What Will Be the Conditions During the Great White Throne Judgment Period? (Part 3)


As will be recalled from the first two Q&As in this series, we read in Revelation 20:11-12 that those who will be raised in the Second Resurrection will be “judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.”

This judgment refers to their new life during the Great White Throne Judgment period. As we explained, their minds will be opened and opportunity will be given them to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and to live God’s Way of Life, and they will be evaluated as to how well they are doing. They will have to give account for the works they will be doing then. Their works, which will be recorded in God’s heavenly books, will be judged based on the books of the Bible.

But there is another important aspect regarding the Judgment period. Those in the Second Resurrection will also have to give account for the works which they did in their PRIOR life.

We understand that all who were not called in this life and who did not commit the unpardonable sin will be in the Great White Throne judgment period (which may last for 100 years). This will include “good” people, such as widows and orphans and all those who lived decent lives in the best way that they could, given the knowledge which they had. But it will also include mass murderers, terrorists and those who committed horrendous war crimes.

It is true that every sin, which is truly repented of, will be forgiven by God, but that does not mean that despicable criminals will get a “free pass.” We must not think that they, appearing before the Judgment Seat of Christ, will be getting “off the hook” without having to pay for their horrendous deeds. That is not the way God thinks, and it would be manifestly unfair, when considering the fate of the “good” and “decent” people who will also stand before Christ in the Judgment.

Think of modern terrorists who cause unspeakable harm to innocent victims. Some terrorists were killed within a second by a military airstrike or they were shot by the police. Others committed suicide by blowing themselves up and killing thereby dozens of innocent people. They did this in their misguided belief that Allah will reward them for these murders in “paradise.” Some commentators and observers have rightly pointed out that their death came far too quickly. If they receive immediate forgiveness in the Judgment, without having to account for and pay for their sins and crimes, then they would indeed get a “free pass.”

It is true, of course, that first of all, true repentance must be manifested. Those in the Second Resurrection will not qualify automatically. Rather, they will be CALLED and their minds will be OPENED. They will begin to UNDERSTAND the teachings of the Bible. But they still will have to respond to their call, as we must do today. They will need to accept the fact that they have sinned (sin being the transgression of the LAW of God, compare 1 John 3:4, Authorized Version), and that their human nature was EVIL. (Since this is true for those who lived “good lives”, how much more is it true for those deranged people who committed horrible and despicable sins and crimes!)

They must come to abhor themselves for their wicked deeds, and they must manifest their repentance by works worthy of repentance (Matthew 3:8). They must recognize that they deserve to DIE the eternal death, because of their rotten conduct, but they will also learn that the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ paid their penalty of eternal death, and that they can be freed from that penalty, if they repent and believe.

This process will be much more difficult for some than for others. A life will not be changed easily if it has been dedicated to crime and murder, to war and terrorism, to sexual depravity and child molestation, to pathological lies and robbery, to idolatry and Sabbath-breaking, to sorcery and witchcraft and the worship of Satan and his demons. Those who engaged in these kinds of abominable practices will slowly come to the realization that they must change… and that they can only change with the help of the Holy Spirit. But they will need to accept that help and let it work mightily in their lives.

In addition, those who will be in the Second Resurrection will need to learn that they have to forgive others as well for their evil deeds (Matthew 6:12, 14-15). This will also be extremely difficult for some and can only be accomplished with God’s help.

Imagine the children who were raped by their father or who were terribly abused physically by their parents. Imagine the innocent victims who were tortured by depraved murderers in concentration camps or during the Inquisition. Imagine the unborn baby who was aborted by his or her mother. The criminal and the victim will face each other in the Great White Throne Judgment. They will talk to each other. They will try to understand how such cruel conduct could have been possible.

For some, if and when they come to true repentance, the recognition of their wicked conduct towards others will be tantamount to stripes, blows or wounds which they will receive. It will cut to or pierce their hearts (Acts 2:37). They will abhor themselves for their demonically inspired behavior. For many, that will not be easy, and it will be difficult for others to forgive those who abused, raped, tortured or murdered them. Again, none of this can be achieved unless they are willing to embrace God’s undeserved grace and mercy and His powerful help.

But will repentance and change be all that God will require? Will all the prior evil deeds be forgotten and not atoned for? Of course, we read that if we repent of our sins, God will forgive them and remember them no more (Jeremiah 31:34). But as we will see, God’s forgiveness does NOT refer to the time before sins have been repented of, nor does it mean that there will be no punishment for sins and crimes (Jeremiah 18:23; Exodus 23:21; Joshua 24:19-20; Isaiah 2:9; Lamentations 3:39-42; Psalm 59:5). Just the opposite is true.

