The Study of Last Things
by James T. Bartsch
Learning about the Future to Live Better Today
"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." (Rev. 20:11)
The Great White Throne
The Destruction of the Universe, Part 2
We have just finished studying the central passage on the Destruction of the Universe, 2 Pet. 3:1-13. There is a second, less detailed, but nonetheless instructive passage on this topic, Rev. 20:11). John the Apostle wrote, "And I saw a great white throne, and the One sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled, and no place was found for them" (Rev. 20:11, JTB translation).
This "Great White Throne" is a central place in this portion of the narrative of Revelation. We are told that one person was sitting on this throne. We are not told in the Revelation narrative who this one person is. Some guess that it is both God and Christ, but they constitute two people, not one. Jesus declared that God the Father has delegated all judgment to the Son (John 5:22, 27). So doubtless the Judge is Jesus Christ. Where does this throne judgment take place? Constable is convinced it is situated in heaven.
That does not appear to be the case. Rather it seems to be situated somewhere in space, initially within sight of Planet Earth and the entire Cosmos. What can only be described as horrifying to humans about to appear at this judgment is that, at the sight of this Judge, the Earth and the entire Second Heaven (the Universe) fled away!
Can you imagine as people who have lived their entire lives with the familiar sights of our planet, the sun and the moon suddenly are riveted and gaping in horror as the earth, the sun, the moon, and all the stars of in the heavens suddenly go berserk? They all explode all over the universe, and they ignite with such ferocity that they are ejected out of sight. Where the familiar sights of matter once existed, suddenly everything vanishes in a series of fiery, deafening explosions. After a period of time, not one vestige of matter appears anywhere at all! The lone exceptions are the now unclothed bodies of the wicked dead of all ages. That is the only matter left. There will be no mental crutches or props to lean on. There will be no houses, no cars, no trees, no grass, no soil, no cities, no countryside, no pets, and no clothes. Now each one will be left alone, and forced to stand in naked disarray before the Creator and Judge of all the earth. How utterly demoralizing will that be? The entire universe will have vanished utterly!
(Scripture quotations taken from the NASB 1995.)
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Updated April 30, 2021