Robert Jeffress - Final Judgement - Part 2
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to "Pathway to Victory". Jesus Christ could return to gather his church at any moment, but he continues to wait patiently so that unbelievers have more time to give their lives to him. Well, one day God's patience will run out and he will come again to judge the unrighteous in an event called the Great White Throne judgment. And when that day comes you won't want to be on the receiving end of God's wrath. My message is titled "Final Judgment". On today's edition of "Pathway to Victory".
Let's make something very, very clear. It is impossible for somebody who is a genuine Christian to ever be lost. John 10:28, Jesus said, "I give eternal life to them and they shall never perish. No man shall snatch them out of my hands". When God gives you eternal life, it's eternal. If salvation can be lost, then it's not eternal. God is the author, Hebrew says, of eternal salvation. In Romans 11:29, Paul said, "For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable". God does not rescind his offer of eternal life.
So these are not genuine Christians who are deceived by Satan. But wait a minute, pastor. You've just told us. Only believers can enter into the millennium. All unbelievers will be swept away at the judgment. Only believers enter into the millennium, those of us in our resurrected bodies and those Christians who survive the Great Tribulation. So if it's only Christians who can enter into the millennium, how will some be deceived? It's because there will be some Christians who enter into the millennium in their natural bodies. And I believe it is the children of those Christians who are produced in the millennium in their natural bodies, some of whom will be deceived.
Just think about Jesus Christ after his resurrection from the dead. He had a new body for 40 days, and yet he was able to fellowship with his disciples in their natural bodies. That's a picture of what will happen during the millennium. And that is the only explanation for how there can be both birth and death in the millennium. For example, going back to that verse we've looked at several times. Isaiah 65:20, "No longer will there be in it," talking about the millennium, "An infant who lives but a few days". There are going to be babies in the millennium, how does that happen?
Luke 20:35-36, says you and I in our resurrected bodies won't be able to procreate. No more pampers, no need for that any longer. We won't be having children. But yet the millennium says there will be infants in the millennium. But it goes on to say, "Or will there be an old man who does not live out his days for the youth will die at the age of 100, and the one who does not reach the age of 100 will thought to be accursed". Not only will there be birth in the millennium, there'll be death in the millennium. It'll be later in life, but it will occur. Well, how can that happen? We're in our resurrection bodies and there is no death in our resurrection bodies. The only explanation is there are Christians who enter the millennium in their natural bodies, they will have children, and those children will be deceived, some of them, by Satan.
You know, that's an amazing thing, when you think about it. After living under the rule of Christ for 1.000 years, having experienced the blessing of Christ's ruling, some will be deceived and actually choose to follow Satan. But ladies and gentlemen, the fact is, every believer has to make a choice. Every person who's ever lived, in whatever age he lives, starting in the Garden of Eden, has had to make an individual choice, rather to follow God or follow Satan. And this is the reason God says he must be released for a little while. Every person who ever lives on this planet has to be given that choice of following God or following Satan.
And so the Bible says Satan will be released, he will deceive some, but it won't be a deception that will last for long because in Revelation 20:9, God sends a fire, he devours those who have opposed him. And verse 10 says he then takes Satan and he drops him into the lake of fire where the beast and the false prophet are. And that prepares the way for this judgment we're looking at, the Great White Throne judgment.
Turn over to Revelation 20, beginning with verse 11. There are some people who believe, some Christians, that there's only one judgment at the end of time, one judgment for both believers and unbelievers. But the Bible does not teach that. There's a judgment for Christians. We're going to talk about that judgment next week, that you and I are going to face. It's the judgment called the Judgment Seat of Christ. But there's another judgment for unbelievers that we're looking at today, the Great White Throne judgment.
Look at the description of that judgment in verse 11. John says, "And 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". As John looked, he saw a single solitary throne suspended in space. Heaven and earth were gone at this point. What happened to the heaven and earth? See that white space in your Bible between verse 10 and 11? See that little white space there? In that white space, this earth and this heaven were destroyed by fire, just as 2 Peter 3:10-11, state. That one day this present heaven and earth being reserved for judgment will be destroyed by fire. And when we get to the Satan's judgment in verse 10 and then to verse 11, the judgment of all unbelievers, in between those two verses the present heaven and earth fled away. That is, they were destroyed.
And so John only sees someone sitting on this Great White Throne. And notice this is completely different from the picture in revelation 4:2, where at the beginning of the tribulation John looked into heaven and he saw God the Father on a throne surrounded by the 24 elders, the church, and he saw the rainbow surrounding the throne and peals of lighting and the sounds of thunder. That's not this picture. This picture is of a single solitary throne, and it has a different occupant on it. The occupant is not God the Father, it is Jesus Christ the son. Who is it that is going to be judged by Jesus the son?
Notice the subjects of the Great White Throne judgment in verses 12 and 13. John says, "And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened". Skip down to verse 13. "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, death and hades gave up the dead which were in them, and they were judged, every one of them, according to their deeds". Remember what I just said? When an unbeliever dies, no matter when it happens, his body goes into the grave, but his spirit, the real part of him, goes to this place calls hades. It's a temporary waiting place for the unsaved, but it is a horrible place.
Jesus talked about it in Luke 16 in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Remember the rich man opened his eyes and he found himself in this horrible place called hades. The Bible says hades is the place where all unbelievers are deposited until the final judgment. And at the Great White Throne judgment, John says in verse 13, hades regurgitated all of the unsaved dead from the beginning of time to stand before this Great White Throne in judgment. The subjects of the Great White Throne judgment are unbelievers, and how are they judged, what is the basis for their judgment?
