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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 20 - Verse 11

Verse 11. And I saw a great white throne. This verse commences the description of the final judgment, which embraces the remainder of the chapter. The first thing seen in the vision is the burning throne of the Judge. The things that are specified in regard to it are that it was great, and that it was white. The former expression means that it was high or elevated. Compare Isa 6:1. The latter expression—white—means that it was splendid or shining. Compare 1 Ki 10:18-20. The throne here is the same which is referred to in Mt 25:31, and called there "the throne of his glory."

And him that sat on it. The reference here, undoubtedly, is to the Lord Jesus Christ, the final Judge of mankind, (compare Mt 25:31,) and the scene described is that which will occur at his Second Advent.

From whose face. Or, from whose presence; though the word may be used here to denote more strictly his face—as illuminated, and shining like the sun. See Re 1:16, "And his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."

The earth and the heaven fled away. That is, as the stars, at the rising of the sun, seem to flee to more remote regions, and vanish from human view, so when the Son of God shall descend in his glory to judge the world, the earth and all other worlds shall seem to vanish. Every one must admire the sublimity of this image; no one can contemplate it without being awed by the majesty and glory of the final Judge of mankind. Similar expressions, where the natural creation shrinks back with awe at the presence of God, frequently occur in the Bible. Compare Ps 18:7-15; 77:16-19; 114:3-5; Hab 3:6,10-11.

 

And there was found no place for them. They seemed to flee entirely away, as if there was no place where they could find a safe retreat, or which would receive and shelter them in their flight. The image expresses in the most emphatic manner the idea that they entirely disappeared, and no language could more sublimely represent the majesty of the Judge.

{a} "earth" 2 Pe 3:10,12

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