A Weekly Meditation of Pastor Chang
<Witnesses of Life After Death> (64)
We have already talked and shared about the concepts of “Heaven” and “Hell” for the past several weeks. But it is still necessary for me to continue sharing with you this topic because there are many biblical issues that we need to know and they will remind us who we are and what our future destinies will be.
According to the biblical contexts and descriptions, “Hades” is totally different from “Hell” (which is also called, “Lake of Fire.”) Both are different. Hades is a temporary retaining place for the souls who are not saved to stay. And Hell will be a place forever to keep those who are judged and their names are not written in the book of the life after the Great White Throne judgment (Cf. Revelation 20:11-15.)
The Judgment before the Great White Throne is the greatest and final judgment. The Judge is the King of kings, Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. He by that time is no longer to be Savior but the Lord of Judgment. There are several issues we need to notice:
1. All human beings will be resurrected to have eternal spiritual bodies first, then, all of them include the living and the dead (those who have experienced the physical death) will stand before the Great White Throne to receive judgment. I believe that the judgment will be very fast and quick. It will be completely different from the human courts that some cases can be delayed and tarried for years due to human factors of ignorance and lack of full knowledge to the cases.
2. Since the Chief Judge is our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Almighty One, therefore, His judgment will be absolute and without mistake. He will never be like any earthly judge who is not perfect and could make serious mistake.
3. Remember: when we are still alive, whatever our speaking and doing will be recorded into the books of the future Great White Throne. Who will write and keep the records? --Of course, the angles will do. I believe that the angles of the Lord work very hard day and night so far. And since they are created with super power and gifts, they will keep everything neat and accurate. There is nothing be missed or misunderstood. The only possibility for us to erase our wrong doings now is through our repentance in Christ and by the precious blood of Jesus Christ!
4. When the Judgment Day before the Great White Throne two kinds of books will be opened: the books of behaviors and the book of life. All human beings will be judged according to the books of behaviors. And we all know our Lord will give us the best and the fairest trial and judgment. I am sure that all of us after judgment, according to our earthly behaviors we will be all disqualified to go to heaven. However, there is another book – the book of life is so important. If our names are not recorded in the book of life, we will be thrown into the lake of fire. But if our names are recorded in the book of life, we will be saved. Therefore, while we are still alive to accept Christ to be our Lord and Savior is absolutely important, because it is the foundation of salvation.
Now after hearing the above description, one can gain a very important understanding: Hades now contains many unsaved souls but it is only for temporary. After the judgment of the Great White Throne is made, both “the death” --- the worse enemy of the human and “the Hades” – the terrible temporary retaining prison will be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 21:11-15.) The death and Hades will be both swallowed up into the Hell.
Furthermore, some biblical scholars also declare: since Hades is temporary; then, the paradise in heaven is also a temporary place for those who are saved to stay temporarily. But in the paradise where people already enjoy living there beyond measurable. But until the physical world now we live in is completely destroyed at the end of the world, and after the judgment of the Great White Throne is done, a complete New Heaven and New Earth will be created. It will be the most beautiful and perfect place for all of us to live in forever. In other word, the present paradise or heaven is also temporary; we are still waiting for the New Heaven and the New Earth to come. By that time, there will be a place without sin and evil. A perfect place that the human and God will stay together forever. The New Heaven and the New Earth are the extension of the Paradise and heaven. That is the place that we are longing for. Let us encourage each other so that we may know how to live today in order to fit into the future eternal blessings.