Chinese people think that going to court is awful, that is why they have a saying: “One would not go to court when one is alive, just as one would not want to go to hell when one dies.” Actually going to court is a waste of manpower and resources. The church seldom speaks of judgment because right now it isn’t the right time yet. In our daily lives we should let the Lord be the judge, we should not judge others. The Lord said: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” He alone is the Lord that can judge.
Some people feel that we should not speak about God’s judgment because it will devaluate God’s love, making people fearful of God. But the final judgement is a very important theme of the Bible.
｢審判｣，其實有( 一) 審核、審查；( 二) 懲罰、報應；( 叁) 審判、定罪等意思。在末後的日子，也有｢基督的台前｣( 英文譯作Judgment seat of Christ) 與｢白色大寶座｣兩種不同的審判。是截然不同的。
“Judgment” means: (1) examine, to try someone in court ; (2) punishment, pay back; (3) trial, convict someone of a crime. In the last days, there will be “the Judgment Seat of Christ” and “The Great White Throne”, these two are completely different.
The Judgment seat of Christ is a “seat for examination”, to review the life of a believer and to find out what kind of fruit he/she produced. The end result would be great more reward and less punishment. The main purpose of the Great White Throne is to judge mankind, those whose names are not written in the Book of Life. They will end up in the lake of fire for eternity.
On one hand, people complain that there is no justice in this world, but when an evil person gets what he deserves, they say that God is too cruel. Actually, God really loves us, that is why He separated some people from others. You would not want to live with someone who is a rapist or a murderer. If you invite these criminals into your home, you would be doing an act of cruelty towards your family. God separated these people who are unwilling to live a good life in order to protect us.
Although there are many people who demand immediate justice, they also complain that God is not fair because they don’t see justice. God did not promise us that we would see justice done right away, but He promised that the days of suffering and chaos will not last for a long time, the great judgment day will definitely come, the end of the world will come, the world will definitely see justice be made. No other sacred book from other religions has this kind of prophecy or promise, only the Bible. The Bible not only tells us about the beginning and the end of the universe, but it also tells us that this life of suffering and chaos will soon pass away, and at the end there will be the judgement at the Great White Throne and the impartial and righteous King will appear.
A MASSIVE UNEQUALED JUDGMENT
11 Then I saw a great white throne.
“Great”, “ megas ” could describe something at a very large scale, great quantity, or a very high rank. This Great White Throne is the greatest event in the entire human history, also a very critical point which all people should be extremely concerned about. Like a final exam in school, the result would determine the student’s future. In the same way, the final judgment will determine people’s eternal final destination. Once the sentence is given nothing can change it, there will be no appeal at a higher court, the decision can not be overthrown; it is for sure a great event for all humanity.
This throne will carry out the greatest trial ever, since every human being that ever lived will have to go through this judgment; therefore, no place was found for them. All the dead that were buried or cremated, every one of them will be standing before the Great White Throne, no other trial can be compared with this one, the highest court of law, the Supreme Court, could not compare to it at all.
A FAIR AND JUST JUDGMENT
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. From His presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.
“White”, represents a court that is impartial and just, none of the officials could be bribed regardless of the person’s status. Unlike today’s legal system, sometimes they are unfair, the court’s ruling may cause people to be resentful, knowing that the crime was extremely evil, yet the criminal is released and pronounced not guilty, while the innocent are sentenced to jail and their lives are ruined because of these confusing laws.
God Himself sits on the throne. To the believers, He is the King, to the unbelievers, He is the Judge. On that day, everyone will stand before the Great White Throne, everything will be exposed. “From His presence earth and sky fled away.” Everything black or white, true or false will be revealed. Every actor on stage will reveal their true identity; everything done in secret will be clearly seen. Before Him, truth or treachery will completely be revealed. The most astute lawyer will not be able to distort the facts.
Nowadays, people can hide behind many things, making use of mountains, using heaven and earth as an excuse to escape from the face of God. “Where is God? I don’t believe in God, I only believe in the things that I can see; I am a materialist.” Who would know, this entire materialistic world will soon disappear, all things will pass away. At that time, the only thing that man will be seeing will be the throne of God and His fair and just judgment. Nothing can block God’s face. At present, the things that the materialists deemed most important, will all disappear. Only then will the people know that things that can be seen are temporal and the things that cannot be seen are eternal.
