20:11–15 God appears in a scene of final judgment. God’s authority to judge has already been anticipated in chs. 4; 5. Now He executes the judgment that befits His character and power over the created universe. The vision shares features with Ps. 7:6–8; 47:8, 9; Dan. 7:9, 10 and other Old Testament judgment scenes (cf. Matt. 25:31–46).
Injustices and sufferings in history never escape God’s eye. Those who persecute and practice injustice cannot ultimately win. God will judge every deed, all wrongs will be righted, and all attempts to dethrone God and enthrone anything or anyone else will be turned around to frustrate God’s enemies completely. The prospect of final judgment ought to be a terror to God’s enemies but a foundation of assurance to the saints.
This judgment follows the thousand years of vv. 2, 7. Premillennialists believe that the Second Coming precedes the thousand years, and hence must include a distinct judgment of its own. At the Second Coming Christians receive their reward, and this later judgment is for the wicked and those living in untransformed bodies during the thousand years. Amillennialists and postmillennialists, on the other hand, have generally understood this passage as one among many references to a universal final judgment at the Second Coming (vv. 1–10 note).
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Try Bible Gateway Plus, a brand-new service that lets you experience Bible Gateway free of banner ads! It also gives you instant access to over 40 Bible study and inspirational devotional books, including the NIV Study Bible. With Bible Gateway Plus, you can experience and understand God's Word in life-changing new ways, without the distraction of ads. Try it free for 30 days—you can cancel at any time. Following your 30-day free trial, Bible Gateway Plus is only $3.99/month.