Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 16: Study on Revelation, by Watchman Nee


"And the devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where also the beast and the false prophet were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."

The counterfeit trinity is now in the lake of fire. Some may ask, "How can there still be `day and night’?" In Revelation 21:23 we shall see that in the city there is "no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it." It does not say that there is no sun or moon in the new heaven and new earth. Moreover, the tree of life will bear fruit every month. If there were neither sun nor moon, how could there be the monthly bearing of fruit?

(REVELATION 20:11-15)

A. Revelation 20:11

"And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose face earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them."

This throne is different from the one in chapters four and five. Two adjectives are used to describe this throne:

(1) "Great." This judgment is extraordinary; thus, it is great and righteous.

(2) "White." This is the color that is especially related to the Lord. For example, the Lord Jesus’ hair is white, and He rides on a white horse. White signifies being perfectly clean, absolutely righteous.

"Him who sat upon it." This is the Lord. There is much evidence for this in the New Testament, such as John 5:22; Acts 10:42; 17:31; Romans 2:6; 1 Peter 4:5; and 2 Timothy 4:1.

"Earth and heaven fled away." Some say that the fleeing of the earth and the heaven is simply God’s restructuring of the earth and the heaven. But the following clause, "And no place was found for them," shows that the old heaven and old earth are removed. Because the trace of sin can still be seen in the old heaven and old earth, the Lord now casts them away. This is what is prophesied in 2 Peter 3:7, 10, and 12. Probably at the same time that God sends down fire to devour the rebellious people, He will burn away the old heaven and old earth.

B. Revelation 20:12

"And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened; and another scroll was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by the things which were written in the scrolls, according to their works."

"The dead" in 20:12 are "the rest of the dead" mentioned in 20:5. "Standing before the throne." Standing is an indication of being alive. Since they are standing, they are resurrected.

Will there be anyone who is saved at the great white throne? The answer is yes for the following reasons:

(1) This is a judgment. To judge is not only for judging, but also for distinguishing. If all are unsaved, they should simply receive punishment; why would they still need to be judged?

(2) Not only the scrolls are opened (which record the deeds) but also the book of life (he who has his name here is saved). This tells us that some names are in the scrolls, and some are in the book of life.

(3) The Lord Jesus clearly says that some will be saved at the end in the day of resurrection: "An hour is coming in which..: those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have practiced evil, to the resurrection of judgment" (John 5:28-29).

(4) Practically speaking, it is impossible to say that there are no saved ones here, because:

(a) Death still exists in the kingdom. If these people are resurrected at this time, how can they not be saved?

(b) There are many people who have no part in the first resurrection before the kingdom age. If they appear at this time, how can they not be the saved ones?

(c) The spirits of those believers who had been excommunicated by the church (those who did not repent until the end) can be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. If they are resurrected at this time, how can we say that they are not saved?

(d) The Bible clearly says that if any man denies Christ before man, Christ will also deny him before the angels of God (Luke 12:8-9). These will have no part in the kingdom. If they are resurrected at this time, how can they not be saved?

(e) In the Old Testament time many were saved, yet they were not worthy to reign with the Lord. If they are resurrected at this time, how can we say that they are not saved?

(f) Also there are many babies. If they are not saved at this time, when will they be saved?

(5) Besides the dead that are resurrected, there are also the living people of Israel (in fact, the whole nation) who will stand before the throne. Can we say that they are not saved? Moreover, we have the living Gentiles of the nations. When Satan deceives the nations, we cannot say that they will all follow Satan. Can we say that those who do not follow Satan are not saved at this time?

"Scrolls" is plural. "According to their works" has two meanings: (1) "By means of," which means that the deeds constitute the basis of judgment; and (2) "Based upon," which means that the degree of their punishment is decided by the degree of good and evil in their deeds.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 16: Study on Revelation, Chapter 11, by Watchman Nee)