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Tuesday: Final Judgment — 32 Comments

  1. I have changed my mind since yesterday's conversation. After reading the text for today's lesson, especially Rev. 20:7-9, I think I now understand why we have to, and will want to, go over the books. Imagine I arrive in heaven to discover that my brother is not there. I am heartbroken. I do not want to see the record. Then Jesus puts His arm over my shoulder and says, "Come with Me. I want to show you something. You know my word, so you know what is going to happen at the end of these 1000 years. When that time comes, you will need to know what is in this book."

    Then Jesus traces with His finger the record of my brother's life. He shows me how many times His Spirit pled with my brother, desperately trying to get his attention long enough give him a taste of His infinite love. But my brother was adamant; he insisted he didn't need or want anything from God. He dug in his heels and every time the Holy Spirit tried to reach him, he gritted his teeth and said, "How many times do I have to tell you? No!" There was that one time, in the middle of a dark night, my brother was in desperate need of hope. The Holy Spirit came, gently and graciously offering that Hope. My brother was "this close" to yielding, but something prevented him from saying, "Yes". He decided his situation wasn't THAT dire.

    As Jesus continues to lay out the truth about my brother, I look at Jesus and ask, "Why do I have to go through this? Why do I need to know?" Jesus answers, "Two reasons. A thousand (or so) years from now, you will see your brother, possessed by Satan, making another futile attempt to overthrow the Almighty. What you have seen here will make that sight bearable. The second reason is because I want you - I NEED you - to feel just a pin prick of the grief I have felt every moment of every day since sin entered the universe. Imagine the pain you are feeling now and multiply it by billions. You chose to follow me wherever I go; now you have."

    • Thanks, Jeffrey. The same thought of "feeling the pain" occurred to me as well.

      I think the redeemed will see that those who will not be there would not *want* to be there. They would be miserable in the atmosphere of heaven.

      My father was an agnostic most of his life. He was baptized and attended church, but he had a series of very bad experiences which demonstrated the hypocrisy of many of the high-profile Christians in his life. At the same time, he was a good man with high personal moral values. Because of other values, such as his love of gardening, his generosity and his love of people, I always thought he would be happy in heaven. Towards the end of his life, his attitude softened considerably and he was happy to have members of the family pray for him. But I do not know for certain that he accepted Jesus as Saviour.

      If he's not in heaven, I will be very sad, and it would help to know that he wouldn't be happy in heaven even if God had included him. And that's even more true for my mother who kept hoping and praying till the very end that my father would accept Jesus as Savior.

      I know that that's how God works - i.e. he keeps out of heaven only those who wouldn't be happy there - but I think it will settle things in the mind of the redeemed to have their faith in the character of God irrefutably *demonstrated* in the "thousand years."

    • I so appreciate your comments. I remember reading a few years ago a book where the author stated that in the end if our loved ones are not saved, we can trust Jesus that He will make everything alright and help us to accept their decisions. That has been a real comfort to me through the years as I pray for my children and hope that they will soften and turn back to the faith of their youth.

  2. A brief comment on "forever and ever".

    Vines Expository Dictionary of N.T. Words comments on the term, "forever and ever", found in Rev 20:10 and 22:5. It says, "they are idiomatic expressions betokening undefined periods and are not to be translated literally".

    Vine's Dictionary is, I believe, a reputable authority. And inasmuch as the term is used in connection with the Lake of Fire, I understand that it points us to an "undefined period" because the wicked suffer for different periods of time. Some are entirely consumed in a moment, others suffer for "many days".

    • Is the idea of suffering in different periods of time, "many days" an enlightened view? Many that believe in an eternal form of torture do not subscribe to that doctrine. Because this is a doctrinal belief, the differences are quite firm. If our senses of a God that shews mercy from our perspective, changes to something else, it does not give us Biblical foundation.

      • Hello Paul, yes, I do believe that the idea of suffering for different periods of time [in the lake of fire] is an enlightened view. The reason I believe this, is that it is the view expressed in the Spirit of Prophecy :

        "Some are destroyed as in a moment, while others suffer many days. All are punished "according to their deeds."" (Great Controversy p.673)

        • For me this is very hard to comprehend. What would be the aim in letting some suffer for a short time, others for many days? I mean punishment should help to bring people back on track. But here there is no other chance. Revenge? The lost have one thing in common: they did not accept Jesus as their redeemer and they did not surrender their lives to Him. They will be shown that God is just and they will acknowledge that Christ is the Lord and bow their knees, unfortunately too late. They will be wiped out, Satan and his angels will be wiped out, evil will be wiped out for all eternity. Is that not enough?

