Blackstone Edge Old Road - Justified by faith

20 The Great White Throne Judgment

The Apocalypse – Chapter 20

This chapter is probably the darkest part of all this prophecy. Here we have an account of the binding of Satan for a thousand years, Rev. 20:1-3. Followed by the reign of the saints with Christ for the same time, Rev. 20:4-6. After a thousand years Satan is loosed and then commences the conflict of the church with Gog and Magog, Rev. 20:7-10. Finally the day of judgment, Rev. 20:11-15 (The Great White Throne Judgment).

 Towards the Future Judgement
  
 At the future judgement, 
     He will search our work
 With His own discerning light
 And we can be sure that 
     His standards are absolute.
 We only see with partial sight.
  
 That is why we ourselves now 
     come daily to the Light of God
 To test that our work 
     is in accordance with His way.
 Whether or not we receive 
     the Lord’s praise in the future
 Depends on how we please Him 
     in doing His will today.
  
 Of course our reward is a small matter;
 The real purpose of us all 
     is to satisfy His heart.
 We all desire to bring pleasure 
     to the Lord,
 To this end every saved person 
     wants to play their part.
  
 By the late Andrew Feakin 
 [passed away 16th March 2019] 

Keys – The Great White Throne Judgment

  • Know that Christ is one who has power to bind Satan, cast him out, and to spoil his goods.
  • Christ has the powers of heaven and the keys of hell.
  • It is Christ who shuts, and none can open. He shuts by His power and seals by His authority. His lock and seal even the devils themselves cannot break open.
  • Those who were to receive the honour of reigning with Christ are those who have suffered for Him, and faithfully adhered to Him. Those who had not received the mark of the beast, nor worshipped his image. All who had kept themselves clear of pagan and papal idolatry.
  • Those who suffer with Christ shall reign with Him in His spiritual and heavenly kingdom, in a glorious conformity to Him in wisdom, righteousness, and holiness. Beyond what had been known before in the world.
  • None can be blessed but those that are holy; and all that are holy shall be blessed.
  • The Lord grant we may never know the second death by experience. Those who have had experience of a spiritual resurrection are saved from the power of the second death.
  • Know that fire will one day come down from God out of heaven and devour the enemy in totality.
  • God will fight this last and decisive battle for His people, that the victory might be complete and the glory redound to Himself. The devil will then be cast into hell, with his two great officers, the beast and the false prophet, tyranny and idolatry to be tormented night and day, for ever and ever.
  • Know that judgment day is coming. This will be the great day when all shall appear before the judgment-seat of Christ.
  • The Lord help us firmly to believe this doctrine of the judgment to come and keep it close to heart.
  • God will try all people’s principles by their practices, and so will be justified when He speaks and clear when He judges.
  • Only those whose names are written in that book (that is, those that are justified and acquitted by the gospel). They shall then be justified and acquitted by the Judge, and shall enter into eternal life, having nothing more to fear from death, or hell, or wicked men.
  • Let it be our great concern to see on what terms we stand with our Bibles, whether they justify us or condemn us now. For the Judge of all will proceed by that rule. 
  • Christ shall judge the secrets of all men according to the gospel. Happy are those who have so ordered and stated their cause according to the gospel as to know beforehand that they shall be justified in the great day of the Lord!

Satan Bound 1,000 Years

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.

The Saints Reign with Christ 1,000 Years

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the Word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

Satanic Rebellion Crushed

Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

The Great White Throne Judgment

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Henry says – We have here a prophecy of the binding of Satan for a certain length of time, in which he will have much less power and the church much more peace than before. The power of Satan was broken in part by the setting up of the gospel kingdom in the world. It was further broken by the downfall of the mystical Babylon. But still this serpent had many heads, and, when one is wounded, another has life remaining in it. Here we have a further limitation and diminution of his power.

He has a chain and a key

It was an angel from heaven who undertook the work of binding Satan. It is very probable that this angel is no other than the Lord Jesus Christ. The description given doesn’t agree with any other. He is one who has power to bind the strong man, cast him out, and to spoil his goods. Therefore He must be stronger than he. He has a chain and a key, a great chain to bind Satan, and the key of the prison in which he was to be confined. Christ never wants proper powers and instruments to break the power of Satan, for He has the powers of heaven and the keys of hell.

