The Great White Throne Judgement
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. 9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
The doctrine of hell completely conflicts with and negates the merciful nature of God. Yes, God hates sin and sin brings God’s judgement for His Holy purpose, which we shall fully discuss in this chapter. However, God’s mercy prevails and endures forever. God’s mercy does not suddenly disappear after a person dies, as God’s nature is the same yesterday, today and forever. In this important chapter we will show you, from the Bible, the true purpose and meaning of the Lake of Fire Judgement and the Second Death.
The Lake of Fire Judgement Age is the Sixth Age in God’s Plan for All, which He is working out in seven biblical ages. This Sixth Age will be ushered in immediately at the end of the thousand-year Millennial Kingdom of God. The whole population of the Millennial world, billions of people who will be alive at the end of the glorious thousand-year Millennial Kingdom of God, will be prepared and looking forward to God ushering in the Lake of Fire Judgement Age, which is prophesied in the Bible.
There are two important events, which will take place simultaneously at the end of the thousand-year Millennial Kingdom, before the Lake of Fire Judgement Age begins. These events are the Second Resurrection and the release of Satan from his prison.
The Second Resurrection
4 And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished.
The Second Resurrection will occur at the end of the thousand-year Millennial Kingdom of God, when the rest of the dead (those who did not rise in the First Resurrection) who are ‘sleeping’ will live again. It will consist of two very large groups of people, whose number will be like ‘the sand of the sea’ (Hosea 1:10, Revelation 20:8).
The First Group will consist of many billions of people, all unbelievers; all of the unbelievers who will have ever lived throughout the ages, from Adam and Eve until the end of the Millennial Age.
What about the multiple millions of unborn babies who die every year by either abortion or miscarriage? Life begins at conception. We can be sure that all unborn babies will also be included in the group of unbelievers. We believe that all people who rise in the Second Resurrection will be resurrected in young adult bodies, as Adam and Eve were created as young adults.
The Second Group will also consist of many billions of people, but they are all believers; all of the believers who will have lived in their mortal fleshly bodies during Christ’s glorious Millennial Age. This group includes all of the people who will still be alive in their mortal fleshly bodies at the end of the Millennial Age, and who will change in the ‘twinkling of an eye’ from their mortal fleshly bodies into their resurrected immortal bodies, at the Second Resurrection.
The Bible speaks about the resurrection of the dead, and there is no doubt that all people will be resurrected in immortal bodies in the Second Resurrection. An important question we need to ask and clearly answer is, ‘When these billions of people, both believers and unbelievers, are resurrected in their immortal bodies, will they have immortal spirit bodies that can freely move, or will they have immortal fleshly bodies that have restricted movement?’
Before we answer this question, we need to understand and keep in mind the clear distinction between the First Resurrection and the Second Resurrection.
The First Resurrection happens at the return of Jesus Christ, a thousand years before the Second Resurrection. The First Resurrection is only for those relatively very few people who are God’s Elect, the Bride of Christ, the 144,000 Firstfruits. The Bible is very clear that these Elect Saints of God, the Firstfruits, will rise in their new glorified immortal spirit bodies to join with Christ at His Second Coming and rule and reign with Him forever (Matthew 24:31, 1 Corinthians 15:49-58, Revelation 20:6).
The Second Resurrection is different in that all people, both believers and unbelievers, will be resurrected in their immortal fleshly bodies and not in their immortal spirit bodies. The reason for this is because they have to first undergo God’s Great White Throne Judgement, which we shall soon discuss. An immortal fleshly body will be restricted in movement being confined to this earth and not free to move about like an immortal spirit body. However, the destiny of all people who rise in the Second Resurrection is not to remain in their immortal fleshly bodies forever but, through God’s judgement, to ultimately receive glorified immortal spirit bodies as sons of God.
Based on the above truth, we can now understand the prophecy in Ezekiel 37 about the resurrection of the whole house of Israel in their immortal fleshly bodies.
I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.
This prophecy refers to the Second Resurrection when the whole house of Israel (except for God’s Elect Saints, the Bride of Christ, who will have already risen in the First Resurrection), will be resurrected in their immortal fleshly bodies.
Please understand that this will not be a resurrection like when Jesus Christ resurrected Lazarus from the dead, who was raised in his mortal fleshly body and later went on to die a fleshly death, once again.
It is important to understand that it is God’s promise to bring all of the Israelites, the whole house of Israel, back into their own promised land of Israel, after God has resurrected them in their immortal fleshly bodies.
11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel’. 13 Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.
