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Revelations 20: 11-15—Who is judged by deeds? Believers' sins are not in the books, right?

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

! am confused as to whom John is referring.
If we believe in Jesus we have eternal life and therefore are not dead.
Are these those who have chosen not to believe?
It is said that if we repent of our sins, they will be forgotten so they should not be recorded in the books

Am I correct or missing something?emphasized text


@geoff.hull Great question :slight_smile: This particular judgment is associated with the return of Christ and brings a decisive end to evil. As you see in the text, the names of believers are written in the book of life. But why is it that all people are judged according to their works? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • we are saved by grace through faith, but believers are still rewarded based upon their works in this life. As it says in 1 Corinthians 3, some believers work, when tried by fire, will prove to be of more worth than others.
  • all believers’ lives must display the fruit of the Spirit and so God will commend believers for their obedience to Him in this life
  • as believers, we do not fear this judgment - even God’s correction and reproof is a blessing to His children

Hope that helps :slight_smile:

Connect Threads

We are both held accountable and forgiven. There is a difference between God’s wrath, which rests on unbelievers, and God’s judgment, before which all people must stand. However, if we look at Scripture we see that a righteous man - someone who in the integrity of the heart is seeking God as best they can in Christ - has no need to fear God’s judgment. Rather, even when God corrects us, it is an honor and a delight, for He is our Father and we are His children. His correction is not to harm us, but to aid us in becoming more like Him.

A few thoughts / verses to ponder:

  • there is no condemnation for those in Christ
  • God’s correction is a joy to believers, as when a Father corrects the son whom He loves - not a sorrow. God’s judgment of believers aims at their healing; not their harm.
  • believers will be rewarded based upon their works in this life

Why then are there two books? The second book is the book of life. What is the first book? It seems that John is referring to two groups in 12 and 13. Could this be those who believed (12) and those who didn’t (13)?

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@geoff.hull As far as I can tell, the first book contains all the deeds done by people, whether good or evil. Whereas the second book contains the names of those who have trusted in Christ for salvation.

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Hi Sean,
Please accept I am just starting to learn how to use the forum, so my appologises if the conversation was not on the Old and New Testament. Right now I am reflecting and I quite like your reponse. My comment and question is on the book of Ruth, might you suggest that she, Ruth, did good by trusting in the God of Naiomi? Or are you saying a more general comment about the Old and New book? Generally I agree, with your thought on the Old and New Testament… if that was the subject. With a bit of Good and Evil in the New, and Faith in the Old. :smiley:

Ok. So John is using dead as physically dead, so this would mean everyone who has lived on earth.

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Learning curve. :slight_smile: When I took my phone off mobile to desktop mode, it became clear that it was an erroneous misunderstanding on my behalf. Great discussion.


@AmberLee Welcome and glad you’re jumping in and getting involved :slight_smile:

@geoff.hull That is my understanding, yes.

OK. Thanks very much for your input SeanO. :+1: :smile:


Sure thing :slight_smile:

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