Today's Foundations Devotional: The Final Resurrection
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.
After this John describes the final resurrection of all the remaining dead.
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. 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. 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. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15).
In this account we notice that resurrection comes first, then judgement. This same principle is observed at every stage of resurrection. Since it is in their bodies that men have committed acts of good or evil, it is in their bodies also that they must appear before God to hear His judgement upon those acts.
We have already seen that all those who have trusted Christ for salvation will have been resurrected prior to the millennium. This will include both the saints of the old covenant and the saints of the new covenant. It would seem, therefore, that the majority of those to be resurrected at the close of the millennium will be people who have died in sin and unbelief.
In this connection it is significant that John refers to those resurrected at the close of the millennium as “the dead.” He says, “I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God.” This is different from the language which he uses to describe the resurrection of the righteous dead at the beginning of the millennium. Concerning these he says, “And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4).
Thus, concerning the resurrected righteous, John says not only that they were resurrected, but also that “they lived” – they were in the fullest and truest sense alive. On the other hand, those whom John saw resurrected at the close of the millennium are still “the dead.” Although resurrected from the grave in their bodies, they are still spiritually dead – dead in trespasses and sins, alienated and cut off from the presence and fellowship of God. They are brought before God for the last time, only to hear His final sentence of condemnation upon them. Thereafter their destiny is the lake of fire, “the second death,” the place of final, eternal banishment from God’s presence, the place which offers henceforth no hope either of change or of return.
Father, reading this reality fills me with gratitude, but also with
motivation to always be a bearer of Your message of salvation in my
life and work for all people who accept the sacrifice of Your Son Jesus.
Help me to spread the gospel in word and deed. Amen.