What Will Be the Conditions During the Great White Throne Judgment Period? (Part 2)


In the first part of this series, we discussed the concept of three resurrections, and we began to discuss some of the conditions and the learning process of those who will be raised in the Second Resurrection.

To repeat, we can clearly see that there WILL BE a Second Resurrection. Revelation 20:4-5, 11-12 states that the Second Resurrection will occur 1,000 years AFTER the first resurrection. We read that those in the Second Resurrection will STAND before God and His Great White Throne. We also read: “… 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.”

It is important that we understand what all of these books are, and how exactly the people will be judged.

We explain the following regarding the BOOK of LIFE in our free booklet, “Are You Predestined to be Saved?:

“… we read in Revelation 3:5: ‘He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I [Jesus Christ] will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.’… true Christians are written down in a particular book—the Book of Life—and… they will not be erased from it as long as they continue to overcome. We can also understand from this that their names could be blotted out from the Book of Life.

“At the end of the book of Revelation, in the 21st chapter, we are again introduced to the Book of Life. We read in verse 27: ‘But there shall by no means enter it [the new Jerusalem] anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.’…

“[We also read that] ‘anyone not found written in the Book of Life’ will be ‘cast into the lake of fire’ (verse 15). This lake of fire is the ‘second’ or ‘ultimate’ final, eternal death, from which there will be no resurrection (verse 14)…”

We explain in the remainder of the booklet that those written in the Book of Life are those who are called in this day and age (but again, if they commit the unpardonable sin, their name will be blotted out). For the rest of mankind, their names are NOT yet written in the Book of Life, but for those living in the Millennium and for those in the Second Resurrection, their names CAN be written in the Book of Life, as it will be OPEN to them at that time. Today, it is only OPEN to those who have been predestined to be saved in this day and age. As long as their names ARE written (and not blotted out) in the Book of Life, their inheritance of ETERNAL life is guaranteed.

John 7:37-39 shows that at the time of the Great White Throne Judgment, the Holy Spirit will be offered to all. [Today, the Holy Spirit is only offered to the “firstfruits” (Revelation 14:4)—to those who are called now according to God’s purpose.] We read:

“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

Christ spoke these words in 30 AD. At that time, nobody had received the Holy Spirit, but His disciples would receive it at the Day of Pentecost in 31 AD. Christ’s statement that all those who thirst could come to Christ and receive the Holy Spirit is applicable when the Holy Spirit will be available to all—beginning with those living in the Millennium. Revelation 22:17 makes the same point: “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely!”  We also read in Isaiah 55:1: “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price.”

For the overwhelming majority—the masses of all the peoples who lived and died without accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior—their “day of salvation” will come in the Second Resurrection. (For true and converted Christians, their day of salvation is today, 2 Corinthians 6:1-2). It is therefore obvious that the reference in John 7:37 to the “last day, the great day of the feast,” describes the seventh Holy Day, known in Scripture as the “eighth day” (compare Leviticus 23:36; Numbers 29:35; Nehemiah 8:18), which became also known as the Last Great Day (compare again John 7:37: “on the LAST day, that GREAT DAY of the Feast…”).

This day is also referred to as “Shemini Atzeret (the eighth day of assembly)” and was treated by the rabbis as “an independent festival” (Edward Chumney, “The Seven Festivals of the Messiah,” 1998, p. 187). It immediately follows the seven-day Festival of the Feast of Tabernacles. While the Feast of Tabernacles pictures the Millennium, the Last Great Day pictures the Second Resurrection. (The seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles is not even a Holy Day or an annual Sabbath; therefore, it would make no sense to refer to it as the last GREAT day of the Feast).

Many commentators share the view that the reference in John 7:37 to the “last… great day of the feast” refers to the “eighth day”—not the seventh day.

Unger’s Bible Handbook, 1967, states on page 553: “The last day… (Lev. 23:36) was the most solemn and climactic of the entire festival cycle. It was the eighth day of rest and holy assembly. During the seven days prefiguring their wilderness wandering, water was drawn from the pool of Siloam and then poured out, commemorating the water supplied Israel in the desert. The eighth day signified the enjoyment of the springs of the land itself and no water was poured out.”

Further insight is given by William Henry Green, “The Hebrew Feasts,” copyright 1885, pp. 281 and 292:

“… at Tabernacles they remained not only through the full term of seven days, but an eighth day was added at the end, which in later times at least was reckoned ‘the great day of the feast,’ John 7:37…”

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, 1961, also say that the reference to the “last day, that great day of the feast,” in John 7:37, applies to the “eighth (Lev. 23:39). It was a sabbath, the last feast day of the year…”

The Worldwide Church of God under the human leadership of the late Herbert W. Armstrong taught that Christ spoke the above-quoted words on the eighth day, the Last Great Day, and not during the seventh day of the feast. John 8:1-2 show that these words were spoken in the evening—at the beginning of the eighth day.

