“Ugh, how will the Great White Throne Judgment go for him?”
One of my daughters met a former classmate this week. I think it was at Chik-fil-a. He, like my daughter, is still in high school, but is vocally happy to have left Curtis Baptist High School and I think is trekking through his junior year at North Augusta High School. My daughter volunteers her satisfaction at having continued at Curtis Baptist1. At the dinner this week where this subject came up my daughter shared something else from their interaction. It was his antagonism, flippancy even, to all things Jesus. It seems that this interaction between them was helpful to my daughter opening her eyes a bit further to the way others live and look at things. It also was helpful in our dinner-time discussion.
What troubles me is a consideration of him in situations like the Great White Throne judgment. Will his name be in the crucial book? Will his anti-God or maybe just anti-Jesus actions be the most evident? For a fellow like this former classmate I suspect their attitude toward my concern is, “don’t worry about it.” For one who personally looks to the future recognizing life as we know it as a temporary phenomenon, a phenomenon upon which forever is built out, though, it is hard to “not worry about it.”
And, by the way, God didn’t “not worry about it.” (Or if you don’t like double negatives: God worried about it, or yet again, God did something about it.)
It all comes down to this
In this section important things are all throughout the verses. It is not written with one thing building on another but jumps around. The judgment painted here is like a painting with scenes scattered all across the canvas. It is written as one might recall a dream. This is after all a vision.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15–ESV)
That Great White Throne
Bible students and churchgoers likely have heard of this throne. Well here, tucked away but 2 chapters from the end of the Bible is this verse from which all that talk comes. Incidentally Satan and all his followers have met their end. They are tucked away, out of God’s man-project. All the people who made up that man-project stand here before this throne.
This throne is not empty but occupied and one of the first things I want to know is his identity. Clearly it is God in some manner, but is it God the Father or God the Son? I wanted to make it into God the Father, but that interpretation seemed incorrect. Why? Well, I have studied the Bible for some years and things in my outlook have built up over the years. Things like: Jesus as priest mediating the relationship between God the Father and humanity, God the Father is not visible to humanity. Maybe you can add some others?
I was not really satisfied with some doctrinal memories, but wanted more. I needed something firmer on which to state this was God the Son, Jesus and not God the Father. After some looking I found the answer back in John 5. Look at the following crucial verses:
22 For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. (John 5:22-23–ESV)
This statement came from Jesus himself and tells us who will be on the Great White Throne.
A seated judge is a working judge
When this portion of the vision started Jesus was already sitting down. An empty judgment seat is different than one where the judge has already arrived. The pomp and circumstance of his entry, walk to the bench and sitting down is done. A seated judge is a working judge and that is how we are introduced to this scene.
Jesus is sitting on a righteous throne as judge. To him all our histories will be compared, but before we get to that part let us consider the rest of verse 11.