By Merrill Olson
There is going to be a future trial that will surpass all others that have ever taken place. It will occur when every unsaved person, from the beginning of time, will face the courtroom of God at the Great White Throne Judgment. The fearsome picture of it is described in Revelation 20:11-15. This is the most serious and sobering passage in the Bible. It tells of a frightening experience that will take place.
This judgment will be the final one after Satan has been “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone” (v. 10). It will be a horrific judgment that will lead all unsaved humanity into the same place (v. 15). No unredeemed person will be exempt for some reason. There will be no grace because it ended at death. There is no salvation beyond the grave. Therefore, there will be no debate regarding anyone’s innocence or guilt. There will be no defense attorneys. Everyone will be guilty before a holy God. They died in their sins without Christ; and thus, all hope is gone.
God’s Word portrays them as “the dead, small and great” (v. 12). These are the mass of unbelievers who face the divine judgment of God. It also includes those depicted by the words “the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them” (v. 13).
At death the souls of all unbelievers enter the realm that Jesus called “Hades” (Luke 16:23). It is a place of “torment” (v. 24) as they await the Great White Throne Judgment. When the day and hour comes for their divine summons, they will be resurrected to stand before an unsympathetic Judge to hear their sentencing. They will have eternal bodies that will never die. Their names are not “written in the Book of Life” (Rev. 20:15). Therefore, they will be “cast into the lake of fire” and punished eternally with no possibility of release. What a horrifying truth!
There is no one without Christ who will escape. Not one person will be spared because of their “good works” (Eph. 2:8-9). People from history will be there. This includes people like Hitler, Stalin, Julius Caesar, and Roman emperors. It also takes in atheists, agnostics, the religious and unconverted church members, including pastors, priests, and popes. The self-righteous will appear. People from false religions will be there such as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc. The list goes on and on. It does not make any difference whether people are Protestant, Catholic, Jewish or whatever, without saving faith in the Lord only divine judgment awaits them.
Who is the Supreme Judge? It is the Lord Jesus Christ! He said, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). He added, “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man” (vv. 26-27). If people reject Christ now, they will appear before Him as their divine Judge.
Salvation is found in Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12). The Bible says, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3)
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