«The Judgment of God and the Great White Throne! By Paul Washer Bible Text: Revelation 20:11-15 Preached on: Thursday, October, 11, 2007 Grace ...»
The Judgment of God and the Great White Throne!
By Paul Washer
Bible Text: Revelation 20:11-15
Preached on: Thursday, October, 11, 2007
Grace Community Church
P.O. Box 10608
San Antonio, TX 78210
Online Sermons: www.sermonaudio.com/gcc
It is always a great privilege to be here today and to preach, to share God’s Word with
you. I want you to open up your Bible to the book of Revelation chapter 20 verse 11.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.
And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades 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.1 Let’s go to the Lord in prayer.
Father, what a burden. Father, speak through your Word today. Through my weakness, Father, oh come north wind and blow upon this place. Come south with and from the east and the west. Come wind of God and blow upon this place. Bring these truths home to your people and to those who are not your people. Bring these truths home.
Father, help us. Strengthen us and we will be helped in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The power of this passage that is before us is absolutely astounding and he love it requires to preach it is more than I have. You see, in a day that we live where men speak about wonderful, marvellous things and cry out, “Peace, peace,” but there is no peace, sometimes we are called upon to, in a sense, ruin everyone’s party and to say, “Stop,” to scream, to cry out, “Stop. Think for a moment about the end of your days where you are heading, what Christ really says in the totality of his Word.” How is it that we are inclined just to give ourselves towards those things which most please the flesh so often and refused to look at the train that is coming? Yea, it might be 1 Revelation 20:11-15 Page 1 of 20 a slow train, but it is a train and it is a certain train and it is coming, the day when all men will stand naked before God. Everyone.
As I often say, “I will not lose sleep at night because you don’t have self esteem. I won’t lose sleep at night because you checkbook isn’t balanced or you can’t keep up with the Joneses.” Men of God lose sleep at night because of this, the reality of this that is before us that is more reality than anything you can taste or touch or smell or feel this morning, the reality of the judgment of God.
Now first of all he starts out by saying, “Then...” Literally in the Greek it is, “And.” And what John is doing is he is referring this text back to the one that precedes it. And what is going on in the text that precedes the judgment? God, once and for all, is putting an end to the devil. Once and for all he is putting down the devil and his works and he is doing so in order to cleanse his creation to prepare for a new creation.
Now there is nothing in itself startling about that until you follow up with the verses that follow and it is this. He is connecting this text back to the purging of creation and he is basically saying this. In order for the new heaven and the new earth to come about, creation must be purged of the great enemy the devil. And after he has put down the devil, then he turns to another enemy, man. Before creation can be brought in with newness and holiness and righteousness there must be a judgment and in that judgment after it falls many, most people will be swept away into hell for one sole purpose, to make way for what God plans on doing in his Son Jesus Christ.
Now, if you recall the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and he has some sort of an out of body experience and he is taken by an angel and he visits many households and he hears people speaking though they cannot see him. And he comes upon this house and he hears people gathered together saying terrible things about a certain man. Such terrible things they are saying that he almost has pity on the man even though he doesn’t know him.
And then all of the sudden Ebenezer’s name is called and Ebenezer realizes that these people are thinking these horrible thoughts about him and they are saying these horrible things about him.
Now come with me for a second into the counsels of God, a great discussion going on and you hear as though you were a fly on the wall God saying, “Before we can bring in our new heaven and our new earth, we must rid creation of the vile, despicable being who has contaminated it so.” And the words of God speaking this way causes you to tremble and then all of the sudden you hear your name. He is talking about you.
That before he can bring in the new creation, the new heavens and the new earth, he must rid creation of every thing that contaminates it and your name is called. And I want you to know your name is called if your name is not found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
And it goes on.
And John, when he comes into this vision that he has he says, “I saw a great white throne.”2 In the Greek text it comes out a little bit different. He said, “I saw a throne. I saw a throne.” And the order here in Greek is very, very important. It is giving supremacy and preeminence to the throne above all things. He says, “I saw a throne.” One of the greatest need for believers today, for you and for me, is to see a throne. Isaiah had need of seeing a throne. When King Uzziah died he saw the Lord seated upon a throne. Ezekiel had need of seeing a throne. Jeremiah had need of seeing a throne.
Ezekiel, especially, had need of seeing a throne.
You have need of seeing a throne. Believer, you have need. That there is a God and he has redeemed you, but that God who has redeemed you is Lord over you and he sits upon a throne that is so immense, so great, everything else disappears in comparison. You need to see a throne when you are thinking about doing things your own way. But you also need to see a throne when you are doing things God’s way and everything comes against you. You need to see a throne.
But unbelievers also here today need to see a throne, not as a blessing, not as a support, but as a warning. You will one day stand before that throne and you will be judged before that throne in perfect righteousness.
Now he goes on and he says... First of all there is something that I want to make very clear here. This throne upon which God sits is a throne of sovereignty. It demonstrates his power and his rule over everything. But you also need to understand that this throne upon which God sits is a judgment throne. In Romans chapter 14 it is called the judgment throne of God. In 2 Corinthians chapter five it is called the judgment throne of Christ.