This promise of God can only be fulfilled at the end of Christ’s thousand-year Millennial Kingdom, at the Second Resurrection, when the land of Israel will still be in the beautiful Millennial Garden of Eden state. With the exception of the Saints already risen in the First Resurrection, the whole house of Israel, both Jewish believers from the Millennial Kingdom and all unbelieving Jews who will have ever lived, will be brought back into their own land of Israel in their resurrected immortal fleshly bodies, as promised by God in Ezekiel 37 above.
The Second Resurrection is when God’s Great White Throne Judgement takes place, which we shall shortly discuss. The purpose of God’s judgement is for all people to come to know the Lord, ‘Then you shall know that I am the LORD’ as stated in Ezekiel 37:13 above.
The release of Satan from his prison
The second important event, which will occur simultaneously with the Second Resurrection, is the release of Satan from his prison of the bottomless pit.
Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison.
Can you visualise the scene of the dramatic change that will take place on this earth at the end of Christ’s glorious Millennial Kingdom of God? The earth will still be in a beautiful Garden of Eden state, Jesus Christ will still be sitting on the throne of David in a literal temple in Jerusalem, and of course, the Bride of Christ, the resurrected Saints from the First Resurrection, will still be ruling and reigning there with Jesus Christ.
However, suddenly, multiple billions of resurrected unbelievers and believers will appear in their immortal fleshly bodies, standing on the beautiful garden earth, and Satan will also be present, freely able to move about again over the earth, as ‘the prince of the power of the air’ (Ephesians 2:2).
The first thing that Satan will do, will be to go out over the earth and deceive billions of resurrected Gentile unbelievers and gather them together to battle against Jesus Christ and His Saints located in Jerusalem.
and (Satan) will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.
The important question is, ‘Who are these vast numbers of people of the nations referred to as Gog and Magog that Satan will so easily deceive, after his release from his prison?’
It is important to understand that Gog and Magog are mentioned in two different age-settings in the Bible. The first mention of Gog of the land of Magog is in the pre-Millennial age-setting. This is when vast armies of Gentile unbelieving nations, under the leadership of Gog and deception of Satan, invade the land of Israel, as described in Ezekiel 38 and 39. They surround Jerusalem and persecute and martyr many true believers, the Saints, and hence commit ‘the abomination of desolation’. This will be during the 3½-year period of the Tribulation before Jesus Christ returns to earth. Christ will totally destroy Gog and his huge armies in the last great battle of Armageddon, as we explain in detail in Chapter 10.
The second mention of Gog and Magog is in the post-Millennial age-setting, which is after the Second Resurrection of all unbelieving humanity, and after Satan has been released from his prison of the bottomless pit. This is when, Satan will once again ‘go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea’ (Revelation 20:8).
It is clear that these nations, which Satan will so easily deceive to lead in rebellion against Christ and His Saints located in Jerusalem at the end of the Millennial Age, can only be the same Gentile unbelievers referred to as Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39. They were Satan’s children as unbelievers before they died, at the battle of Armageddon, and they will still be Satan’s children as unbelievers when they rise in the Second Resurrection, at the end of Christ’s Millennial Age. This time however, instead of mortal fleshly bodies, Gog and his huge armies will be in their resurrected immortal fleshly bodies.
They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city (Jerusalem). And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.
Gog (of the land of Magog), with his huge armies of resurrected Gentile unbelievers, once again will attempt to commit ‘the abomination of desolation’ by invading Jerusalem where God’s Saints will be located. God’s devouring fire, coming down out of heaven, will easily crush this Satan inspired rebellion of Gog and his armies.
Here, we need to remind our readers about the meaning of the expression ‘the abomination of desolation’, as explained in Chapter 10. When God’s Temple in Jerusalem, where God’s Spirit dwelt in the holy of holies, was destroyed or desecrated by an invading kingdom, then ‘the abomination of desolation’ was committed. However, after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s Spirit does not dwell in a physical temple, but in a Spiritual Temple, in God’s Saints, in the Body of Christ on earth. It is an abomination to God if anyone defiles or kills a true believer, who is the temple of God in whom God’s Spirit dwells (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
Do you know that the vision of the Beast with seven heads and ten horns, given to Apostle John in Revelation Chapters 13 and 17, confirms that Gog will once again try to commit ‘the abomination of desolation’?
Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.
