“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God” (Revelation 20:12).
I don’t always stop to appreciate what an incredible thing it is to know that moment is coming.
The dead, small and great—no distinction between status and privilege and accomplishment—standing in the presence of their Creator.
How many loved ones will be standing in that sea of people?
How many of your loved ones?
Every hardship we face in this life—every trial, every difficult decision, every temptation—asks us to evaluate how important that moment is to us.
How important is it for you to be there when the graves are opened?
How important to you is everything that comes after that moment?
Are you willing to do what it takes to be there?
I have a child in that crowd I’m looking forward to meeting for the first time. Many of you have children who will be there, too. And parents. And friends. Even spouses. All manner of loved ones.
And then, one day—after the graves are opened, after hope is rekindled for all the dry bones of the world, after all the tearful and joyful reunions—after that, “then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?'” (1 Corinthians 15:54–55).
Today, death still has a sting. The grave still claims its victims. That sting, those victories—they are painful in ways that defy description. You can’t intellectually know the pain of a loved one’s death—you feel it, you experience it, you carry it with you in an ever-changing form for the rest of your life.
But the lake of fire will change all that.
We usually talk about it as an exclusively tragic thing—the fate of those obstinate few who reject what God is offering. That part is tragic.
But the lake of fire is also part of what makes all things new.
It’s why “the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10), making room for “a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (Revelation 21:1).
And most significantly of all, it’s where Death and Hades symbolically end up (Revelation 20:14).
No more sting. No more victories.
Never, ever, EVER again.
Oh, how I want to be there for that.
Until next time,