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The Great White Throne Judgment
Before we get the new heaven and new earth, there is one more event that must take place - the Great White Throne Judgment. In my last article, Satan is Let Loose One More Time, you saw that Satan will end up in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone forever and ever - never to bother, harm or tempt humans ever again! Now what happens to the rest of unsaved humanity?
They will all come before God in what is called the Great White Throne Judgment. This event has to be the most disturbing and most bothersome event in all of Scripture. Before this happens, the Bible tells us that all the unsaved people are kept in a place called Hades (Hell) until the Millennium Kingdom is up. Hades (Hell) is a temporary place of torment that these souls are kept in until they have to appear before God in this final judgment, which will determine their eternal fate once and for all.
The New King James version calls this place Hades. However, the Original King James version calls this place Hell. Either way - Hell or Hades is a temporary place of torment where all unbelievers go to before this judgment comes to pass.
Here is the verse giving us the details on what will be happening in this judgment of the unsaved. "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And 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." (Revelations 20:11-14)
1. The above verse refers to a "second death." The first death is when the unsaved are thrown into Hades after they physically die and are kept there until the Millennium Kingdom is up. The second death refers to when the unsaved are cast into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone where they will remain for all of eternity.
Notice that the above verse definitely establishes that these unsaved people are in kept Hades until this judgment comes forth. The verse says that "Hades delivered up the dead who were in them."
2. After this final judgment is pronounced, not only are the unsaved cast into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, but Hades itself is also cast into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone. This would thus be a "merger" of Hades and the Lake of Fire and Brimstone. Not only is God going to merge His heaven with our earth when we get the new heaven and new earth - God is also going to merge Hades (Hell) with the Lake of Fire and Brimstone when all is said and done. This will God's final ultimate end for the saved and the unsaved.
The Bible does not give us the specific details of the nature of the torment that they will be under once they are thrown into the Lake of fire and Brimstone. And God may never tell any of us, even when we get into the new heaven and the new earth. It may be something He may never really want us to know about and we may be better off not knowing the full details.
However, just the thought that a certain percentage of humanity will not make it into the new heaven and new earth, and will have to spend the rest of their eternal lives in this horrible place of torment just blows the human mind!
Some people ask how could a loving God create such a horrible place of torment for people to end up in if they choose for whatever reason not to accept Him. I believe there is only one answer to that question. I believe God has everything set up on a "all or nothing" principle. There is only maximum life or maximum death. If you choose God and Jesus, then you will end up with maximum life in the new heaven and new earth. If you do not choose God and Jesus, then you will end up with maximum death - which is the Lake of Fire and Brimstone. There is no middle ground or neutral areas! It's all or nothing. It's God or the Devil. It's heaven or hell. It's maximum life or maximum death. It's really all black and white.
God the Father is a God of maximum intensity. He is not playing games. There is only one God and one Savior - Jesus Christ! There is only one way to live and that is to choose God and Jesus and follow all of Their ways and all of Their commandments. Here is the Scripture verse that I feel really captures this thought: "... I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days ..." (Deuteronomy 30:19)
I don't think God could make things any more clearer than the way that He has it spelled out in that verse. That verse is about as black and white as you can possibly get. You'll notice that God says nothing about any type of neutral areas or any type of middle ground. However, the actual choice is up to each and every person. God will not force Himself or His ways on anyone. Each person has to freely choose God and His ways with their own free wills. If they don't - for whatever reason - the consequence will be maximum death in the most horrible place imaginable.
The other thing to understand about why God would create such a horrible place is to just look at some of the people who commit pure evil in this life. The serial killers, the rapists, the murderers, the leaders of nations who enslave and torture their own people. Just look at the nature of Satan himself and all the horrors and evil he has caused throughout the history of our earth. Some of these fallen angels and evil human beings deserve nothing less that maximum death, which really does line up with their evil natures and personalities.
The real sad part about all of this is why a certain percentage of the angels and humans have chosen to live their lives on the "dark side," and to allow themselves to deteriorate to the lower levels of the dark side where they themselves have now become pure evil - giving God no other alternative but to throw them into this lake of fire for the rest of their eternal lives.
None of these angels and humans were born or created pure evil. They became pure evil over the course of their lives and they freely chose to do so with their own free wills. To fully understand why these humans and fallen angels have chosen to live this life on the dark side, when they also had a chance to choose God and the "good side" of this life will probably always remain a mystery.
But for those who have chosen God and His ways - you will not have to go through the Great White Throne Judgment. Your reward is going to be maximum life - and this reward is going to be the new heaven and the new earth. I will discuss what the Bible has to say about this new paradise in the next article.
Article written by Michael Bradley of Bible Knowledge Ministries. Their website is a resource of Bible commentary and teaching. They currently have over 100 Bible articles. All free of charge.
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