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When the books are opened, each person, who has ever lived, will be judged individually based upon his or her works. It won’t be to determine if they are good enough to get into heaven for only the lost will be at this judgment. Those who have accepted Christ have already received their rewards and are in heaven. This moment will be the most tense filled and fearful time in the history of mankind. Those waiting to be judged will literally be scared to death.
This judgment will determine the severity of eternal torment for those who did not receive Christ. You may ask can anything be more severe than eternal damnation, and to be cast into a lake of fire? I don’t know, but I do know that everyone who does not know Jesus as Lord will be cast into the lake of fire, and their torment will be determined by the degree of their wickedness. Take a look at the following verses:
Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: For if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. (Matthew 11:20-24)
This clearly states that at the judgment there will definitely be those who will receive a more severe sentence then others.
Lost And Without Hope
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. (Revelation 20:11)
Christ will be the final judge because all power has been given unto Him in heaven and in earth from God the Father. We as Christians will be present, but will not pass sentence at this judgment. “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. 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 their works.” (Revelation 20:12-13)
Everyone will be judged individually based upon the works they did on earth. Many believe that all will be gathered into one place and judged simultaneously (Revelation 20:12), but each will have their own day in court as if they are the only one standing before God. I have heard many say that they will give God a piece of their mind or accuse him to His face. But on that fateful day, there won’t be anyone cursing God or telling Him how unfair He is, everyone will stand silent, petrified in fear, and guilty as charged. The knowledge of Christ and His sacrifice will be revealed to them and they will at this time realize the horrible mistake they have made. They will have a change of heart and mind, but it will be to late.
Those in hell will be delivered up. They will already know the truth and some for thousands of years. How do I know this? You only need read Luke 16:22-31, the story of the rich man and Lazarus, to realize this truth.
When the rich man died and lifted up his eyes in hell, he immediately realized he had made an awful mistake. He made no excuses to try to persuade God to let him out or that he did not belong there. I believe the truth was immediately revealed to him upon entering hell leaving him without excuse or hope. You may ask, “How do you know this to be true? Let’s look at Luke 16:27-31.
Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, they have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, nay, father Abraham: But if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
This passage tells me that immediately following the death of the rich man, he found himself in hell being tormented and burning in the flames that surrounded him. His immediate desire was that Lazarus dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue, for he was in torment. Strangely enough, he did not plead his case, nor exclaim his innocence or declare how unfair God was for sending him to this place. He knew he was guilty and without hope. Realizing his irreversible fate, he then requested that Abraham send Lazarus back from the dead to warn his family of this horrible place. Abraham’s reply was that they have Moses and the prophets. Then the rich man states something that leads me to believe that his eyes were opened at this time. “And he said, Nay, father Abraham: But if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.” How did he know that the only way to heaven was to repent? I believe that the truth was revealed to him the minute he entered hell, as it will be revealed to those who stand before God at the final judgment.
There will also be those who will still claim that their works, done in His name, should entitle them to get into heaven (Matthew 7:21-23), but as religious as they maybe, Christ will command them to depart without explanation. I find it peculiar that no explanation was afforded them. This leads me to believe that they were given full knowledge of the truth but still tried to make a case before God. But in the end they will all submit and declare that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)
“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: 12-13)
What a horrible moment in time it will be for billions of people, lost, without hope, and without excuse. There will be much weeping and pleading before the throne for mercy, but the time for mercy will be over.
I also believe that this will be a horrible moment in many born again believers lives. For many Christians will stand and watch as loved ones and friends are pronounced guilty and without hope, and cast eternally into the lake of fire because they would not share the Gospel with them. Husbands will be separated from their wives, fathers and mothers from their children, and brothers from their sisters. Separated eternally, and without reprieve, never to be held or touched again.
You may ask, “How will any Christian in their right mind be able to withstand this horrible judgment?” The Bible is not clear on how we will handle what will happen, but many believe that we will have glorified bodies and therefore have the mind of God. I believe this in part. Yes, we will have glorified bodies and we will have the mind of God, to the extent that we will be able to say, even as our loved ones are being cast into the lake of fire, that God is just and His judgments true. But I believe that many tears of agony will be shed during that time by Christians who will for the last time see their loved ones due to a lack of concern for their soul.
“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)
To be cast into a lake of fire is indeed a horrible and final end to anyone’s life, but unfortunately, that will only be the beginning of woes for those who turned their back on God. For all will suffer in varying degrees beyond the anguish of the lake that burns with fire, to what degree I do not know. I do know they will still possess their five senses, as the rich man did in hell, and will still be enslaved to their hang-ups, addictions, and lusts without fulfillment. And worst of all, their state will be eternal.
It is appointed unto man that he stand before God and give an account of His works, and what he has done in the body (II Corinthians 5:10). Satan has deceived many today into believing that their good works will out weigh their bad works, thus assuring them of a place in heaven. However, nowhere in the Bible is that doctrine supported and they will be terribly wrong. For it is only through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are granted eternal life. With that said, today are you prepared to meet God?