- Time: During the Re-creation of the Heavens and Earth by Fire.
- Place: Before the Great White Throne.
- Subjects: The Rest of the Dead and Sinning Messengers.
- Basis of Judgment: In accord with their Acts.
- Result: Judgment and Destruction (2 Peter 3:7).
THIS judgment of the Great White Throne must be distinctly separated from other
judgments in God's Eonian Purpose, as we have recounted in Chapter XVI, and the Scriptures
relating to each carefully discriminated. The spirit has clearly differentiated these
judgments, but human traditions have united them, slandering the character of the God of
love by making Him a fiend, without mercy or justice. Apparently all who read concerning
this judgment think of it as a black throne rather than the Great White
Throne, where justice, mercy, and love will prevail (Matt.23:23; Luke 11:42). Only a
pitiless logic devoid of the love of God will insist that this judgment will consist in
dealing out affliction and distress, pains, and miseries without due deserts. May the God
of love grant us the grace to consider the subject in accord with sanity and soberness of
the truth apart from tradition.
THE TIME OF THIS JUDGMENT
The Scriptures are clear and explicit in revealing the time of this judgment in
relation to other events in God's eonian administrations. Immediately after the close of
the thousand years' reign and the destruction of the rebellious host of the nations under
Satan, the Great White Throne and He Who is sitting upon it appears, from Whose
face earth and heaven flee, and no place is found for them (Rev.20:7-11). Peter relates
the judgment to the same events, saying:
"Yet the heavens now, and the earth, by the same word, are stored with fire, being
kept for the day of the judgment and destruction of irreverent men. . . . "Now
the day of the Lord will be arriving as a thief, in which the heavens shall be passing by
with a booming noise, yet the elements will be dissolved by combustion, and the earth and
the works in it will be discovered" (2 Peter 3:7-10).
This portion of study relative to the re-creation of the new heavens and earth must
await Chapter XX. Here, we merely quote the Scripture to show that the Great White Throne
Judgment takes place while the new creation is being effected. And it will be well to hold
in mind that this day of judgment is not to be thought of as a day of twenty-four
hours, but will involve a period of time sufficient for God to justly adjudicate all
THE PLACE OF JUDGMENT
We are definitely told that the place of judgment is before the throne. Then
comes the question: Where will the throne be located? In our being and thinking we are so
inherently terrestrial that it seems almost impossible for us to conceive of being
transported into the realms of space away from the earth. But a consideration of the
spirit's description of a judgment throne in the earlier chapters of the Unveiling might
be helpful. There we read:
"After these things I perceived, and lo! a door has been opened in heaven,
and lo! the first sound which I hear, is as of a trumpet talking with me, saying,
`Ascend here! and I shall be showing you what must be occurring after these things.'
"Now immediately I came to be in spirit, and lo! a throne, located in heaven,
and on the throne One sitting. And He Who is sitting is, to sight, like a jasper stone and
a carnelian. And a rainbow surrounding the throne is, to sight, like an emerald.
"And out of the throne are issuing lightnings and voices and thunders. And seven
torches of fire are burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. And
before the throne it is as a glassy sea, like crystal. "And I perceived, and I hear a
sound as of many messengers round the throne and the animals and the elders, and their
number was ten thousands of ten thousands and thousands of thousands (Rev.4:1-3,5,6;
Evidently this description presents the august judgment throne visioned by Daniel
"like a fiery flame" (Dan.7:9), and viewed by Ezekiel "like sapphire"
(Ezek.1:26). Majestic, as it is, it lacks the greatness of the judgment throne we are now
studying. The spirit of God emphasizes two features of this throne not mentioned of the
others--its size and color. The many thrones described before it were related to the
living. But this throne, must, of necessity, be greater than all of them, when we consider
the vastness of its jurisdiction. Just think for a moment of the innumerable multitudes
throughout the centuries, past, and future, returned in death to the soil of the ground
and in the sea, awaiting the voice of the One Who sits upon the Great White Throne! Its
greatness must truly be prodigious to embrace within its jurisdiction the immense host of
dead, who will stand before it for adjudication. With the earth and heaven gone, the
universal greatness of the throne will so unquestionably manifest God's power and glory to
all who stand there, that every iota of doubt and unbelief will be completely banished
Now with reference to the place of judgment, our corrupted idea of all punishment being
in a "hell," has led us astray from what the Scriptures reveal concerning this
judgment of the Great White Throne. There we read:
"And I perceived the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. And
scrolls were opened, and another scroll was opened, which relates to life. And the dead
were judged by that which is written in the scrolls, in accord with their acts"
For a slightly larger view, click on the picture.