  3. Satan's work of ruin is forever ended. For six thousand years he wrought his will,filling the earth with woe and causing grief throughout the universe before the Almighty he gets to see the damage he has done to Gods creation.he remembers himself once an innocent creation in the presence of the Loving God. The wicked see here the devil as he is"a deceiver they had chosen over their patient and loving Creator.they see how our Savior had numerous times pleaded with their hearts. Even in their rebellion their lips will fail to resist admitting that Jesus Christ is Lord! Gods wisdom, His justice, and all His goodness stand fully vindicated.the history of sin will stand to all eternity as a witness that with the existence of Gods law is bound up the happiness of all the beings He has created GC 671.

    • Please do not assume Satan's reign was only 6 thousand years. That is how long there have been humans on Earth, not how long he and the other angels have existed.

  4. Ever consider the possibility that the judgement the saints are involved with is not about judging loved ones, but about judging God! Is He truly who He says He is? Does His love encompass destruction of wickedness? Is He fair? Even if I now know the answers, to know the answers from experience provides me with a permanence of certainty! After all, eternity is total trust in God and His total government of love.

  5. Soon after the judgement scene John saw in the vision the New City. He says that there would be no more crying no more pain and no more death. This suggests that the saints would fully understand the judgement bought upon all including our loved ones who did not make it to heaven. The plan of salvation is based upon freedom of Choice. God takes into consideration a number of factors that influence decision making, including knowledge and biological make up. In the end we would be praising God saying "Just and true are thy judgements".

  6. If the saved are given a thousand years to look over the records, shouldn't the lost also have an opportunity to look over their record? In our earthly court system both the guilty and innocent are given equal court time.

    • but the lost will all have had the chance to choose God.

      they are lost because they chose, time and time again, that they do not want to be with God. and the verse says ALL TONGUE will acknowledge God's fairness, so i believe there will not be any doubts in their hearts as to why they are receving death instead of life!

    • Ray, even if the lost were given the opportunity to see their past record. Would there be any need for changes? The outcome would be the same. The pressing need is now. Who will be among the lost? Who will be participants in the Book of Life? What choices do we make?

    • Ray, at the final judgment, the lost *will* be there. It is the time when "every knee shall bow" to acknowledge the justice of the Creator - presumably because they understand that God did everything to save them, and they rebuffed His efforts.

      The Bible does not specify the details of how the lost will come to that conclusion after a life of rebellion against God. But logic tells us that *something* must happen for them to come to that conclusion. And that's where Ellen White fills in the details, should you choose to believe her. She writes that every lost soul will be able to see in distinct detail every time they rejected the grace of God to save them. Then they will bow in acknowledgement of the Creator's justice. They will understand that their own decisions have made them unfit for heaven.

  7. It is wonderful to see that in the very End, ALL creatures will acknowledge that God is just and fair -- including the ones who rejected Him! There will not be any creature who will think God is unjust. Even as the lost ones receive their choice (death) they will "praise God"!!!

    • Yes indeed Karina dee. When the Lord returns, the unsaved will be calling for the rocks and mountains to fall on them, and to hide them from the face of Him who sits upon the throne. They would much rather die than face Him. They will desire and invite death... it will be a desired hiding place, their only hiding place. Death will be welcomed, and I believe it will be this way in the very end as well.


      There was a time when Roman soldiers "bowing their knees, worshiped Him." (Mark 15:19.) Of course they did it then to mock Jesus. But the day will come when they will bow their knees again, but this time it will be in full acknowledgment of God's love and fairness toward them.

      Yes, every knee shall bow (including the Devil's knee), and every tongue (including the Devil's tongue,) shall confess to the righteousness of God.

  8. God is our judge and not just a judge but a Just Judge (Revelation 16:5). Therefore, He deserves all the honour. God is unlike the Judges on this earth. He does not depend on the information that is presented before Him to make a judgement.On the messages to the Churches we have seen a great characteristic of the Deity, 'I know...'(Revelation 2:2;2:9;2:13;2:19;3:1;3:8;3:15).God is all knowing,He is omnipotent and omniscient and that makes Him a JUST JUDGE.He judges according to what He knows and not according to other witnesses.Read (Job 28:24;Hebrews 4:13;Revelation 21:6;Colossians 1:16;Romans 11:33).He is a sovereign God.God’s sovereignty compels us to bow before Him and worship Him and Him alone in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24).There is absolutely nothing that happens in the universe that is outside of God’s influence and authority. What a mighty God we serve!

