THE "WHITE THRONE" JUDGMENT
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
From: It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking
We Christians have termed the judgment that takes place after the thousand-year Kingdom Age the “white-throne” judgment. However, the white-throne judgment is but one aspect of the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is not a judgment separate from the Judgment Seat of Christ of II Corinthians 5:10. The Judgment Seat of Christ is a white throne. The Father judges no man. All judgment has been committed to the Son.
The common teaching that the Judgment Seat of Christ is for the saved and the “white-throne judgment” is for the lost is false. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, all people—Christians and non-Christians alike—shall be judged and rewarded on the basis of their works. Mercy may be shown to some; but grace, in the sense of imputed (assigned) righteousness, will not enter at this point.
The purpose of the grace of God is to create good works in our personality so we can be rewarded for these good works in the Day of Christ. The grace produces good works. The good works result in God’s blessing and eternal life. If we receive Christ but continue to sin we will reap death and not life—now, and also in the Day of Christ.
THE “WHITE THRONE” JUDGMENT
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 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 20:11,12)
Christians have termed the above event the “white-throne” judgment. However, the white-throne judgment is but one aspect of the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is not a judgment separate from the Judgment Seat of Christ of II Corinthians 5:10. The Judgment Seat of Christ is a white throne.
The Father judges no man. All judgment has been committed to the Son (John 5:22). It is true also that the overcomers will be seated on the white throne with the Lord, judging the nations.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? (I Corinthians 6:2)
The common teaching that the Judgment Seat of Christ is for the saved and the “white-throne judgment” is for the lost is false. It is not true that every individual who is to be saved will rise to meet the Lord when He appears and will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Neither is it a fact that the great majority of mankind will be raised at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, stand before a different judgment seat (the white throne), and then automatically be hurled into the Lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the current teaching and it is in error.
The first resurrection, that which will take place at the beginning of the Kingdom Age, is for the ruling priesthood. The second resurrection will include the saved of mankind. Those who are saved at the time of the second resurrection will be brought over to eternal life in the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus. Those who are lost will be cast into the Lake of Fire, exactly as the Scripture states.
The first resurrection from the dead, which the Apostle Paul was striving to attain, is for God’s kings, judges, and priests. The first resurrection, which will take place at the appearing of Christ with His saints and the elect angels, is not the resurrection of salvation but the resurrection of the royal priesthood.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)
It is the second resurrection, that which will occur at the conclusion of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, that is the resurrection of the peoples of the earth to eternal life or eternal fire.
The current doctrine that stresses no individual will be saved at the second resurrection does not follow the express statements of the Scripture.
It is the exceptional individual who is cast into the Lake of Fire. Thank God for that! We Christians would have the whole race of mankind, except for our own club, cut off from its Creator and tormented forever—even those who never have heard the Gospel!
Think carefully about what is stated here:
And whoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 20:15)
Revelation 20:15 is one of the most important verses of all Scripture. The fate of being cast into the Lake of Fire is a destiny so frightful as to be far beyond our powers of comprehension. To think of being tormented with no hope for a billion years, with the prospect of a billion years yet to come! What if it were you?
Worse than this, the individual never again can be received into the Presence of His Creator. His prayers never again will be heard. God has cast him or her off forever as unworthy of joy, of peace, of love.
Never again will he see the light of the world. Never, never again will she hear the voice of children, or smell a flower, or hear someone say, “I love you.”
The stench of burning sulfur and the ravings of fallen angels, demons, and lost human beings will be their home for an eternity of eternities.
The horrible truth is, there actually will be people in the Lake of Fire—the fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
What if you or I found ourselves some day in the Lake of Fire? Have you ever really thought about that? Yet, we Christians are ready to assign all but a handful of people to this terror of all terrors.
If God meant for us to interpret Revelation 20:12-15 to mean every individual who is not raised in the first resurrection as a priest of Christ will be cast into eternal torment, the passage should read approximately as follows:
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 God said, “None of you is written in the Book of Life. To be written in the Book of Life you must receive Jesus as your Savior.
“Some of you behaved wickedly, and some tried to practice righteousness according to your conscience. most of you never have heard of Jesus. You never heard of Jesus because the Christian people were lazy and disobedient. Even though you might have accepted Him if you had heard, it does not make any difference. The lazy and disobedient Christians are in the Paradise of God by My grace but all of you shall be cast into the Lake of Fire.
“I am a righteous God. I never want to see you or hear your voice again throughout the eternity of eternities.”
