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, that’s for sure.
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”
In my heart I thought “Yes, that is a question well worth asking, a good question indeed! There is not only the possibility that something might happen to this earth, but there is a CERTAINTY. There is a day that’s coming that will be more intense than what you and I face yesterday. 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.”
How will you fare on this day of judgment, when you stand exposed before your Maker? What will be the outcome for you, when you stand before the impartial Judge? The truth is that NONE will fare well in this judgment, for there is not a righteous man on earth who continuously does good and never sins… None will fare well, except for those who have their sins forgiven and who are clothed in the righteousness of God which comes through Christ Jesus (2 Cor 5:21) And for a forgiven sinner, “He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24) What gift this gift of God-given grace is!
This reality, that the dead will be raised and will one day appear before the impartial Judge, and that in Christ there is hope (a SURE hope and the ONLY hope) is one of the big driving forces to my work here. I long for this people to have their souls redeemed by Christ Jesus’ blood, to have His blood become precious in their sight, and to one day be part of the great multitude crying out “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” I long for them to have the hope of a heavenly home when an earthquake comes and damages their earthly home.
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.