What does Revelation 20:11 mean?
ESV: Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.
NIV: Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.
NASB: Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled, and no place was found for them.
CSB: Then I saw a great white throne and one seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them.
NLT: And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide.
KJV: And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
NKJV: Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.
Verse Commentary:
The throne mentioned in this verse is not the same one mentioned in Revelation 4. That throne was surrounded by a rainbow, symbolic of mercy and everlasting life. Here, John sees a white throne, symbolic of the purity of the One who sits on it. Our Savior and Lord sits on this kind of throne because it is the seat of judgment. Acts 17:31 predicts a coming time of judgment "by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead." This "man" must be Jesus, whom God raised from the dead.

The presence of the Judge on the great white throne causes the earth and sky to flee away. Perhaps the judgment takes place somewhere in outer space, and while it convenes, earth and sky pass away (2 Peter 3:10–13). Bible teachers are divided in their speculation of whether the earth and the heavens will be destroyed or renovated. The word describing the "new" heaven and earth in Revelation 21:1 indicates freshness and might suggest a renovated heaven and earth.

The events described here serve to remind us that God is not "only" loving and merciful, He is also holy, pure, and righteous. Every single sin, of every size and type, must be judged and punished—either through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, or an eternity in hell (John 3:16–18; Romans 6:23).
Verse Context:
Revelation 20:11–15 occurs just after the end of the kingdom reign of Christ on earth, when Satan was released for a brief time. He gathered rebel forces together to battle God and His saints, but lost and was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:7–10). The next event described by John is the judgment at the great white throne. This is the point where unbelievers are judged according to their actions—a death sentence for everyone not saved through Christ (Romans 6:23). Chapter 21 describes the descent of the New Jerusalem from heaven and the beginning of the eternal age.
Chapter Summary:
Revelation chapter 20 represents the final lesson, final judgment, and final victory of the end times. Satan is bound, but not destroyed, and released after a thousand years of peace and righteousness. Proving that no evidence or reason to believe in and follow Jesus is enough for those determined to rebel, some follow Satan and are destroyed in a rebellion. Those who died without faith in Christ, through all of history, are resurrected to face the great white throne judgment. There, they are sentenced for sin and consigned eternally to the lake of fire.
Chapter Context:
This chapter comes between the account of our Lord's decisive victory at Armageddon and the descent of the New Jerusalem from heaven to earth. It focuses on the beginning of Jesus' reign on the earth and the great white throne judgment when unbelievers from all periods of history are judged and sentenced to eternal suffering in the lake of fire. Daniel 7:18, Isaiah 11, Joel 3:16–21, Obadiah 1:21, and Micah 4:2 are just a few of the Old Testament references to the reign of Jesus on the earth. After this point in the end times, evil has been entirely and completely defeated.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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