There are many events described in the book of Revelation. One of them is the Great White Throne Judgment, described in Revelation 20. The Great White Throne Judgment is an event where those who did not know Jesus as their Savior during their life will come before the Lord and be judged by Christ. Christians will not be judged at this time—they will be judged before that, at the Judgment Seat of Christ. No one can run away from the judgment of God. All those who have rejected Christ will come before the Great White Throne Judgment. Let’s take a closer look at the details that will surround this great judgment.
The People Before the Great White Throne
In Revelation 20:12-13 we learn about the people at the Great White Throne: “I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God.… The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them.”
As John views the Great White Throne, he sees the dead. All who died without a relationship with Jesus Christ. The dead who died without Christ. The spiritually dead. Their bodies are summoned from their graves and from the sea. Their souls are called from death and Hades to stand before the Judge of all the earth. And John says this group will be made up of both small and great. That’s an expression that appears often in the Bible and over five times in the book of Revelation alone. It’s there to remind us that all classes of people will be present from all ranks in the Church and in the world. There will be many religious people at the Great White Throne: philanthropists and preachers, miracle workers, and lay people.
Erwin Lutzer says this multitude is diverse in its religions. We see Buddhists and Muslims and Hindus and Protestants and Catholics and Baptists and Presbyterians. We see those who believed in one God and those who believed in many gods. We see those who refused to believe in any God at all. We see those who believed in meditation as a means of salvation and those who believed that doing great deeds was the path to eternal life. We see the moral and the immoral. The priest as well as the minister, the nun as well as the missionary.
What will happen to these religious people when they stand before God? Let the Lord Jesus answer that question. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Contrary to popular opinion, believing in your chosen truth does not make it true. There is only one truth and that’s the truth of Jesus Christ. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Believe in that truth or you will not go to the Father. That’s what He said. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
Where Will the Great White Throne Judgment Take Place?
Revelation 20:11 says, “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.” The Bible does not specify where the Great White Throne Judgment will be. We do know where it will not be however. It will not be in heaven and it will not be on earth.
It cannot take place on earth because at the appearance of the Lord, the earth and the heaven will have fled away. And it cannot take place in heaven because no sinner can enter the presence of God there. So, the Great White Throne Judgment takes place somewhere between heaven and earth. Perhaps on some distant planet we don’t even know about, but it will take place.
And perhaps the name of it is more important than its location. The word great speaks of the infinite One who is the judge. The word white speaks of divine holiness, purity, and justice. And throne speaks of the majesty of the One who has the right to determine the destiny of His creatures.
The Judge of the Great White Throne
The Person of the Great White Throne Judgment is given to us in verses Revelation 20:11-12: “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it…. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God.”
Who is the judge on the Great White Throne? He is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. And we discover this through our Lord’s own words: “The Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son…. and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man” (John 5:22, 27).
Paul wrote to the Romans, “God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ” (Romans 2:16). In Acts, Peter declared that Christ was ordained by God to be the judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42).
Christ is the judge of the living at the Judgment Seat of Christ when believers come before Him after the Rapture. He is the judge of the spiritually dead at the Great White Throne Judgment. Jesus Christ will conduct the trial, and no one is better qualified. He did all that He could do to redeem man and if man rejects His offer, then man must be judged by Jesus.
Blotted Out in the Book of Life
Revelation 21:27 says only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will get into heaven—so what is that book? The names of all of the people born into the whole world are originally entered into the Book of Life. But those names are subject to being removed.
We can speculate that every person’s name entered into the Book of Life is entered in with the time of conception and the time of birth. Perhaps the age of accountability might be next to his name. And then, if he’s a Christian, the date of his conversion to Christ as His Savior is there. But if there are no entries for the last items by the time that person dies, the entry will be blotted out (Revelation 3:5). And an awful blank space will be left in the book at the place where that name should have been. Exhibiting this blank spot in the book will be the final and conclusive evidence that the person being judged must be consigned to life forever without God.
You see what happens is, when we are born, our name goes into the Book of Life and we have all of our lifetime to accept Christ. If we come to the end of our life and we haven’t accepted Him, the Bible says our name is blotted out of the Book of Life and no man can go to heaven whose name is not in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
What If I’m Not a Christian During the End Times?
This One who spoke and the world came into being is the One who will ultimately make it right. And the Bible says we will be with Him forever because we put our trust in Him. The Bible says that if you know Christ and are alive when Jesus comes back, you will be caught up together to be with Him and you will be taken to heaven.
If you die before He returns, the Bible says the dead in Christ shall rise first and then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together to be with Him, and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
So, if you’re a Christian, God has you covered. But if you are not a Christian, the only way that you can be protected from the awful judgment that is going to come upon this world, and from eternal punishment in the lake of fire, is to put your trust in Jesus Christ, today.
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To learn more about biblical prophecies for the future, request David Jeremiah’s masterwork on the subject, The Book of Signs—31 Undeniable Prophecies of the Apocalypse