I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books. Revelation 20:12
Christians, for two Millennia now have said, as an essential part of the Christian story, that we believe on one great day, Jesus will return and in a climactic act, He will judge the living and the dead once and for all to make all things right and all things new.
Is the COVID-19 God’s judgment on America?
Lynette told me about a Facebook post that said that this coronavirus is God’s way of sending us all to our rooms for a time out.
Is this God’s judgment?
“Yes” and “No”.
According to the biblical narrative, there’s a brokenness in this world that’s existed since ancient times. Since the fall from Grace — the turning away from God in the Garden of Eden — all the bad stuff we encounter entered the world: disease, death, destruction, murder and a whole list of sins is the reality of the world we live in. But which means he’s in control. And His greatest priority is our welfare. But disasters will happen.
This current national disaster is an opportunity for us to wake up and pay attention to God. So, there’s a sense in which all these kinds of disasters are a judgment, but a judgment that’s not on the people who are suffering.
But the real question is not, “Is this God’s judgment?” But rather, “Is God the One to whom I look to and trust in when bad things happen?”
In Revelation 20:12, John the Revelator talks about there being two sets of books. One might be called A Book of Merit. That is a book with your name on it, your picture on the back cover, and its 100 percent accurate. It contains everything you’ve ever done, everything you’ve ever said, and every thought you’ve ever thought. That book exists in the mind of God. If that was the only book we’d be in serious trouble.
But there is another book. John calls this one The Book of Life. Your name is in the book if you know Jesus, and it is filled with the good and beautiful deeds of your life along with the intimate love relationship you have with Jesus. And if your name is in that book—you have nothing to worry about. It will be filled with the absolute reality of your future life when the good Judge puts everything to rights and “makes everything sad come untrue” in the cosmos.
The prophets had pointed to that day for thousands of years. That there is coming a day when a King, a true King, a true Judge will come back and restore this sin-infected cosmos.
“For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12
Up There Comes Down Here—THE LORD REIGNS IN ZION!
One fair morning I’ll wake up in a celestial city. And maybe I’ll go walking down the street for a stroll. I’ll walk upon a woman who has a wagonload of roses. I’ll reach to get one and discover there are no thorns on those roses.
I’ll say, “Ma’am, where did you get these roses?
“I grow them out there in the desert.”
“What?” I ask.
“Haven’t you heard? The Lord reigns in Zion.
And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as a rose.” (Isaiah.35:1)
Little further down the street, I’ll step into a pet shop. There, I hear a man say, “I want to buy that cobra for my little boy.”
“What?” I ask.
“Didn’t you know? The Lord reigns in Zion.
And the lion shall eat straw like a lamb and the sucking child shall lay upon the nest of the snake.” (Isaiah 11:8)
Little further I say to a man, “Where is your police department?
He’ll say, “We haven’t got any!”
“Well, where are your soldiers and military academies?”
“Haven’t you heard? The Lord reigns in Zion!
And they have beat the swords into plow shares and their spears into pruning hooks and the nations have learned war no more!” (Isaiah 2:4)
“Well, what about the home for crippled children?”
“We don’t have any. And the lame shall leap in that day.” (Isaiah 35:6) The Lord reigns in Zion!
“What about your home for the deaf and dumb?”
“Don’t have any of those either!” “The tongues of the dumb shall sing in that day. And the ear of the deaf shall be unstopped in that day. (Isaiah 35:6) The Lord reigns in Zion!”
“I want to go to your hospitals and visit some of your cancer patients.”
“We don’t have any.”
“You don’t?” I ask.
“No. Not since the Lord began to reign in Zion! The inhabitants in this land never say, ‘I am sick.‘” (Isaiah 33:24)
“Well, what about your funeral homes and cemeteries?”
“Not any of those in this land. For the Lord reigns in Zion!”
“Well, where do you folks go to church?”
“We don’t have a church. Haven’t you heard? Up there has finally come down here and we all go up to the New Jerusalem and worship the great King!”
And I look up, and there I see the Lord high and lifted up. And the great choir begins to sing:
“All hail the power of Jesus’ name!
Let angels prostrate fall;.
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all!”
Jesus is the good and beautiful Judge and King of Kings. And you can absolutely trust him to have your best interest at the core of his being.
And the King is coming!
Soon, I hope.