1. An open court trial
There is a rule in all good judiciary systems that justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done – it must take place in the open for all to witness.
The same rule applies in God’s final court of judgement. The evildoers must stand trial in an open court, witnessed by the saints, heavenly hosts and those standing trial. The souls kept in Paradise and hades will be fetched by the angels; the ones in Paradise to be witnesses of God’s righteous judgement and those in hades to face their charges.
2. An awesome occasion
For this purpose, a splendid, brilliant shiny, great white throne will be erected. In itself it will reflect the spotless, holiness of the Kingdom.
3. The Presiding Judge
When the angels have everything in readiness, the court orderly will call the court to order. The uncountable multitudes will arise. A hush will fall. With every eye riveted on the throne, the judge will enter, ascend the steps and take His seat.
At once a wailing of fear and dismay will arise from those standing trial. Some will recognize Him as the One they nailed to a cross on Calvary. Others will recall all the instances when He was presented to them as Saviour and Lord but they had either mocked His servants or had just turned their backs and walked away to attend to their own interests.
A great panic will lay hold of all and they will try to flee as they had so often done on earth when confronted with evil they had done, but now they will mill around but find no place to hide (20:11).
Yes, the judge will be the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb that was slain but to Whom the Father had given over the judgement of mankind (John 5:22).
4. Those standing trial
The sea will give up the dead in it. This is written to indicate that no matter where and how a person came to an end, he will be accounted for. Death and Hades will give up the dead in them. This is one and the same place, the temporary abode of mankind awaiting the final judgement. Yes, all the unredeemed dead, great and small, will be standing before the Throne of judgement (Rev 20:13).
Satan, the Beast (anti-Christ) and the False Prophet will not be brought to trial for they had been summarily judged and were already serving their eternal sentence.
5. The trial
What is very remarkable is that there will be no witnesses, neither a prosecutor to lead their evidence for it to be recorded and used by the judge in bringing out His verdict.
The reason for this is that God, the righteous Judge, in bringing out a verdict, will only use the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The evidence given by man could never pass that test for he might unknowingly leave out some important facts or willfully mislead the court because he hates the accused or to personally benefit by it.
Foreseeing this, the Lord however provided for fully trustworthy evidence by having His angels record it during each person’s lifetime. These records were maintained in heaven from the day that Adam was created till the moment the last person died.
As an accused is called out and takes his stand in the dock, an angel would lay before the Judge a book bearing the person’s name. In this was neatly and precisely recorded his every attitude, thought, word and deed from childhood to death. The moment the book is opened, all that is written flashes across the courtroom for all to behold in a split second.
The accused will be so overwhelmed by recalling what he had thought, said and did every second of his life, that he will not even consider disputing any of it, nor trying to offer excuses.
The evidence contained in the book will then be tested against God’s laws contained in His Word, the Bible, laying open before the Judge.
He will pronounce the verdict: “Guilty for not having compiled with all that is written in the perfect Law given by the Father”.
Next, He will enquire: “Has payment been made for his crimes?” The Clerk of the Court will page through a third Book bearing the title, “The Book Of Life.” “No your Honour, there is no record of his name in the Book of Life kept in respect of those whose iniquities were accounted to the Lamb of God.”
To this the Judge will respond, “He did not receive forgiveness for his multiple sins, neither did he receive eternal life. He rejected My offer of salvation. He is sentenced to eternal death in the place prepared for the devil and his angels. Let the following accused be brought forward.” Then His gavel will fall.
6. The eternal prison
The convicted sinner will then immediately be removed by mighty angels and cast into the lake of fire which is the second death. (Rev 20:15).
(How terribly painful to have to write down these words, but to hide them will be a most cruel crime against humanity.)