This Scripture reveals that judgment will take place before the throne
in the presence of Him Who will never be unjust or vindictive, or punish simply to gloat
over the agonies and miseries of His creatures.
THE SUBJECTS OF THIS JUDGMENT
We now have before us for study a thought, relative to this judgment, which certainly
calls for our careful discrimination, that we may be sure of not bringing into it those
whom God has not ordained to be there, or leave out those whom He has seen it to be wise
to have there. Some see in it all mankind, good and bad, righteous and unrighteous,
believers and unbelievers. But, as we have already learned in Chapter XVI, the Scriptures
have no place for one general resurrection and judgment. On the contrary, many judgments
are recorded, of which the Great White Throne is the last. Hence it is of the utmost
importance to discriminate between those adjudicated in the various judgments.
In the first place, we are to discriminate between vivification and resurrection.
Readers of the UNSEARCHABLE RICHES magazine have been blessed with Brother
Knoch's expositions on this subject. In the January number of 1927, his paper entitled
"Raise, Rouse, Vivify"
clearly sets before us the teaching of God's word on the subject. In the Scriptures,
"raise" has to do with the body, "rouse" with the soul,
and "vivify" (quicken) with the spirit, in reference to their return from
dissolution in death. Vivify or "make alive" always has special reference to the
return of the spirit from death, giving life beyond the reach of death by conferring incorruption
or immortality. On the other hand, "raise" or "resurrection"
has particular reference to the body, but not, of course, apart from the soul and
spirit. But the important distinction we want to remember here is, that there can be, and
have been, "resurrections" from the dead, apart from vivification or
"quickening" beyond the power of death. Take, for examples, the widow of Nain's
son, Lazarus, and others, during our Lord's and the apostles' ministry, who were resurrected
to life, but were not vivified, and, of course, died again. Now in contrast with
this, Christ is the Firstborn of "vivification," "Who alone has
immortality" (1 Tim.6:16). With these thoughts in mind, give study to the
accompanying chart. There we have graphically illustrated the three
"vivifications" and the three "resurrections" of the
Scriptures. Of the "vivifications," Christ is "the Firstfruit" (1
Cor.15:23), thereupon, "they who are Christ's at His presence" (1 Cor.15:23,
24), thereafter, "the consummation" (1 Cor.15:24).
Of the "resurrections," the first group embraces all the saints constituting
the "church which is the body of Christ," called and sealed with the holy
spirit of promise through the evangel of which Paul became the dispenser, from his severance
in Acts thirteen till the presence of the Lord for their assembling with Him at the
meeting in the air. All in this resurrection, will, of course, be "vivified,"
and possess life beyond the power of death. The next group "resurrected" will
include all those who become enjoyers of the allotment of righteousness which is in accord
with faith from Adam to the "first," or "former," resurrection of
Revelation 20:6, marking the beginning of the millennial reign. All in this resurrection
will be "vivified," for we are expressly told that those who have part in this
resurrection, "over these the second death has no jurisdiction" (Rev.20:6). They
will possess life beyond the reach of death. The third group
"resurrected" will be the "rest of the dead who live not until the
thousand years may be finished" (Rev.20:5). It is set in contrast with the
"first," or "former," resurrection at the beginning of the
thousand years' reign. It does not include "vivification," and all who
come forth in this great assize, will be subjects of the jurisdiction of the second death.
It includes mankind in general, great and small, from Cain unto the Great White Throne,
the vast majority of whom were outside of any written revelation, covenants,
promises, and choosings of God preparatory to the great secret of His will--the
administration of the complement of the eras (Eph.1:10), the last eon.
THE BASIS OF JUDGMENT
The Scriptures reveal that all adjudication at the Great White Throne will proceed in
accord with their acts. The just Judge will, of course, take into consideration the
mental and physical equipment of each one, the opportunity afforded by the circumstances
which surrounded them, and the eon and administration in which they lived.
