Revelation 20:11, 12, 15
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
The final judgment of the unsaved is called the Great White Throne judgment. This is the Scripture that defines it, Revelation 20:11 and 12:
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing be- fore God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books...And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
What are the books that are mentioned in these three verses?
- “…the Book of Life.” – This is the record of all who have believed God’s plan of salvation, fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ, and actuated to our benefit through faith in Him! All whose names are written in this book have been redeemed from hell and have gained eternal life forever with God!
- “…the books were opened.” These books (plural) are the records of the unsaved – all their works (words and thoughts) are recorded! They will be judged and sent to eternal hell, where their suffering will be according to their works.
This last statement raises a question: Are there degrees of suffering in hell? The answer lies in Luke 12:42 through 48 – Jesus’ parable of the faithful steward. It is the last two verses of this parable that give us the answer:
...that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his [master’s] will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few [stripes]. For every- one to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
Yes, there are degrees of suffering in hell according to this parable. And that deduction is reasonable:
- If one…
➔ ...was considered a ‘good’ person by societal standards, he or she can never be ‘good enough’ to earn eternal life! For we are told in Isaiah 64:6, “...we are all like an unclean thing, and [before God] all our right- eousnesses are like filthy rags....” If our righteous- nesses (the very best we, by our own resources, can do), how do our wicked works appear to God? ➔ ...had not heard the ‘specific revelation’ of the gos- pel proclaimed by faithful Christian witnessing, that person will still be held accountable! For he or she has rejected the ‘general revelation’ of God who gives forth the salvation message through all His creative works! (see Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:18-20; 10:9-18 – see also the Gem from June 1, 2021, “My Name Is Elohim” which explains Saint Paul’s thinking in Romans 10:9-18).
- But the ‘good’ or ‘uninformed’ person, mentioned above, will still occupy a place in hell! But those places will not be as eternally excruciating as what is reserved for those mentioned below.
- The ones who will suffer the most in the darkness, the fire, the isolation, the utter hopelessness of hell, are…
➔ ...those who have consistently rejected the gospel plainly presented to them! And... ➔ ...the ‘very wicked’ people who wreak havoc upon fellow human beings!
Neither place in hell, the place of less suffering or the place of greater suffering, will spare the occupant eternal torment! But there is a way of escape…..the only way:
- John 14:6 – “Jesus said…‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
- Acts 4:12 – “…there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
- I Corinthians 15:3 and 4 – “…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures…He was buried, and…He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures….”
- II Corinthians 5:21 – “For He [the Father] made Him [the Son, Jesus], who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
- John 3:36 – “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
- John 5:24 – Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has [already] passed from death to life.”
- Romans 8:1 – “There is…no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus….”
- I John 5:11 through 13:
...God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life....
Hell is real, and Heaven is real!
Choose to escape the first
And claim the second!
Put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!
There is more to discuss concerning “And The Books Were Opened….” We will undertake that in the next Gem.