The White Throne Judgement in Revelation

white throne judgement

What is The White Throne Judgement?

The Great White Throne Judgement is often referred to as the final judgement.

The White Thone Judgement judges the unbelievers according to their sins. (The believers were already resurrected at the time of the Rapture. Read more on the page about the Rapture here).

The two are different: The Judgement Seat is for believers while the Great White Throne Judgement is for unbelievers. 

When is the White Throne Judgement?

This is yet another one with a highly debated timeslot, but I feel confident putting it after the Millennial reign.  If you read about it, in order, in the book of Revelation, it occurs at the end of the Millennial Kingdom, before Eternity (which is when the new heaven and the new earth are created).

I understand “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were endedRevelation 20:5 to be talking about the White Throne judgement which is after the thousand years. Because 1 Thessalonians 4:16 tells us the “dead in Christ“, the believers, were resurrected at the Rapture.  You’re either a believer or an unbeliever.  So who can the ‘rest of the dead’ possibly be?!

Do you go straight to heaven or hell when you die?

What this passage does contradict, is the common belief that one dies, is judged and goes to heaven or hell. 

The Bible is very clear about when the dead will be resurrected.

  • Believers: at the Rapture
  • “The rest of the dead“: at the great white throne.

Hope at the White Throne Judgement?

Book of lifeBut, while I’m confident putting the White Throne Judgement after the Millennial reign, I’m not confident that it is only for the unbelievers.  I can’t quite figure this one out, and am open to input, but it looks like it could be for everybody who has ever lived.

The believers were raised at the Rapture, so it’s the unbelievers who are raised now but their names may yet be in the Book of Life.  Could there be a spot on the new earth for unbelievers who did good?

Perhaps it is for the unbelievers, and also for the billions of people who died without having heard the name Jesus?  

The Book of Life

In this judgement, all the dead – small and great – stand before God, and the books are opened. The sea, death, and hades also give up their dead, and “they were judged, every man according to their works“.

Is this every man, or every man present at this judgement?

Those whose names are not found in the Book of Life are cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. (They were resurrected from their first death to be judged).

white throne judgementThen 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. 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.

The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 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 20:11-15.

This judgement will be a time of reckoning for all people. Those who have accepted Christ as their saviour will be judged according to their deeds, but their sins will be forgiven because of their faith in Christ. Those who have rejected Christ will be judged according to their deeds and will be punished accordingly.

Why is it called The White Throne Judgement?

In the Bible, the White Throne Judgement is the final judgement that will take place at the end of time. It’s called the “White Throne” Judgement because it’s described in Revelation 20:11 as a judgement before a great white throne.

This judgement is a terrifying thought for many people, but the Bible teaches that those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour will be saved from this judgement.

The words in John 5:24 say that believers have already passed from death to life and will not be judged. This is because their sins have been forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ.

What Happens During the White Throne Judgement?

The Book of LifeThe White Throne Judgement will determine the eternal destiny of every person who is resurrected especially for this judgement. Yikes!

The books will be opened, and all the deeds of everyone – good or bad – will be revealed. “…the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” Revelation 20:12.

The Book of Life will also be opened, and those whose names are not found in the book will be cast into the lake of fire.

The lake of fire is a place of eternal torment, where the devil, the beast, and the false prophet are also thrown. This is the final destination of all those who reject God and refuse to repent.

Revelation 20:14-15 offers a bit of optimism for the naughty!  “Then Death and Hell were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” The lake of fire is not hell, I understand it to be eternal death.  Hell is also thrown into the lake of fire!

How Can We Prepare for the White Throne Judgement?

So, what does all of this mean for us today? The white throne judgement is a reminder that we need to take our relationship with God seriously. It’s a call to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, so that we can be saved from judgement and enjoy eternal life with God. It’s also a reminder that our deeds matter, and that we will be held accountable for the choices we make in this life.

the tree of lifeJesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We must put our faith in Jesus Christ and trust in Him alone for our salvation. We must also live our lives in obedience to God and follow His commands.

As it says in Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”  The washing of robes is a metaphor for purification from uncleanliness, meaning sin.

The White Throne Judgement is a sobering reminder that our actions have consequences. It’s a call to live our lives with purpose and to seek God’s will in all that we do. It’s also a reminder that we need to share the gospel with others so that they too can be saved from the judgement to come.

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