Stephen Whitsett BA
Giving an orthodox apologetic answer for Preterism / Dispensationalism
Rev 20: 11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
9“As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire.
10A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.
13“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.
14And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
Dan 12.2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
John 5.27-28 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice29and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
Many assume that Revelation 20
is a recap of the church age which began in 33 AD with Christ death and
resurrection. But because we know the millennium begins with satan
imprisoned and Christ ruling on the earth this separates it from some
past event. Christ has never lived on earth outside of his first
coming. In Christ second coming he rules from Jerusalem.
What we first understand is that Christ being the “son of man” is the judge. The first judgment comes in the first Resurrection of the saints at His coming. He brings with him those who were dead in Christ and they are raised to life and then we who are alive are changed to become immortal, we
who are alive will not die, both groups are gathered to him. This then is the separation of wheat from the tares. We who are changed or return with Him are judged all ready to be in Christ and worthy to be accounted as one in Christ.
It means our names are written in the Lambs book of life from the foundation of the world.
The rest of the dead come to life After the Millennium to face judgment. What we are unsure of as scriptures do not make clear, and despite some who protest and think they have it figured out, the survivors of the “last battle” are not Christians BUT we do see the Israel/Jewish people coming to Christ at his return, people of many nations, and even people who accept Christ during the Millennium reign on earth. What we do not know is if they are changed also or remain as “lowly” humans who must grow old and die.
We know from Revelation 20.8 this army satan gathers their numbers is like the “sand of the sea” which could not happen if there is no one left on earth to repopulate it. This army then is made up of the descendants of the survivors among the nations.
At the end of this battle when fire is called down and the earth is burnt up and all the works of man, ends the age. The next scene we have in heaven is of every person who has ever lived standing before him to be judged from the books.
The “rest of the dead” are of all those who were never in Christ while alive on earth, and possibly those who came to Christ at his return – whoever was not part of the first resurrection- as we all stand before the throne to give account for deeds done while in the body on earth.
The judgment of those in Christ is not a deciding if they get into heaven but their name being recorded in the book of life they come to receive their vindication before the world. They get to hear those words “well done good and faithful servant”. They receive the crown of life. Their works then are judged and reward handed out based on their works.
“12Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.14If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.- that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him."
For those whose names were not found in the book of life they face “the second death”.
The other books record the deeds of men so they are without excuse.
“"There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.”
The rest of the dead in Christ are also “resurrected” as John 5 states and Daniel 12.2 back into the body. It is in this body they must endure their punishment for rejecting Christ. The punishment must fit the crime for justice to be served. Christ would be unjust if he let any one person “off the hook”, he cannot violate who he is.
Now many people go to the extreme and believe this “death” is annihilation. Scriptures are absolutely clear what the punishment is
“14Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire….. and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. ”
There is no get out of jail later or “getting purified” as only the blood of Jesus can wash away sin. Those who rejected Christ atonement and die have no hope. The punishment is an eternal one.
“It’s appointed for men to live once then judgment”
the punishment for sin is eternal death. The hope of the believer then is eternal life.
The existence and purpose of Hell is discussed elsewhere.
More of the Second Coming