Verse one transported us through “a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation..”, and we now find ourselves looking into the book of life; therefore, we have to be standing before the Great White Throne.
If that is the case, then we have just jumped forward in time by one thousand years.
Daniel 12:2 NASB “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.
“Those who sleep in the dust of the ground.”
Are dead, and the Psalmist tells us, “the dead know nothing.”
Does it matter where they came from chronologically? No, but having missed the catching away of the church, you can easily place most them in the group as being from the nations.
Having missed the catching away of the church are there other possibilities? Yes, those who assume they automatically belonged to the family of God merely because they attended somewhere, and then there are the Jews.
“will awake, these to everlasting life,”
Note: they all awake to eternal possibilities.
Considering how some have been teaching that all those brought to the throne go to eternal hell, how is it that we see some waking to everlasting life?
The word awake is koots and carries the idea of abruptness in starting up from sleep.
Matthew 25 gives us the answer as the good shepherd responds to their surprise and question as to why, saying, because you did simple, good things. In other words, you acted like the character and nature of God.
They are not lying in the dirt anxiously waiting for some reward, for as far as they know they have lost out and unaware of this awakening.
“but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”
Disgrace is the Greek word kherpaw and means rebuke and reproach.
Contempt is the Greek word deraon and means abhorrence.
Are the assessments of disgrace and everlasting contempt, coming from God, or from those rescued, living in immortal bodies before the presence of the King?
Think about the depravity of such logic. Those of us living in millennial reign will have long been freed from the disgusting drive and motivation that would prompt us to scream out hideous provocations at someone destined for an eternal separation from God, known as hell.
The framework for what is to happen starts here:
The question, asked by the disciples, in Matthew 24:3 opens a large window of time, not to mention questions; so much gets ignored. Whether it is to everlasting life, or disgrace ( rebuke and reproach) and everlasting contempt, where in the scheme of things does this take place? There is only one place, and it is the Great White throne.
Revelation 20:7 CJB When the thousand years are over, the Adversary will be set free from his prison
At the end of the thousand year reign is where we find Satan released one last time and given enough time to deceive the nations. (There is that word – nations, once again. It is distinct and separate from God’s people, which have just been going through the thousand year reign.)
Revelation 20:8-10 CJB and (Satan) will go out to deceive the nations in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them for the battle. Their number is countless as the sand on the seashore; 9) and they came up over the breadth of the Land and surrounded the camp of God’s people and the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them. 10) The Adversary who had deceived them was hurled into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
The ERV tells us that, “He will go out to trick the nations in all the earth, the nations known as Gog and Magog.”
Note: At this point in time, verse 10, we are only aware of three individuals being in the lake of fire.
Abraham was told that his offspring would be as the sands of the sea. What do we see in Revelation 20:8? Countless numbers as they stand on the seashore. That then evokes the question, who is Abraham’s offspring?
Ishmael and Issac. Since Ishmael is an offspring, then descendants of Ishmael would be among those numbers.
A brief overview of the thousand years.
During the Millennial reign, we are told that Jews are sought out by the nations as the teachers of God’s ways. We will cover this aspect in more depth when we get to verse 3, but for now, What does that imply? It means that righteousness is continually taught and enforced.
It appears that the idea of grace (the idea that God merely forgives and overlooks sin) is gone with the catching away of the church.
The time that follows the Harpazo, the catching away of the church, is the wrath and judgment of God that the world and those still in it experiences. It would seem that during this seven years you have to prove your allegiance to God through martyrdom. This idea of brutal death is not a God demand but an unfortunate aspect of the Antichrist’s rule over the earth.
Many from the nations, now having the veil lifted from their eyes have come wholeheartedly into a bond with God. This relationship appears to be primarily through the observance of God’s statutes; we evidence this standard when the nations are made to appear yearly in Jerusalem and participate in the Feast of Tabernacles – a week long ceremony where bowing before God is a mandate.
Jeremiah 3:17 NASB “At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the LORD,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the LORD; nor will they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart.
Zechariah 14:16 NASB Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.
While I have been pointing out how righteousness may look during the Millennial reign there is another possibility for the nations to obtain righteousness, and that would be through the healing derived from the leaves of the trees that grow along the river that flows from the throne of God; this is the same tree of life that grew in the garden. Since we understand that the tree of life gives eternal life, just as church obtained through Jesus Christ, then those who partake of the leaves from the trees obtain this life. This idea of handing out life to people probably causes many of us great trouble, as we cannot grasp God’s ability, generosity, and wisdom in allowing something like this to happen.
