Background Scripture: Revelation 20: 7-15
Focus Passage: "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened..." Rev. 20: 11-12 NIV
There was an elderly Christian woman who lived in an apartment next to a man who was an atheist. In spite of the fact that she could barely make ends meet, her faith was strong and she trusted the Lord daily for her needs. Sometimes when she was praying, her atheist neighbor could hear her and it drove him completely crazy. She had tried to share the gospel with him but he would have none of it.
One afternoon the atheist heard the old woman paraying, "Dear Lord, you know that I don't have enough food to even make dinner tonight, but I'm trusting You!" The atheist rubbed his hands together and said, "I know how I can finally knock her off her spiritual wagon." So he drove down to the local supermarket, bought some groceries, and set the bags at the woman's door. Then he rang the doorbell and hid in the bushes. When the old woman answered the door, there were the bags of groceries with no one in sight. She was so excited that she looked up and said, "Thank you Jesus!" At that instant the man jumped out of the bushes and screamed, "Hey lady...God didn't give you those groceries, I did! Do you see how stupid it is to believe in a God that doesn't exist?"
The old woman paused for a moment; the she again looked upward and said, "Oh God, you're so amazing! Not only did you provide me with food, but you sent the devil to deliver it."
Well, in spite of my lame attempt at humor, there is much in this week's scripture that is no laughing matter. But there is also good news here along with the bad; perhaps the best of which is that God will dispose of Satan once and for all. The great deceiver - GONE - for eternity! Last week we already read about some other wonderful news. That is that Christ will rule and reign right here on planet earth for 1,000 years. It will be a period of tremendous peace, justice, and love. During that time Satan will be bound and his lackeys, the Antichrist and the False prophet are already in the Lake of Fire. They are not deceiving anyone either. The earth will be renewed as creation itself is set free from the spell of sin.
However, here in chapter 20 we also see the "Great White Throne Judgment" and here is where the text turns tragic. It says in Hebrews, "It is appointed to man once to die and after that, the judgment." (Hebrews 9: 27) Let's examine the scene.
The first thing we see here is that there is a judge. (vs. 11)
Who is that judge, you may ask? In John 5:22 Jesus said, "The Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son." That should clear it up for you.
Imagine those who judged Jesus while He was on earth standing, one at a time, before the one they ridiculed and whose salvation they rejected. Annas, Caiaphas, Herod, the Sanhedrin, Pilate, the Romans, all looking on the marks of His crucifixion before falling flat on their faces.
We also see that the judge is sitting on a "great white throne." We can safely assume that it is great in that it represents divine judgment and that it is white because of the holiness of He who sits upon it.
We see that the heavens and the earth will "flee." What could this possibly mean? Peter illuminated it for us in thethird chapter of his second epistle. There he said, "The heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up." In other words, earth, having been laden with sin for all of these centuries, has been declared "totaled" by God and He will "uncreate" it and re-created a perfect new one.
Finally, we see that each unsaved person, whether great or small by earth's standards, rich or poor, will stand alone before the judge. I believe that this will happen individually. How long will this take? Time will not be an issue. Jesus will not be saying, "Well our docket is crowded so we must move along smartly." No. He will judge each and every unsaved person who ever lived. He will show them the sinfulness of their lives and he will spend considerable time with each person.
Let's dispense with political correctness and cut to the chase. No one who appears before the Great White Throne will be saved. This is the second death. You don't want to be there, nor do you want your family or friends to be there. In fact, you don't want even people who drove you nuts at the office to be there. But, best of all...God does not want them to be there either. Did you know that there are lots of people in Joplin who have never heard the gospel? The bottom line is...what are you doing about it? Pray for evangelism week, April 15-20!
Keep and Defend the Faith,