The White Throne Judgment
Dr. Jay Worth Allen
God deals in this final judgment, with people’s failure to respond to the truth which He manifested. Here, at the White Throne Judgment, we are speaking of the eternal judgment of the world’s peoples - the unredeemed. Their eternal judgment is not predicated on what they do – it is too late, at this point, to plead their case. But rather their judgment is established on Who they did not know, or in Whom they did not believe. So, when the unredeemed come into this eternal judgment, where they are eternally judged, the judgment will be predicated on what they did.
The unredeemed are judged, Revelation 20, (when death and hell are cast into the lake of fire) according to the things which are written in the “books.” The unredeemed are judged according to their works. These works are written in the “books” spoken of in Revelation 20:12. This White Throne Judgement will not determine whether or not they will be in the lake of fire - they will all be in the lake of fire for eternity - but rather, it will determine what position they are in when they get there. I want this to be very clear.
We are not discussing the basis on which one is redeemed or unredeemed at this point. We are not discussing the place the redeemed will occupy, we are discussing the place the unredeemed will occupy due to their obedience or lack of it - in their failure to believe in the Son of God. The people at this judgment are all going to hell - they didn’t believe on that name: Jesus. Their names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. They are being judged by their works which are written in "the books"; which are opened. The redeemed are not standing in this line, waiting to be judged on whether they’re going to go to Heaven or Hell. This queue is for the unredeemed only - and they’re all going to the Lake of Fire.
There are different levels of rewards and positions the redeemed will occupy in glory. We believers will be judged, not at the White Throne judgment, but rather at the Judgment or Bema Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5). The word rendered “judgment” in many translations , is “bema,” meaning reward. We will be judged with the view of rewards, not of condemnation. “. . . if any man’s work abide which he has built upon it, he shall receive a reward” (1 Corinthians 3:13), not condemnation or damnation. No believer will wind up in hell because our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. We’ve all been judged at the Cross. But the position we each will occupy in that day will depend on our work done in the Body – while we were on the earth. Some of us will be judged as “wood,” some as “gold,” and rewarded as such. “In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth” (1 Timothy 2:20). But we’ll be there. No believer will wind up in the Lake of Fire.
There will also be different levels of positions the unredeemed will occupy in hell - the Lake of Fire. It is not my place to judge, it is the Lord’s, but it may be that an unredeemed Hitler-type will not occupy the same place of torment as some unredeemed philanthropic individual. Their works, done in their earthly life, which are written in those books are different. One of the unredeemed may have spent their life feeding the world’s hungry. The other may have spent their life trying to wipe-out the Jews and the Christians. They will both be in hell, but on different levels, so to speak.
There will be different levels of punishment throughout eternity. Both will be punished, yet in different degrees. “He that knew His master’s will and did it not, shall be beaten with many stripes. He that knew not His master’s will and did it not, shall be beaten with few stripes.” Both are beaten. It is not a question of, will they be punished? But rather, to what degree will they be punished? It is not an issue of whether or not they are going to be judged for their obedience or lack of it. The only obedience that could have kept them out of the flames of the Lake of Fire was their obedience in believing on the name of Jesus while they were still alive on the earth. These are the “once born” dead and they are being prepared to die again, forever. This is eternally dying. Forever being punished. The issue then is, what was their response in this life?
They did not believe on the work accomplished for the whole world by Christ Jesus on His cross, but rather they believed that their good works would outweigh their bad works, and God would let them into His heaven because of their good works. They are, at this point, standing in judgment, relying on their good deeds, their good charitable giving, their good (so called) righteous works, hoping to get into heaven. But remember, “all of our righteousness is as filthy rags” to God - there is no good righteous deed they could have done, in the name of a good righteous deed doing which could have kept them out of hell. “Man must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven.” If you're born once, you'll die twice. If you're born twice you'll only die once. “On such the second death,” (hell), “has no power, but they” (the ones who believed on His name) “shall be priest of God and of Christ” (Revelation 20:6) - eternality.
This is a hopeless scene, this White Throne Judgment. The thought of it is one of the reasons I tell everyone I can about the Lord Jesus. I do not want to see anyone I knew here on earth standing at this judgment waiting to go into hell for eternity.
“And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away, and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and hades delivered up the dead that were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15)
“The final judgment. The subjects are ‘dead.’ As the redeemed were raised from among the dead 1000 years before (Revelation 20:5) and have been in glory with Christ during that period, the “dead” can only be the wicked dead, from the beginning of human history to the setting up of the great white throne in space. As there are degrees in punishment (Luke 12:47-48), the dead are judged according to their works. The book of life is there to answer such as plead their works for justification, e.g. Matthew 7:22,23, an awful blank where the name might have been.” C. I. Scofield.
“And He said unto me, ‘It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely . . . And there came unto me one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, and talked to me, saying, ‘Come here, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’ And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. Having the glory of God . . . And I saw no temple in it; for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it, for the glory of God did light it, and the Lamb is the lamp of it. And the nations of them who are saved shall walk in the light of it . . . And there shall in no way enter into it anything that defiles, either he that works abomination, or makes a lie, but they who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:6-27).
The White Throne judgment has no place for believers. The judgment the believer faces is a judgment of rewards. Not wrath. Not death. But Life. Everlasting. I know I am repeating myself again, but the need for us to accept the love, acceptance and forgiveness of our Father is great. I will always remain staggered at the inability or the unwillingness of the people of God to understand - or accept - the degree to which we have been forgiven. There is nothing we can add to the grace of God which will make it any more complete than it is. It’s perfect. There is nothing we can take from it to lessen its strength and integrity. It has nothing to do with us. It is His righteousness in you. Now start enjoying it!
(Excerpts from Ch. 12, “The Judgement Seat of Christ” in A Brief History of Redemption by Dr. Jay Worth Allen.)
The White Throne Judgment
Published: 11 January 2010 on Freed In Christ! blogsite.
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