Revelation 20:11–15

Revelation 20:11–15

The Final Judgment

Resurrected Christ with arms outstretched stands above a throng of people of all races and times, some prone, some standing. The people on the right side of Christ are in the attitude of worship. The people on the left side of Christ are in anguish. Scenes of ruin are in the foreground and background. The Washington D.C. temple is pictured in the upper left corner.

Have you ever wondered what the Final Judgment will be like? The Apostle John prophesied of that great day. This lesson is intended to help you better understand the Final Judgment and prepare to have a wonderful experience standing before Jesus Christ on that day.

Observing students’ feelings. Be aware of students who may feel anxious as certain gospel truths are discussed. Throughout the lesson, find ways to reassure them of the love and compassion of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Student preparation: Invite students to read Revelation 20:12 and to come to class prepared with questions they have about the Final Judgment.

Possible Learning Activities

The Final Judgment

Consider displaying the image at the beginning of the lesson.

  • How do you imagine different people will feel at the Final Judgment? Why?

  • What do you think determines if someone is prepared for that day?

  • In what ways does Jesus Christ offer to help us prepare for that day?

In your study journal, write what you hope to be thinking and feeling when you stand before God to be judged. How well prepared do you feel? Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us and want us to be filled with peace and joy on the Day of Judgment. They speak to us through the scriptures and through modern Church leaders to teach us what the Judgment will be like and how to prepare for it.

After seeing a vision of the Millennium (see Revelation 20:1–3) and the Resurrection of the righteous (see Revelation 20:4–6), John saw the Final Judgment. Read Revelation 20:11–12, looking for what God revealed to the Apostle John about the Final Judgment.

Revelation 20:12 is a doctrinal mastery passage. Consider marking doctrinal mastery passages in a distinctive way so you can locate them easily.

  • What truths did you learn from John about the Final Judgment?

One truth we can learn from this passage is that God will judge us out of the books that have been written according to our works.

Questions about the Final Judgment

In your study journal, write down questions you have about this passage or other things you would like to better understand about the Final Judgment.

Consider inviting students to share some of their questions with the class.

Take several minutes to search for answers to your questions. You might choose to search for key words in the Topical Guide, Guide to the Scriptures, or Bible Dictionary. Or you could search on or the Gospel Library app. Following are some questions and suggested resources that you could include in your study:

As students study, consider walking around the room looking for those who may need help. If it would be useful, consider quietly studying for a moment with a student or two and sharing any helpful statements that are found in the “Commentary and Background Information” section of the lesson.

Encourage students to record what they learn in their study journals or in their scriptures near Revelation 20:12. They might also want to record in their scriptures the questions and the resources that help answer those questions.

For variety, the following four questions could be displayed in different parts of the room with the suggested resources listed under each question. Students could then gather to the question they choose and study it with their peers. Alternatively, each of the four questions could be written on an envelope with the resources written on a piece of paper inside. These envelopes could be placed at the front of the room. Students could select an envelope with a question they are curious about, study it using the suggested resources inside, and then return the envelope and select a different one. (It may be necessary to prepare several envelopes for each question.)

1. What are some of the books that John saw the Lord use in judgment?

2. Who, exactly, will be our Judge, and why is He the best one to judge us?

3. What will we be judged on?

See the statement by President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency in the “Commentary and Background Information” section of the lesson.

4. How can I be prepared for the Final Judgment?

Invite students to share what they learned with the class. Some of the following questions could be used to help create a discussion.

  • What did you learn about the Final Judgment?

  • How might understanding and believing this doctrine affect our actions?

  • Which of the Savior’s traits help you to trust Him as your Judge? How can He help you prepare for the Final Judgment?

Your book of life

Read Revelation 20:12 again and consider marking the phrase “the book of life.” In one sense, the book of life is a record of each person’s life.

For the following activity, consider writing an example on the board for student reference.

If students are using loose pieces of paper rather than their study journals, they could fold their paper in half so that it better resembles a book. Then they could label the outside cover “My Book of Life.”

