Venue: The Courtroom of the Cosmos.
Seating Space for at least 10 billion defendants.
Timing: Earth Calendar Time
At the end of the thousand-year millennial reign of Jesus Christ
over all the nations from His headquarters in Jerusalem, Israel.
Timing: Cosmic Time
An event outside of Earth Time.
Defendants time travel there when they die.
The Presiding Judge
Not a judgment of disembodied spirits.
Only physical bodies can experience hell
Record Books of Everyone since Adam
Judgment of Angels
A Separate Event
Adam to Noah: 10 generations.
Noah to Abraham: 10 generations
Abraham to Jesus: 42 generations (Mt. 1)
Jesus to 2021: 50 generations
|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. Another book was opened, which is the 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. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15 NIV)
What Fraction of these know Jesus personally?
The Book of Life is referred to seven times in the Book of Revelation (3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 20:12, 20:15, 21:27, 22:19) one of the books of the New Testament, attributed to John of Patmos. As described, only those whose names are written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, and have not been blotted out by the Lamb, are saved at the Last Judgment; all others are doomed. "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:15).
"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works;" (Revelation 20:1)
It is also mentioned in Paul's letter to the Philippians: "...Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life."
In the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Life records forever all people considered righteous before God. To be blotted out of this book signifies death. It is with reference to the Book of Life that the holy remnant is spoken of as being written unto life in Jerusalem; compare also Ezekiel 9:4, where one of the six heavenly envoys "who had the scribe's ink-horn upon his loins" is told to mark the righteous for life, while the remainder of the inhabitants of Jerusalem are doomed. The Psalms also speaks of a book of the living: "Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. Even the tears of men are recorded in this Book of God. "Every one that shall be found written in the book . . . shall awake to everlasting life." This book is probably identical with the "Book of Remembrance" in which are recorded the deeds of those that fear the Lord. (Wikipedia)
Ray Stedman says about the Last Judgment,
This scene hardly needs any comment at all. Earth and heaven flee away, which means it is not on earth but it is a judgment in eternity. The judge is Jesus, not the Father! Jesus himself said, "The Father has committed all judgment to the Son," (John 5:22). So it is he who sits upon this throne of majesty and gathers all the dead before him. There will also be some living people from the millennium who will be there as well for it needs to be determined as to whether their names are in the book of life or not. But judgment will be "according to what each one has done." Deeds reveal what the heart is like. They reveal belief. It is all preserved in God's great library. Books are used as symbols here; we would probably use video tapes.
The whole record of every life is made known before all, and judgment will be based upon that. We have already seen in recent history a President of the United States who was forced to resign because of the tapes he made when he thought no unfriendly ear was listening. Here we learn that if your name is in the book of life, your deeds will have been righteous. Only those whose names are in the book of life can do righteous deeds. That is the point of this. Such deeds are done by the power and energy of the Spirit of God, not by the person himself. All other deeds are burned with fire, and only righteous deeds remain.
If your name is not in the book of life, it reveals evil deeds have been done. They may look good on the outside but inwardly are tainted by the selfish, self-centered desire for prominence or power, influence or recognition. So the ultimate question put here is the words of an old song,
Is my name written there,When Jesus sent out the twelve disciples to minister to other cities and towns in Israel they came back reporting great victories, and especially that the demons were subject to them. They could cast evil spirits out of people with just a word, and the demons obeyed them. They came back very excited about that. Jesus said to them, "Do not rejoice over that, [That is nothing you have done; God did that through you], but rejoice that your names are written in heaven," (Luke 10:20 NIV).That is the central question of life: "Is my name written there in the Lamb's book of life?"
On the page bright and fair?
In the book of God's kingdom,
Is my name written there?
It is written when you believe in Jesus. No one needs to go to the lake of fire. No one is thrown into it against his or her will. They have chosen the lake of fire! They have refused the Savior, and there is no other choice. This is not talking about those who have never heard; do not bring that up, because they are not in view here. The best information we have on them is found in Hebrews 11:6, "Anyone who comes to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." God will deal with them according to the great declaration of Scripture, "Will not the judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25 NIV). Scripture does not really tell us what happens to them, but God will deal in justice and righteousness with them. The great question here is, having heard of him, is your name written there? Jesus knows our hearts. Nothing has been hidden from his view. If we come to him, we will be given life. In his first epistle, John writes,
This is the testimony, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son! He who has the Son has life, but he who does not have the Son of God, does not have life. (1 John 5:11-12 NIV)The ultimate issues of life are all settled here. If your name is written in the book of life, you enter into eternal life. If you refuse him, then your ultimate fate is the lake of fire, the second death, along with the devil and the beast and the false prophet. That is a most sobering scene. I dislike preaching about these matters, but it is wonderful to preach against this dark background and offer to all what Jesus offers -- eternal life by faith in him, as you receive him into your heart and life. May all who hear or read these words be included in the Lamb's book of life! --Ray C. Stedman, One Thousand Years of Peace, April 22, 1990.
