And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)
I am happy to know that many of you take time to read the articles in the bulletin each week. They do require quite a bit of effort to write and I rejoice they are of benefit to you and others that you may share them with. For today’s topic, I felt impressed to return to last week’s subject since the article got quite long and I still did not say all I wanted to say.
The subject is the final judgment that is coming, and in particular the judgment for those that have not trusted Christ as Saviour. Judgment is a repetitive theme in scripture and is expressed in different ways. Both John the Baptist and Jesus preached, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” which is the same as saying the end of all things as we know them is coming. We are told to repent because there is a day of reckoning when God will settle all our accounts as they relate to His righteous Kingdom.
Final judgment is also the meaning when Jesus said, “The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then shall he reward every man according to his works” (Matthew 16:27). Obviously, final judgment is the theme when Paul told the Athenians “He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). Christ’s resurrection is the guarantee that such a judgment will take place. Revelation 20:11-15 is the record of this judgment as it respects wicked Christ rejecters.
Last week, I wrote on the criteria for this judgment, which is ALL the sins the unbeliever has committed. God has a complete record contained in “the books.” This is the basis for condemnation. In Revelation 20:15, we see the punishment that will be given. “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” The book of life contains the names of those made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ. All others are absent from the book, and these will be cast into the lake of fire.
This is another of those times when the subject is too big for the space. Let me just say if you have any doubts about the reality of eternal hell, then you also have doubts about the truthfulness of Jesus. Of the twelve times this final place of torment is spoken of in scripture using the word geenna, Jesus spoke eleven of those instances. In other words, the overwhelming proof of torment in a lake of fire is Jesus! Why is there so much preaching about who Jesus is and what He said and did and yet so little about His major topic? All of His teachings about righteousness, regeneration, redemption, salvation, holiness and entrance into His kingdom are for the purpose of avoiding eternal hell! Surely you did not miss the big story of Jesus and the cross, did you? The cross is where Jesus died to keep you out of eternal hell. If Jesus did not tell the truth about hell, His humiliation and torturous death were a colossal waste.
We do not want you to go to hell, so we will do the same as the apostle Paul. We will reason with you “of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come” (Acts 24:25). Read Revelation 20:11-15 over and over. If you see yourself there, turn around and head straight to the cross. It is the only way you will escape the lake of fire.
Pastor V. Mark Smith