It is very, very interesting in our text here that this word in 2 Corinthians referring to the judgment throne of Christ is the word bhma (bay’-ma). And it says that when Christ was being judged by Pilate he stood before the bhma (bay’-ma), the throne, the judgment seat of Pilate. But isn’t it an amazing thing that here everything is reversed. Now Pilate will stand before the judgment throne of Christ.
How do you think he will feel on that day when he treated Christ as though he were nothing? He used Christ to barter with Herod. He pawned around Christ as though he were nothing and now Pilate will stand before Christ.
And you say, “Oh, poor Pilate.” 2 Revelation 20:11 Page 3 of 20 No, my friend. Poor you because maybe you have done the same. You have judged Christ. You have heard the gospel over and over, but you have pawned him off. You have rejected him. Or you have taken Christ to yourself sort of in a nonchalant fashion, just enough Jesus to make you religious. But you don’t understand. In the way you view Jesus right now you are judging him. In the way you serve Jesus you are judging him. It is not just about disobedience. It is the way you look at Christ and the way you treat Christ.
It goes on. This throne is a great throne. The word that is used in Greek language is megav (meg’-as) from which word we get mega. It means something great. The word can be translated as appearance, dimensions, mass, weight, compass, extent, strength, rank, eminence, esteem, virtue, authority and power. Every thing summed up in the word greatness is found in the throne of our God and the judgment throne before which you will stand. This greatness is also manifested in the fact that, well, the foot stool of this thing, the footstool is the very earth.
Listen to what the Scriptures say. Isaiah says, “Thus says the LORD, "Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool.”3 There has never been a king on the face of the earth that has owned an entire continent and kept it. Great kings before whom we would tremble and most of the world has trembled, but they didn’t even own a part of the earth.
And yet this king before whom you will stand, this king who will judge you is so great, his throne, that he puts his feet on this planet. He sets his feet here.
Then how great is his power? How great is his authority? How great is this one before whom you will stand?
Another thing that tells about the greatness of this throne is this.
Now John comes into this vision. I want you to think about this. John comes into this vision and he says, “I saw a throne.”4 But don’t you know that there was almost an infinite number of humanity standing there before the throne? A sea, oceans of men as far as the eye could see. But John doesn’t notice any of them. Do you see that? He doesn’t notice them at all because the one on that throne is so great it makes everyone else disappear, totally and completely disappear.
Isn’t it amazing how much value man places on man and how important we are to each other. But when God fully and finally reveals himself, all of us totally and completely disappear. This has so many... I mean there’s books just on this word.
Can you imagine? You struggle with pride. You need a view of the throne of God. And all pride dissipates and disappears. Another thing about this throne that I want you to see, it is great because of the one who sits upon it.
4 See Revelation 20:11 Page 4 of 20 Listen to what Scripture says. It says he is the I Am, the alpha and omega, the ancient of days, the eternal God, the invisible God, the blessed God, the mighty one, the holy one, the righteous God, the God of Gods, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the possessor of heaven and earth, the blessed and only sovereign, the lawgiver, the judge of all the earth, he who is to be feared, the Bible says, he who is to be feared.
Nebuchadnezzar said this.
But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’5 This is the God of the Bible.
One of the reasons why I am preaching, this is the very thing that happened to Nebuchadnezzar. He said, “I looked toward heaven and my reason returned to me.” Those of you who possibly do not know the Lord, all you look at is the earth. It is your standard, the basis upon which you judge everything else. You need to look to heaven so that your reason might return to you. You need to look toward eternal things and realize what is happening.
Do you think I would give my life for poetry? This is not poetry. This is reality. This is what is going to happen. It is the most certain thing that is going to happen. And those of us who are believers, yes, our hearts are renewed. Yes, we have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, but never forget that Christianity is a process of sanctification. You can boast all day long about having a true gospel and I am very proud that you do. But you can still be mesmerized by this world, taken off course because you just look at the things of this world that sparkle, things so important to man today. You need to look to heaven. You need to see a throne. You need to see reality that reason might return to you.
It goes on and it says that the throne is white. It is a white throne.
When you have to speak about the righteousness of God you are left undone. There just aren’t any words in the human language. First of all the human mind can’t comprehend it and if it could comprehend it, it couldn’t communicate it because our language is not strong enough. The blazing white brilliance of God’s righteousness that not even angels can stand before it without covering themselves. And those angels that do stand in his presence, the seraphs, called in Hebrew the burning ones, they are not burning by their 5 Daniel 4:34-35
That throne that is going to judge you is white, not a spot, not a blemish. It is not off colored. No deals will be made with you. You will be judged by the pure white, hot, holy, character of God.
Now when we look at this throne we can understand many things about this throne in the book of Revelation chapter 20 by comparing it to the same throne in chapter four. And I want to do that just for a moment.
First of all, in chapter four there is something vaguely said of the appearance of the one on the throne. But here you have no appearance at all. There is nothing here describing God or telling you something about God. And do you want to know why? Listen to me.
The greatest judgment that can fall on a people is when God removes the revelation of himself from them.