White Throne Judgment Rev 20:11-15 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
The White Throne Judgment is God’s final judgment. There are other judgments such as the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Judgment of Nations that take place before this judgment. To place this judgment in its proper time frame, it falls immediately after the millennial reign of Jesus Christ and right before the creation of the New Heavens and the New Earth. Notice that at the beginning of this judgment, the earth and the heaven are gone [Revelation 20:11]. The dead who are to be judged are just standing on nothing before God’s throne [Revelation 20:12].
Those “in Christ” who were saved during the church age will not be judged at this judgment. We are secure from the lake of fire because our names are written in the Book of Life [Philippians 4:3] and our works will have been judged already at the Judgment Seat of Christ [1 Corinthians 3:11-15; Romans 14:10-12, 2 Corinthians 5:10]. Nevertheless, we will be there, judging the world and angels with the Lord [1 Corinthians 6:2-3].
Any person whose name is not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire at this judgment [Rev 20:15]. Those whose names are in the Book of Life will not be cast into the lake of fire and they will be judged according to their works [Revelation 20:12-13]. In other words, there will be saved and lost people at this judgment [John 5:27-29; Daniel 12:2].
Those who are saved that appear at this judgment to have their works judged will be the Old Testament saints, the Tribulation saints and the Millennial saints. Each of these groups will have been saved during a time when their works were connected to some degree with their salvation [Deuteronomy 6:24-25; James 2:18-26; Revelation 14:12; Revelation 22:14].
One difficulty concerns the verse that says, “and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them,” [Revelation 20:13]. We have to check some scriptures to determine what “death” is and who the dead are that are there. As it turns out, death and hell are two compartments in the heart of the earth that hold the souls of the dead. All the lost from all time are in hell. And the souls of the saints from the Tribulation and millennial reign of Jesus Christ will be in death.
When we study the Biblical history of the souls of the saved up to the time of the Tribulation, it helps us to understand why the souls of the Tribulation and Millennial saints are held in death. First, look at Luke 16:19-31. Notice that the rich man went to hell and Lazarus went to Abraham’s Bosom. These are the two compartments that held all the souls of the saved and lost before Christ’s crucifixion. After Christ’s crucifixion, Jesus’ soul went to the heart of the earth where he preached to these souls held captive here [1 Peter 3:18-19 (those in hell); 1 Peter 4:6 (those in Abraham’s Bosom)]. After his resurrection, he took the souls of the Old Testament saints in Abraham’s Bosom and carried them with him to heaven [Eph 4:8-10]. After this, Abraham’s Bosom was renamed “death.” Hence, John saw Jesus in heaven with the keys of death and hell [Revelation 1:18].
Currently, death is empty, since all the saved saints saved in the church age are in Christ’s body [Ephesians 5:30-32] and depart immediately to be with him when our bodies die [2 Corinthians 5:6-8]. Also, all the souls of the Old Testament saints ascended with Jesus on the day of his resurrection. So, death is empty.
But after the rapture of the Church, saints will again be held in “death” in the heart of the earth [i.e., Revelation 6:9] awaiting their release at the White Throne Judgment to be judged and to spend eternity with the Lord. The Tribulation saints raptured before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ are an exception [Revelation 7:9-14]. Then following the release of all the souls at the White Throne Judgment, death and hell will be cast into the lake of fire.