Your Day in Court
Written by: Ravenhill, Leonard Posted on: 04/10/2003
file: /pub/resources/text/ravenhill: dayincourt.txt
By Leonard Ravenhill
"For we shall all stand before
the Judgment Seat of Christ."
In a very brief and very brilliant biography of a famous
English preacher, one of the greatest preachers that ever
preached in America or England, it says that he had some very
strange habits. One of these habits was to carry in his pocket a
handful of precious stones...a diamond, a sapphire, a ruby, an
emerald, and so forth. He would walk into a park and take one of
those precious stones and hold it up to the light of the sun,
moving it around, seeking different shades or different
illuminations from it as the sunlight hit it. And as the people
would go past, particularly the children, they would all shake
their heads indicating that they thought this fellow was just a
little bit odd.
The preacher that I am referring to is Jonathan Edwards, and
back in the 1700's he preached one of the greatest sermons ever
preached in America. It was called "Sinners in the Hands of an
Angry God." The people fell off their seats and clung to the
pillars that were holding the gallery up -- crying out in
despair. And he didn't say, "Oh friends, please excuse me. I
never meant to embarrass you like that." There was a reason for
his power and anointing that day, because before he preached, he
prayed. Over and over and over again he prayed, "Oh God, stamp
eternity on my eyeballs." I don't know anybody else who's ever
prayed it. Maybe we've *said* it -- but if God *should* stamp
eternity or even judgment upon our eyeballs, I'm quite convinced
we'd be a very different tribe of people.
Someone once said to that great scholar, Daniel Webster, "You
have a colossal mind. What is the greatest thought that you have
ever had?" He said, "I've thought about many things, but the most
awesome, the most terrifying, the most shattering thought I've
ever had, is my personal accountability to God one day."
There are roughly 3/4 million words in the Word of God and one
hymn writer calls the Bible, "A golden casket where gems of truth
are stored. The heaven drawn picture of Christ, the Living Word."
I suggest, like Jonathan Edwards selected a precious stone and
lifted it up to the light of the sun, we select one word out of
this "golden casket" and hold it up to the light of eternity --
and that word is "Judgment."
You can tell God that you're not concerned about what I have to
say about it, but I hope you will at least say, "Please, Lord.
Will *You* give me some new illumination on this awesome fact of
THE BOOK OF REVELATION
I want to read from the book of Revelation. Very often
preachers call this the book of the Revelation of Saint John --
but that is not the title. It is the book of the *Revelation of
Jesus Christ.* Revelation means the unfolding, the taking away of
the veil. I find the book of Revelation a book of mystery, a book
of majesty, and a book of misery -- because it shows me the final
stage of lost men and women. It shows me that forever and ever
they are going to be cut off from Cod. If there are a million
roads into hell, there's not one road out. But if in heaven they
continually sing, "Worthy is the Lamb," in hell the only thing
they sing is "The harvest is past, the summer is ended and we are
not saved" (Jer. 8:20). I suggest you read the 17th, 18th, and
19th chapters of the book of Revelation. This book has an imprint
on it that no other book has in the Word of God because it says,
"Blessed is he who reads and *those who hear*" (Rev. 1:3). There
are a lot of people who *read* but how many of them *really
In Revelation 20:11-12, 14-15, it says,
I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it,
from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no
place was found for them.
And I saw the dead, the great and the small,
standing before the throne, and books were opened; and
another book was opened, which is the book of life;
and the dead were judged from the things which were
written in the books, according to their deeds.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and
death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.
This is the second death, the lake of fire.