We demonstrated, in Chapter 10, that the Beast with seven heads and ten horns in Apostle John’s vision above, represents four kingdoms, with altogether seven heads (seven leaders), who commit ‘the abomination of desolation’. Three of these kingdoms with six heads (King Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonian Kingdom, Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the Greek Kingdom, and Tiberius, Nero, Titus and Domitian of the Roman Kingdom) are historical; but the fourth kingdom with its head, forming the seventh head of the seven-headed beast, is yet to come. This fourth kingdom will cover the whole world and its government will be a world government, under one dictatorial leader, who will be so immensely powerful that no-one will dare to go against him. This world leader will indeed be ‘Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal’, referred to in Ezekiel 38:2.
There are two enigmatic verses, which are Revelation 13:3, and 17:11, with regard to this Beast with seven heads and ten horns, which can be only understood in the light of the fact that Gog with his huge armies, under the inspiration of Satan, will once again attempt to commit ‘the abomination of desolation’ after Christ’s thousand-year Millennial rule and the Second Resurrection.
And I saw one of his heads (referring to Gog) as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marvelled and followed the beast.
This scripture can only make sense in the light of the understanding that Gog, the seventh head, will be resurrected (his deadly wound was healed) to live again, together with billions of his followers, at the Second Resurrection, after Christ’s thousand-year Millennial rule.
The beast (with seven heads and ten horns) that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.
This scripture can only make sense in the light of the understanding that Gog is not only the seventh head, but he will also be the eight head because he will once again attempt to commit ‘the abomination of desolation’ with his beast armies, when they are resurrected, at the Second Resurrection, after Christ’s thousand-year Millennial Age.
It is only after the defeat of Gog of the land of Magog, as described in these verses, that the Day of Judgement, also referred as ‘The Great White Throne Judgement’ finally arrives (Matthew 12:36, Revelation 20:11). The Day of Judgement covers the full period of time that God will take to judge all those who will rise in the Second Resurrection, both believers and unbelievers. The judgement of believers will be for the purpose of rewards, but the judgement of unbelievers will be a refining, testing and chastising judgement in the Lake of Fire, which is the main subject of this Chapter. Yes, it is in the Lake of Fire that all unbelieving humanity will go to ‘perdition’ and ‘perish’, but now let us prove to you from Scripture that the Lake of Fire is not the so-called hell or even annihilation, but it is God’s loving chastisement of all unbelievers, in order for them to be reconciled to Father God. How? Through the finished work on the cross of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of the whole world, to save this whole world of fallen sinful men and angels, without a single exception.
The Great White Throne Judgement
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things, which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.
These verses describe God’s awesome judgement of resurrected believers and unbelievers, all those who will rise in the Second Resurrection. We believe all people, including unborn babies, will be resurrected in their immortal fleshly young adult bodies, as Adam and Eve were created as young adults. Imagine the picture of the vast sea of humanity, multiple billions of resurrected believers and unbelievers, standing before God in their resurrected immortal fleshly adult bodies to face God’s Great White Throne Judgement.
Before we can properly understand God’s Great White Throne Judgement as described in these verses, we need to firstly understand that Father God will locate His Great White Throne within the Holy City, also referred to as the New Jerusalem. In the Bible, the Holy City is portrayed as a ‘satellite city’ located in the earth’s heaven (earth’s atmosphere) during the Great White Throne Judgement period. So, let us now understand exactly who and what the Holy City represents.
The Holy City, New Jerusalem
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God.
These scriptures confirm that the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, is the spiritual name for the Bride of Christ, the Lamb’s Wife, who is referred to in the Bible as the Firstfruits. They are the 144,000 Elect believers who will rise in the First Resurrection to rule and reign with Jesus Christ throughout God’s Millennial Kingdom on earth, and beyond it. Chapter 9 gives the relevant scriptures which prove that the Firstfruits, the Bride of Christ, will only be 144,000 in total.
Also, please note that the scriptures above say that the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, will be ‘descending out of heaven from God’, which is again confirmed in Revelation 3:12. The ‘heaven’ that these scriptures refer to is the earth’s heaven, which is the earth’s atmosphere. In order for the Holy City (the Bride of Christ) to descend out of heaven (earth’s atmosphere), she has to firstly be located in earth’s heaven as a ‘satellite’ City.
Once God’s devouring fire, coming down out of heaven will have crushed the Satan inspired rebellion by resurrected Gog and his huge armies, as discussed previously in this section, the Bride of Christ, the Lamb’s wife, will ascend from the physical Ezekiel Temple in the physical city of Jerusalem, up into the earth’s heaven (earth’s atmosphere) as a ‘satellite city’, the spiritual Holy City, the New Jerusalem.
