“And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it.”
Candle Lighter: “I saw a great white throne…”
Response: “…and the one sitting on it.”
Scripture: Revelation 20:7-14
7 When the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison. 8 He will go out to deceive the nations—called Gog and Magog—in every corner of the earth. He will gather them together for battle—a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore. 9 And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them.
10 Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
11 And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. 12 I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. 14 Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death.
Reader: The word of the Lord.
Response: Thanks be to God.
A little bit of context here will help to get a handle on this passage. John has just described how two of Satan’s henchmen, the beast and the false prophet, have been cast into the lake of fire. They had deceived many and inflicted much harm on God’s people. Christ, the triumphant warrior, destroyed them. Following that, Satan was bound in chains and thrown into a bottomless pit for a thousand years. It is at this point that we pick up John’s vision in the above passage. Satan is let loose whereupon he gathers all the rebellious nations of the world to battle the Lord. Satan’s rebellious host is destroyed and cast into the lake of fire permanently as their eternal destination. We then have what is known as “the great white throne judgment,” human beings’ final appearance before God’s throne. This is the terminal judgment for all those who have rejected the message of the gospel, their only hope of salvation. The Book of Life is opened and the dead, (these are not the Christians who have died trusting in Jesus for salvation), these are those who have rejected God’s gift of his Son. They are judged according to what they have done. Unfortunately for them, it is not possible to earn one’s way into heaven by what one has done. It clearly is not a case of “Do the good deeds outweigh the bad?” Everyone who has ever lived, who has rejected Christ, awaits this moment before God the Creator. When it says “death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire,” it refers to the reality of death. This is the death of those who have no hope. Jesus was victorious over death, but not for these people. Their death is eternal separation from God with a horrible end that is eternal. All those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ alone have their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Their eternal destiny is eternal life in heaven in God’s presence. The human birth of Jesus, celebrated a few days ago, brings all of this into reality. John is not writing a fantasy tale, he is writing truth as an eyewitness. God does have the last “last word.” Hallelujah!
Music: CHRISTMAS SONGS Fernando Ortega
Fernando talks about the various songs in his Christmas album. You can youtube each one by title to pick the specific ones you want to hear.
Lord Jesus Christ, our king: rejoicing in your victory, we thank you that good is a greater power than evil.
Lord Jesus Christ, our friend: rejoicing in your sharing of our life, we thank you for your constant intercession for us now.
Lord Jesus Christ, our priest: rejoicing in the the new way you have opened up for us on Calvary, we thank you that we can approach the throne of God in full assurance of our faith.
Lord Jesus Christ, our judge: rejoicing in the love you have for all mankind, we thank you that we have no cause to be afraid. The present and the future, and all of eternity belong to you. Save us and strengthen us, and bring us by grace into your kingdom. Almighty and everlasting God, who didst raise thy Son Jesus Christ from the dead and set him upon the glorious throne of thy kingdom giving him a name that is above every name, we worship and adore thee in the fellowship of thy redeemed, ascribing to thee blessing and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever. Amen.
― Prayers for Sunday Services, Scottish, p.98
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