And if anyone's name was not found written in the
book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
THE JUDGMENT OF SINNERS
Those passages just quoted from the book of Revelation are
usually understood to be referring to the judgment of sinners. "I
saw a great white throne" (typical obviously of purity) "and Him
who sat upon it." We read these things and they kind of slide
over our minds. But listen to the awesomeness of this: "...from
whose presence earth and heaven fled away and no place was found
for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing
before the throne and books were opened..." Various titles have
been given to this awesome event. John Wesley called it "The
Great Assize." Billy Sunday in his wonderful way called it
"Payday Sunday." A cowboy preacher once called it "The Last
Roundup." You can call it, if you like, "A Date With Destiny," or
better still, you can call it "Your Day in Court." This book of
Revelation begins by telling us that these things will *shortly*
come to pass, and that was 2,000 years ago. We live too much in
time. We're too earthbound. We see as other men see. We think as
other men think. We invest our time as the world invests it. But
if we took hold of eternity as a reality, I'm convinced we'd be a
different breed of people.
It must have been very awesome to be living in the days of His
flesh. The old boys in the Synagogue muttered and quoted about
*somebody* coming *someday,* but most of them really didn't
believe it. Why didn't Jesus come sweeping through the sky when
it was as black as night over Jerusalem? Why didn't He come with
ten thousand saints? Why didn't He come with the sound of
trumpets? Why didn't He come to the world like that? But when He
did come, they couldn't believe that somebody clothed in flesh
and blood, who had to eat and sleep and do everything else like
they did, was the Son of God.
But Jesus began to make a stir. Why, He actually raised a man
from the dead! My, that must have excited them. Just imagine
Jesus going to the tomb and saying, "Roll away the stone." (*He*
didn't roll it away. There's some labor *we* have to do.) And
then He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus!" As Campbell Morgan
says, "He said, 'Lazarus, come forth.' If He had just said 'Come
forth,' *all the cemetery* would have come -- and it wasn't their
time yet!" So Lazarus came forth. I'll bet the disciples were a
proud bunch that day, saying, "What do you think about our Master
now? He's even raising the dead!"
WHEN ALL THE DEAD ARE RAISED
But Jesus' raising Lazarus from the dead is only a *preview* of
what's yet to come. In John 5:28-29, Jesus says "...an hour is
coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice,
and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds, to a
resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a
resurrection of judgment." Did you get that? He says that the day
is coming in which *all who are in the grave shall hear the voice
of the Son of God and they shall rise!* From Adam, wherever he is
right now, in the sands or in the dust -- all who are in the
grave shall hear the voice of the Son of God. You see, Jesus
said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life" (John 11:25) and I
believe He did rise from the dead. In the end of the book of
Revelation, He says, "I was dead, and behold I am alive
forevermore, and I have the keys of death and Hades" (Rev. 1:18).
I've crossed the Atlantic about 18 times on different ships,
and almost every time I've crossed it, I've looked overboard and
said, "Hey, you down there, you're gonna get up one day! You
thieving buccaneers who died in the Spanish Main, and the folks
who sank in the Lusitania and the Titanic, and all those who sank
in the great ships during the wars -- you're all gonna get up one
day." At the voice of the Son of God, they're going to rise.
Millions, billions of them. And they're all going to stand at the
Judgment Seat of Christ. That's going to be a spectacle. Where is
it going to take place? I don't know where, but I know it *will*
take place, since the Bible is the only book in the whole world
that you can rely on.
The book of Revelation is not only the *end of the Bible,* but
it deals with the *end of time* and then it deals with the
*things that happen* after the end of time. Look for a minute at
And I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there
was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as
sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon become like
And the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig
tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great
And the sky was split apart like a scroll when it is
rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved
out of their places.
And the kings of the earth and the great men and the
commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave
and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among
the rocks of the mountains;
And they said to the mountains and to the rocks,
"Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who
sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb;
For the great day of their wrath has come; and who
is able to stand?"
WHAT WILL JESUS LOOK LIKE?
