Monday, June 23, 2003

Edifier du Jour-Revelation 20:10-15(NASB) Before we get to our regularly scheduled scripture, I'm in the mood to recall an old joke I got from my sister
There once was two buddies, Ollie Oyster and Sam Clam. Sam Clam died one day, then shortly thereafter, Ollie died of a broken heart. Ollie went up to Heaven, only to find Sam didn't make the cut. Ollie managed to talk St. Peter into letting him get a three-hour pass to Hades to get one last visit with Sam, going down with his harp and halo. Sam had fit in well, setting up a nightclub. The two had one last time together, then Ollie hustled back up. When Peter asked if he had all his equipment, Ollie exclaimed {cue Tony Bennett} "I left my harp in Sam Clam's disco!"
10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. 11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 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. 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. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Hell isn't a disco, nor an all-star posthumous rock band with Karen Carpenter as band leader/drummer. It's presented here as an eternal fire that those who aren't in the Lamb's Book of Life are condemned to. Not annihilation. Not some halfway house that they return from. Eternal separation from God. This verse puts the universalist spirit to flight; if everyone gets to Heaven, who the heck is getting the heave-ho in verse 15? If people are getting chucked into the Abyss, how can we get into that Book of Life? The book is both smaller and larger than we think. Some people we think will be there won't, while some people that we won't expect will be there. Romans 10:9 is a quick review "...that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved[.]" Note that just mouthing some prayer of salvation isn't enough, you have to have Jesus in your heart. There are some people sitting in church that may say all the right things, but don't have Him in their heart. It's the people that do have Him in their hearts, regardless of how good or how lousy their church is (or if they have a church at all) that are in the Lamb's Book of Life. How's your heart doin'?

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