Rev. 20:2, 3 He laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan. Neither the strength of the dragon, nor the subtlety of the serpent, was sufficient to rescue him out of the hands of Christ. He caught hold, and kept His hold. He cast him into the bottomless pit, cast him down with force, and with a just vengeance, to his own place and prison. The prison from which he had been permitted to break out, and disturb the churches, and deceive the nations. Now he is brought back to that prison, and there laid in chains.

Christ shuts, and none can open

He is shut up, and a seal set upon him. Christ shuts, and none can open. He shuts by His power, seals by His authority. His lock and seal even the devils themselves cannot break open. Satan is confined for—a thousand years, after which he was to be loosed again for a little season. The church should have a considerable time of peace and prosperity, but all her trials were not yet over.

What follows is an account of the reign of the saints during that same time in which Satan continued bound. (Rev. 20:4-6) Those who were to receive such honour were those who had suffered for Christ, and all who had faithfully adhered to him, not receiving the mark of the beast, nor worshipping his image. All who had kept themselves clear of pagan and papal idolatry.

Those who suffer with Christ shall reign with Christ

These saints were raised from the dead, and restored to life. This may be taken either literally or figuratively. They were in a civil and political sense dead, and had a political resurrection with their liberties and privileges revived and restored. Thrones, and power of judgment, were given to them. They were given great honour, and interest, and authority and they reigned with Christ a thousand years. Those who suffer with Christ shall reign with Christ. They shall reign with Him in His spiritual and heavenly kingdom, in a glorious conformity to Him in wisdom, righteousness, and holiness, beyond what had been known before in the world.

This is called the first resurrection, which none but those who have served Christ and suffered for Him shall be favoured with. As for the wicked, they shall not be raised up and restored to their power again, till Satan be let loose. These saints were in a most happy state. They are blessed and holyRev. 20:6. None can be blessed but those that are holy; and all that are holy shall be blessed.

These were holy as a sort of first-fruits to God in this spiritual resurrection, and as such blessed by Him. They are secured from the power of the second death. We know something of what the first death is, and it is awful. But we know not what this second death is. It must be much more dreadful; it is the death of the soul, eternal separation from God. The Lord grant we may never know what it is by experience. Those who have had experience of a spiritual resurrection are saved from the power of the second death.

An army was gathered from all parts of the world

The restraints upon Satan are at length taken off for a season. This heralds the return of the church’s troubles, and another mighty conflict, very sharp, but short and decisive. While this world lasts, Satan’s power in it will not be wholly destroyed. It may be limited and lessened, but he will have something still to do for the disturbance of the people of God.

No sooner is Satan let loose than he falls to his old work, deceiving the nations. He stirs up to make a war with the saints and servants of God, which they would never do if he had not first deceived them. They are deceived both as to the cause they engage in (they believe it to be a good cause when it is indeed a very bad one), and as to the issue. They expect to be successful, but are sure to lose the day.

To them the Beloved City

His last efforts seem to be the greatest. The power now permitted to him seems to be more unlimited than before. He had now liberty to raise up volunteers in all the four quarters of the earth, and he rounded up a mighty army, the number of which was as the sand of the seaRev. 20:8. Here are the names of the principal commanders in this army under the dragon—Gog and Magog. We need not be too inquisitive as to what particular powers are meant by these names, since the army was gathered from all parts of the world.

These names are found in other parts of scripture. Magog we read of in Gen. 10:2. He was one of the sons of Japheth, and peopled the country called Syria, from which his descendants spread into many other parts. Of Gog and Magog together we only read in Ezek. 38:2; a prophecy from which this in Revelation borrows many of its images. There follows a march of this formidable army (Rev. 20:9). They went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city, that is, the spiritual Jerusalem. In her the most precious interests of the people of God are lodged, and therefore to them a beloved city.

Fire came down from God out of heaven

The army of the saints is described as drawn forth out of the city, and lying beneath the walls of it, to defend it; they were encamped about Jerusalem. But the army of the enemy was so much superior to that of the church that they compassed them and their city. Here is an account of the battle, and the issue of this war: Fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured the enemy. Thus the ruin of Gog and Magog is foretold (Ezek. 38:22), I will rain upon him and upon his bands an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, and fire and brimstone.

God would, in an extraordinary and more immediate manner, fight this last and decisive battle for His people, that the victory might be complete and the glory redound to Himself. The devil is now cast into hell, with his two great officers, the beast and the false prophet, tyranny and idolatry, and that not for any term of time, but to be there tormented night and day, for ever and ever.

