Hell.) The Bible says the living dead are “judged every man according to their works.”

This is not to suggest that works play a role in the saving or damning of a soul. They do not. A man is saved or damned based on his decision to accept or reject Jesus Christ. However, just as there are levels of reward for saints, there are levels of punishment for sinners. God will not punish those who commit relatively minor infractions in the same way He punishes those responsible for great atrocities.

The Bible makes the sad future outcome of sinners and saints quite plain. For those who are unsaved, it is not worth risking ending up at the Great White Throne Judgment. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior today. For those of us who are saved, this should be a great motivator to tell people about Christ and to do our part to win souls to Him.

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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 Society.com 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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