When I felt guilty, as a child, my father’s presence burned like fire.
And yet, to hide from him was far worse—it was outer darkness.
What once burned is now my greatness desire: my Father’s presence.
In Revelation 20, John sees a great white throne. And books are opened.
“The dead” are judged by the things written in the books, according to their deeds.
Then death and Hades (Hell), are thrown in the Lake of Fire.
Anyone whose name was not found in the book of life was thrown into the Lake of Fire and Divinity (“theion,” from “theos,” translated “brimstone” or “Divine Being”).
The Great White Throne Judgment is not the beginning of an endless death in Hell.
It is the end of Hell and the death of death—the second death.
“Death will be no more,” says the voice from the throne in the next chapter.
Hades is separation from God, and the Fire is the Presence of God, our Father.
God is One. God is Love. And God is Fire.
In Isaiah, God promises to “swallow up death forever.”
In the Revelation, He does it.
Darkness, lost-ness, lies, and death will come to an End in a Lake of Light, Way, Truth, and Life. Jesus is the Light, Way, Truth, Life, End . . . and Beginning.
The Great White Throne is not just the final judgment; it’s all judgment.
“This is the Judgment,” said Jesus, “The Light has come into to world.”
It is eternal and it swallows up, or fills up, all of our empty space and time.
For Jesus, John, and Paul, there is One Judgment: the Manifest Presence of God.
We need to stop thinking chronologically and start thinking theologically—that is logically. “Chronos will be no more,” said the angel in chapter ten. All things, including space and time, are relative to the Word, who is the Light, who is the Judgment.
The Great White Throne is not “the Judgment of the Living and the Dead,” but just the Dead. Actually, according to Jesus, in the Gospel of John (5:24), no one truly lives until they’ve been judged. And once they’ve been judged, they cannot die—they have Life eternal; they have Faith.
“The Day you eat of it you will die,” said God to Adam—that was His Judgment.
To take the “knowledge of Good and evil,” in an attempt to make your self in the image of God, is to justify yourself with works of the law in the power of the flesh.
“The dead” are judged by the record of their deeds recorded in “the books.”
They want to be judged by their resumes; they think they are their own ego; they think they are the sum total of their choices.
The Living are those whose names have been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
That’s not their choice; that’s the Lamb’s Choice.
“So, am I one of the dead or one of the living?”
Maybe you’re both.
You are a “me” that you thought you made, an illusion. And you are a “me” that God has made, eternal and indestructible. You are a “me” that cannot be justified, and you are a “me” that has already been justified; but there is no “me” to justify, defend, worry about, or hide.
You are an “old adam” and a “New Adam,” a goat and a sheep, a tare and a wheat, chaff and grain, flesh and spirit, something dead and something alive, bad and good, a person that can do nothing but sin and a person incapable of sin, spawn of the devil and child of God (1 John 3:8-9).
“How can I change ‘me?” You can’t. You must lose your life . . . to find it.
“How can I change ‘me?” You can’t. But with the Faith already granted, you can practice the presence of God. The Presence of God destroys the old “me” and reveals the new and eternal “me” in its place.
Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. Where the Old Jerusalem is destroyed, the New Jerusalem comes down. God is not a God of second chances; He is the Creator of new creations.
The Presence of God is the consuming and refining fire of unmitigated Love, who is your Father.
It’s impossible to thank God for the old “me” for that is the “me” that you thought you made; and the moment you thank God for the old “me,” you find the new “me” in its place. That’s the glorious disappearing and the glorious appearing. “It’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”
Thank God for “me” . . . your new “me.” In the next chapter, we’ll hear a voice from the throne say, “Look I make all things new.” I bet He wrote your name in a book.
*Sermon Discussion Questions are available here: Discussion Questions”Thank God For Me”