Go back to verses 12 and 13. "And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and the books," underline that, "Were opened. And another book," singular, underline that, "Was opened". What is that book? It is the book of life. "But the dead were judged from the things that were written in the books," plural. Not the book, the book of life. "They were judged by the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and the death and hades gave up the dead which were in them, and they were judged, every one of them, according to their deeds, their works".
Did you know God keeps two sets of books on all of us? There is the book, and there are the books. The book is what the Bible calls the Lamb's Book of Life. Revelation 13:8. It is a book that is a record of everyone who was saved. There is the book, but then there are the books. That is, God keeps a record of every person's, believer and unbeliever's works. Every word, every action, every thought, everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly is recorded in the books. No good deed goes unrecorded, no sin goes unnoticed. It is all in the books. The Bible says that the unsaved are judged according to the books, according to their deeds, according to the things that have been written in this book. The Bible says in verse 12 if any man's name is not found written in the book of life, he was judged forever and ever.
The unbeliever, listen to this, is the person who chooses to be judged not by having his name in the book but according to his works in the books. You know, one of the saddest aspects to me of this judgment, the white throne judgment, is the confidence with which unbelievers will approach it. After the unbeliever gets over the initial shock of seeing the Lord Jesus Christ whom he rejected, sitting on that Great White Throne, after that initial shock, the unbeliever will actually start to feel pretty confident as he hears Jesus announce the basis on which he's going to be judged.
As Jesus begins to open the books and says, "I will judge as you've chosen to be judged, according to your deeds, according to your works". But that optimism, that confidence will turn to despair very, very quickly as the unbeliever realizes that the basis, the standard by which his works will be judged will not be his relative righteousness to other people but by the perfection of God's own son, the Lord Jesus Christ. See, most of us, we judge ourselves according to other people. We say, well, I may not be perfect, but I pay my taxes, I don't cheat on my mate, I'm certainly better than Osama Bin Laden, so I oughta do pretty good, I oughta make it into the kingdom. But God says, "No. The basis by which I judge every man is not his relative righteousness compared to others but by the perfection of my son, the Lord Jesus Christ".
In Acts 17:31, the Word of God says, "God has fixed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom he has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising him from the dead". Jesus is the gold standard. He is the standard by which our righteousness will be judged and by that standard, everyone falls short. What happens as a result of the white throne judgment? Look at verses 14 and 15. "And death and hades," that is, unbelievers, "Were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if any man's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire".
We'll talk about this more in two weeks, but will you notice that the lake of fire is a place of eternal suffering? You say, pastor, I just can't put my mind around that. I cannot understand how a good and a loving God would choose to punish people, to torture people forever and ever and ever. May I remind you there will not be one occupant in the lake of fire who is not there by his own choice. The unbeliever is the person who has said to God, "Whatever Jesus Christ did means nothing to me. I don't need his death, I don't need his righteousness. I'm happy to be judged by you according to my own merits". And God says, "Fine, I'll give you exactly what you wish. We'll judge you according to your works".
But nobody's works will be good enough, for, you see, the Bible says unless we have a righteousness that equals that of Jesus Christ himself, none of us is qualified to enter into heaven. You say, well, that's impossible. Nobody could ever meet that standard. The perfection of Jesus Christ? Nobody could ever meet that standard. Exactly. And that's why the only way we'll ever be qualified to enter into heaven is not on the basis of our goodness but on the basis of the goodness, the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
I know I've said this before, but I think right now is a helpful time to illustrate exactly what that means, the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and what it means to put that on. I want you to imagine here two books. One book is titled "The Life & Times of Jesus Christ". This is a book that records every good deed, every perfect thing that Jesus Christ has ever done. His complete record of absolute righteousness. "The Life & Times of Jesus Christ". Now I want you to imagine another book titled "The life & times of Robert Jeffress". It is a book that records some of the good things I've done, but it also describes every wrong action, every wrong thought, every wrong motivation for doing anything I've ever had. This book reads like a supermarket tabloid. It's a book I hope nobody will purchase. Two books. "The Life & Times of Jesus Christ". "The Life & Times of Robert Jeffress".
Now what happens when I trust in Christ as my Savior? You know what God does? He takes the cover of this book and he places it on this book containing Jesus' good deeds. And so when God looks at "The life & times of Robert Jeffress," he no longer sees my sin, he sees all of the good things that Jesus did, and he gives me credit for his righteous life. But there's something else that happens. When I trust in Christ as my Savior, God takes the cover of this book, "The Life & Times of Jesus," and he places it around my life story.
2.000 years ago, when God looked down on Jesus on the cross, he saw my sin, he saw your sin, and he judged Jesus for what we have done. It's the greatest exchange that has ever taken place when we become a Christian. I take my sinfulness and my righteousness and give it to Jesus Christ to suffer for. And he takes his righteousness and he credits it to my account so that I spend eternity benefiting from the perfect life of Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says it this way. "God made him, Jesus, who knew no sin, to become sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him".
Now hear me this morning. The most important choice you ever make in life is this. What am I depending upon to get me into heaven one day? Am I going to depend upon my righteousness, the fact that I'm a member of first Baptist church Dallas, that I got baptized, that I had a grandfather who was a preacher, am I going to depend on that? Or am I going to choose to depend upon the righteousness of Jesus Christ and the perfect life he led? You see, it's one or the other. Either you're depending on your righteousness or you're depending completely on the righteousness of Christ. It's one or the other, it can't be both.
And ladies and gentlemen, that choice of what you're depending on to get into heaven is a choice you have to make right now in this life. If you wait until you die to make that choice, you've waited too long. If you wait until you die to call on the name of Christ for salvation, there is no salvation. If you find yourself standing before that Great White Throne judgment, it's too late. You must choose the righteousness of Christ now to escape that final white throne judgment.