If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life...
Revelation 20 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.
4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
Satan Freed, Doomed
7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Judgment at the Throne of God
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Today’s text says: Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Many people question God, saying how could or why would a loving God condemn anyone to Hell. This would be a valid question if God actually judged people by their own abilities. That would be an unfair system of judgment because some people would have advantages over others based on their situations and circumstances in life. But, God is a loving God and as Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Because God is a God of both love and justice, He made a way for all to be judged equally. John 3:16 says: God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Each person will be judged. Those who believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ and receive the demonstration of God’s love; that He died for their sins, will be judged by what is written in the book of life. Those who choose not to believe will be judged for their own deeds alone.
Here is the thing, for those whose names are written in the book of life, every time that they sinned, rather than facing judgment, they receive mercy, grace and forgiveness. In Isaiah 43:25 God says: "I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.” For those who believe and receive the forgiveness of the cross, the demonstration of the love of God, the pages which recorded the sins of their lives are wiped clean. So the question should not be, why would or how could a loving God send anyone to Hell. The question should be, why would anyone not accept the love of God? Why would they choose instead to be judged for their own deeds?
In John 3:17-21 Jesus explains the answer: “God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” It’s ironic that those who love darkness do not come to the light because they fear their deeds will be exposed. No one can hide their deeds forever. A person can only defer the exposure of their evil deeds. Hebrews 9:27 says: It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment. Even if they are never exposed in this lifetime, at the judgment those who loved darkness rather than light will be judged by their deeds. For the believer, it is not that they are perfect, but if they practice the truth, coming to the light, their deeds are manifested as having been wrought in God. The believer is judged by the deed of Christ on the cross. To question God’s motive or His method, that as Jesus says in John 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,” is as foolish as someone being given $50,000,000.00 and rejecting it because it was in fifties and not one hundreds. Again, Hebrews 9:27 says: It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment. No one can escape judgment. We can only choose whether or not we will accept the love of God as the terms by which we will be judged. That some reject His love, does not mean that He is not a loving God.
Thank You heavenly Father for Your love, demonstrated and given to me in
that while I was a sinner, Christ died for my sins. Thank You that the sin in my life has been wiped off of the pages of the book of my deeds. Thank You that instead I am judged by the deed of Christ on the cross. I gladly accept the terms of Your love. Amen.