A JUDGMENT THAT EVERYONE WILL HAVE TO FACE
12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne.
This throne will judge everyone that ever existed in this earth, those who died early, those who died thousands of years ago, those who recently died and those who were not dead yet, everyone will have to face this Great White Throne. Some may say : “Since everyone has to die, there nothing to be afraid of.” The problem is that death is not the end of everything, there is a judgment after death. The book of Hebrews says: “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” Everyone will face judgment, great or small, the kings, the presidents, the beggars, the thieves, everyone without exception will face judgment.
In the past it was unheard of that the leader of a country would have to go to trial for doing something wrong. No matter what they did, they would not be judged. But in recent years we have seen that leaders of certain countries are not only judged but are ordered to step down and given a jail or death sentence. These people must feel really bad because they were originally very important people but now they have to do what they are told, are being judged and punished for what they have done . Some flee asking asylum from another country, some die thinking they could escape punishment, not knowing that even their corpse would be exhumed after their death, like Stalin’s body and at the end there will be a judgment that no one could escape from. Even the sea gave up the dead who were in it. And those who were buried, the tombs gave up the dead who were in it. All the dead will be resurrected and receive a final judgment.
The Nazis who murdered people were tracked down and taken to trial, though there are some who slip through the net or have died, they all will be judged at the end. The things that people do, they themselves might even for get what they have done. Actually, the sin that people commit, will never disappear or be forgotten, even though they might not remember it, it is still in their subconscience . Although they don’t remember it, there is still the guilt, no peace. At the time of the Great White Throne, everything will come back to their minds.
A JUDGMENT WITH SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE
12 And books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
The word “books” is in the plural form, meaning every event is recorded, and that record could be accessed at any time. In today’s court of law a criminal might still be running free because there isn’t enough evidence to condemn him. But at the judgment seat of God there will definitely be enough evidence to condemn the guilty. At that time, a person’s whole life will be able to be replayed as in a movie, every person will be able to see everything that they had ever done, so do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap (Galatians 6:7-8).
Someone might ask: “Who has the time to record these trivial matters ? ” You must know that human beings are subject to limitations of time and space, we cannot be in two places at the same time, today and tomorrow cannot show up at the same time, but with God there is no such problem, He can make us go back to any specific period of time, like when prophets in the past could see things that were going to happen in the future. Daniel who lived in 700 BC, John from the first century, the visions they saw were from the future. People from the future could also see the past.
Who writes the ending? Of course, we write it ourselves, the way we live this life determines how our lives will end. God merely judges us according to what we write. “Another book” is a singular word, there is only one book called “The Book of Life”, in that book are recorded all the names of those who have life in the Lord. Everyone whose names are recorded in the Book of Life is included in God’s plan of salvation, they are the ones who yearn to be with the Lord, and therefore, they will be with the Lord eternally. All those who reject the Lord in this this life will be forever separated from God according to their own decision.
This judgment is not like any other court of law that we have now because there is a judge but there are no jurors. There is the prosecutor but there are no defendants, people will be condemned and there will be no appeal, there will be no controversies, no one will be able to say that God is not fair. Everything a person did during their lives will be clearly seen, there is no speculation, and all the evidence will be 100% accurate. No one will be able to argue in their own defense. All the sins committed by each person will show up in front of them once more. This is the last, the greatest judgment; no one will be able to escape this final judgment.
If a scientist discovers that a small planet will be crashing onto the earth in a few years bringing disastrous consequences, any intelligent person would try to research ways to take precautionary action in order to avoid the collision. If we know that there is such a final exam and we don’t prepare for it, then we are fools. Everyone is destined to die once and then face judgment, how should we prepare for it?
EVERYONE WILL RESURRECT AND BE JUDGED
13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.
Some people believe that God will judge the soul without a body; they think that there is no need for a physical body. Here it tells us that the sea gave up the dead bodies that were in it, those buried in the ground or inside the tombs, their bodies will be given up. They will all first resurrect and after that they will face judgment. The Lord Jesus once said: “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come out, those who have done well to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” Everyone will resurrect. God can give everyone a body even if their physical body had become ashes or dirt.
Those who have spiritual life in the Lord, after their body is resurrected will be able to live forever and will not go through the second death. Those without the spiritual life of the Lord, after their bodies are resurrected and are judged, they will die once again, that is the second death.