June 9th, 2007
Death certainly looks pretty bad and quite final. But what if there’s more to death than the end? What is there really is life after death? Life on earth is far from perfect. Everyone faces daily struggles and difficulties. Some people have to contend with debilitating sicknesses; some people struggle with broken relationships; some people have to cope with loss and bitter regret. Why should we regard the end of such an imperfect existence as a tragedy, a wicked deprivation by God, if God is in fact bringing us into a new, perfect form of existence in which all our sorrows and troubles are gone, replaced by never-ending joy?
The Revelation to John — Chapter 14
14:1 I looked, and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads. 14:2 I heard a sound from heaven, like the sound of a huge waterfall, or loud thunder. The sound which I heard was like that of harpists playing on their harps. 14:3 They were singing a new song in front of the throne, and the four living animals and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 people who had been redeemed from the earth. 14:4 They are celibate and have not defiled themselves with women. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were redeemed by Jesus from humanity, the special offering to God and to the Lamb. 14:5 No lie was found in their mouths, because they are blameless.
14:6 I saw an angel flying in the air, with the eternal Good News to tell people living on the earth, every nation, tribe, language, and people. 14:7 He shouted, “Honour the Lord, and give him glory, because the time of his judgment has arrived. Worship the one who made heaven, the earth, the sea, and the springs of water!”
14:8 A second angel followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, which once made all the nations drink the angry wine of her sexual immorality.”
14:9 A third angel followed them, shouting, “People who worship the beast and its idol, and receive a mark on their forehead, or on their hand, 14:10 will also drink the wine of God’s anger, which has been poured undiluted into the cup of his fury. They will be tortured with fire and sulphur in front of the holy angels and the Lamb. 14:11 The smoke from their torture rises forever and ever. People who worship the beast and its idol, and who accept the mark of its name, will have no relief day or night. 14:12 The believers who obey the commandments of God, and are faithful to Jesus, must endure patiently.”
14:13 I heard the voice from heaven saying, “Write, ‘People who die in the Lord from now on are blessed. “Yes,” says the Spirit, “They can rest from their work, because their good deeds follow them.”‘”
14:14 I looked, and there was a white cloud. Sitting on the cloud was someone resembling the Son of Man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. 14:15 Another angel came out of the temple, shouting to the person sitting on the cloud, “Swing your sickle, and reap, because the time to start reaping has arrived. The harvest of the earth is ripe!” 14:16 The person sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.
14:17 Another angel came out of the temple in heaven. He also had a sharp sickle. 14:18 A further angel, who had power over fire, came out of the altar and shouted to the angel with the sharp sickle, “Swing your sharp sickle, and harvest the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vines, because the earth’s grapes are ripe!” 14:19 The angel swung his sickle over the earth, and harvested the earth’s grapes, and threw them into the huge winepress of God’s anger. 14:20 The grapes were crushed in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out from the winepress in a stream as high as a horse’s bridle with a length of about 300 kilometres.
Entry Filed under: Hope