The Holy City, the New Jerusalem, is described in spiritual terms in Revelation 21:11-24. It is a huge city, a perfect cube with the dimension of approximately 1400 miles. It has foundations, walls, gates and pillars made of gold and other precious stones. However, these are not physical structures, but they all spiritually represent God’s redeemed people, the Bride of Christ. They are the Firstfruits who will rise in the First Resurrection to rule and reign with Christ, when He returns to earth to establish His Millennial Kingdom.
The glorious thing about the Holy City (the Bride of Christ) is that Father God Himself (Yahweh Elohim), who has remained invisible to His unredeemed creation, will come down from His current dwelling place in heaven (located somewhere in the universe) to set up His throne within the Holy City located in earth’s heaven (earth’s atmosphere) with His only begotten Son Jesus Christ (Yeshua Elohim) once again sitting at His right hand. This is when the Great White Throne Judgement begins.
Revelation 21:22 says that Father God and His Son Jesus Christ are the Temple located in the Holy City. The City has no need of the sun or the moon to shine because the glory of God will fill it and illuminate it. The Holy City will be absolutely gleaming with gold and all manner of precious stones representing God’s redeemed people and their works of faith (1 Corinthians 3:12-13). The glory and the presence of Father God and Jesus Christ shining through and out of the Holy City will totally outshine the sun and the moon.
Please bear in mind that at the beginning of the Great White Throne Judgement, the earth will still be in the beautiful millennial Garden of Eden state when all believers and unbelievers, who rise in the Second Resurrection in their fleshly immortal bodies, stand there below the Holy City to be judged by God. They will be absolutely awestruck and trembling when they look up to see the very power and glory of Father God emanating from His Great White Throne, located in the Holy City. However, it is important to understand that Father God Himself will still remain invisible to them at this point in time.
As we have read previously, Revelation 20:12 says that all of these resurrected people will be judged according to the things written in the books, which include the Book of Life.
The names of all of the believers, those who lived during Christ’s Millennial Age, are written in the Book of Life, and therefore, they will be judged to be righteous and given glorified immortal spirit bodies. They will rise up from the earth to enter the Holy City, the Bride of Christ, to be in the presence of Father God and His Son Jesus Christ. However, all unbelievers standing on the earth below still confined in their unsaved immortal fleshly bodies, whose names are not written in the Book of Life, will then be judged to be cast into the Lake of Fire to experience the Second Death.
14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Let us now fully understand the true biblical meaning and the purpose of the Lake of Fire and the Second Death, and their significance in the fulfilment of God’s Plan for the redemption of all.
The Lake of Fire
Jesus Christ speaks about gehenna fire in Matthew 18:9, which has been mistranslated to mean ‘hell fire’ in versions of the Bible that support the doctrine of hell. We explain the true meaning of this Greek word gehenna, in detail, in Chapter 16. Let us clearly understand that when Jesus Christ uses the term gehenna fire, He is not speaking about everlasting tormenting hell fire, but, He is speaking about God’s age-to-come, age-lasting refining fire on the Day of Judgement.
On the Day of the Great White Throne Judgement, after the judgement of the resurrected believers, the earth with its heaven (earth’s atmosphere) will become a ball of fire. The Lake of Fire, below the earth’s surface, will engulf all of the earth’s crust. All of the empty graves (hades) of all people buried throughout the ages will be consumed by the Lake of Fire as Revelation 20:14 says, ‘Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire’.
The whole earth will become a literal Lake of Fire as the elements melt with fervent heat, and the earth’s atmosphere will become full of intensely hot flames arising from the molten surface of the earth, resembling the burning sun.
2 Peter 3:7
But the heavens (ouranos) and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
In this verse, which is from the NKJV, please note that the Greek word ouranos is incorrectly translated by the NKJV translators into its plural form ‘heavens’ instead of its singular form ‘heaven’. ‘Heaven’ and ‘heavens’ are translations of the Hebrew word shamayim and the Greek word ouranos. Both of these Hebrew and Greek words can be translated into the singular form ‘heaven’ or the plural form ‘heavens’ depending on their context in Scripture. There are three distinct meanings of heaven/heavens in the Bible, which are:
1. Heaven (singular) means earth’s atmosphere or the visible sky.
2. Heaven (singular) means the dwelling place of God, where God’s throne is presently located somewhere in the Universe.
3. Heavens (plural) means the Universe.
In some verses, Bible translators of the NKJV and some other versions of the Bible have confused the plural form with the singular form and vice versa, as in the cases of 2 Peter 3:7 and 2 Peter 3:10-13. On the Day of Judgement, only the earth with its heaven (singular heaven – earth’s atmosphere) will be on fire and not the whole universe (plural heavens) as mistranslated in these NKJV scriptures.
