As promised, the passage in Revelation 20:11-12 that describes the Great White Throne Judgment contains some crucial nuggets of truth concerning the doctrine of resurrection and judgment (see Hebrews 6:1-2). This is the last elementary principle of our faith that God is restoring to the Body of Christ in these times by His Spirit. Much of it is found in 1 Corinthians 15.
To set the stage, Christ and His Body have crushed the Antichrist’s forces. The Antichrist and the False Prophet are totally out of the picture—in the Lake of Fire. Ditto for Satan, after fire from Heaven destroyed his final rebellion and he joined his evil minions in the Lake of Fire.
Jesus Christ turns over the Kingdom to the Father, that God may be all in all. We know that Christ must reign until all His enemies are underfoot. The last enemy is Death—which is the issue at hand.
Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden brought sin into God’s created world, which He had declared good. That sin then brought decay, destruction, and death into this world. It forever corrupted this natural world. Therefore, this world as we know it now cannot remain. That is why Scripture says in several places besides Rev. 20 that this world and its heavens (atmosphere) must pass away. Corruption cannot endure before the face of God.
Just as death came through one man, Adam, we likewise know that resurrection also came from one Man, Jesus Christ. That is why Jesus is also called the last Adam and the second Man. Paul explains in 1 Cor. 15 that the first man, Adam, became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. This is why the only criterion for judgment is whether or not a person has accepted Jesus—the life-giving spirit—as their Savior.
Verse 50 draws the line: “flesh and blood [the corrupted human physical body made from the elements of this earth] cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption Heaven].” This is why John only sees the dead—small and great—standing before God’s white throne of judgment. The mortal, corrupted body cannot remain. Death cannot remain.
This is why our current corrupted world and heavenlies pass away and are found no more. And it is why all must die. The foundational apostles understood this doctrine. Peter describes the end this way: “But the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).
But that’s not the end of the story. “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).
So, yes, this world shall come to an end at the end of the 7th Day, the Day of the Lord, when Jesus Christ turns over the Kingdom to God the Father. We know that He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet, including Death (1 Cor. 15:25-28). And yes, all must die because Death is judged and thrown into the Lake of Fire, along with Hades/Hell (Rev. 20:14).
But what about the resurrection part of this doctrine? We’ll cover that in the next blog, but here’s a hint. “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51).