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and Hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to his works.
Since no man can be saved by works, every one of them was cast into the Lake of Fire. And death and Hell were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. None of these was found written in the Book of Life; all were cast into the Lake of Fire. (Evang 1:1-5)
This is the type of logical, “righteous” reasoning that takes place among Christians.
Can the Spirit of God not communicate clearly? Would He say, “And whoever was not found written in the Book of Life,” leaving us with the impression that it is the exception who is put into torment, if He actually meant, all shall be cast into the fire?
We are not persuaded by recent attempts to alter the disciplined translation of the verse in order to fit Christian tradition. Let those who add to, or take away from, the plain language of the Book of Revelation take heed that they do not take away their own part from the Book of Life, coming under the curse contained in the last chapter of Revelation.
It would be impossible for our fanciful translation (above) to be a part of the Scriptures because it would contradict a principle of the Kingdom of God.
In Kingdom law, an individual is judged by the light he has. If he never has heard the Gospel of Christ he will not be judged by the Gospel of Christ (John 15:24; Romans 2:12).
Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. (Romans 4:15)
If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. (John 15:22)
If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. (John 15:24)
Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: (Romans 2:6,7)
For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. (Romans 7:9)
Men will be judged and rewarded in terms of the light they have been given.
And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:47,48)
Why would Christian teachers stumble over the last judgment, attempting to make the Scripture mean what it does not state?
Perhaps the reason stems from Paul’s teaching concerning grace and works. Paul, a Jew, was entrusted by the Lord with the explanation of the transition from the works of the Law of Moses to the life lived under the discipline of the law of the Spirit of life in Christ.
The Holy Spirit Himself is the Law of the new covenant (II Corinthians 3:6). Some who know this have come to believe there is no law, we all are “free in the Spirit.” Such do not know the Spirit of God!
Paul, who was reacting to the Jewish trust in the works of the Law, contended that we cannot be made righteous by works (of the Law) now that God has given Christ as our sin-bearer. We cannot mix the Law of Moses with the grace of God given us through Christ. If the works of the Law are added to Divine grace, grace no longer is grace, Paul emphasized.
We who are Christians have lifted Paul’s argument from its relationship to the Law of Moses and have applied it to godly behavior. We are interpreting Paul to mean that either we are hoping to be saved by grace apart from godly behavior, or else we are attempting futilely to attain righteousness by godly behavior. We have concluded that Paul was warning us not to mix grace with righteous behavior because one is the gift of God and the other is the hopeless works of man.
The concept that godly behavior is an alternate route that people might attempt to use in a vain effort to gain righteousness, and should not be mixed with the righteousness of God given us by grace, is then applied by today’s theologians to our life after we receive Christ.
This misapplication of Paul’s reasoning with the Jews leads to the current theory that our behavior as a Christian has little or no bearing on our entrance into Paradise when we die.
In actual fact, godly behavior, and not entrance into Paradise when we die, is the goal of the Christian redemption. Godly behavior indeed is the Christian salvation. It can be seen that we have confusion heaped on confusion in our understanding of salvation. This doctrinal confusion is revealed in the present spiritual immaturity of the believers, who are not very concerned with godliness of behavior—the one thing God is endeavoring to produce through Christ.
The reasoning proceeds to the point that salvation is understood to be unconditional, in that at the Day of Judgment God will not regard the behavior of the believer. If he has professed Christ he shall be saved even though there has been no transformation of his behavior. Yet, it is the transformation, the new creation, that is the new covenant, that is the Kingdom of God (Hebrews 8:10; II Corinthians 3:18; 5:17,18; Romans 14:17).
Then, Acts 4:12 is stirred into the poisonous soup:
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
The Christian reasoning is: (1) since righteous behavior has no bearing on eternal life; (2) no name other than that of Jesus brings salvation; and (3) the last judgment is based on the works of men—all of which are as filthy rags in God’s sight; therefore, every one of these human beings will be tormented forever in the lake of burning sulfur even though the majority of them never have heard of Jesus, Israel, or the Scriptures.
It is unfortunate that they never heard of Jesus (perhaps because the Christians were living in pleasure and spiritual carelessness), but this is the way the formula works. No matter how an individual behaves, the only ticket to Paradise is the profession of Jesus as Savior.
They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Psalms 14:3)
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:10)
On this basis, the reasoning teaches that there has never been a righteous person in the history of mankind, so every individual at the last judgment will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
But such reasoning may have limited application. Notice:
And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. (Luke 1:6)
And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. (Genesis 7:1)
And we are teaching that there never has been a righteous individual on the earth? Do we believe the Scriptures?
Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked. (Exodus 23:7)
Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his! (Numbers 23:10)
If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked. (Deuteronomy 25:1)
The last passage reveals what will take place at the white-throne judgment of Christ. The righteous will be justified and given to drink of the waters of eternal life. The wicked will be led away into the fires of torment.
This is what will occur at the judgment of the nations, of Matthew, Chapter 25. The nations will not be judged on the basis of having made a profession of the lordship of Christ but on visiting Christ’s brothers in prison, nourishing them when they are sick, feeding the Lord’s witnesses—doing righteous works of this kind.
The righteous (sheep) nations will be brought into eternal life after they have stood before Christ, indicating they were not people who had been “saved” (as we employ the term) at some previous time.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into eternal life [into the Kingdom of God]. (Matthew 25:46)
When the Lord Jesus appears it is the royal priesthood who will be raised. God’s holy priests already are filled with eternal life and have the keys of the Kingdom of God.
At the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age the remainder of the dead will be raised and stand before Christ. Among these will be many wicked and many righteous. The wicked will “go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
By wicked is meant those who practice wicked works.
By righteous is meant those who practice righteous works.
And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:29)
Who will render to every man according to his deeds: (Romans 2:6)
It is not true that all the saved will be raised when the Lord comes, and all the lost at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
The royal priesthood, the firstfruits of the Bride of the Lamb, having been purified until they are without spot or wrinkle, will be raised when the Lord appears. The remainder of mankind will be raised and judged equitably at the end of the thousand years. The righteous will enter eternal life. The wicked will go into punishment whether or not they have professed to be Christians.
Whatever any man sows he will reap.
The trumpet is sounding in Zion!
There is a current attempt to alter the translation from the Greek of Revelation 20:15, because the passage does not state (according to the King James translation) that all will be condemned at this judgment. The wording of the verse in the Authorized Version does not support Christian doctrine and so an effort is being made to somehow change the translation so it will correspond to current doctrine.
The Christian stance concerning the Divine redemption is unscriptural. It is the product of deductive reasoning. It goes against direct statements of the Scripture. It proceeds from the mind of man, not from the Spirit of God.
When we come to God through Christ, God saves us. He does not save us because we are righteous or unrighteous. God saves us on the condition of receiving by faith His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Then we are to be baptized in water, according to the commandment of God.
After we are saved the Good Shepherd begins to lead us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. God saves us so we may practice righteous behavior and enter life.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
If we do not begin to practice good works, salvation is not progressing in us. We are not entering life with God.
Apart from righteous, holy, and obedient behavior, there is no Kingdom of God.
Divine grace does not affect the final judgment of the individual. Divine grace operates at the point of accepting Christ, not at the time of our being revealed before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Search the Scriptures and see if grace will operate when we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ.
It may be true that God will extend mercy to some individual at the Judgment Seat of Christ, but mercy and grace are two different Divine gifts. Divine grace is the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus is a Person but much more than a Person. The Lord Jesus is the Expression of God such that all that we need to change from Adam to Christ is contained in Him.
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is our salvation, our righteousness, our holiness, our strength, our joy, our wisdom, our eternal life, our resurrection, our faith, our health. As we receive Him into our personality we receive all that God Is—all we ever shall need to be completely joyful and fulfilled throughout eternity.
Mercy, on the other hand, is shown wholly at Christ’s discretion as He decides whom He will cast off and whom He will receive.
The problem is, we Christians are assuming that grace (which we conceive of only as forgiveness) will operate at the Judgment Seat of Christ so that all who profess belief in Jesus will be received into Paradise at physical death. This is not scriptural either in its means or its goal.
Divine grace (meaning forgiveness plus all of the Virtue of God required to totally transform us) operates now—today—in our life so we can approach God and learn to serve Him. Apart from the grace of God in Christ we could not pass though the veil, coming boldly before God’s throne in order to obtain mercy and grace to help us in our battle against sin (Hebrews 4:16).
At the Judgment Seat of Christ, all people—Christians and non-Christians alike—shall be judged and rewarded on the basis of their works. Mercy may be shown to some; but grace, in the sense of imputed (ascribed) righteousness, will not enter at this point.