2 Peter 3:10-13
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens (earth’s atmosphere) will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens (earth’s atmosphere) will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens (earth’s atmosphere) and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Here, Apostle Peter once again confirms that the elements will melt, meaning the whole earth will become a ball of fire. The molten outer core of this earth will expand and consume the earth’s crust and the whole earth will become a literal lake of fire resembling the burning sun. All unbelievers standing below the Holy City in their resurrected unsaved immortal fleshly bodies will be cast into and confined to this physical literal Lake of Fire to be judged by God.
It is important to realise that God’s physical Lake of Fire is not for the purpose of hurting or tormenting unbelievers physically because resurrected bodies are immortal bodies, which cannot be damaged by physical fire. However, it should be clearly understood that God’s corrective, merciful, refining and righteous Lake of Fire judgement for all resurrected unbelievers will still be painful. It will not be physical pain but emotional pain, which can be even more impactful than physical pain.
It is very important to understand that the Lake of Fire is not only physical fire, but it is also Spiritual Fire. This is because Scripture says that God Himself is a consuming fire, and Jesus Christ’s eyes are described as flames of fire and His countenance as the sun burning in all its brilliance (Hebrews 12:29, Revelation 1:14-16).
The Lake of Fire is both God’s physical and spiritual cleansing in the Lake of Fire Judgement Age. The literal fire will cleanse the earth physically by melting the elements, and God’s Spiritual Fire will cleanse the earth spiritually by consuming the dross, scum and filth of wickedness and unbelief from the hearts of resurrected unbelievers who are confined in the Lake of Fire. Yes, although the resurrected unbelievers will be cast into a literal physical Lake of Fire, finally, it will be God’s spiritual fire that will refine and cleanse the hearts of unbelievers.
The Bible explicitly says that God is like a refiner’s fire; He purifies people spiritually so that they become righteous.
2 But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire, And like launderers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the LORD An offering in righteousness.
This prophecy about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is given to God’s chosen people, the Israelites. Please note that God is like a Refiner’s Fire. In the Millennial Kingdom, God’s refining, consuming, purifying spiritual fire will cause the Israelites to accept God’s Righteousness through His New Covenant of Grace. We know that God’s character never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Ultimately, God’s Spiritual Fire leads to acceptance of God’s Righteousness through the work of the cross for all people, in God’s time and order.
For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.
Jesus Christ spoke these words in the context of the future fiery judgement of unbelievers. In the Lake of Fire judgement, every unbeliever will be seasoned with Fire and Salt. Fire purifies and salt preserves. God is a Consuming Fire, and He consumes away man’s self-righteousness and pride, and the Word of God preserves us from falsehood. This means that every unbeliever will come to know the truth of Christ; through the gift of God-given faith, they will repent of their unbelief and come to accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
The Bible says that the Day of Judgement will test everyone’s work by fire.
1 Corinthians 3:11-14
11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work, which he has built on, it endures, he will receive a reward.
On the Day of Judgement, everyone’s work will be tested by God’s Fire. Unbelievers’ works of wood, hay and straw will be burnt up because they cannot stand the test of God’s Consuming Spiritual Fire, as they are works based on self-righteousness. However, believers’ works of gold, silver and precious stones will stand the test of God’s Consuming Spiritual Fire, being works of faith based on God’s Righteousness built on Jesus Christ, their foundation. Believers’ works of faith will shine out as precious stones from the Holy City.
1 Corinthians 3:15
If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Please accept and believe the very important truth given in this scripture. It is clear that although unbelievers’ works will be burnt up, they themselves will be saved but through fire.
Let us now go on to understand the biblical meaning of the Second Death, and why all resurrected unbelievers must die a Second Death in the Lake of Fire before they can ascend to enter into the Holy City, and have their names registered in the Book of Life.
The Second Death
14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
We can see from these scriptures that the Lake of Fire is referred to as the Second Death, into which all unbelievers will be cast in order to experience this Second Death. All unbelievers will have to die the Second Death in God’s Lake of Fire. Let us fully understand the tremendous spiritual significance of the Second Death.
In the Garden of Eden, God warned Adam not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day he would eat it, he would surely die.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Yes indeed, in the day when Adam sinned by partaking of the forbidden fruit through Satan deceiving Eve, Adam truly died, first spiritually and then later bodily. Also, sin entered the human world affecting both Adam and Eve and absolutely all of their descendants.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.
