Zechariah 14:12-21; Revelation 20:11-15; Psalms 148:5-14; Proverbs 30:33
NT: “Then I saw a great white throne and one seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books. Then the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them; each one was judged according to their works. Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15 CSB)
The millennial reign of Christ and history itself will come to an end before the great white throne. Everything in the book of revelation is centered around an occupied throne. John’s heavenly vision began in the throne-room of God where God’s throne sat at the center of all of heaven’s activities. History itself culminates and comes to a final end before the great white throne of judgement. The righteous dead and righteous living already faced their judgement before the judgement seat of Christ. There, before Christ, they were judged for their fruitfulness while alive and were rewarded accordingly. The judgement before the great white throne is reserved for all the unrighteous dead throughout the course of human history.
Great and small alike will all stand before the great white throne to account for their works and pay for their sin. All the cruel dictators of the world will stand side-by-side with even the most insignificant of unredeemed people. If they did not accept Christ’s payment of their sin by faith while alive, then they must pay for their sin in full. The wages of sin… any sin and all sin… is death. The Lamb’s book of life will be opened, not to see if any names are written in it, but to show that their names are not written in it – and that their debt must be paid in full.
At the conclusion of the great white throne judgement, Death itself and Hades (the abode of the unrighteous dead) will be throne into the lake of fire along with Satan, the beast and the false prophet. The lake of fire is not synonymous with what we think of as hell or hades, as hades itself is thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is also known as Gehenna. Several times during His sermon on the mount, Jesus referred to Gehenna – and that anyone who committed even the smallest of sins was destined to end up there. Gehenna referred to an actual place – the valley of Hinnom. The valley of Hinnom was considered a God-forsaken place. The valley of Hinnom was a valley outside of the walls of Jerusalem where, in times past, evil kings sacrificed their children to the pagan god Molech. Because of the cursed nature of the valley, it became the place where all of the trash, filth and dead animals of the city were taken to be burned. Spiritually speaking, Gehenna is the place – eternally separated and outside of the presence, blessing and life of God – where the filth of history will be taken to burn for eternity. It was not a place intended for humanity. It was a place intended for Satan and all the filth that he created. However, those who did not give their lives to the Lamb and have their names written in His book of life, were never cleansed of their filth and will be eternally associated with Satan – sentenced to eternally burn in Gehenna.
Psalms: “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded, and they were created. He set them in position forever and ever; he gave an order that will never pass away. Praise the Lord from the earth, all sea monsters and ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and cloud, stormy wind that executes his command, mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, creatures that crawl and flying birds, kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all judges of the earth, young men as well as young women, old and young together. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted. His majesty covers heaven and earth. He has raised up a horn for his people, resulting in praise to all his faithful ones, to the Israelites, the people close to him. Hallelujah!” (Psalms 148:5-14 CSB)
In Philippians 2:9-11, Paul declared that God has given Jesus Christ the name that is above every name – and that ultimately every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father. Those who, in faith, bow the knee to Christ in this life will not suffer the second death – but will rule and reign with Him for eternity. According to Revelation 20, those who did not bow to Christ in this life will indeed bow before Christ as they stand in front of the great white throne at the close of history. Make no mistake – every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Christ is Lord. We can place our faith in Him, be cleansed of our filth and sin, and bow before Him now – or we will be have no other option but to bow, as a defeated foe, before Him on judgement day. Therefore, I say – like the psalmist of Psalm 148 declared – let all creation… kings of the earth, princes, judges, young men and women, old and young together, and all peoples praise the name of the Lord now. His name alone is exalted. His majesty covers heaven and earth. Praise the Lord!
Prayer: Lord, Your name is the name that is above every name. You are the Son of God, and You came to earth as Jesus the Christ to live the life that I should have lived, and die the death that I should have died in my place. You did that so that I, through faith in Your name, would be cleansed of my sin, filth and shame, and live abundantly with You now and for eternity. Because of that, You have been given the title of King of kings and Lord of lords forever. Thank You for rescuing me from the second death. May my life now be lifted up in eternal praise to You – and may my testimony rescue others from the fires of Gehenna. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.