WHEN THE JUDGMENT DAY BEGINS
15. What happens just before Judgment Day begins?
15 The apostle John saw in vision what takes place immediately before Judgment Day. He wrote: “I saw a great white throne and the one seated on it. From before him the earth and the heaven fled away, . . . And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne . . . And the dead were judged.” (Revelation 20:11, 12) So before Judgment Day begins, this present system of things made up of “the earth and the heaven” will pass away. Only those serving God will survive, while all the wicked are destroyed at Armageddon.—1 John 2:17.
16. (a) Who besides the dead will be judged during Judgment Day? (b) From what will they be judged?
16 Thus, it is not only the resurrected “dead” who will be judged during Judgment Day. The “living” who survive Armageddon, as well as any children they may have, also will be judged. (2 Timothy 4:1) In his vision John saw how they are judged. “And scrolls were opened,” he wrote. “And the dead were judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds. And the sea gave up those dead in it, and death and Hades gave up those dead in them, and they were judged individually according to their deeds.”—Revelation 20:12, 13.
17. What are the “scrolls” from which the “living” and the “dead” will be judged?
17 What are the “scrolls” that are opened from which “the dead” as well as “the living” are judged? Evidently they will be something in addition to our present Holy Bible. They are inspired writings or books that contain Jehovah’s laws and instructions. By reading these all people on earth will be able to know God’s will. Then, on the basis of the laws and instructions in these “scrolls,” everyone on earth will be judged. Those who obey the things written therein will receive the benefits of Christ’s ransom sacrifice, and they will gradually grow to human perfection.
20. (a) What will Jehovah do to determine whose names are to be written in “the book of life”? (b) Why is a final test of humankind fitting?
20 How will Jehovah determine whose names are to be written in the “scroll of life,” or “the book of life”? (Revelation 20:12, 15) It will be by a test upon humankind. Remember how Adam and Eve failed under such a test, and how Job, when tested, kept integrity. But most humans that live to the end of the 1,000 years will never have had their faith tested. Before they were resurrected they were ignorant of Jehovah’s purposes. They were part of Satan’s wicked system of things; they were “unrighteous.” Then, after their resurrection, it was easy for them to serve Jehovah because of living in Paradise without any opposition from the Devil. But will these billions of humans, who are then perfect, serve Jehovah if Satan is given the opportunity to try to stop them from further doing so? Can Satan do to them what he did to the perfect Adam and Eve?
21. (a) How will Jehovah have humankind tested? (b) When the test is completed, what will happen to all those involved?
21 To settle such questions, Jehovah lets Satan and his demons loose from the abyss where they have been for the 1,000 years. What is the result? The Bible shows that Satan is successful in turning some persons away from serving Jehovah. These will be as “the sand of the sea,” meaning that their number is undetermined. After this test is carried out, Satan and his demons, and also those who do not pass the test, are thrown into the symbolic “lake of fire,” which is the second (eternal) death. (Revelation 20:7-10, 15) But those whose names are found written in “the book of life” will remain in the glorious earthly paradise. Having their names written in “the book of life” means that Jehovah judges them to be perfectly righteous in heart, mind and body and thus worthy of living forever in paradise on earth.