TEXT: 1 Timothy 5:24-25; Revelation 20:11-15
The students will rehearse the events of the Great White Throne Judgment in the close of the Millennium, when God will finally judge all whose names are not in the Book of Life, according to their works.
The Great White Throne Judgment closes the Millennium. It is the greatest judgment ever held, depicting divine purity and righteousness, which characterize God’s decisions. “Him that sat on it,” is God, to whom all judgment is committed (Revelation 20:11-12).
Our text is one we ought to read often, bearing in mind that the small and the great of every age and clime will be there, and the books will be opened. The books have the records of men’s deeds; God knows even their thoughts and motives. Nothing escapes Him or His notice. The Book of Life has the roll of the saved, those who died in the faith or who were raptured.
God’s judgment is final, as well as just. People can be of such varied nature or character that man couldn’t possibly know for sure how to judge some, but God knows the heart and He makes no mistakes. The “second death” is the final doom of all the ungodly, all those whose names are not written in the Book of Life.
At the time of the Great White Throne Judgment, God will assemble before Him all the unsaved, “small and great,” regardless of what their status on earth might have been. The wicked dead are raised; death holding the body and Hades the soul, surrender their prisoners. In the agony and shame of their sins, they stand before a Throne which is described as “great” and “white.” Each sinner is face to face with God alone, and is doomed because he did not accept God’s salvation. The doom of the unsaved is a “lake of fire,” the place of isolation from God for all evil and sinners.
- When does the Great White Throne Judgment take place? What happens to the devil just prior to this time? See Revelation 20:5-10.
Response: The Great White Throne Judgment will take place after the Battle of Gog and Magog, at the close of the Millennium. Bring out in discussion that the devil, who has deceived so many, will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone to be tormented for all eternity.
- The overcoming saints will not be judged at the White Throne Judgment. Why?
Response: The overcoming saints will have already been raptured and will have reigned with Christ a thousand years. As the key verse brings out, the redeemed have sent their sins before them to the judgment. Help your class contrast the two judgments: the location, who is to be judged, the feelings of those involved, the outcome. Note that there is no judgment for the saints, only commendations and rewards for faithful service.
- What three words in verse 12 of our text show us that even a person who considers himself to be insignificant will be at the Great White Throne Judgment?
Response: The words are “small and great.” Bring out in discussion that all the wicked dead will stand before God at this time. Continue with the thought that many people may have escaped answering for their actions in this life, but they, too, will be called into an account before God.
- How do we know that the sinner who has had his body cremated will still be at the Great White Throne Judgment?
Response: Revelation 20:13 tells us that the sea gave up the dead, and death and Hell gave up their dead. Discuss with the students how God, who created our bodies out of dust, can surely put all the dust and ashes back together again for judgment. See John 5:26-29.
- What is the importance of the record kept in the Book of Life? Why do you think this book will be opened at the Great White Throne Judgment?
Response: The Book of Life is the record of the names of the redeemed. As your students discuss the second question, the thought could be brought out that the Book of Life will be indisputable proof that the names of the wicked cannot be found therein. You may wish to amplify the discussion by pointing out that having our names included in this Book is a cause for rejoicing. See Luke 10:20.
- To get our names recorded in the Book of Life we must experience God’s forgiveness for our sins. How can we receive this forgiveness? See 1 John 1:9.
Response: 1 John 1:9 shows us that we must confess our sins to receive forgiveness. Use this opportunity to explain the necessary steps to receiving salvation and the importance of being saved. If the members of the class are all saved, help them to realize that we must continue to walk in God’s ways.
- How is it possible to have your name removed from the Book of Life? See Exodus 32:33.
Response: If we sin against God after we have been saved, our names will be blotted out. Using Ezekiel 33:12, discuss with your class the danger of backsliding, and the vital necessity of maintaining our spiritual relationship with God. Refer also to 1 John 1:7.
- What is recorded in the “books” mentioned in our text?
Response: The books record the everyday actions. Using Jeremiah 17:10; 23:24, help your students see that God’s eyes are watching every deed, and that nothing can be hid from Him.
- What is the second death? See Revelation 21:8.
Response: The second death is when sinners will be cast into the lake of fire. Using verses 13 and 14 of our text, generate a discussion bringing out exactly what occurs at the “second death”—the seas give up their dead, death and Hell deliver up their dead, and then death and Hell themselves are cast into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.
Cut out pictures of people from magazines, etc., and put them on a bulletin board. Put these captions on the board: “Book of Life” and “Lake of Fire.” Discuss with your class which people would likely fit into each category and build on the lesson from there. Be careful to let the class know that we aren’t the judge!
Bring a gavel to class. Talk about its use in present-day court trials. Compare these trials with the Great White Throne Judgment—there will be no jury.
Show your students several types of books where a person’s name is recorded: Baby book, Who’s Who, School yearbook, Encyclopedia, Bible, etc. (If possible show them where your name is in a book.) Also tell them that names are even being recorded on computers. Information about each person is usually included along with the name. Explain that to get your name recorded in any of these places you needed to have done something or “been someone.” This fact holds true with the Book of Life which God is keeping up-to-date in Heaven. You need to have done something (given your life to Jesus) and “become someone” (a Christian) to have your name recorded there.
Take a teacher’s grade book to class. Discuss how teachers use these to keep records of a student’s daily work. Use it to bring out that God is keeping books too. Our deeds will be recorded and at the Judgment Day we will have to account for them.