THE JUDGEMENT: [C] THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT
This is a judgment of lost people as spelt out in Revelation 20:11-15, the unbelievers who will reject the Messiah and thus will believe in one’s own righteousness.
This judgment will take place after the Millennial reign of Messiah when the earth, the atmosphere, and the universe are destroyed by fire. “The heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).
In Revelation 20:11-15 we read, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven 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 which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
“The dead” are those who rejected salvation through Yeshua the Messiah, so they must pay for their own sins for all eternity. The Book of Life will be opened to show that their names are not written in it (Revelation 20:15).
The other books will be the records of all their sins to determine their level of torment based upon the amount and nature of the sins they committed. The way saved people will receive differing degrees of rewards in heaven, and lost people will receive varying degrees of punishment in the lake of fire.
Every sin must be accounted for. Although the lake of fire will be terrible for all, some people will receive harsher sentences than others.
2.0 Degrees of Punishment in Hell
Yeshua taught there are degrees of punishment in hell. Several passages confirm this truth:
- “For this reason he who delivered Me up to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:11)
- “Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.” (Matthew 10:15)
- “Nevertheless I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you.” (Matthew 11:22)
- “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You shall descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.” (Matthew 11:23-24)
- “The men of Ninevah will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and shall condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.” (Matthew 12:41)
- “The Queen of the South shall rise up with this generation at the judgment and shall condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.” (Matthew 12:42)
- “And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, shall receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but a few.” (Luke 12:47-48)
- “…these will receive greater condemnation.” (Matthew 23:14, Mark 12:40, Luke 20:47)
- And they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. (Revelation 20:13)
- Therefore it is not surprising if his (Satan’s) servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds. (2 Corinthians 11:15)
- Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. (2 Timothy 4:14)
- But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his deeds. (Romans 2:5-6)
These verses tell us that people will be held more accountable before God at the judgment if they have received more information about Him and rejected it.
“Death (physical bodies) and Hades (lost souls) were thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14). Whether they died on land or at sea, their bodies will be resurrected and reunited with their souls for all eternity.
Hades (hell) is the place where dead people’s lost souls are currently being punished while they await the resurrection of their bodies.
At the great white throne judgment, the people in Hades will receive their horrible resurrection bodies and then will be cast into Gehenna, which is the lake of fire.
Although much is said about glorified resurrected bodies in heaven, very little is taught about lost people receiving hideous resurrection bodies for eternity, but it is in Scripture. Paul said, “There shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked” (Acts 24:15).
Yeshua said there will be a resurrection of life and a resurrection of judgment (John 5:29). Gehenna (the lake of fire) is the place of punishment for a wicked person’s soul and body after the resurrection.
The prophet Isaiah described lost people’s resurrected bodies as “worms.” God says, “Then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrence to all mankind” (Isaiah 66:24). Yeshua also referred to their resurrected bodies as worms in Mark 9:43-48.