The Final Judgment
The ultimate defeat of Satan signals the moment for ultimate judgment—the Last and Final Judgment. The passage itself rings of both the dignity and gravity of the occasion. Heaven and earth fly away to make ready for the new heaven and earth to follow. All the dead, great and small, stand before God. No one is excluded; even the sea and Hades give up the dead. The books are opened; records have been kept. Jesus said, “On the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word spoken” (Matthew 12:36). It is universal in the Scriptures that everyone is judged according to his works as we are reminded here in verse twelve. The book which seems to be definitive is one called, “The Book of Life,” as those whose names are missing are cast into the lake of fire. Indeed, Death and Hades themselves are thrown there, thus indicating that Death is finally defeated while Hades served only as a temporary holding place for the dead until the Final Judgment should come.
A few questions some might ask: Who is Judge? Jesus said that the “Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). Some count several judgments thinking Jesus was referring in the gospel to the “judgment seat of Christ” as a separate judgment for believers (2 Corinthians 5:10) while Revelation’s depiction of the “great white throne” is for unbelievers under the Father. However, it is obvious that Revelation knows only this judgment, and John takes Jesus’ “all” to be inclusive. My own opinion is that the comprehensiveness of Revelation’s language indicates one judgment, and given our Lord’s words, Jesus is on the throne. Why must there be a difference between the “judgment seat of Christ” where “we must all appear” and the “great white throne” where everyone appears? And why do some place Jesus on a throne to judge believers and the Father on another to judge unbelievers, unless one subscribe to that unconscious but errant belief that Jesus is nice and the Father mean. But it was because the Father so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son.
We worship a loving and just God who will by no means clear the guilty but by the blood of His dear Son. And though believers must render account as well, we render that account on the basis of our faith in Christ Jesus who loved us and gave his life for us. We shall be acquitted of our sins, and He shall crown the works He has done through us. In light of such great love bestowed upon us, let us purify ourselves as he is pure (1 John 3:3) and run the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1).