Sunday, April 15, 2007

Judgement by the Book

Revelation 20:12c-13:

• And the dead were judged by what was written in the books,
according to what they had done.

13 • And the sea gave up the dead who were in it,
Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them,

• and they were judged,
each one of them, according to what they had done

The sea's grip on 'her dead' is proverbially tenacious. We are neither to think of Death and Hades as two separate places nor that the souls of the sea's dead are held in some other place apart from Hades, the world of the dead. The cumulative effect of the repetitions is to insist that all the dead will be at the great white throne and will be judged. Neither previous judgement, such as the flood that destroyed the world that was, nor death itself will prevent an appearance there.

The judgement is emphatically to be 'according to what they had done.' That is the case for each one of us and what we have done and are doing is being recorded right now. By contrast with the book of life we could call these books the books of the knowledge of good and evil, noting that another reason for the earth and the sky fleeing away is the whole world's inability to contain such books but also that, perhaps with this, the making of books is finally at an end.

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