Today’s Reading in The Story is found on page 466 with the words “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it.” and ending on page 467 with the words, “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)
It was a short reading today. Only five verses, but they were five verses full. Today we were introduced to “The Great White Throne” and the Judge is seated on it. Heaven and earth have passed away. Satan has been defeated and thrown into the lake of fire. And everyone who has ever lived appears before the Judge. It is the Day of Judgment. It’s also called the Day of Wrath. The separation of the sheep and goats.
Revelation 20:12 (NIV) 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.
Books, plural, were opened. One for the blessed dead who died in the LORD and one for all who will be forever separated from God. All were judged according to what they had done. Jesus told the 12 this day was coming in Matthew 25, just before His death and resurrection:
Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV) 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
The sheep – that you and me who believe – “inherit” the Kingdom. It was never their works or good deeds that made their welcome into eternal life a reality. It was their faith alone in Christ alone.
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
And what about our “good works”? Our faith in the Son of God transformed all the deeds of the “sheep” into “good deeds” in the eyes of our God. The lack of faith in the Son of God made all of the deeds of the “goats” “unpleasing” to God. Hence, all of the unbelievers “works” were “evil” before God, warranting the judgment: ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41 (NIV))
Revelation 20:15 (NIV) If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
O when the Saints (when the saints)
Go marching in (marching in)
Now, when the Saints go marching in (marching in)
Yes, I want to be in that number
When the Saints go marching in Jesus’ name. Amen.
By the way, if you search all the Scriptures, you’ll find the phrase, “the book of life” mentioned seven times. (Psalm 69:28, Philippians 4:3, Revelation 3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 20:12,15)