Revelation 20:11-13 John here is shown the Judge seated on His throne of judgment, and all the accused standing before Him. This vision is the Great White Throne judgment which follows the judgments of the Millennium (Revelation 20:1-10), the Second Coming (Revelation 19:11-21), and immediately precedes that of the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21:1ff.).
White speaks purity, holiness, and justice. God’s justice is absolutely equitable, righteous, and just (Psalm 9:7-8). Daniel speaks of this in Daniel 7:9-10. Though the Father and the Son share the throne, it is the Son who will judge sinners (John 5:22; Acts 10:42; Romans 2:16). John declares that the Presence of the Lord causes the earth and heaven to be removed. This speaks of God who will create “a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1, 5; Isaiah 65:17, 22; 2 Peter 3:13).
The present earth and heaven will not merely be moved or reshaped, since John saw in his vision that no place was found for them. They will be uncreated and go totally out of existence. Barnhouse wrote, “There is to be an end of the material heavens and earth which we know. It is not that they are to be purified and rehabilitated, but that the reverse of creation is to take place. They are to be uncreated. As they came from nothing at the word of God, they are to be sucked back into nothingness by this same word of God” (Revelation: An Expository Commentary [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971], 391).
The details of God’s uncreation of the universe are given by Peter in 2 Peter 3:10-13, which describes the Day of the Lord. The reverse of creation will occur. It didn’t take eons of evolution to create the universe, nor will it take eons to uncreate it. The uncreation of the universe, like its creation, will take place by the word of God.
God’s throne will be set up and all unrighteous people, their souls reunited with their newly resurrected bodies (Revelation 20:5), will stand before God and be judged. The primary basis of their judgment will be whether or not their name is in the book of life (Revelation 20:12), the unjust are condemned because they have not believed in Christ as Savior and Lord. Their degree of eternal punishment is determined by the nature of their sins (Revelation 20:12), and on the degree of their spiritual enlightenment (Luke 10:12-14 with Luke 11:29-32.
Every man will see God at least once in his life, for every human being will either see his Creator and Savior in Heaven eternally, or see his Creator and Judge once, prior to being cast into Hell. The only two exceptions are the Beast and his false prophet (Revelation 19:20; 20:10).
The books contain the record of every thought, word, and deed of every unsaved person who ever lived. The dead will be judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. God’s justice demands payment for every person’s sins. Christ paid that penalty for believers (Isaiah 53:5-6; Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24). But those who have not received the righteousness of Christ (Philippians 3:9), will have to pay the penalty for violating God’s law which is eternal judgment in hell (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
God’s judgment will be on the sinners’ evil deeds which will include their thoughts (Psalm 44:21; Romans 2:16; Luke 8:17). Sinners will also be judged for their words (Matthew 12:37; Matthew 16:27). No one will be able to claim ignorance of God’s standards, because both creation (Romans 1:20) and the conscience (Romans 2:14-15) reveal God’s righteousness. Those without knowledge of God’s law will be judged on the basis of the knowledge they did have (Romans 2:12).
Then another book was opened, which is the book of life which contains the names of all those whose “citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). It is referred to several times in Revelation (Revelation 20:15, 3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 21:27). The book of life is the record of God’s elect (Daniel 12:1; Malachi 3:16; Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; Hebrews 12:23), and all whose names are not recorded in it will be eternally damned.
Revelation 20:14-15 – Based on where the name is located judgment is rendered. As the sentence is passed, death and Hades is thrown into the lake of fire. Those consigned there are united with specially designed resurrection bodies fit for hell.
The term used to describe the hell, as we have discussed already is Gehenna, which is the New Testament word for the valley of Ben-Hinnom (also called Topheth; 2 Kings 23:10; Isaiah 30:33; Jeremiah 7:31-32; 19:6), located southwest of Jerusalem. It was the location where idolatrous Israelites burned their children in the fire as sacrifices to false gods (Jeremiah 19:2-6).
In the time of Jesus, it was the site of Jerusalem’s garbage dump. The fires were kept burning and gave off a foul-smelling smoke, because of the garbage it was infested with maggots. The valley of Ben-Hinnom was a picture of eternal hell, one used repeatedly by Jesus (Matthew 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5).
Believers who have been part of the first resurrection will not experience the second death (Revelation 20:6), but the rest of the dead, who did not participate in the first resurrection (Revelation 20:5), will, which is defined here as the lake of fire.
Fire is used more than twenty times in the New Testament to describe the torment of hell (Revelation 20:10, 15; 14:10; 19:20; 21:8; Matthew 3:10-12; 5:22; 7:19; 13:40, 42, 50; 18:8-9; 25:41; Mark 9:44; Luke 3:9, 16-17; John 15:6; Hebrews 10:27; Jude 7). Whether the fire of hell is literal or symbolic of torture we cannot be sure, but it represents that which is horrifying and painful. The Bible also depicts hell as a place of total darkness, which isolates those consigned from each other (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30; 2 Peter 2:17; Jude 13); it is further described as a place of unending sorrow, where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28). Revelation 20:14 says death and Hades will be cast into the lake of fire (Hell). This means that death will be abolished.
Here is a summary of some of the transformations which Scripture reveals will take place in the millennium:
1. Jerusalem will be the chief of mountains Isaiah 2:2
2. All nations will worship in Jerusalem Isaiah 2:2; 11:10; 35:10
3. Jerusalem will rule the world Isaiah 2:3-4
4. There will be no war Isaiah 2:4
5. Only righteousness will prevail on earth Isaiah 11:4
6. Carnivores animals will be herbivorous Isaiah 11:6-7; 65:25
7. Snakes will be non-venomous Isaiah 11:8
8. The earth will be lush Isaiah 35:1-2, 6
9. Sickness will be healed Isaiah 35:5-6
10. There will be exceptional longevity Isaiah 65:20-23
11. Ezekiel 40-48 describes Israel in the millennium with a beautiful and magnificent temple.