The purpose of the grace of God is to create good works in our personality so we can be rewarded for these good works in the Day of Christ. The grace produces good works. The good works result in God’s blessing and eternal life. If we receive Christ but continue to sin we will reap death and not life in the Day of Christ.
And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:29)
Life or death is decided on the basis of what men do. The one expression Christ addressed to every one of the seven churches of Asia was, “I know thy works” (Revelation 2:2; and so forth).
Is Christ speaking of those who have received Him or those who have not received Him?
Let us look carefully at John 5:29 (above). “They that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
If Christ is speaking to those who have received Him, Christians will be judged according to their works. If He is speaking to those who have not received Him, He is stating that people can attain the resurrection of life by means of good works.
If He is speaking to all men, our argument is upheld. All will be judged according to their works. It is not true, therefore, that because the white-throne judgment is a judgment of works (Revelation 20:12) all the defendants will be lost. This reasoning is not supported by the words of the Scripture.
John 5:29 alone is enough to cancel the reasoning that because the last judgment is a judgment of works, no person will be saved. There are many other passages that repeat the doctrine of John 5:29.
Consider the following:
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25:46)
When we examine who will go into everlasting punishment and who will go into life eternal, we find that the judgment will be made on the basis of works (Matthew 25:35-44).
Christian teaching is correct when it states we cannot substitute righteous works for faith in Christ, once Christ has been presented to us.
Christian teaching is incorrect when it states that God does not recognize righteous behavior on the part of those who are not of His royal priesthood. The nations of the earth will be gathered together at the Lord’s coming, not to determine whether they had “accepted Christ as their personal Savior” but to recognize their willingness or unwillingness to come to the aid of the Lord’s brothers—the saints, the elect, the royal priesthood.
But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. (Acts 10:35)
God does not divide mankind into Christian and non-Christian but into righteous and wicked, with Christians falling into one category or the other
Whoever believes that God excuses wickedness because an individual is a Christian is ignorant of the ways of God.
It may be noted that Jesus, when commenting on His return, spoke often of the judgment of the behavior of His servants, never of the judgment of their doctrine. The punishment of the unfaithful servant of the Lord is outer darkness.
But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; (Matthew 24:48,49)
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30)
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:23)
The Word of God states in many passages that there is a direct relationship between righteous behavior and eternal life.
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)
We have overemphasized and have applied too liberally Paul’s reasoning, in Romans, Chapters Three through Five, concerning the imputation (ascribing) of righteousness under the new covenant.
We believe, and rightly so, that no person can be justified by the works of the Law of Moses now that God has given His sacrifice for the sins of the world.
But to deduce from this that the Lord’s people can walk with Him in unrighteousness, or that God condemns people because they never have heard of Jesus, is to make the heartless error of the Pharisee. We master the points of the “law” (the schemes we have derived for “accepting Christ”) and then apply them in a manner contrary to the mind and heart of God. We strain out gnats and swallow camels. We embrace the letter and cannot find the Spirit. We never will know God because our heart is not after God’s heart.
God gave the Law of Moses, and the Pharisees twisted it and misapplied it until they were able to continue in covetousness, thievery, murder, and self-seeking. God has given us grace through the Lord Jesus Christ and we are twisting it and misapplying it until we are able to continue in covetousness, thievery, murder, and self-seeking. We do always err in our heart.
Even that Christian favorite, the Judgment Seat of Christ, is a judgment of works, not of doctrinal position:
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (II Corinthians 5:10)
If an individual had not become biased by being taught the Christian traditions, would he not understand the above verse to mean we will be judged according to our works?
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man [every man!] according as his work shall be. (Revelation 22:12)
… and I will give unto every one of you [believers] according to your works. (Revelation 2:23)
Does not the Scripture teach that every person shall be judged according to his or her works, that each shall be rewarded or punished according to his works?
The sinning Christian will receive more lashes than the sinning non-Christian because the sinning Christian has had more light entrusted to him (Luke 12:47,48).
The Apostle Paul summed it up: all men, the heathen, the Jews, and the Christians, will enter eternal life, or into indignation and wrath, depending on what each has done in his body.
Who [God] will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God. (Romans 2:6-11)
This Scripture will stand true at the Judgment Seat of Christ, including the part of the Judgment Seat that will occur at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
God will judge all persons at that time except those who had been raised in the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4-6).
All people will be judged according to the light they have been given. Those who practice good will be raised to eternal life in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ and His saints. Those whom Christ judges to be unworthy of eternal life will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25:46)
(“The “White Throne” Judgment”, 3443-1)