Some will be judged for the irreverence and injustice committed against their knowledge of
God, through His invisible attributes descried from the creation of the world, being
apprehended through His achievements, as well as His imperceptible power and divinity, for
them to be defenseless (Rom.1:18-23). Others will be judged by the theophanies of
Christ, the ministry of Messengers, the Law, the Incarnation, the holy spirit, the Evangel
of the Grace of God, the Conciliation, the Coming Indignation, and the Reign of Messiah
And I perceived the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. And scrolls were
opened, and another scroll was opened, which relates to life. And the dead were judged by
that which is written in the scrolls, in accord with their acts.
And the sea gives up the dead in it, and death and the unseen give up the dead in them.
And they were condemned, each in accord with their acts (Rev.20:12,13).
In Romans we have the basis of this judgment marked out so clearly that no one need go
astray if we do not read into it demands of which the just Judge does not speak. There it
"Yet, in accord with your hardness and unrepentant heart you are hoarding for
yourself indignation in the day of indignation and revelation of the just judgment of
God, Who will be paying each one in accord with his acts" (Rom.2:5,6).
This Scripture, considered in its context, we repeat, speaks of mankind in general, the
vast majority of whom are outside of any written revelation. God will be paying each one
in accord with the personal and social deeds of wickedness among each other, as well as
their irreverent offenses toward Him. The judgment will be in keeping with the knowledge
of God which they possess during the time and circumstances under which they have lived,
whether they followed out the instinct of their conscience for good acts or gave
themselves over to the corrupt and lustful practices of the world. Amidst the great slough
of corrupt humanity, given over to a disqualified mind, to do that which is not befitting,
we have the expressed declarations of Scripture that there were some inspired by better
motives who did not participate in the great catalogue of sin and evil, who will receive
recognition for their good acts in this judgment. Let us note the account of the
Ninevites, repenting at the proclamation of Jonah in contrast with the "wicked
generation" in our Lord's day, who gave no heed to His proclamation. Christ said of
"Ninevite men will be standing up in judgment with this generation and they will
be condemning it, seeing that they repent at the proclamation of Jonah, and lo!
more than Jonah is here!" (Luke 11:32).
Then, again, there is the account of the queen of the south, who fitted out a train of
camels and traveled possibly a thousand miles to learn the wisdom of Solomon, and our Lord
said of her:
"The queen of the south will be roused in the judgment with the men of this
generation, and will be condemning them, seeing that she came out from the ends of the
earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and lo! more than Solomon is here!" (Luke
These Scriptures unmistakably speak of recognition being accorded in the day of
judgment to those, who out of the instinct of their hearts, have displayed the action of
the law in their good acts. Of these Paul says:
"For whenever they of the nations, having no law, may be doing by instinct what
the law demands, these, having no law, are a law to themselves, who are displaying the
action of the law written in their hearts, their conscience joining its witness, and their
reasonings between one another accusing or defending them, in the day when God will be
judging the hidden things of humanity, according to my evangel, through Jesus
This assures every one of a just adjudication in accord with his acts.
RESULT OF THE JUDGMENT
The result will be judgment and condemnation in accord with their acts. A severe wage
is held forth to all who have wantonly participated in the acts of evil and injustice, as
it is written:
"Yet to those of faction, and stubborn, indeed, as to the truth yet persuaded to
injustice, indignation and fury, affliction and distress, on every human soul which is
effecting evil" (Rom.2:8, 9).
"And the sea gives up the dead in it, and death and the unseen give up the dead in
them. And they were condemned each in accord with their acts" (Rev.20:13).
It is here that all the irreverence and injustice of men will receive just adjudication
and all wrongs will be made right. After justice has been fully meted out to each one,
being outside of the realm of faith, the second death will have jurisdiction over them
"This is the second death--the lake of fire. And if anyone was not found
written in the scroll of life, he was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev.20:14,15).
"Yet the timid, and unbelievers, and the abominable, and murderers and paramours,
and enchanters and idolators, and all the false-- their part is in the lake burning with
fire and sulphur, which is the second death" (Rev.21:8).
The lake of fire, as will be shown in our next chapter, is not a place of conscious
suffering for humanity, but is the second death. Neither is it any part of the
judgment of the Great White Throne. The adjudicating discipline of the irreverent
and evil doers will be administered by the just Judge before the throne.