The Holy Spirit will be offered and the Book of Life will be opened to ALL who will rise in the Great White Throne Judgment. For these people, the Holy Spirit had never been available before (they were cut off from the Tree of Life, symbolizing the Holy Spirit), and the Book of Life had not been opened to them. But when the fulfillment of the events arrives, which are pictured by the annual holy Festival of the Last Great Day, then their time of salvation has come.

But what is the meaning of the other BOOKS which will be open during the Great White Throne Judgment, and in what way will those in the Second Resurrection be judged by the things which were written in those books?

We quote again from our free booklet, “Are You Predestined to Be Saved?”:

“Let us notice the following interesting passage in Daniel 7:9-10: ‘I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire; A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, AND THE BOOKS WERE OPENED.’… From the context, this passage in Daniel seems to be referring to the time of Christ’s return. At that time, a court will be in session and books will be opened.

“A similar statement, which describes events [1,000] years after Christ’s return, can be found in Revelation 20:11-12. It refers to those who will be resurrected to physical life during the Great White Throne Judgment period… What are those books?

“This passage could refer to the books of the Bible. Certainly, we will be judged by the standards as revealed in God’s Holy Word, the Bible. But, there is another possibility as to what these books might refer to…

“The German Commentary Rienecker [“Lexikon zur Bibel”] points out: ‘We also hear about… books. According to their contents, judgment will occur at the last day… People will be judged according to their works. In God’s judicial records, the books, everything is written down that a human has thought, said and done. Everything will become manifest. There is only one possibility to escape sentence and become pronounced, not guilty. Their names must be written down in the other book, the Book of Life.’ Halley’s Bible Handbook states: ‘Every deed and motive will have been recorded… The “Books” will have the records of men’s lives.’… Herbert W. Armstrong… stated during a sermon in 1984 that the books to be opened include the good and the bad works which had been written down, specifically mentioning Matthew 12:36-37 in that context.

“Taking Daniel 7 and Revelation 20 together, it appears that this process of having to give account for one’s recorded deeds, whether good or bad, applies to EVERYONE. It applies to those who are called now to salvation AND to those who will be called later. It applies to converted Christians in this life, as well as to those who will be resurrected in the Second Resurrection…

“In Romans 14:10-13, we read Paul’s warning to converted Christians: ‘But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ… So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.’ Paul speaks in future terms. All of us SHALL stand—sometime in the future—before the judgment seat of Christ, and all of us SHALL give account of what we have done in this life. Now notice 2 Corinthians 5:10: ‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.’

“… this judgment is not limited to converted Christians. Paul explains in the second chapter of the book of Romans that Gentiles will also be judged on their actions, words and thoughts, when their time of judgment has come. We read of their judgment, which mainly takes place during the time of the Great White Throne Judgment period: ‘For as many as have sinned without [the knowledge of the] law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law… in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ’ (Romans 2:12, 16).

“EVERYONE will be judged! Hebrews 9:27 tells us that it is appointed to man once to die, and afterwards the judgment. It is true, of course, that judgment has already begun for the house of God—His Church (1 Peter 4:17). But it has not been completed yet. There is still a judgment coming for everyone after death—including the house of God (1 Corinthians 4:5).

“For converted Christians, this coming judgment after death will not deal with the question of eternal life or death. Those who die in Christ will not be judged as to whether they will inherit eternal life, as they will not see eternal death (John 5:24, 28-29). However, their judgment or accounting has to do with their reward (compare Luke 19:13, 15-19). And their reward will depend on what they did in their lives with the ‘talents’ bestowed upon them by God’s Holy Spirit (compare Matthew 25:14-23).

“True Christians who died in Christ will be resurrected to eternal life at the time of His Second Coming, but they, too, even though immortal spirit beings by then, will still have to appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive their reward. We are told in Matthew 25:19 that ‘the lord of those servants [Christ] came and settled account with them.’…

“When the multitudes of people are resurrected during the Great White Throne Judgment period to be taught God’s Word and confronted with their recorded sins, most will deeply repent of what they had done. They will then obtain forgiveness, and their [repented] sins will be blotted out from the heavenly records, just as ours are today [upon our repentance] and the [repented] sins of those yet to be called before the [Millennium and the] Great White Throne Judgment period. The Book of Life will be opened to them, and after a certain period of time of living in the flesh and overcoming their carnal natures and evil habits, they, too, will be able to reach their potential—inheritance of eternal life in the Kingdom or Family of God.”

As we will show in future installments, this process of repentance will be more difficult for some than for others. We will also discuss the fact that those who committed horrible sins and crimes in this day and age will be punished in the Great White Throne Judgment for what they did.

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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