All of humanity is born in Adam, which means that we are all born with the sinful Adamic nature inherited from our first parent Adam, so we are all spiritually dead and separated from God at birth because of the sin of Adam. Since the wages of sin is death, not only spiritual death but also bodily death, then all people are destined to die a bodily death. However, the wonderful Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that the same all people (all of humanity) who die in Adam will be made alive in Christ, both bodily and spiritually, but each one in his own order.
1 Corinthians 15:22-23a
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order.
Let us believe this glorious scripture which says that the same people who die in Adam will be made alive in Christ, which means the whole of humanity, without a single exception. Yes, everybody is born a sinner because of one man’s sin, Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12), but everybody is destined to become Righteous because of one Man’s Righteousness, Jesus Christ’s Righteousness (Romans 5:18-19).
So, what exactly does it mean to be made alive in Christ? To be made alive in Christ is to believe, through the gift of God-given faith, in the true Gospel of Jesus Christ that He is indeed God’s only begotten Son and the Saviour of the whole world, without a single exception. Only true believers can inherit the Kingdom of God. Ultimately, in God’s time and order, Father God Himself will ensure that absolutely all people will become true believers, and so, all will be made alive in Christ, and all will inherit the Kingdom of God. However, Scripture tells us that before a person can be made alive in Christ, he needs to first die with Christ.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.
Please note that this scripture says that it is only after we have died with Christ, that we can have the confidence of life (new, forgiven, sinless life) with Christ. So, the crucial question is: ‘What exactly does ‘to die with Christ’ mean?’
Death with Christ
The most powerful and glorious truth about the cross of Jesus Christ is that Jesus sacrificially and lovingly took with Him the Adamic sinful nature ‘the old man’ of the whole of humanity when He died on the cross for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). Yes, when Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, was crucified on the cross, the sinful Adamic nature of the whole of humanity was crucified with Him.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
Please understand what Apostle Paul is saying in these verses. He is saying that we should all come to know and believe that our Adamic sinful nature, ‘the old man’, was crucified with Christ and therefore, all true believers are united together with Jesus Christ in the likeness of His death. When Apostle Paul says, ‘our old man’, he means ‘the old man’ of the whole of humanity, the Adamic sinful nature which all people are born with, inherited from Adam.
So, to die with Christ is to believe ‘that our old man was crucified with Him’. Like Apostle Paul, it is vitally important for each one of us to personally identify ourselves in the likeness of Christ’s death; and not only in the likeness of Christ’s death, but also, in the likeness of His resurrection. This is the gateway to spiritual life in Christ, and it is the only way to be born again in Christ, to be saved, and without this nobody can enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:3).
It is only through the gift of God-given saving faith that each person will come into the blessing of receiving his or her salvation, in God’s timing. God’s timing for His Elect, the 144,000 Firstfruits, is before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. God’s timing to become believers for those who survive the Great Tribulation, referred to in Revelation 7:9-11, is during Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. However, God’s timing for the non-Elect, all those who die as unbelievers, is after they are resurrected from the dead in the Second Resurrection, and after they experience the Second Death in God’s refining Lake of Fire Judgement.
So then, what is the Second Death? The Second Death is the death with Christ, which is ‘the spiritual death of the Adamic sinful nature’ of an unbeliever cast into God’s refining Lake of Fire on the Great White Throne Judgement Day. Each and every resurrected unbeliever, through God’s Righteous refining judgement, will repent of unbelief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and hence they will crucify their Adamic sinful nature, and die with Christ. When this happens ‘the old man’, the Adamic sinful nature, of the unbeliever dies (the Second Death), and the new Righteous nature in Christ is born in them. This is when all unbelievers become born again believers with their sinless, new and glorified spirit bodies to rise up out of the Lake of Fire to enter the Holy City above it.
The Second Death is only applicable to those who die as unbelievers, since they have already died their bodily death before they are resurrected at the Second Resurrection for judgement in God’s refining Lake of Fire. All people who die as true believers will ‘not be hurt by the second death’ (Revelation 2:11). On the Great White Throne Judgement Day, they will not be cast into the Lake of Fire for judgement to die the Second Death as they will have already been born again, made alive in Christ, with their names written in the Book of Life. All true believers acknowledge the crucifixion of their sinful ‘old man’ (the spiritual death of their Adamic sinful nature) through belief in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross during this life, before their bodily death.