The prince of this world will be judged

The utter destruction of the devil’s kingdom very properly leads to an account of the day of judgment, which will determine every man’s everlasting state. We may be assured there will be a judgment when we see the prince of this world is judgedJohn 16:11. This will be a great day, the great day, when all shall appear before the judgment-seat of Christ. The Lord help us firmly to believe this doctrine of the judgment to come.

We behold the throne, and tribunal of judgment, great and white, very glorious and perfectly just and righteous. The throne of iniquity, that establishes wickedness by a law, has no fellowship with this righteous throne and tribunal. The Lord Jesus Christ puts on such majesty and terror that the earth and the heaven flee from His face, and there is no place found for them.

The books were opened

There is a dissolution of the whole frame of nature, 2 Pet. 3:10. The The dead, small and great are to be judged (Rev. 20:12). That is the young and old, low and high, poor and rich. None are so small and none so great as to avoid the jurisdiction of this court. Not only of those that are found alive at the coming of Christ, but all who have died before. The grave shall surrender the bodies of men, hell shall surrender the souls of the wicked, the sea shall surrender the many who seemed to have been lost in it.

The books were opened. What books? The books of God’s omniscience, who is greater than our consciences, and knows all things (there is a book of remembrance with Him both for good and bad). And the book of the sinner’s conscience, which, though formerly secret, will now be opened. And another book shall be opened—the book of the scriptures, the statute-book of heaven, the rule of life. This book is opened as containing the law, the touchstone by which the hearts and lives of men are to be tried. This book determines matter of right. The other books give evidence of matters of fact.

By their works men shall be justified or condemned

In eternal election God does not act judicially, but with absolute sovereign freedom. The works of men are to be tried what they have done, whether it be good or evil. By their works men shall be justified or condemned. Though God knows their state and their principles, and looks chiefly at these. Yet being approved by angels and men as a righteous God, He will try their principles by their practices, and so will be justified when He speaks and clear when He judges. The trial and judgment will be according to the evidence of fact, and rule of judgment.

All those who have made a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell, shall then be condemned with their malevolent confederates, cast with them into the lake of fire. They shall not be entitled to eternal life, according to the rules of life laid down in the scripture. But only those whose names are written in that book (that is, those that are justified and acquitted by the gospel). They shall then be justified and acquitted by the Judge, and shall enter into eternal life, having nothing more to fear from death, or hell, or wicked men. For these are all destroyed together.

Happy are those who know beforehand that they shall be justified

Let it be our great concern to see on what terms we stand with our Bibles, whether they justify us or condemn us now. For the Judge of all will proceed by that rule. Christ shall judge the secrets of all men according to the gospel. Happy are those who have so ordered and stated their cause according to the gospel as to know beforehand that they shall be justified in the great day of the Lord!

Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary

Prayer for the Day

Father, we come to You. We praise and thank You that Christ is the one who has the power to bind Satan, cast him out, and to spoil his goods. That He has the powers of heaven and the keys of hell. It is Him who shuts, and none can open. May we be among those who have been willing to suffer with Christ and faithfully adhere to Him whilst here on earth. That we qualify to receive the honour of reigning with Christ. May we be kept from receiving the mark of the beast and of worshipping his image. Help us keep ourselves clear of pagan and papal idolatry. Reveal if there are any areas of our hearts where we are in need of repentance.

May we be in pursuit of holiness with an active turning away from all uncleanness. Lord grant that we may never know the second death by experience. Thank You that those who have had experience of a spiritual resurrection are saved from the power of the second death. We bless You that Your Word assures us that You will fight the last and decisive battle for Your people. And that the victory will be complete and the glory redound to You. Help us firmly to believe this doctrine of the judgment to come and keep it close to heart. May we live our lives so we shall then be justified and acquitted by the Judge, and shall enter into eternal life, having nothing more to fear from death, or hell, or wicked men.

May it be our great concern to see on what terms we stand with our Bibles, whether they justify us or condemn us now. For one day Christ shall judge the secrets of all men according to the gospel. May we know the joy as those who have so ordered and stated their cause according to the gospel as to know beforehand that we shall be justified in the great day of the Lord! In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

The Great White Throne Judgment

Subscribe here

Leave a Comment

en_GBEnglish
Such Love

To get my free blog and resources...