There is much about the Rapture of the Church that is neglected or glossed over by today’s churches! We can not see angels in our preset bodies. But they will be visible to us in New Jerusalem. No one teaches Angelology today, yet we are immersed in a demon infested culture down here.
In regard to evangelism down on the planet during the Tribulation period, Jesus will lead a special team of Jewish believers, The 144 Thousand with the result that millions will come to know Jesus. God has not given up on our race at all. He is not willing that any should perish!
Our seven years' residence with Jesus in New Jerusalem, will, I believe, feature for us the City’s multidimensional time and space nuances. We should have plenty of tune learning from along great teachers, discovering what we failed to learn in Sunday School, in Home Bible School or in Seminary. We may have a lot of social adjusting and refinement of personal-relationships to catch up on, before we return to the planet with Jesus at His grand Second Advent, Phase Two. There will be plenty of time plus all truth for a change, with no error mixed in, and no more boring sermons. Plenty of Bibles around, I assume!
The Judgment Seat of Christ
God is holy and we are not! The death of Jesus Christ paid for all human sin, past, present and future. (Your sins and mine were all "future" when Jesus took them to the Cross). All who know and follow Jesus do face an performance evaluation, the Bema, or Judgment Seat of Christ, one by one, but all together--probably right after the Rapture. How we lived our lives after we came to know Jesus is the emphasis, and we will all receive a completely fair evaluation by Jesus Christ.
"...And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him." (Hebrews 9:27-28).
The Bible speaks of two levels of death, physical death, i.e., the death of the body and "the second death," which is associated with permanent banishment from the presence of God in what we normally think of as hell. Encouraging his disciples when he sent them out on a trial mission Jesus said,
"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 10:28-33)
The "second death" is mentioned four times in the book of the Revelation:He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who conquers shall not be hurt by the second death. (Revelation 2:11)
To better understand the state of being of those who are lost I find it helpful to look first at how death came into the world, how death effects all men, what God has done to solve the problem of death, how God Himself suffers and identifies with man, and related issues.
The present World Population is about: 8 billion people. In a secular list of world religions 33% profess the Christian “religion.” Probably 10% of the people alive today actually know Jesus, which is a mere 800 million. (For real time statistics see Worldometers.)
At the rapture we followers of Jesus Christ who are alive will probably be outnumbered by those believers who will be resurrected ahead of us! (“...the dead in Christ will be raised first...”) The total number of people who have ever lived since Adam is probably 100 billion. If 10% of this number are assumed to be believers, the total is ~10 billion.
It seems as if the vast majority of people ever born end up in hell--in spite of God’s efforts to save anyone who is willing to be saved. The love and compassion of Jesus must not be overlooked!
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:9-13)
Demographics of the Seven Churches: (AD 30 to now): Just since 1930 AD the total number of people who have lived on earth has numbered about 7800 million or 7.8 billion. Assuming a 5% conversion rate per generation for ~3 generations is about billion Christians. The total number of Christians at the time of the Rapture from 32 AD to now would appear to be perhaps 1500 million. Our assumed conversion rate of 5% of the population per generation is conservative. Dare we assume the Rapture will catch away 1500 million living believers of whom a few will be alive on earth on the day of the Rapture. (Rough estimates for discussion purposes only!) The death rate is presently about 150,000 per day. How many will known Jesus before they go?
by David Roper
-T. S. Eliot
The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-
To be redeemed from fire by fire.
Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame 
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire 
Consumed by either fire or fire.
Here, in this section of a much longer poem,  Eliot insists that we have but two choices in life: "fire or fire" --the fire of purification or the fire of perdition. We are "redeemed from fire by fire," saved from the fire of judgment by God's refining flame. But--and here is the thought that grabbed my attention--in either case, God's love is the consuming fire; it is the inferno of both heaven and hell.