Just think about it! The Second Death cannot be eternal spiritual separation from God as hell believing ‘Christians’ think, because resurrected unbelievers would already be in a state of spiritual darkness separated from God before they enter the Lake of Fire. Also, the Second Death cannot be annihilation because unbelievers will be resurrected in their immortal fleshly bodies, and therefore, they cannot be annihilated. The glorious truth of the Second Death is that it is the ‘death with Christ’, the spiritual death of the Adamic sinful nature ‘the old man’ of all resurrected unbelievers so that they all become born again believers, through God’s refining yet merciful Lake of Fire judgement.
The fear of God
The Bible says that the natural heart of man is proud, deceitful and desperately wicked and that it does not fear God (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:18). An unbeliever does not fear God because he is born with a fallen Adamic sinful nature ‘the old man’ which is self-righteous and proud. Therefore, God must soften and humble his proud heart through judgement before he is able to hear God and understand God’s grace.
God’s judgement in the Lake of Fire is designed to do exactly that – to put Godly fear into the hearts of unbelievers so that they are willing to listen to and accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
28 we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.
Let us now understand why Jesus says that He will destroy both soul and body of those who do not fear God in gehenna, meaning in the Lake of Fire.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (gehenna).
Please note that in this verse ‘hell’ is a mistranslation of the Greek word gehenna, which refers to the Lake of Fire judgement as we explain in detail in Chapter 16.
In the scripture above, Christ says that we must not fear men who at worst can only kill us physically, but they cannot ‘kill the soul’, meaning they cannot take away the resurrected immortal life, which God will grant to all people. However, we need to fear God because if we do not fear Him in this life before we die, then there is judgement awaiting us in gehenna, meaning in the Lake of Fire, on God’s Great White Throne Judgement Day.
When Christ says that He will destroy both soul and body of unbelievers in the Lake of Fire judgement, Christ is speaking in spiritual terms referring to the Second Death. Yes, God will completely destroy ‘both soul and body’ of ‘the old man’, which is the Second Death that all unbelievers must experience in the Lake of Fire judgement. It is only through dying the Second Death that unbelievers can become born again believers.
Various levels of judgement
There will be various levels of judgement in the Lake of Fire. Christ says that it will be more tolerable for some than others in the Day of Judgement, and that tax collectors and harlots will enter the Kingdom of God before many of the Pharisees.
But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the Day of Judgment than for you.
Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you”.
Traditional Christian churches (believers in the Trinity and hell) have many ‘self-righteous Pharisees’ who think that they will be the first in line to enter the Kingdom of God. However, on the Day of Judgement, they will be shocked to find out that many sinners, whom they had condemned to a hell of eternal torture, will enter the Kingdom of God before them.
When the last rebellious unbeliever in the Lake of Fire has repented of unbelief and accepted Jesus Christ thus entering the Kingdom of God, the scripture, ‘For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive: But each one in his own order’ will be totally and completely fulfilled.
All Nations will enter the Holy City, New Jerusalem
Psalm 87 is a wonderful, glorious, prophetic Psalm clearly prophesying that ultimately every unbeliever will become a born again believer as they enter through the gates of righteousness into the Holy City of God.
Psalm 87:1-7 (NIV)
1 He has set his foundation on the holy mountain; 2 the LORD loves the gates of Zion (New Jerusalem, the Holy City) more than all the dwellings of Jacob. 3 Glorious things are said of you, O city of God: Selah 4 “I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me – Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush – and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’” 5 Indeed, of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her.” 6 The LORD will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.” Selah. 7 As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains (living waters of life) are in you.”
In this scripture, God specifically names peoples from several pagan unbelieving Gentile nations; Rahab, Babylon, Philistia, Tyre and Cush, who will be born in Zion, the City of God, and whose names the Lord will write in the register of the peoples.
This scripture cannot be referring to the physical birth of these Gentile nations because they have already been born in their own home countries, and not in Zion. Obviously, this scripture is speaking about the future spiritual birth of these nations, when they will enter the gates of spiritual Zion, the Holy City, New Jerusalem.
These unbelieving Gentile nations, who have already died a physical death, will rise in their unsaved immortal fleshly bodies in the Second Resurrection and be cast into the Lake of Fire to undergo God’s refining, yet merciful judgement. They will all repent, believe in God’s only begotten Son and the finished work of the cross through the gift of God-given faith, and die the Second Death (the spiritual death of the sinful Adamic ‘old man’). They will then ascend up out of the Lake of Fire in their saved immortal glorified spirit bodies to enter into the Holy City of Zion, through the gates of Righteousness.
