The Great White Throne.
BEFORE seeking to speak on this momentous subject as God may help me, let me remind you that we have something like two hundred and sixty chapters in the New Testament, and that in these chapters, we have some three hundred and eighteen references to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence, dear friends, I think we learn that the Holy Ghost gives a great deal of prominence to that truth upon which we have been meditating during the happy meetings that we have had. It seems to me that there is no subject which stirs one’s heart, and that proves such an incentive in work in the Gospel among the unsaved, like this glorious hope of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds of Heaven.
I have often thought that in Matt. xxv., we have three phases of the coming referred to. In the sixth verse, He comes aa the Bridegroom to receive; in the nineteenth verse, He comes as the Master, to reckon with His servants, and in the thirty-first verse, He comes as the Son of Man, to judge.
I was very glad that the last speaker referred to the three judgments recorded in the New Testament. It would seem to me—I say it would seem, for I am only a learner— but it would seem to me that the Judgment-Seat of Christ, before which all believers shall be manifested, will take place after the saints are caught up into the air; that the judgment of the living nations in Matt. xxv. will take place when He comes to earth, and ere His reign shall commence, and that the Great White Throne judgment that is under our consideration now, will take place when His earthly reign has come to a termination, and ere the eternal state shall have begun.
May I ask you to observe five leading solemn thoughts in the twentieth chapter of Revelation, in connection with the Great White Throne? First, we have the Throne; second, the Books; third, the Person; fourth, the Judgment; and lastly, the Sentence. There are two characteristics about this throne given us by the Holy Ghost: first, that it is great; and next that it is white-great, I presume, because of the One who occupies that place upon that throne. Do you ask tonight who it is? It is the very same One that hushed the storm on the Galilean lake; the very same One that spoke peace to the woman of the city; the very same One that bound the bleeding heart and wiped the tear-dimmed eye; the very same One that lived a life of sinlessness on earth, and died a shameful death, and has passed into the presence of God. It is that One who shall occupy that throne of Rev. xx., and we shall recognize Him again; methinks we shall see the nail prints in His hands and the scars on His brow. We shall be reminded that the Judge who occupies that throne, is the One who once bled and died for guilty men.
Let me ask you to observe again that you have not only a throne, but that you have books, and let me add that there is all the difference in the world between the books and the Book. If your name is written in the Book, there will be nothing against you in the books. God not only keeps His balance, but remember that God keeps His books. It would seem to me that there are two kinds of evidences produced against the persona that stand before the throne—the evidence is both positive and negative —mark, they were judged according to what was written in the books.
But notice, I not only spoke of books, but also of persons. Who are they? Rev. xxi. 8 tells us. It not only tells who they are, but it describes the characteristics that they possess. Observe what opens the list: the cowardly and the unbelieving—men who are not prepared in these days to take sides with Jesus Christ—will be amongst the terrible number described there. We sometimes look upon unbelief as a sort of disease or affliction. God never looks upon it in that light. I have sometimes said that unbelief in a man of the world is bad enough, but unbelief in a child of God is positively awful. Notice, it is not merely people who have lived reckless and shameful lives that stand at that Great White Throne, but it is also people who perhaps have been trained up religiously, brought up piously, led by their parents, perhaps, in the right way, and yet have refused to believe the record that God hath given concerning His Son.
Where did they come from? Did you notice that expression that I sought to emphasize in reading from Rev. xx., "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it"? We sometimes look upon death as a very solemn thing, and so it is, but there is something far more solemn than that to my mind. What is it? I answer that there is to be a resurrection.
But remember this passage speaks too of judgment. There are four thoughts about judgment; the first is the individuality of it. Rev. xx. 13, "And they were judged, every man according to his works; '' every man, not in batches, not in groups, not by hundreds, but every man shall be judged according to his works. And there is something more about judgment, and that is its certainty. Let me give you a verse to prove that. Rom. ii. 2, "We are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them who commit such things." Again, remember the righteousness of it. Rom. ii. 6, "Who will render to every man according to his deeds." Yes, it will be a righteous judgment. His judgment is righteous. Please note also the duration of it, the sentence is for ever.
“Word and Work” 1886