THE LAST JUDGMENT (20:11). Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. This person can be none other than Jesus Christ, since He affirmed, “the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). White stands for righteousness, purity, triumph, and glory. Justice and righteous are yardsticks of this judgment. Those who rejected Christ will find their works will not save them.
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away (Isaiah 64:6).
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:21-23).
There is only one-way to escape the Great White Throne Judgment—imputed righteousness by faith.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith (Hebrews 11:7; cf. James 2:17-26 on faith without works is dead).
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Romans 3:22-24).
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1-2).
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
THE LAST OF THE FIRST CREATION (20:11) “Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them” describes the disappearance of the present heaven and earth predicted in 2 Peter 3:10-13:
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare [burned up]. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
A key phrase in Peter’s description is stoiceia (elements) kausoumena (burn up with heat) luyhsontai (shall be loosed). This describes what happens when every atom is split. Now Christ holds all things together (Colossians 2:17).
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word (Hebrews 1:3).
Creation as we know it will cease, when Jesus says by His powerful word, “Be loose atoms!” Every atom will split; the heavens and earth explode into fire and melt in the heat — not laid bare but katakahsetai (be consumed by fire). God’s Word and salvation last forever, but not heaven and earth, according to Isaiah and Jesus:
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last for ever, my righteousness will never fail. (Isaiah 51:6).
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33).
I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished (Matthew 5:18).