  9. Some of the thoughts that are expressed are not Sola scriptura. They may satisfy an opinion or a belief based on a loved ones life experiences, or possibly a matter of curiosity, however I believe in Sola scriptura. Latin for the Holy Scriptures alone. Because of the hundreds of symbols and examples used in this book it is a daunting task for many of us. I also wanted to see in Revelation, John's final words. Revelation 22:18,19, and wonder to whom this might be applicable.

      • I am sorry Paul, some of us here hold Ellen White to be a spokesperson for God. We hold that the nature of her work, and the nature of this church, are established by Scripture, and that we are not just "one church among many". An identifying feature of this church is that it has within its 'borders' the voice of inspired counsel - the Spirit of Prophecy, and this, we believe, is manifested in the writings of Ellen White. Your freedom to protest must be maintained, but I do not believe that it is within your power to silence [or in any way to subdue] her voice. The dominant resource used here is the Bible (and this is just as it should be), but the Spirit of Prophecy has a place too - a secondary place, but an important place.

  10. In the final judgement, God's courtroom is very open and transparent as He reveals it to John. As He sits on His great fiery throne, He is joined by a full complement in the judgement hall, .."thousand thousands ministered unto Him and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him" (Dan 7:9,10). Remember the devil is not only the "accuser of the brethren" but he has also accused God of being unjust and arbitrary in His judgements from the time of his rebellion in heaven. Hence, the character of God must also be vindicated in this process of judgement so transparency is crucial with regard to the opening of the record books - that in the end all will declare (including the devil and his followers) that God is just.

    At this stage, of final judgement, the first and second phases of the judgement would have been completed (the pre-Advent or investigative judgement and the millennial phases). All the inhabitants of other worlds and the angels in heaven, would have been present at the revelation of the records of every one who has ever lived. The redeemed of earth also take part in the process during the millennial phase. They see the scenes of every attempt God made to woo the hearts of men and women, and even the angels that joined in rebellion with Lucifer in heaven. They see the records (kept by recording angels) of the decisions made my every man, woman, boy or girl, to reject or accept Jesus' sacrifice to save the whole world - that God would not force anyone to serve Him. It is entirely by free will and individual choice.

    Hence, when the saints sit in judgement and review the scrolls, they will be satisfied that their loved ones, friends, and others whom they expected to be in the kingdom, but are not, made a choice not to be. "The Lord in not slack concerning His promise,.. but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2Pet. 3:9). Though it will be heart-rending to see our loved ones condemned to eternal loss, God has provided a way to deal with the resulting grief and pain. (Rev. 21:4) "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."

    That is why there is such a great burden on us, who have entered into His service, to make sure that everyone in our spheres of influence, will have the opportunity to learn of God and to know His ways by our witness in word and in deed. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16).

    I dreamed that the great judgement morning
    Had dawned and the trumpet had blown;
    I dreamed that the nations had gathered
    To judgement around the white throne;
    From the throne came a bright shining angel,
    And he stood on the land and the sea,
    And he swore with his hand raised to Heaven,
    That time was no longer to be.

    Re. And o what a weeping and wailing,
    As the lost were were told of their fate;
    They cried for the rocks and the mountains,
    They prayed, but their prayer was too late
    They prayed, but their prayer was too late.

    The moral man came to the judgement,
    But self-righteous rags would not do,
    he men who had crucified Jesus
    Had passed off of moral men too;
    The soul that had put off salvation,
    "Not tonight; I'll get saved by and by,
    No time now to think of religion!"
    At last, they had found time to die.


  11. Can someone please help me understand the many scriptures references to "death and hell/Hades" mentioned in the lesson? I know that no place of torment exists currently, however the distinct mention of death (implying the grave) and hell, would mean there is an additional place,
    which is ...?

    • There are more than enough references to death. 1Cor 15:54-57 is one verse that incorporates the important aspects of death.

    • Leo, may I share a thought on this, based on the words of Jesus in Rev 1:18 - "I... have the keys of hell and of death"?