Here I quote Thomas Hopko, an Eastern Orthodox theologian, who, it seems, would heartily agree: "The 'fire' that will consume sinners at the coming of the Kingdom of God is the same 'fire' that will shine with splendor in the saints. It is the 'fire' of God's love; the 'fire' of God Himself who is Love. 'For our God is a consuming fire.' For those who love God and who love all creation in Him, the 'consuming fire' of God will be radiant bliss and unspeakable delight. For those who do not love God, and who do not love at all, this same 'consuming fire' will be the cause of their weeping' and their 'gnashing of teeth.' Thus it is the Church's spiritual teaching that God does not punish man by some material fire or physical torment. God simply reveals Himself in the risen Lord Jesus in such a glorious way that no man can fail to behold His glory. It is the presence of God's splendid glory and love that is the scourge of those who reject its radiant power and light." 
Thus, the "fire" of hell may be but a metaphor for the torment of God's eternal love raining down on those who do not love him in return. MacDonald's old Scot, David Elginbrod, had a similar take: "Watever may be meant by the place o' meesery, depen' upo't...it's only anither form o' love shinin' through the fogs o' ill , and sae gart leuk  something vera different thereby." 
Now, I must muse a bit...
It occurs to me that this may be one reason we're called, as God's beloved children, to love our enemies and do good to them. They cannot endure the awful torment of our affection. Love becomes a force they cannot bear.
There's a reflection of that "force" in the first Harry Potter book (the only one I've managed to read). Lily Potter, Harry's mother, so loved Harry that she impregnated her love into her son's skin (somewhat as God does when he pours his love into our "skin"). When Harry's opponent, Professor Quirrell, touched Harry to harm him, her love, the love that ennobled her son, shattered the professor.
Paul agrees: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
 In Greek mythology, the "intolerable shirt of flame" was a shirt that Hercules' wife gave him that had been poisoned by the blood of a centaur. It drove him to throw himself onto a funeral pyre. Metaphorically, it represents "a source of misfortune from which there is no escape." The only choice is to be consumed by "fire or fire."
 "Suspire" means "to sigh sorrowfully."
 From "The Four Quartettes: Little Gidding."
 Thomas Hopko, The Orthodox Faith vol. 4 (Orthodox Christian Publications Center, 1981). To his quotation I must add George MacDonald's wonderful comment: "The fire of God is unlike its earthly symbol in that it is only at a distance that it burns. When we turn and draw near him it turns into comfort."
 fogs o' ill: our confusion about hell's "cruelty."
 sae gart leuk: so made like.
 From MacDonald's novel, David Elginbrod. Our concept of hell as a place of literal fire may be derived more from Dante than from the gospel. Material fire cannot afflict a spiritual being, so the "fires of hell" could well be symbolic. It's significant to me that our Lord's word for hell was Gehenna, not Hades, the usual word for the nether world. Gehenna was a geographical location, a valley located southwest of Jerusalem that was the refuge dump for the city. Early in Jerusalem's history it was set on fire and burned continually, producing billowing clouds of acrid smoke. To our Lord it represented a powerful symbol for hell as a "cosmic garbage dump," a place of ruined, wasted lives (Cf. Mark 9:43 et. al.).
 "But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil" (Luke 6.35)
 Romans 12:21
Note: The predominant meaning of aionios, that in which it is used everywhere in the NT, save the places noted above, may be seen in 2 Chronicles 4:18, where it is set in contrast with proskairos, lit., 'for a season,' and in Philemon 1:15, where only in the NT it is used without a noun. Moreover it is used of persons and things which are in their nature endless, as, e.g., of God, Romans 16:26; of His power, 1 Timothy 6:16, and of His glory, 1 Peter 5:10; of the Holy Spirit, Hebrews 9:14; of the redemption effected by Christ, Hebrews 9:12, and of the consequent salvation of men, Hebrews 5:9, as well as of His future rule, 2 Peter 1:11, which is elsewhere declared to be without end, Luke 1:33; of the life received by those who believe in Christ, John 3:16, concerning whom He said, 'they shall never perish,' John 10:28, and of the resurrection body, 2 Chronicles 5:1, elsewhere said to be 'immortal,' 1 Chronicles 15:53, in which that life will be finally realized, Matthew 25:46; Titus 1:2. Aionios is also used of the sin that 'hath never forgiveness,' Mark 3:29, and of the judgment of God, from which there is no appeal, Hebrews 6:2, and of the fire, which is one of its instruments, Matthew 18:8; 25:41; Jude 1:7, and which is elsewhere said to be 'unquenchable,' Mark 9:43. "The use of aionios here shows that the punishment referred to in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, is not temporary, but final, and, accordingly, the phraseology shows that its purpose is not remedial but retributive." [Hogg and Vine]
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