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Revelation 20:13


13 And [kai] the sea [thalassa] gave up [didomi] the dead [nekros] which [ho] were in [en] it; [autos] and [kai] death [thanatos] and [kai] hell [hades] delivered up [didomi] the dead [nekros] which [ho] were in [en] them: [autos] and [kai] they were judged [krino] every man [hekastos] according to [kata] their [autos] works. [ergon] KJV-Interlinear


13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. NASB


There are two sources of the dead - the sea and the dead. Both reflect the world of the dead as being consumed or absorbed into itself.

The sea is vast and deep and its dead are thought of as being lost forever, swallowed up, never to be recovered. The sea is also typically uses to refer to all unbelieving nations or peoples.

The dead, is a reference to the underworld of Hades, and sometimes called Sheol. Both are terms for the underworld, and more specifically the compartment called Torments, Lk. 16:23, where all unbelievers go and remain until the final judgment. There, they suffer during history, until the end of history. So not unlike Satan who will spend 1000 years in the Abyss, all unbelievers will spend various time frames in Torments, during history, until they are called before Christ.

All believers, by this time have been resurrected and are in their resurrection bodies awaiting the beginning of eternity. And now it is time to dispatch all unbelievers to their eternal condemnation.

But note one important principle here. In all of the Bible, when large groups are gathered together, the Bible usually numbers them in one form or another - like the stars, like the sands of the sea, or myriads and myriads and so forth. But here, at the end of history, what seemingly may be a very large group of unbelievers, no reference is made to its number, even in ambiguous terms.

So, we will never know their number or their identity. We will never have a memory of these people who have lived in history and passed into oblivion. And that is a good thing. No one should enter into eternity with a guilt or sorrow of having known someone who they will never see ever again.

Of course there may also be the possibility of this being a small number.

The only thing we know for certain, is that if a name is not recorded in the Book of Life, then that person will not be in heaven. And that is the only reference to distinguishing believers from unbelievers. Only God knows whose names are recorded, when they are recorded, and whose are not. There is nothing to prevent last minute recordings for last minute repentance (faith).

In every court proceeding, the condemned, though found guilty, is always given a last say in his own behalf. That may or may not move the judge to issue, alter, or commute a sentence.

The Bible states very clearly, that all who reject Christ will go to the Lake of Fire. That all whose name is not in the Book of Life, will go to the Lake of Fire. On that, you can depend. It also states that all who believe will be saved.

So, here all unbelievers, all peoples from all nations, from throughout all of human history (unbelievers all), will be summoned from the prison cells of their first death. They were not resurrected with the rest of the believing population, but have their own resurrection (the second resurrection) if you will, and those will be condemned because of their works, which is a rejection of Christ's work on the cross.

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Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.

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