      I suggest that "hell" in both the Old and New Testaments, refers to the grave. (If you have a Bible with margin references you will find that in 1Cor 15:55 the "grave" corresponds to "hell", and again in Psalm 49:15 the "grave" corresponds to "hell". It is the 'sleeping place' where there is no thought, or emotion, or consciousness. (Ps 146:4 KJV, Ecc 9:5-6.)) The "gates of hell (the grave)" are very strong, but they will not always prevail - they cannot always shut the people away from God (Matt 16:18) - because Jesus has the key to open those gates.

      "Death" is death -- the point at which life ceases.

      But hell and death are two different things, and Jesus has the power to release people from both.

      All Christians acknowledge the power of Jesus to bring people back from the dead. After a person has died, Jesus can release that person from the grave (i.e. restore them to life). He can open the graves. He has access to the Devil's 'kingdom' and He can literally release people from the prison-house.

      But Jesus has the power to release people from death itself. This may be seen in the fact that the Bible speaks about people that never died, namely Enoch and Elijah. (And God assures us that He shows no favoritism, no partiality, to anyone.)

      Death passes upon all people. It certainly passed upon Enoch and it passed upon Elijah, but death passed "off" of those men. They were literally "released" from death; they were not subject to it. In the end God will have a people prepared for translation in the same way that Enoch and Elijah were prepared for translation, and they too shall not see [experience] death.

  12. Inge,
    Please state your reference to:

    She writes that every lost soul will be able to see in distinct detail every time they rejected the grace of God to save them.

    • While I remember what I've read, I don't always have time to look quotations up in order to cite them. You can find these references yourself by reading the last chapters of the Great Controversy or the Story of Redemption. In this case, you can find something like what I said in Great Controversy, p. 666

    • Perhaps a similar/compatible thought -

      "Every impulse of the Holy Spirit leading men to goodness and to God is noted in the books of heaven". (Christ's Object Lessons p.361)

      So it is not only words and actions that are recorded in the "books", it is impressions that we have felt, as well. I would mention also, that in the final judgment, the lost "are self-condemned without one word being uttered." (4T p.385.) And "in the day when the Ledger of Heaven shall be opened, the Judge will not in words express to man his guilt, but will cast one penetrating, convicting glance, and every deed, every transaction of life, will be vividly impressed upon the memory of the wrongdoer... his own lips will confess his shame". (4T 493)

  13. Quote from teaching: 'Rather than facing eternal torment, as is so commonly taught, the lost are destroyed. They cease to exist forever, the opposite of eternal life.'

    This statement is a false teaching opposing the teaching of Jesus Christ which is commonly taught because Jesus taught it.

    Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    Everlasting punishment is eternal torment the greek words confirm this teaching of Jesus Christ. I believe in the teaching of Jesus Christ not George Storrs teachings, who invented 'soul sleep' doctrine and 'annihilationism'.

    Hell is real and Jesus went there. Psalm 16;10, Ephesians 4:8-10

    • Hi Rodney,

      Welcome back to our blog. It seems like we've discussed this subject before. 🙂

      Please note Stewart Crafts' comment regarding 'forever and ever." The word thus translated does not necessarily mean unending time.

      Furthermore, Matt 25:46 says that the punishment will last forever. It says nothing about "eternal torment." Vines Dictionary is a help here too:

      "The use of aionios here shows that the punishment referred to in 2 Th 1:9, is not temporary, but final, and, accordingly, the phraseology shows that its purpose is not remedial but retributive." * [* From Notes on Thessalonians by Hogg and Vine, pp. 232, 233.]

      The aionios referenced by Vines is the word translated as "everlasting" in Matt 25:46. In other words, Christ's words indicate that the punishment is final. It does not necessarily say it is unending. Quite a difference.

      By the way, I find it interesting that you wrote on Oct 2, 2015: "https://ssnet.org/blog/tuesday-universalism-and-pluralism/comment-page-1/#comment-73746

      John Stott said "I do not dogmatise about the position to which I have come. I hold it tentatively... I believe that the ultimate annihilation of the wicked should at least be accepted as a legitimate, biblically founded alternative to their eternal conscious torment." I have no problem with the SDA's believing annihilationism but I do have a problem with the quote in the sabbath school lessons saying that eternal torment is a false doctrine.

      So it seems that we are not allowed to see your understanding of Scripture as a "false doctrine," but you are free to label our understanding of Scripture as "false doctrine"?


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