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The Holiness of Jesus “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ ” —Matthew 25:41, emphasis added Perhaps no scene in the entire Bible grips our minds and stirs our souls as much as the last verses of Revelation 20. Imagine the scene: in one moment all the angels and all the humans who have ever lived on this planet—perhaps as many as forty-five billion souls will be assembled.1 In utter silence the scene opens. In the glow of God’s glory surrounding His throne stand the redeemed of all the ages. Behind them, in countless ranks, are all the angelic hosts. The four angelic creatures hover about God’s presence while our representatives, the twenty-four elders, stand, and then kneel before the throne. All the dead, small and great, are in this assembly. Every single person who has ever lived is there: not one soul will escape this summons to the court of God Almighty— His last and greatest and final roll call. All the “Ivan the Butchers” of this world are present. Those evil emissaries of Satan that gassed women and children hide no more in disguise to escape the penalty; they each stand exposed. All the “Genghis Khans” of this world who flayed their enemies alive now have no armies to protect them; they, too, stand-alone before the Judge. The Scythians, the murderous horsemen who killed their foes and used their skulls as cups to drink blood, stand silent. The ashes of countless cremated warlords and ruthless business executives cast to the winds and seas, hopeful of escaping God, are now reassembled into bodies. Souls imprisoned in Hades now regain habitation in the bodies in which they sinned and turned from God. All God-haters, from Voltaire to Hitler, now face the One they despised. The Godresisters who denied God and said no to Him are now assembled, from Pharaoh to the priests of Molech, and they, too, are quaking in dread. They are all present—no one can escape this, the final hour. Before this silent multitude, speechless in the sight of the God they never wanted to know, nor ever wanted to meet, is the eerie flicker of the cauldron of God’s holy wrath, the Lake of Fire.
It is a lake; it is on fire. It is already filled with the devil, his two apostles (the beast and the false prophet), and all the malignant hordes of evil angels. They have already sunk into utter blackness to begin their eternal plunge to the never-ending depths of the blackened pit of darkness. Eternally tormented with the very desire that gripped them—to be away from the Light, the Truth, and the Life—they plunge downward. As for the billions who stand frozen with the dreadful fear of inescapable doom, the last word of the final judgment begins. This section of Revelation divides into five sobering truths which I will state now, and we will examine later in the week: 1) the Judge is great (v. 11); 2) the judgment is inescapable (v. 12); 3) the standard is exact (v. 13); 4) the sentence is final (v. 14); and 5) blessed is the Book of Life (v. 15). Before you end up in the congregation of the doomed at that Great White Throne, bow to the Lord Jesus Christ. And if you know Him, as His child by grace, bow your heart before Him in worship. Cry out to Him for insights that will impact your life from His Word! My Prayer for You This Week: Father, we know that You are not desiring that any should perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the Truth, to repentance, and to life eternal. You have told us that those who go to hell have fitted themselves for destruction by their refusal, either actively or passively, to say yes to Jesus. We pray that the horror of eternity apart from Your grace, and facing Your wrath, will motivate us to be like the Apostle Paul who confessed as his testimony: “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” May we go out to a dying world and point them to You as their only hope for the resurrection and the life. May we soberly, knowing Your terror, persuade lost souls to receive the free gift of eternal life, to repent, and to follow and obey You. Open our hearts to this challenging portion of Your Word so that Christ will be exalted in our lives! We ask all these things in the precious name of the Lord Jesus, Amen.
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