In Revelation 20:11-15, we find a description of God’s final judgment, at which all people must appear before God to receive their reward. The world has already seen many horrible events, terrible earthquakes, pestilence, and wars. But the greatest event is yet to come: the great judgment of the world. Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:31-46 that when He comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, all nations will be gathered before Him. Then He will separate them all, placing the righteous on His right and the evil on His left.
Life is serious, but how few take their lives seriously! God in His great mercy has done everything He could to make the way to Him possible for all people through Jesus’ suffering and death. His Spirit and Word show us the way, and His grace is sufficient for every person to be saved. Jesus gave His blood for all people, but very few let the Savior enter their hearts. How sad!
Dear soul, how will you fare on Judgment Day? Have you already been cleansed by Jesus’ blood? Do you have the assurance that all your sins and guilt have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb? And are you still clean today? Have you perhaps stained your clothes again? Blessed are you if you are reconciled to God through Jesus and remain reconciled to the end! Then you do not need to be afraid of the eternal Judge; then you can meet Him with joy.
Revelation 20:12 states, “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.” All the deeds of men are recorded in these books. What will be revealed there! Here on Earth, many an evil deed remains hidden from earthly judges. Some people go free because their guilt cannot be proven. But there, everything will be revealed. Nothing will remain hidden. Everything will come to light. What horror will seize the person who did not confess their sins here in life and obtain forgiveness through Jesus’ blood! It will be especially hard for the person who knew the way to salvation and indifferently ignored it.
When the books are opened and people’s whole lives are revealed, what weeping and gnashing of teeth there will be! Today, God offers grace, but at that time, there is no more grace. Today, we can still run to Jesus, but with death all opportunities are gone. It will then be eternally too late. The writer of the letter of Hebrews tells us: “It is appointed for men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Many a person has tried to turn to God on their deathbed, but they could no longer do it. They had missed the time of grace; it was too late! – “They were judged according to their works.” God will pronounce a just judgment but also a very harsh one on the wicked and sinner who has forfeited their salvation.
“Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15). Tomorrow may be too late. You don’t know if you will be alive tomorrow. The writing in the books will prove it. Today, the writing that condemns you can still be erased with the blood of Jesus that flowed on Calvary.
In Revelation 20:12, we also read about another book, the Book of Life. Whoever was not found in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire. When we are born again by God’s Spirit and Word, God writes us in the Lamb’s Book of Life. But if we sin again, our name will consequently be erased from that Book of Life.
When the people of Israel once sinned against God and made themselves the golden calf, God wanted to destroy them. Then Moses pleaded with the Lord: “Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin – but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written” (Exodus 32:31-32). The Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book” (verse 33). Here we have clear proof that we are erased from the Book of Life when we sin. If man were to die in such a state before returning to God through godly sorrow and repentance, he would be eternally lost.
Our text in Revelation 20 tells us that all whose names were not found in the Book of Life were cast into the lake of fire. This shows us that after death there will be no more room for repentance. So there is no more time of grace after this life, as some think. With death, our fate is sealed. As the tree falls, so it remains.
Oh, that many souls may still be warned, hurry to the Lord, and seek and find mercy before it will be too late!