Revelation 20:11-15

Consider also Revelation 20:11-15 (WEB),

11) I saw a great white throne, and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them. 12) I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and they opened books. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13) The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works. 14) Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15) If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.

This passage of Scripture, little known and even less taught, helps us understand several important points.  First Hell or Hades is not the same place as the Lake of Fire.  This is a fact never pointed out to me in a lifetime of Sunday school.  Hades appears to be a temporary place of punishment for the wicked.  In this passage we see that Hades is emptied of all people and then Hades is thrown into the Lake of Fire empty of all living beings.  I've touched base on this subject previously in my article, Revelation 20:11-15, Optimism Out of Control, Part 5: Hades Gives Up!

The Great White Throne Judgment is instead the final judgment for all of God's creation.  It is the final sentence for the redeemed and unredeemed.  We certainly have no escape from God's sovereign will now.  Nor will there be any escape when all of creation is laid bare before him.  Man's supposed free will accounts for nothing, but only the free will of Holy God.  All creation will stand before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Jesus will sit on The White Throne arrayed in the brilliance of his glory.  Sin and imperfection will not stand in his presence.  Only those who are hidden safely in Christ will stand.  Every darkness, evil, and any unredeemed will be blasted from his presence with the force of his holy omnipotence.  There is no redemption for any sinner outside of the protection of Christ.

The passage above is clear and undisputed.  Even if someone endured millennia in Hades for their wickedness and escapes at this point to stand before the Lord of Glory, IF their name is not found written in the Book of Life, they will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.  There is absolutely no escape from judgment to the Lake of Fire for the unredeemed.  There is absolutely no hope for the unredeemed.  The Lake of Fire is their destiny.

So we return again to the definition of Christian faith.  I have introduced various views of Christian salvation, many of which are in direct opposition to each other.  Arminian Christians, following C.S. Lewis, hope to write their own name into the Book of Life with their free will act of faith.  Yet I have proven that it is not possible to write your own name in the Lamb's Book.  "Faith" is not a "pen" with which to write your name into Jesus' book.  Instead faith is the "glasses" with which to see your name there from the foundation of the earth.  Calvinists claim to wear the "glasses" and see their name in the Lamb's Book.  Yet somehow they are confident that their names are written in the Lamb's Book, but equally confident that most are not.  Are we still no further in understanding?

Now, consider a very important lesson in logic: the Holy Spirit's use of the word "IF."

If a statement is true, the contra positive is always logically true. But only when the converse is true will the inverse also logically be true.  For example:

Statement:  if A then B ~ given as true.
Contra positive:  if not B then not A ~ logically always true.
Converse:  if B then A ~ possibly true, but not always.
Inverse:  if not A then not B ~ true only if converse is true.
Negation: if not A then B ~ true if the original statement is false, a test.

Note also in logic that an even number of nots such as "not not A" is the same as A, while an odd number of nots such as "not not not A" is the same as not A.  Let's apply this logic to Revelation 20:15. 

Statement: If anyone was not found written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire. ~ given as true in Revelation 20:15.

Contra positive:  If anyone was not cast into the Lake of Fire he was found written in the Book of Life  ~ logically always true.

Converse:  If anyone was cast into the Lake of Fire he was not found written in the Book of Life  ~ obviously true in this case.

Inverse:  If anyone was found written in the Book of Life, he was not cast into the Lake of Fire  ~ logically true since the converse is true.

Negation:  There was one found written in the Book of Life, who was cast into the Lake of Fire ~ false since God's word is trustworthy so the original statement is tested true.

Hopefully this is not too tedious a return to high school logic.  However, our effort has proven the beautiful conclusion that the inverse of Revelation 20:15 is also true.

If anyone was found written in the Book of Life, he was not cast into the Lake of Fire.

I've written more about this concept in my articles Revelation 20:11-15, Optimism Out of Control, Part 6: If, If, If, If, If, If, If,,, and Revelation 20:13-15, Out of Control Optimism Part 8, Your Name in the Book of Life!

Typically when I propose this concept most people object with the question, "You are not suggesting a second chance are you?"  Larry Dixon also expressed a valid concern that Rob Bell was proposing some sort of "second chance" salvation.  So let me make one thing perfectly clear: I am definitely not proposing "second chance" salvation.  Rob Bell is guilty as charged and I have the exact same concern about his theology.  Because he believes that mankind has the free will to choose their destiny, he correspondingly believes that each individual's salvation is hanging in the balance, and subject to "chance" and even the possibility of "second chances."

However, the gospel of grace makes it perfectly clear that "chance" has no part in Christian salvation.  There is no such thing as a "second chance."  In fact there is also no such thing as a "first chance!"  Curiously, it would seem that Dixon's very objection to a second chance exposes that he believes salvation has a first chance.  Yet if Dixon or any other believes that salvation is by "chance" at all then they have a complete misunderstanding of grace.  Salvation by the grace of Christ leaves absolutely nothing to chance.  God's determined love is set upon all his chosen people with certainty.  That is what makes the good news great news.  The final salvation of elect mankind is certain and guaranteed, not because of man's will, but because God has willed it!  If salvation included an element of chance, then surely your sin nature and mine would find even the smallest crack to bounce through God's safety net into perdition.

But take heart: there is no falling from the hand of our Heavenly Father as he promised in John 10:28 (WEB), "I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand."

If the grace of God cannot fail in saving his lost sheep in this life, then the grace of God will not fail to save any remaining lost sheep at The Great White Throne Judgment, even those punished severely in Hades for their rebellion.  Surely someone saved by grace ought to be thankful for that!