Verse 2 above says, ‘the LORD loves the gates of Zion’, which are the gates of Righteousness of the Holy City, through which all nations will enter to acknowledge the Lord as their Saviour.
The register of the peoples in verse 6 above is referring to the Book of Life, which remains an open book so that new names can be added into it, as and when the peoples of the nations become born again in Zion, the Holy City. Yes indeed, the Lord will write in the register of the peoples, ‘This one and that one were born in her (Zion, the Holy City)’.
We now come to a wonderful scripture in Revelation describing the nations entering the Holy City before it descends onto the cleansed and refined New Earth with its New Heaven.
24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its (the Holy City’s) light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.
Please note that the nations shall walk in the light of the Holy City. Who are these nations? These nations are none other than those who have died the Second Death and become born again believers through God’s Lake of Fire Judgement.
The gates of the Holy City are never closed, which means that the offer of salvation remains open throughout the Lake of Fire Judgement Age. The kings of the earth bring their glory into the Holy City as they become birthed (born again) in the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife. The only way the kings of the earth can bring their glory into the Holy City is for them to become Righteous with God’s Righteousness through repentance and God-given faith to believe in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father.
This is a wonderful and glorious picture of a continuous flow of people from the nations ascending up from the Lake of Fire in their glorified immortal spirit bodies to enter through the gates of Righteousness into the Holy City as they become saved. They leave behind them the Lake of Fire where the wicked are still being judged until they too, in their time and order, come to repentance and believe the Gospel.
The Lamb’s Wife will be shining out the light of the Gospel, evangelising and helping fellowmen, including loved ones who died as unbelievers, to leave the Lake of Fire and rise up to enter into God’s Holy City. The Lamb’s Book of Life is not a closed book; such that new names cannot be added to it. God will continue to register new names in it as unbelievers repent and accept Jesus Christ as God’s only begotten Son, the Saviour of the world.
Revelation 22:1-2 (NIV)
1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city (the Holy City, New Jerusalem). On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
This is a continuation of John’s vision of the Holy City, the Lamb’s Wife. The River of Life and the Tree of Life together are none other than Father God with His Son Jesus Christ, and they are ‘the leaves of the Tree’, which are ‘for the healing of the nations’. Note that the nations still need to be healed spiritually, and that the offer of salvation remains open to the nations who are being judged in the Lake of Fire below, outside the walls of the Holy City.
Revelation 22:14 (NIV)
Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.
This is a glorious picture of people entering the gates of the Holy City, the Lamb’s Wife, after having washed their filthy rags of self-righteousness in the blood of the Lamb. These people are none other than the unbelievers who were judged in God’s Lake of Fire. Once they have washed their filthy robes they become clean and blessed with the robes of God’s Righteousness so that they can enter the gates of the Holy City to have the right to the Tree of Life.
Revelation 22:17 (NIV)
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
The Spirit and the Bride (the Holy City) are encouraging people to come (evangelising them) to take the free gift of the Water of Life. The gates of the Holy City, New Jerusalem, remain open and all unbelievers who have repented of unbelief through God’s judgement in the Lake of Fire below will ascend and come into the Holy City, and they will freely drink of the Water of Life, the Living Water, and they will never thirst again. This is an exciting prophecy of the Bride of Christ working with Christ, evangelising the nations during the Lake of Fire Judgement Age.
Evangelism in this life, though very important, is only just the start of evangelism for God’s Elect, the 144,000 Firstfruits, the Bride of Christ. The greatest evangelising work is yet to come in the Millennial Age and, following it, in the Lake of Fire Judgement Age. This will be a tremendously exciting and thrilling work for all those who are the Bride of Christ, the true Believers, who have the Spirit of reconciliation, the Spirit of forgiveness; yes, the very same Spirit of forgiveness that Jesus had when he forgave His murderers, those who crucified Him. The spiritual union of Jesus Christ and His Wife, the Firstfruits, will bear the fruits of billions of spiritual children of the Great Harvest of the rest of humanity in the ages to come.
All nations whom You have made Shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And shall glorify Your name.
Do we believe the Word of God? All nations will come and worship before God and they will all acknowledge Him, glorifying His name. At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
In this chapter, we have dealt with God’s future fiery judgement of unbelieving humanity during the Sixth Age, the Lake of Fire Judgement Age. However, we must not forget that God will also judge all fallen angels in the Lake of Fire during this Sixth Age. The next chapter, Chapter 13, The Lake of Fire Judgement Age – Part 2 deals with God’s final judgement of Satan and his fallen angels.