God’s final Word – The final judgement
The following comes through the notes of Mark Ramsey.
- The return of Satan — Revelation 20:7
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison (Revelation 20:7 NIV)
Remember that Satan and his demon hordes will be imprisoned in the abyss for the duration of the Millennium. Only the redeemed from among the Jewish and Gentile survivors of the Tribulation will go into the kingdom in their normal, physical bodies. Although the initial inhabitants of the millennial kingdom will all be redeemed, they will still possess a sinful human nature. That sin nature will be passed to their offspring. Each successive generation throughout the 1,000 years will be made up of sinners in need of salvation. Many will come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But, amazingly, despite the personal rule of Christ on the earth, many others will love their sin and reject Him.
The issue regarding salvation is never lack of information; it is love of sin. What is your position on this statement? (this can be an entire sermon – refer to Romans 1:18-20 and John 3:19)
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20 NIV)
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19 NIV)
Why is Satan released at the end of the Millennium?
One class member noted that God promised peace to Israel. With man’s sin nature, only the millennium rule of Christ could guarantee the peace of Israel. God is a promise keeper; therefore, we must have a prophesied millennium rule and the prophesied release of Satan.
- The Revolt — Revelation 20:8-10
and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:8-10 NIV)
The terms “Gog” and “Magog” are used here as generic references to the nations, or people groups, who are enemies of the Lord. Four corners = four main points of the compass – North, South, East, and West.
One group of believers who entered the millennium includes Christians like you and me, who received our resurrection bodies at the rapture. At the second coming of Christ, the tribulation saints and Old Testament saints received their resurrection bodies. The third group are the redeemed saints who survived the Tribulation. Those who rebel are the children of the tribulation saints. There will be no possibility of reproduction or death among those of us who are resurrected.
Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. (Luke 20:34-36 NIV)
The battle will be like an execution. The enemies of God will be swiftly, instantly exterminated as they surround Jerusalem, the center of the millennial world and the place of the Messiah’s throne.
Satan will be cast into the lake of fire joining the Antichrist and the final false prophet where they will be tormented day and night. Just as the righteous will be blessed forever, so the unrighteous will be punished forever.
- The Great White Throne Judgement
What we are about to read describes a terrible scene – an event no one would want to experience. John McArthur describes it as “the most serious, sobering and tragic passage in the entire Bible.” This is commonly known as the Great White Throne judgment. It is the last courtroom scene that will ever take place. The accused, all the unsaved, will be resurrected to experience a trial like no other that has ever been. Those who reject God’s grace and mercy in this life will inevitably face His justice in the life to come. The glorious truth is that nobody needs to end up there.
- The scene — Revelation 20:11-12a
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens 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. (Revelation 20:11-12a NIV)
The throne is described as “great” because it is God’s eternal throne – the seat of His sovereign rule, the place of infinite justice. It is “white” because the verdicts and sentencing that will proceed from it will be pure and righteous, reflecting God’s unimpeachable holiness.
The Judge on the throne is none other than the eternal, almighty God described in the throne scene in Revelation 4:8-11. Sharing the throne with the Father is the Lord Jesus Christ. Refer to Revelation 3:21 and 22:1 and 3. Though the Father and the Son share the throne, it is the Son who is uniquely in view here as Scripture teaches that He will judge the sinners.
Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. (John 5:22, 26-27 NIV)
He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. (Acts 10:42 NIV)
For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31 NIV)
John noted the startling reality that “from His presence earth and heaven fled away.” This describes the “uncreation” of the universe. It will go totally out of existence.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:10-13 NIV)
The uncreation of the universe, like its creation, will take place by the word of God.
With heaven and earth removed, having no purpose in this final judgment, the Lord will deal with the last group of humans who have not yet been judged, the unsaved. Imagine the different categories of unsaved people from all history: those who existed amidst creation but replaced the Creator with idols and false gods; those who turned their backs on the free grace of God in favor of a works-based religion; those who repeatedly heard the gospel of Christ but rejected Him until it was too late; those who concluded, based on logic, reason and experience, that God doesn’t exist; those who lived out their depravity through selfishness, wickedness and violence.
- The summons — Revelation 20:13a
The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, (Revelation 20: 13a NIV)
This is the ultimate courtroom drama. The prisoners are summoned from their cells to appear before the Judge. Since their deaths, their souls have been tormented in hades and now the time has come for them to be sentenced to the final eternal hell – the lake of fire. Before the sea was uncreated and went out of existence, it gave up the dead that were in it. Death symbolizes all the places on the land from which God will resurrect new bodies for the unrighteous dead. Hades describes the realm of the dead in general.
- The standard — Revelation 20:12b and 13b
Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. … and each person was judged according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:12b and 13b NIV)
The books contain the record of every thought, word and deed of every unsaved person who ever lived. Justice demands payment for everyone’s sins. Christ paid that penalty for believers.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6 NIV)
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” (Galatians 3:13 NIV)
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)
No one will be able to claim ignorance of God’s standards because both creation (Romans 1:20) and the conscience (Romans 2:14-15) reveal God’s righteousness. Those without knowledge of God’s law will be judged on the basis of the knowledge they have.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20 NIV)
(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) (Romans 2:14-15 NIV)
Each person’s life will be individually evaluated and each person’s punishment will be consistent with that evaluation. Scripture teaches that there are varying degrees of punishment in hell.
If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. (Matthew 10:14-15 NIV)
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” (Matthew 11:21-24 NIV)
As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.” (Mark 12:38-40 NIV)
How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29 NIV)
All sinners in hell will be utterly separated from God and all that comes from His goodness. They will be miserable, but not equally miserable.
- The sentence — Revelation 20:14 and 15
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:14-15 NIV)
There is only one way to avoid the terrifying reality of hell. Have you taken advantage of the gift of salvation? Have you shared this free gift of salvation with others?
- The scene — Revelation 20:11-12a