Before discussing this most-overlooked fact in future installments, let us review some horrible and most disturbing statistics (which can be easily verified in numerous sources), and while we do so, ask yourself whether it would be righteousness with God if the blood of the innocent victims would not cry out for just and deserved punishment (compare Genesis 4:10-11; Revelation 6:9-10).

For instance, Pol Pot was the leader of the communist movement in Cambodia who tried to “cleanse” the country. It resulted in up to 2.5 million deaths.

Leopold II of Belgium created a colony which he called the “Congo Free State.” He enslaved the people and forced them into labor plants. He is accredited with the murder of up to 15 million people.

Adolf Hitler and his Nazi forces engaged in the systematic murder of as many as 17 million civilians, an estimated six million of whom were Jews.

It is estimated that Josef Stalin was responsible for the murder of 23 million people, including millions of victims in Ukraine and during the Great Purge or Great Terror in Russia.

Mao Zedong has the sad reputation of being the greatest mass murderer of all times. He is viewed for being responsible for the killing of up to 78 million people.

In addition to these individuals, we might also consider religions causing horrendous murders. Conservative estimates state that during the Islamic conquest of India, 80 million Indians were killed by Islam. Over 110 million black people were killed by Islam, including those Africans killed in the slave trades.

Reviewing the grim history of “Christianity,” we learn that Charlemagne beheaded up to 4,500 Saxons who were unwilling to convert; 80,000 Turks were slaughtered in the battle of Belgrade in 1456; and 18,000 Polish villages were plundered by the Knights of the Order in the 15th century.

In addition, hundreds of thousands of victims were murdered during the crusades, including the slaughter of Turks in Antioch and during the Battle of Ashkelon (in 1099); the slaughter of Jews in Germany and Poland; the murder of innocent victims during the invasion of Jerusalem (in 1099); and the murder of “heretics” such as the Albigenses (up to 70,000), Cathars (up to 1 million), Waldensians, Paulicians and others (at least 100,000 victims).

Millions were murdered during the Inquisition (15th-17th century), including the Spanish Inquisition (up to 3 million people); the Inquisition in France (20,000 Huguenots were killed in 1572); and the slaughter of 30,000 Protestants in Germany during the 17th century.

We might also mention that a total of 150 million American Indians or Native Americans were destroyed from 1500 to 1900 (most of them died of small pox and other epidemics, but about 50 million were killed by violence or slavery). In addition, almost 1 million Buddhists, Protestants and Catholics were wounded, tortured or executed in Vietnam.

The list could be greatly enlarged, and other statistics could be given about millions upon millions of abortions and child abuse cases; millions of deaths caused by drug dealers, weapon manufacturers and producers of chemical and biological weapons.

The question, which every thinking person must ask, is this: Will all these atrocities remain unpunished? Some might have received direct punishment from God in this life and very often, sin itself leads automatically to curses, harm, destruction and physical death (Galatians 6:7-8; Numbers 32:23), but other criminals and wicked sinners prospered and remained unpunished in this world ruled by Satan and cut off from God (Jeremiah 12:1; Job 12:6; Job 21:7-15; Job 24:2-16). However, we read that “the wicked will NOT go unpunished” (Proverbs 11:21). But even direct godly punishment in this life is oftentimes quick and swift (Psalm 73:12, 18-19).

We read in Genesis 6:5 that the “wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:13 adds that “the earth [was] filled with violence.” And so, God destroyed mankind (with the exception of Noah and those in the ark), by sending floodwaters on the earth (verse 17). The death of those who drowned in these waters was relatively quick. But does this mean that no further punishment is in store for them, when they are raised in the Second Resurrection?

The book of Ecclesiastes tells us the opposite. Nothing escapes God’s attention, and even though corrupt politicians, rulers and tyrants; depraved murderers and sexual perverts; pathological liars and violent robbers and kidnappers may not be punished by God in this life, God will not forget their evil deeds. We read that “God requires an account of what is past” (Ecclesiastes 3:15) and that God “shall judge the righteous and the wicked” (verse 17). We are told that “for every matter there is a time and judgment” (Ecclesiastes 8:6); and that “God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, Whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

How exactly God will judge those in the Second Resurrection will be discussed in future installments.

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer:  Norbert Link

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