The Great White Throne - Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Dead Standing Before God - Revelation 20 v.12 Another book was opened, which is the book of life. Book of Life
The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Second Death - Revelation 20 v.14 If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20 v.11-15)
You have just read the most awesome passage found anywhere in the Bible. It confronts us with the sobering truth of our ultimate encounter with God. The story is told of the great statesman Daniel Webster, toward the twilight of his life, attending a luncheon meeting with some younger government leaders. The chairman of the group turned to Mr. Webster and asked, "What is the greatest thought that has ever passed through your head?" Quick as a flash Daniel Webster replied, "My accountability to God."
Nowhere is one's accountability to God more clearly defined than in this passage of Scripture. One truth must be emphasized at the outset of this study: This ultimate judgment of the Great White Throne is for unbelievers only. Who are these "dead, great and small"? They are dead now in trespasses and sins because of their rejection of Jesus Christ, and they will be raised at the second resurrection in order to appear at this judgment. Great White Throne Judgment - Revelation 20 verse 15
Rev. 20 v.5 states that "the rest of the dead did not come to life until the 1000 years were ended. This is the second resurrection." It is noteworthy that in Rev. 20 v.12 the dead are referred to as "great and small". This would mean the "great and small" intellectually, physically, financially, positionally, and in every other way. This group will include all the dead without Jesus Christ.
Verse 13 adds further information: "The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done." The Sea Gave Up the Dead - Revelation 20 v.13 The sea will give up all those who were drowned or buried at sea, never having accepted Jesus Christ. "Death" represents the grave, "Hades" the place of torment where their spirits have gone.
What these two verses teach is that we may expect a physical resurrection uniting the dead, whether their ashes are in the grave, in a mausoleum, on the earth, or in the sea. Those ashes will be resurrected and united with the soul and spirit as they arise from the place of torment, and in this resurrected form they will stand before the Great White Throne.
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