The Great and Terrible Day

You hear the sound of slowly beating drums. The sound echoes like the thunder of guns in the distance. You are standing in a very large crowd of people. You are packed together shoulder to shoulder with more people than you could ever count. You are surrounded on all sides by a vast ocean of people as far as your eye can see (1). You and the entire crowd inch forward step by step toward a very large platform ahead.   The sky is grey while the wind blows with the smell of acrid smoke.

Up ahead you see large torches of fire on both sides of the platform and you hear what sounds like human screams (2). Why are you here? What does all of this mean? You move forward.

News is trickling through the crowd. You overhear someone say, “People are being thrown into the fire!” Someone else shouts,”Everything we did in our past life is being scrutinized” (3). An older lady shakes her head and says, “There is no escape.” Small pockets of people are clustering together to try to figure a way out of this. Several are gathered around a spiritual leader to ask him questions. “I think it’s too late now”, he explains.

People are crying and sobbing everywhere. Some are kneeling down and desperately praying. Many people are silent, with a hopeless look of empty despair.  The entire atmosphere is nothing less than surmounting terror (4). Again, you move forward toward the enormous platform just ahead.

You begin to reflect on your past life. Were you a good person? Did you do enough good things? You fearfully remember some of the worst things you’ve ever done. You wonder if your good has outweighed your bad. You realize that you were a Christian during your lifetime, and that the Bible taught you were saved by grace, not by your good deeds – but the temptation to examine your previous life’s choices is very strong. Suddenly, a young man makes his way over to you. “I know you”, he says. “I went to a Bible study one time and you were there! Please tell me, how can I be rescued from this?” You explain to the young man that only those who put their faith in Jesus Christ during their lifetime would be saved (5). You move forward.

The scene is becoming more clear now. On the platform, you see a large throne.  The Almighty Creator is seated on the throne. The ancient books are opened (6). Many large, warlike angels guard several stations around the platform. Many other creatures, like you’ve never seen before, are near the throne serving and worshiping the Almighty. (7) It is the final court for all human life.

What you witness next is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

You see the next person in line escorted forward by two angels. The man is made to kneel before the Great Judge (8). Words are spoken but you can’t hear what they are. Next, the two angels lift the man into the air, bind him with a chain, and carry him to the side and behind the platform. The man is thrown into a great fire as he screams out in panic and anguish (9). You move forward.

The next person in line is made to kneel. As her past deeds are reported to her, she begins to argue her case. “But Lord, I also did many good things too. I donated to charity and I faithfully went to church.” The King’s thunderous reply shakes the ground, “Depart from Me, I never knew you”. It is the final verdict (10).

It is finally your turn. With your heart beating like a cannon in your chest, you voluntarily fall to the ground before the Great King. You have nothing to say. Only love, emotion…worship. A mighty angel stands you up. Your eyes make direct contact with the Ancient of Days. He smiles at you and gently says, “Well done my good and faithful servant, enter into your rest” (11).

What is the purpose of a story like this? We can see from the scriptures below that such a story is not far from the truth of things to come. In order to know God, we must know and embrace all of Him and every dimension of His character, not just His pleasant characteristics. As Christians, as we purpose to abide in the love and grace of God, we must remember who it is that is extending us mercy and love.

The God whom we serve is certainly love and full of mercy and kindness. Yet at the same time, He is unbending truth. God is the final authority and Judge who will cast into hell all who have not put their faith in Jesus Christ. Behold the kindness and the severity of God (Rom. 11:22). The fear of God turns the flesh and humbles the hard heart. The love of God draws us and sustains us as we abide in the joy of our Master.

Scripture References:

  • (1) Matt. 25:32 “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;”
  • (2) Mat 13:50 “and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
  • (3) 2Co 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
  • (4) Mal 4:5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.”
  • (5) Gal 2:16 “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.”
  • (6) Rev 20:12 “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.”
  • (7) Dan 7:10 “A river of fire was flowing And coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, And the books were opened.”
  • (8)Phil 2:10 “so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,”
  • (9) Rev. 20:15 “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
  • (10) Mat 7:22-23 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'”
  • (11) Mat 25:46  “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

1 Comment

  1. Brittany
    Jan 28, 2015

    Sobering, but good to be reminded of the truth. The truth, while sometimes difficult to hear, is cleansing and renewing for those who have ears to hear it.

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