In contrast, at the end of the book of Revelation it says of
the redeemed that they're going to come and they long to see His
face. What do you think Jesus will look like? Fanny Crosby, who
was the first woman in American history to address the joint
session of Congress, was blind for 84 years. Someone once said
to her, "It's a shame a great Christian like you is blind. You
can't see the sunset. You can't see the lovely flowers. You're at
such a disadvantage." "Oh, NO," she said, "I'm at a great
advantage over you. Don't you realize the *first* face I ever see
will be *His* face?!" Do you wonder that she wrote so many hymns
about His face? Again, what do you think Jesus will look like? In
Australia they show me pictures of Jesus with lovely blond hair,
bright blue eyes, and a flaxen beard. And the Chinese have an
interpretation of Christ through *their* artists! And there are
some dreadful pictures, I think, that have been done by the
so-called great masters. But I'll tell you what -- the Word of
God paints a very different picture of Jesus than all of these
The Apostle Paul got a picture of Jesus, not with a lamb in His
arms, and not like the stained glass windows where Jesus looks
pathetically feminine. He sees Jesus, and he says He's "the King
eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise Cod, to whom be
praise and glory forever" (I Tim. 1:17). So we're going to see
the King of kings. He's the Judge of judges in the Court of
courts. There is no tribunal after this. It is finished!
And when I hear people singing "Put your hand in the hand of
the man who stilled the waters," or "Shake hands with Jesus," I
say, "Forget it!" Listen, when you see Jesus, you're not going to
go up and say, "Hey, buddy, I'm glad You died for me." When you
see Jesus, you'll be almost paralyzed with fear unless you have a
glorified body and a glorified mind. John was given the book of
Revelation as a prisoner on a devil's island -- but he was in the
Spirit when this enormous revelation was given to him. The
picture of Jesus here is not a picture of a pathetic individual
pushed around by anybody who wants to push Him around. I think
sometimes we think we're going to march up and say, "Well, Jesus.
You know how many years I served You, and how many souls I won
for You, and how many sermons I preached for You...!" Oh, no...it
won't be like that at all.
The Bible says that
His head and His hair were white like white wool,
like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire;
And His feet were like burnished bronze, when it
has been caused to glow in a furnace, and His voice
was like the sound of many waters.
And in His right hand He held seven stars; and
out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and
His face was like the sun shining in its strength.
And here is John, who used to lean his head on the bosom of Jesus
and hear that divine heartbeat. John was the man that I believe
knew more about Jesus than anyone else, and when he saw Jesus in
His majesty, this man who had walked with Him and talked with Him
for three years, says, "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as
a dead man" (Rev. 1:17). If *John* responded like that, what do
you think you and I are going to do?!
Well, of course, if you have a judgment, you must have a judge!
I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ needs a new revelation
of the majesty of God! This is the King of kings! And He's the
Judge of judges! And this is the Tribunal of tribunals! And
there's no court of appeals afterwards. The verdict is final!
There will be no biased judgment! People have said to me, "There
is no justice in the earth today!" Well maybe there isn't! But I
hang on to the Word which says, "Shall not the Judge of all the
earth do right?" (Gen. 18:25).
THE UNHOLY DEAD
We see here the Judge in all His awesome majesty, in all His
glory. What do you think the unholy dead, great and small, are
going to do when *they* see Him on His throne? Do you think they
will worship Him? No, they are going to be terrified! This is the
great exposure! Everything is going to he exposed at the Judgment
Seat of Christ! They couldn't find the 18 minutes on the tapes
that Mr. Nixon had. Well, I'll tell you who has a perfect record
of them! And the transcripts are going to be read one day before
everyone! There will be a thousand million or billion people when
you stand there at the Judgment Seat without your wife to lean
on, or your husband, or your preacher, or a friend. You can't
send your lawyer. You can't send a representative. Paul writes in
Romans 14, "We must all stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ."
*There is no exception.*
Can you see those millions of unholy dead? All the criminals
who ever lived. All the prostitutes. All the men who make
millions from pornography. Can you think of the pimps who pollute
those little girls on West 42nd Street in New York? Can you
imagine when *God* takes hold of history and empties it?! When
every man who ever walked the streets of ancient Babylon with all
its lusts, or Corinth which was just one colossal cesspool of
impurity, must account for himself? When all that has happened in
Las Vegas last night is going to be "thrown on the screen" in
eternity! Every king that has ruled over England, the caliphs of
Baghdad, the maharajis of India, the multi-millionaires, the
billionaires -- they're all going to stand one day! Can you
imagine that? At the Judgment Seat of Christ they will have to
account for all of their deeds done in the body. Every judge that
sits in the high court is going to be judged one day by an
Infallible Judge. How long will it take? I don't know and I don't
care...because we're not going anywhere! I think one of the joys
of eternity will be that the redeemed will see all the unholy
dead judged, but the unholy won't see the judgment of the saints,
because they won't be there.
