Today the second resurrection takes place one thousand years after the resurrection of believers in the Lord Jesus, and it takes place before the great white throne. It is a judgement for every unbeliever regardless of rank or file (great and small), and, in as few words as possible, those part of the second resurrection and judgement are brought before God in what is essentially a sentencing, not a trial.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.
12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Often times we hear people say
‘Oh, when I get to heaven God has some explaining to do!’, or
‘I’ve got some questions for God and He is going to have to be ready for me when I get there!’. The same kind of person also, usually, believes that all good people go to heaven and it will be settled at the pearly gates by sweet talking your way past St. Peter after ascending up an escalator through the clouds…
The reality is very different; believers have been raised to life with Christ and brought before His judgement (2 Corinthians 5.10), and those who rejected the way, will, words, and work of Jesus are brought before the great white throne for sentencing…and it’s not pretty.
The second resurrection and attached judgement are so final and eternal in consequence (v.10), and this is hell – eternal separation from God’s presence. It is not one big party led by a guy with hoofs, a pitchfork, and a bad beard…it is eternal separation from the presence of God with no chance of return. It is final.
Scaring people into being a believer is never the best way forward, is it, ‘Do this or else…’, think how you see a manic street preacher shouting about hell and you shudder because they are probably pushing people away from Christ not drawing them in. But, for those of us who know the love of the Saviour, for those of us who know with assured confidence that we will stand before our Lord and Master at the first resurrection and reign with Him for a thousand years before watching Him bring about a new heaven and a new earth in which we will dwell with Him for eternity, for us, we need to know the alternative. Not to scare unbelievers into believing, but to motivate ourselves to go and share the love and the life of Christ.
I read recently that there is no more selfish person that he or she who is willing to go to heaven alone.
So, time to share the love and life of Christ with those whom God has put you in the midst of. Don’t shout about hell, but live like you are going to heaven.