Write the title “My Book of Life” across the top of a blank page in your study journal, and then divide the page into two columns. Label the left column “I’m glad I did,” and make a list in that column of specific things that you are grateful to have in your book of life. This might include:

  • Ordinances you have received.

  • Good deeds you have done.

  • Your righteous desires.

  • The development of your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Imagine how good it will feel one day to have the Savior review with you the record of your righteousness!

Now label the right column of the page “I would like to.” Write down or simply ponder righteous works and ordinances you would like to add to your book before the Judgment. Also include choices and attitudes that you would like to erase from the book of life through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

The Savior has made it possible to adjust what is recorded about you in the book of life. Read in Doctrine and Covenants 58:42–43 the promises He made to those who sincerely repent.

  • How do these promises affect your feelings about the Final Judgment and about our Judge?

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, then of the First Presidency, said:

Official portrait of Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 2006. Called as Second Counselor in the First Presidency, 3 February 2008. Made official portrait in 2008 replacing portrait taken in 2004.

That Day of Judgment will be a day of mercy and love—a day when broken hearts are healed, when tears of grief are replaced with tears of gratitude, when all will be made right.

Yes, there will be deep sorrow because of sin. Yes, there will be regrets and even anguish because of our mistakes, our foolishness, and our stubbornness that caused us to miss opportunities for a much greater future.

But I have confidence that we will not only be satisfied with the judgment of God; we will also be astonished and overwhelmed by His infinite grace, mercy, generosity, and love for us, His children.

(Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “O How Great the Plan of Our God!Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 21)

Ponder what you feel inspired to do to prepare to stand before the Savior on the Day of Judgment.

Testify that the Final Judgment will be an incredible experience for all who repent of their sins and keep trying to increase their faith in the Savior.

Commentary and Background Information

How can I prepare myself for the judgment I hope for?

President Russell M. Nelson explained:

Official portrait of President Russell M. Nelson taken January 2018

Each of you will be judged according to your individual works and the desires of your hearts. … Your eventual placement in the celestial, terrestrial, or telestial kingdom will not be determined by chance. The Lord has prescribed unchanging requirements for each. You can know what the scriptures teach, and pattern your lives accordingly.

(Russell M. Nelson, “Constancy amid Change,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 35)

President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency said:

Official Portrait of President Dallin H. Oaks taken March 2018.

The Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become.

(Dallin H. Oaks, “The Challenge to Become,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 32)

What qualifies Jesus Christ to be our Judge?

Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

Final official portrait of Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 2004. Passed away 22 September 2015.

I testify that with unimaginable suffering and agony at an incalculable price, the Savior earned His right to be our Redeemer, our Intermediary, our Final Judge.

(Richard G. Scott, “The Atonement Can Secure Your Peace and Happiness,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 42)

Supplemental Learning Activities

Jesus Christ is the perfect Judge

To help students realize that final judgments of individuals must be left to Jesus Christ, invite the class to create a few details of a fictitious person’s life. Details might include Church callings they held, how well they did in school, their personality, and some of their strengths and weaknesses.

Then ask students if they would feel comfortable deciding what kingdom of glory this fictitious person should go to. Ask what more they would need to know to make a perfect judgment.

Invite students to discuss what the Savior knows about us that allows Him to make a perfect judgment about our lives. Ask why they are grateful to know that He will be their personal Judge.

Satan will be bound during the Millennium

Consider displaying a chain or a picture of a chain. Ask students to read Revelation 20:1–3, looking for answers to the following questions:

  • Who is bound by a chain in these verses?

  • How long will he be bound?

  • What will he no longer be able to do?

Invite students to read 1 Nephi 22:26 to see one reason Satan will be bound.

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) taught that “when Satan is bound in a single home—when Satan is bound in a single life—the Millennium has already begun in that home, in that life” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982],172).

Invite students to read Alma 48:11–13, 17 to see an example of a righteous man who had already “bound” Satan’s influence over his life.

Invite students to ponder how they can turn to the Lord and decrease Satan’s influence in their lives.