The Good News of the Judgment!

Error message

  • Deprecated function: unserialize(): Passing null to parameter #1 ($data) of type string is deprecated in css_injector_init() (line 53 of /home/krwester/
  • Deprecated function: unserialize(): Passing null to parameter #1 ($data) of type string is deprecated in css_injector_init() (line 53 of /home/krwester/
Revalation 20, Ephesians 2, Matthew 22
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 5

The Good News of the Judgment

(Revelation 20, Ephesians 2, Matthew 22)

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: Consider this interesting thing about judgment. Everyone wants other people to receive judgment for what they have done (or what we think they have done). But no one wants to be judged. Have you ever said, “I wish a police car were here to see the way this guy drives?” On the other hand, do you like it when police lights turn on behind you and you are pulled over for a traffic violation? We have been studying Revelation 14:7 which warns that the “hour of His judgment has come.” Is it possible that this is a judgment for others and not for you? Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible and find out!

  1. The Books
    1. Read Revelation 20:11. Who do you think is on this throne? (God.)
      1. How can earth and sky run away somewhere? And why would they run? (Notice the description of the throne, it is “great” and “white.” I think that means it is imposing and bright. What happens to the stars and the moon when the sun rises? They disappear. That is what is happening here. The throne picture is so imposing and bright that we are no longer seeing earth and sky.)
    2. Read Revelation 20:12. What two kinds of “books” do we see here? (There are “books” and then there is the “Book of Life.” All are opened.)
      1. What information is implied with the word picture of “open books?” (Books record information. If you open a book you are looking at the information recorded in it.)
      2. What kind of information is in these books? (A record of what those who are judged have done.)
        1. What does this tell you about the nature of God’s judgment? (He is not arbitrary. Documentary evidence is reliable. These people are not being judged based on status, money, influence, bribes, or a false memory. They are judged based on their recorded deeds.)
    3. Let’s skip down and read Revelation 14:15. If your deeds are being reviewed in the judgment, what is the outcome? (You are thrown into the lake of fire.)
      1. What does that tell us about the nature of the recorded deeds? (They must be bad overall. The picture is that the bad deeds of these people are recorded, they are judged based on these bad deeds, and then they are destroyed by fire.)
    4. This is all pretty frightening to hear. Let’s look again at Revelation 20:12 and Revelation 20:15. What book is the exception? (The Book of Life.)
      1. What is written in the Book of Life? (The Bible says that names are recorded. This implies that names and not deeds are recorded. Of course, in the other books a record of deeds without names is useless. But that practical point does not explain why the Book of Life is specifically mentioned as including names.)
    5. Let’s bring some other texts into this discussion. Read Ephesians 2:4-5. What hope do we have if the deeds recorded in the books are bad? (No hope based on our deeds. We are made alive because of the grace afforded by Jesus.)
    6. Read Ephesians 2:6. Is this a comment about a post-judgment time? (It must be. Those saved by grace are with Jesus in heaven.)
    7. Read Ephesians 2:7-9. Are those saved by grace saved by their works? (No. Works are specifically disclaimed.)
      1. Reading Ephesians 2 into Revelation 20 tells us what about this Book of Life? (It contains the names of those saved by grace. It does not contain a record of works for these people are not judged by their works.)
      2. Let’s consider this from a practical point of view. Revelation 20:12 refers to an unnumbered amount of books for the recording of deeds, but only one Book of Life. What does this tell us, from a practical point of view, about whether the Book of Life records deeds? (Writing your name takes a lot less space than recording a lifetime of your deeds.)
  2. Jesus’ Story About Judgment
    1. Read Matthew 22:1-2. What is this parable about? (The Kingdom of Heaven. Since we will see that this story describes the criteria for entering the Kingdom, it necessarily informs us about the judgment made for entrance.)
    2. Read Matthew 22:3-4. What does this say about how we enter heaven? Do we have to win an invitation? (You have to be invited. This does not tell us how this group was selected to receive an invitation.)
      1. How persistent is the King in getting the invitees to attend?
    3. Read Matthew 22:5-7. Here is an adverse judgment! Clearly they are not going to heaven. What did these potential guests do to warrant judgment? (It ranged from being indifferent to hostile in regard to the King’s invitation. They were preoccupied with other matters and did not make the King a priority.)
    4. Read Matthew 22:8. What is the judgment on those who did not come? (They “were not worthy.” We will get back to this point.)
    5. Read Matthew 22:9-10. This text tells us how this group was selected to receive an invitation to the wedding. What was that criteria? (Everyone that could be found and who was willing to come.)
      1. What are we specifically told was not a criteria for inviting this recent group of guests? (Their deeds. We are told that both “bad and good” guests were invited and came.)
      2. What, then, is meant in Matthew 22:8 about being “worthy?” (It means accepting the invitation.)
    6. Read Matthew 22:11-13. How did this fellow get disinvited from the wedding? (He was not wearing a “wedding garment.”)
      1. Since this is a story about the Kingdom of Heaven, what does this tell us about the nature of judgment - especially for this one fellow? (He is one who, in Revelation 20 terms, is being cast into the fiery lake.)
      2. Let’s take stock of what we have learned. We have those who have passed whatever is the test to be accepted into heaven and those who have been sentenced to a judgment of destruction. Describe how the wicked managed to miss out on heaven? (They fall into several categories. They ignore the King, they prefer to engage in their own business rather than spend their time at the King’s wedding, they are hostile to the King’s messengers, or they hate the King’s messengers and kill them. There is one other category, a person who accepted the King’s invitation but failed to put on the wedding garment.)
    7. Look again at Matthew 22:11-12. We need to be able to understand this wedding garment! How do you think the guests obtained a wedding garment? (The guests did not bring them from home because this story says they were gathered from “the main roads.” They had no idea at the beginning of their journey that they were attending an important wedding. The only logical conclusion is that the King supplied the wedding garments.)
      1. Everyone was wearing a wedding garment except for this one man. Why do you think the man was speechless when asked how he got in without a wedding garment? (He had no defense or excuse.)
        1. What does that tell us about the wedding garment? (We have absolutely no reason not to accept it from the King. This reaction reinforces the idea that both good and bad people are accepted if they wear the wedding garment. If the issue was whether this man was bad or good, then we would certainly hear an argument from him. See, for example, the dispute recorded in Matthew 7:21-23.)
    8. To further explore this wedding garment, read Revelation 19:8, Isaiah 61:10, Isaiah 64:6, and Zechariah 3:4. Revelation 19:8 refers to the robe as “the righteous deeds of the saints.” However, other texts say that a robe reflecting our deeds is a “filthy garment.” What should we understand from these perhaps conflicting texts? (If you take what we learned in Ephesians, that our works do not save us, add to it the acceptance of the good and bad wedding guests who were willing to wear the robe, the Revelation 19:8 robe reference seems to be an outlier. If you examine it more closely, it is the church which is wearing this robe, and it may only mean the righteous deeds of the saints reflect well on the church.)
    9. Read Matthew 22:14. How the wedding were guests “chosen?” (They chose themselves. They agreed to come and they accepted the wedding garment.)
    10. Friend, this is the unique judgment that we all want, it happens to others but not to us. Why? Because we have accepted the King’s invitation to heaven and we accept His robe of righteousness rather than relying on our deeds. This is such a wonderful offer, will you accept it right now?
  1. Next week: The Hour of His Judgment.