MEMORY IS ETERNAL
You may say, "Well, Mr. Ravenhill, I won't be in serious
trouble because I don't have a good memory." Well, you'll have
one that day. There's going to be some awful revelations. There's
going to be some weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. John
says the books were opened (Rev. 20:12). What books? I'm not
really sure what the books are, but I think the book of the Ten
Commandments for one, and I think maybe the Book of Memory for
another thing (Mal. 3:16). You see, memory is an amazing thing.
Memory will last into eternity. I don't think the redeemed will
remember their sorrows and heartaches, but I'll tell you the
unholy dead will remember every time somebody put a tract into
their hand. They'll remember it through eternity and wish to God
they still had a chance to respond. They'll remember every one of
their mother's prayers they ever heard. They'll remember every
word of every sermon they ever sat through. They're going to
remember *everything*. How do I know? Because one day a man in
hell prayed. It was not only the wrong place to pray, but he
prayed to the wrong person (to Abraham), and he of course got the
wrong answer (according to the answer he was looking for).
"Child, *remember that during your life*, you received your good
things..." "But I don't want my brothers to come here!" But
Jesus says, "REMEMBER" (Luke 16:19-31). Memory is eternal. It
will never die. Your memory isn't faulty. Everything you've done,
every idle word you've spoken, and every action will one day be
THE GREAT AND THE SMALL
The unholy dead are going to stand, great and small, before
God. Sometimes I look at my Encyclopedia Britannica and I think
of all the history that is going to pass before me in the flesh.
I'll be interested to see Julius Caesar and Tiberius Caesar. I'll
be fascinated when Pontius Pilate stands before Jesus. I think
he'll be more uncomfortable than Jesus felt standing before him!
It will be awesome when we see the founders of these cults stand
before God. When, in God's name, is the Church going to open
their heart and mind and see that every man will stand
accountable to God? I don't care if he flies his own private jet
or how many cities or millions of people he rules. It doesn't
matter. The great of the earth and the lowest of the earth are
all going to spend their time in eternity. They are going to live
there forever and ever, "where their worm does not die" (Mark
9:48). Hell won't be the same for everybody. Some will be beaten
with a few stripes, some with many stripes (Luke 12:47-48). But I
tell you what -- l'd rather be the least in the Kingdom of God
than the greatest in the kingdom of the devil, both in time and
You might say, "I don't really believe in God and I don't like
to hear this kind of stuff." Well, friend, let me tell you
lovingly. If you like to drink, go with the drinkers. If you like
to lust, go with the prostitutes. In hell, if you're given to
lust, you'll have that lust, but there'll be nothing to satisfy
it. In hell, if you drink, you'll still be thirsty, but there'll
be nothing to satisfy your thirst. You'd give a king's ransom for
one drop of water, but there isn't any -- never mind the other
stuff you drink.
WHEN MERCY IS GONE FOREVER
Oh, we'll wish we could change some things once we reach
eternity, at least lost men and women will. We read in the sixth
chapter of Revelation,
They said to the mountains and rocks "Fall on us
and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on
the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for
the great day of their wrath has come: and who is
able to stand?"
He says in Revelation 9:6,
And in those days men will seek death and will
not find it; and they will long to die and death
flees from them.
