Two weeks ago we had a 5.9 magnitude earthquake here in our village. Ever since I arrived, I have felt minor earthquakes about once a week – nothing major. This one, however, came in full force, and didn’t even make me think twice about running out of the house for safety – I knew it was time to go! During the rest of the night, 10 more after shocks followed and a massive thunderstorm… it was quite an eventful night!
The next evening, our village leader was outside and we talked about the garden around the house, Cass’ chickens and, of course, the earthquake. He said “If this earth goes where will we go? It is the only sure thing we know”
That is a question well worth asking, a good question indeed! The truth is, that the earth won’t always be here. A day is coming that will be more intense than big earthquakes. A day when the earth will not merely stay in its place and have it pillars shaken, but the earth will be FLEEING from its place, it will jump up from its pillars and run away from the presence of the Lord out of terrible dread (Rev 20:11-15; Psalm 97:1-5). This stable, cozy place we call earth will offer no refuge to us, as it will be gone. Yet you and I, and everyone who was ever created (Heb 4:12-13; Daniel 12:2; Heb 9:27) will stand before Him, we will be ‘stuck’ with no place to run and no place to hide.
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
As Smedly Yates said in his sermon on the “Great White Throne Judgment”
“The great people will be there. The popular, the powerful, the wealthy and the wise. The smart and the strong, athletes and actors, kings and commanders. The beautiful people, exceptional people. There is no one that has enough clout to exempt him from this judgment. No one has enough money, no one has the right family connections. All the great men and women of history are levelled at this judgment. This great white throne judgment is the great equaliser of humanity… and the little people will be there too. They are the small, the kid who always got picked last in sports. The underachievers. The losers and the loners, the miserable and the oppressed. People who suffered hardship and poverty. Slaves and servants. The chronically ill and the disadvantaged. No one is too small to be overlooked by this judgment… No ons is so insignificant to be missed at this judgment.”
We long for our friends here to have their names written in the book of life. How about you, is your name written in the book of life? How will you fare on this day of judgment, when you stand exposed before your Maker and the impartial Judge? The truth is that none will fare well in this judgment – not me, not you, not my friends here in the village… unless we have Christ as our Redeemer! Such a one “does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24)
John Newton’s Hymns, The Day of Judgment:
Day of judgment, day of wonders!
Hark! the trumpet’s aweful sound,
Louder than a thousand thunders,
Shakes the vast creation round!
How the summons wilt the sinner’s heart confound!
See the Judge our nature wearing,
Clothed in majesty divine!
You who long for his appearing,
Then shall say, “This God is mine!”
Gracious Savior, own me in that day for thine!
At his call the dead awaken,
Rise to life from earth and sea;
All the pow’rs of nature shaken
By his look, prepares to flee:
Careless sinner, what will then become of thee!
Horrors, past imagination,
Will surprise your trembling heart,
When you hear your condemnation,
“Hence, accursed wretch, depart!
Thou, with Satan and his angels, have thy part!”
Satan, who now tries to please you,
Lest you timely warning take,
When that word is past, will seize you,
Plunge you in the burning lake:
Think, poor sinner, thy eternal all’s at stake.
But to those who have confessed,
Loved and served the Lord below;
He will say, “Come near ye blessed;
See the kingdom I bestow:
You for ever shall my love and glory know.”
Under sorrows and reproaches,
May this thought your courage raise!
Swiftly God’s great day approaches,
Sighs shall then be changed to praise.
We shall triumph when the world is in a blaze.