In Revelation 20:11-15 we see the FINAL JUDGMENT which takes place at the end of time, just before God creates a new heaven and a new earth. We will look briefly at each of these sobering verses from the New American Standard Bible.

Verse 11 reads, “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.” Jesus Christ is the One sitting on this throne, for John 5:22 declares, “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son.”

Verse 12 says, “And I saw the dead, the great and 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.” All those who had died in unbelief will be summoned from their graves to stand before Christ. John 5:29 refers to this as the “resurrection of judgment” as opposed to the “resurrection of life” which took place one thousand years earlier.  He will open “the book of life” to show them that because of their rejection of Him as their Savior their names are NOT recorded there. Had they believed on Him they would have been given eternal life, but because they are still “dead intrespasses and sins,” as seen in Ephesians 2:1, they will be condemned forever in the lake of fire. The Lord Jesus will also open “the books,” which we believe contains a record of all their works.  Their “evil works” will determine the degree of punishment they will suffer in the lake of fire.

Verse 13 states, “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.” No one will escape this judgment, for “the sea,” and “death,” (which represents the “grave”) will deliver up the BODIES of all who were buried there. “Hades” will yield up their “SOULS.” Then their bodies and souls will be reunited and made to stand before the Great White Throne to be judged.

In verse 14 we learn “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” What does this mean? I believe 1 Corinthians 15:26 sheds light on this, for it says, “The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” When the final occupants of “death and Hades” are cast into the lake of fire, as we shall see in verse 15, DEATH itself shall be abolished. It too is seen to be “thrown into the lake of fire,” for never again will men die a PHYSICAL DEATH. DEATH simply means “separation.” It is “the separation of the body and the spirit,” as we see in James 2:26, “the body without the spirit is dead.” But this death, which we could call the FIRST DEATH, will give way to “the second death,” which is “the separation of the lost sinner from God for all eternity.”

Verse 15 solemnly declares, “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Again, it is the absence of life that condemns the person to eternal punishment in the lake of fire. We saw from verse 14 that the “lake of fire” is “the second death,” for all lost sinners will be eternally separated from God. 2 Thessalonians 1:9 puts it this way, “These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

Our prayer is that none reading these lines will experience the SECOND DEATH. Our prayer is that you will trust in Christ and receive ETERNAL LIFE. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes on Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  (187.7)  (DO)