I believe there'll be a day when a man will put a gun to his head
and blow his brains out, and, to his amazement, he'll still be
living. He'll throw himself from the top of the Empire State
Building and still be living. "They shall seek death, but shall
not find it." There's an awesome aspect for you. Men seeking
death and not finding it. Can you think of men seeing every sin
they have ever committed? Sins of the flesh and sins of the
spirit. Sins against God and sins against man. They are pursued
by the hounds of hell baying after them and they say, "If
only I could die and get out of this!" And yet if he tries to
die, he will not die. In Revelation 4, you have Christ on the
throne, you have a rainbow over the throne which is a covenant
sign of mercy, and you have four and twenty elders. But there's
nobody *here* sharing justice with Jesus. He sits supreme on the
throne. There's no four and twenty elders. There's no sea of
glass. There's no rainbow of mercy. Mercy has gone forever.
IT'S NOT TOO LATE FOR MERCY YET
I don't care how twisted and corrupt your life is at this
moment -- it is not too late to ask for forgiveness. God can and
will forgive you if you repent of your sin, plead for the blood
of Christ, and ask for mercy! It is not too late to ask for
mercy. You may wonder, "Can God *really* forgive all the
rottenness and corruption in my life?" He certainly can. Why?
Because today Jesus is still on a throne of mercy. You can find
His grace and His help. But when we see Him at the judgment, He's
no longer on a throne of mercy. He is on a throne of *justice*.
His first time on earth He was a tender Christ, the Lamb of God,
who went about kissing little babies and blessing people. There's
nothing more beautiful than a little lamb and there's nothing
more terrible than the wrath of the Lamb. One day God's mercy is
going to be cut off and then we will have the wrath of the Lamb.
Think of all the tribes and nations that will be judged. Think
of Pharaoh and Herod the Great standing before Jesus and having
to account for their deeds. Did you have your tribulations today?
Maybe the bacon burned this morning or some other tragedy
happened. Did you think this morning that somebody for Christ's
sake is going to lose his head in Afghanistan or Vietnam or
Russia? Do you think that Stalin ever dreamed that after all the
bloody purges he made, he'd have to answer for every precious
drop of blood he ever spilled? The Psalmist David says, "Store
my tears in Thy bottle" (Psalm 56:8). I don't believe that anyone
ever shed a tear, whether in compassion for souls or because of
a broken heart, that fell to the ground. Our tears are stored by
God, and God is going to count them out one day. The Jews perhaps
may cry of Hitler, "God, scourge him, scourge him. Turn the
furnace up in hell." But listen, God doesn't need any reminders.
"Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen. 18:25). If
a man is torn with lust, if his mind is full of wickedness, if by
his own actions he asks to be cast away from God with his own sin
and misery forever and ever -- then what? Well, what do you think
it would be like if you'd killed six million people like that?
God shall bring every work into judgment with every secret thing.
THE GOODNESS AND SEVERITY OF GOD
I think we'd better watch this business of giving people only
part of the Gospel. We need to be very careful of our sloppy
evangelism techniques. Yes, it is absolutely true that God loves
us, but will you remind people of the goodness *and the severity
of God*? One thing that's wrong with the world is that it thinks
it's done with Jesus Christ and it hasn't even started with Him
yet. For He stands at the end of the trail for every man -- rich
or poor, bondsman or freeman, black or white. Will you remind
them that there is a day when mercy is cut off forever? Will you
remind them that people pray in hell, but nobody answers? The
dead, great and small, are going to stand before God in that
awesome day. The books are going to be opened, and justice, not
mercy, will prevail. There is no mercy. Mercy is gone forever.
Multitudes of people will be crying, "The harvest is past and the
summer is ended and we are not saved" (Jer. 8:2O). Will you
remind them while God is still sitting on a throne of mercy, that
everyone, without exception, will one day stand before the
Judgment Seat of Christ? Be wise, repent, and believe the Gospel.
This data file is the sole property of Leonard Ravenhill. It may
not be altered or edited in any way. It may be reproduced only
in its entirety for circulation as "freeware," without charge.
All reproductions of this data file must contain the copyright
notice (i.e., "Copyright (C)1994 by Leonard Ravenhill, Lindale,
Texas"). This data file may not be used without the permission
of Leonard Ravenhill for resale or the enhancement of any other
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exception of a few brief quotations. Please give the following
source credit: Copyright (C)1994 by Leonard Ravenhill, Lindale,
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