Trust me on this, God, will not allow any permanent resident to bring their deviance into eternity. He could not allow Adam and Eve to do it and He won’t allow it here. Since Adam and Eve operated under the same graceless pattern as Israel did, then death would have put them in Sheol, just as Abraham and the beggar Lazarus. Anyone held captive in Hell would have been given the opportunity to accept Christ’s grace and mercy when He preached to the captives in Hades as an aspect of His death and resurrection. This moment of grace was an opportunity afforded to all. Seeing as all sin was forgiven and overlooked then all that remained for those held captive in Satan’s domain, was to accept that Jesus was the Messiah and that He had paid the price necessary for eternal life.
The NASB entitles this next section:
Judgment before the Great White Throne.
Observe what happens.
Revelation 20:11-13 CJB Next I saw a great white throne and the One sitting on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. 12) And I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of the throne. Books were opened; and another book was opened, the Book of Life; and the dead were judged from what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13) The sea gave up the dead in it; and Death and Sh’ol gave up the dead in them; and they were judged, each according to what he had done.
Daniel was told, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”
“And I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of the throne.”
There is no exclusion, as all will awake, but not all will obtain everlasting life with the Father.
“and death and Sheol gave up the dead in them, and they were judged,”
As I said, Jesus preached to the captives. What the immediate impact was we do not know.
“Books were opened.”
We assume that He is checking the books to see your sins, however, God does not need to write your failures in a book; why?
Because sin, all of it, was forgiven and set aside on the cross. He does, however, scour these books looking for a basis to show those before Him mercy. This idea of looking for something that allows Him to show mercy is the only logical assumption we can make.
What we see in Revelation 20 is the same story as Matthew 25, only told from a different viewpoint.
Allow me to explain.
Jesus, after a horrendous, two-day confrontation in the temple, is now leaving and headed toward the Mount of Olives – his favorite place to retreat and rejuvenate with the Father. The disciples were undone by the last two days, as they too thought He would step up as the Messiah, but He didn’t. Befuddled, they pointed out the magnificence of the temple as they walked past it. Jesus response to this was:
Matthew 24:2 CJB But he answered them, “You see all these? Yes! I tell you, they will be totally destroyed; not a single stone will be left standing!”
A few minutes have passed, and they are now sitting among the Olive trees. Here they came to Him privately and asked,
Matthew 24:3 NASB As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
They asked three questions:
“ Tell us, when will these things happen.”
“ what will be the sign of Your coming,”
The Jews, his disciples, had no concept of a rapture of the church. As far as they, they were the church. That attitude changed but not so quickly.
“And what will be the sign of the end of the age?”
Matthew 24 and 25 is the long answer to those questions. An aspect of that response includes the sheep and goat judgment.
Interesting that the NASB entitles this next cluster of passages in Matthew 25 as:
The Final Judgment
How odd, I thought that the Great White Throne was the final judgment? It is, and this is that experience, from the perspective of Jesus as the loving, gentle Shepherd. In contrast, in the book of Revelation, He appears as the angry God willing to end all rebellion on earth. It will help your understanding to remember that the Revelation is a revelation of Jesus Christ, no matter what he looks like.
Again, allow me to demonstrate.
Matthew 25:31 NASB “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory.”
Glory is the Greek word Doxa. An aspect of its meaning is splendor and brightness.
Do not think for a second that when He comes riding the white horse, prepared to do battle, that He will be dressed in anything other than His splendor and brightness.
When will this happen for the last time? At the Great White Throne.
Matthew 25:32 NASB “(A.)All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate (B.) them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
If this is the same throne then these are dead people.
We know from Daniel 12:2 that, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake,”
This is not a selective resurrection; everyone will awake.
In Revelation 20 do we see a separation as well?
Yes, as Jesus the shepherd sets apart all those whose names are not found in the books.
Let’s look at Revelation 20 once again, and see what it says.
Revelation 20:12-13 NASB 12) And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.
“ And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne,”
While this makes no distinction as to where the dead came from, our biggest and most logical assumption is of the nations; not only those we just witnessed coming against the city of God, but those who have died throughout the thousand years and possibly all time.
“and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.” Revelation 20:13
While the judgmental will send them all to hell, the truth is that God scours all books available looking for some reason to show them mercy.
Revelation 20:14-15 NASB 14) Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15) And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
The logical path.
The comparison here to Matthew’s version is that the shepherd focuses on the sheep and their entrance into the kingdom. Revelation 20 tells only us about those whose names were not found in the book of life and were thrown into the lake of fire. There is no discussion about anyone going into the kingdom, and yet both represent the final judgment. Therefore, there must be those who gain entrance, especially if Matthew 25 is the same story. And, the most disturbing for the religious is that there is the possibility that some of those standing there, deceived, ready to kill God, have potentially done some good deed worthy of life. Matthew 25 spelled those things out, for when those granted mercy realize what is happening to them, they ask what they did to deserve mercy. The answer from the shepherd, Yeshua, Jesus, is that they fed Him, visited Him in prison, and gave Him something to drink when He was thirsty. Simple, good deeds.