Friday, September 30, 2011

The End of the World

The Last Judgment by Michelangelo

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 (Revelation 20:12).

A friend of mine was disturbed after hearing this verse discussed on a late night radio program. It seems that the host and his guest were discussing the end of the world, and the fact that the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012. During the course of the discussion someone connected the coincidence that this verse in the 20th chapter, 12th verse of Revelation was describing the final judgment. And they must have talked at length about how this predicts that the end of the world in 2012, because my friend made a point of finding me, so that I could confirm or deny what Revelation 20:12 was for certain. When I confirmed the verse, he shook his head knowingly. There must be something to this whole "2012 apocalypse" thing; the Bible and the Mayan calendar agree.

I like to listen to Art Bell with the lights off to. However, as a Christian, I remember what Jesus told us about the end:

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24: 36-39).

I asked my friend if, in light of this information, he knew what he needed to do? He said that he did not. I told him that if, perhaps, the end of all things is at hand he, along with all of mankind, must repent. For people who reject Jesus, the reminder that He is standing at the gate is a threat of judgment and condemnation. Believers, however may be encouraged when reminded that the end is near, "for they know that their salvation is drawing near."

This verse from Revelation is a dramatic scene to be sure. The thing that strikes me is, as someone once said, that death is the great equalizer. It is appointed for man - for all people - to die and to be judged (Hebrews 9:27). No one can escape standing before the throne of God. We will stand before the throne and books in which God has recorded all of our conduct throughout our lives will be opened and examined. I don't know about anyone else, but I know the things that I have done, and am not eager to have those things exposed and used to decide my eternal fate. I take comfort in the fact that Jesus has promised me, and all believers, that our names have been written in the Book of Life, and that he has blotted out all of my transgressions by his blood. And, with St. John, I say, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!"