"For now that the Lord has arisen..." - Rev. P.K. KEIZER
Taken from the Clarion (1976) Vol. 25, No.8, 9,10.
Paul had heard that in the Corinthian congregation doubt had arisen as to the resurrection of the dead.
There were some people who did not believe the continuation in glory and renewing of our earthly life.
That had given him a fright!
They were happily but few in number, but it thrilled through him as through a military patrol-commander who in his reconnoitering expedition has met with the outposts of the approaching hostile army, and had given the alarm.
So it was that Paul had met with the approaching power of darkness in these few Corinthian Christians, a power which in his days (about the year 50 A.D.) was advancing and which in the days when John was the only one of the apostles still alive (about the year 100 A.D.) had thrown itself in full force upon the Christian churches in the Middle East.
Paul met with the outposts, but John saw the full force of the approaching army which like a tidal wave threw itself on Christ's churches (cf. The Struggle for the Truth in the Early Church, by Rev. J.C. Janse).
Therefore Paul gave the alarm and wrote the longest chapter of his epistles, I Corinthians 15.
He also warned the congregation of Colosse, just like Timothy, who was working in Ephesus.
Later John calls those primitive enemies anti-christs (plural of antiChrist).
This power of falsehood which has caused such great devastations in the life of Christ's Church is known in church history as Gnosticism (derived from gnosis, knowledge).
Because we see the revival of this power of destruction in our days and as we experience how strong is the suction power of this false ideology, we therefore do well in first asking ourselves: Whatever is that Gnosticism and that antichristianity?
For that spirit of destruction is gnawing at the root of the true Christian life and it has already ruined the lives of older and younger Christians so much that they know almost no gladness and they are even questioning the sense and the purpose of their lives as Christians on earth.
WHAT IS GNOSTICISM AND ANTI-CHRISTIANITY?
To make clear exactly what that Gnosticism is (against which early Christianity was forced to fight such a heavy battle for a long time) I will tell a little story which I as a student one day heard from Prof. Vollenhoven, professor of philosophy at the Free University, Amsterdam.
On a high mountaintop, surrounded on all sides by thick woods and impenetrable forests, there is a splendid royal castle. In that castle a prince is born, a child of royal birth.
On a certain day that little prince disappears. He is never found back again. But in the circle of robbers and criminals in the deep, dark forests the lad grows up. He doesn't know better but that he belongs to them.
The base world of sin and crime is his world.
Until in one way or other he discovers the secret of his life.
He obtains knowledge (gnosis) concerning his origin in that higher world of the royal palace.
After that, he looks on his daily life with quite different eyes. I don't exactly belong here. I am too good for this miserable life. This world of sin and baseness is not my real world. I have in fact nothing to do with it. I am a royal son, the son of a god. I am a god. In me there is "a godly spark."
This knowledge (gnosis) makes him despise his daily life. Yes, he does live in it and he does try to make the best of it; of course he takes part in it. "What else can one do?" But "deep inside" he is in fact free from it. For "deep inside" he isn't a sinner but a god. Just as his godly father in the high world is "foreign" to the low world in which the lad is living daily, so he himself is also in fact foreign to it, though he lives amidst it and takes part in it. It will be a delivery for him to leave this miserable, base existence to return there never again.
Keep this children's tale in mind.
Remember the characteristic elements: higher-lower world; the son of a god who is living like a criminal; the gnosis (knowledge) which makes him look down in scorn and contempt on his daily life and on that of the whole world; "deep inside" there is something "godly" in him.
Then we can "touch" what is the walk in life of a gnostic. Then we are able to "test" the spirit of the antichrist. Then we are close to comprehending "the spirit of the times" which is driving on a great many people in our days.
Add as yet some "Christian" words to it and a few biblical terms, and we understand how Satan, dressed like "an angel of light" (as if he directly came from God), is able to sow his hatred and scorn for God's creation and for the earthly life, in order to destroy it and to "murder" the life of man.
God says in His Word: "God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son . . ." but the anti-christs have nothing but scorn for "this present life."
EVERY SPIRIT WHICH DOESN'T CONFESS
. . .
Of course this scorn lives in one person stronger than in the other. In one period of church history this spirit is stronger than in another. But the anti-christ's spirit is always to be recognized by: "Every spirit which doesn't confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not from God, but it is the spirit of the anti-christ, whose spirit you have heard that it will come and which is already in the world," I John 4:3.
Our Saviour came in the flesh and so He lived among us. He arose from the dead in the same flesh. As a living real Man of flesh and bones He ascended and now is sitting as "our flesh" (Lord's Day 18) at the right hand of God. He will "in the flesh" come back on the clouds in the sky.
Scripture promises us the deliverance of our body (and with it the deliverance of our whole bodily daily life).
But the anti-christs teach the deliverance from the body by death.
Therefore the professors and philosophers of Greece laughed at Paul on the Areopagus in Athens when he spoke about the resurrection of our Saviour from the dead. They understood very well that this meant the recovery and the continuation in glory of Jesus' bodily life and with it the delivery of our common, earthly, trivial life of men. And that they thought foolishness!
And Paul now met with the influence of that same spirit even in the Christian church at Corinth. Some people said in a loud voice: "On this earth no man comes back."
And Paul now met with the influence of that same spirit even in the Christian church at Corinth. Some people said in a loud voice: "On this earth no man comes back."
"There is no resurrection of the dead." There is not a splendid recovery and a magnificent continuation of our earthly bodily life as real, living people of God.
You will ask: "Did they not believe, then, that the Lord Jesus had arisen?"
Oh yes, they did. "Of course" they did! But the awe-inspiring meaning of this fact of salvation for the deliverance and the restoration of our life here, they did not see.
Our restoration (so they thought) has already taken place.
They did not believe the resurrection of man, but the resurrection in man; namely, in his heart, "deep inside" his "soul", in the "rebirth." "That is in fact what matters."
Not our daily life as people of flesh and blood in our social intercourse with other people is important. Not important is "what he has done in his body and according to what he has done, either good or wrong," II Corinthians 5:10.
When Paul heard from Timothy that the outposts of the approaching anti-christianity were also in Ephesus, he warned his young "colleague" earnestly against it.
"0 Timothy, do preserve what has been confided to you; keep yourself beyond reach of the unholy, hollow sound and the contradictions of the wrongly so-called 'knowledge' (gnosis). Some people who are mouthpieces of it have been thrown off the faith," I Timothy 6:20, 21.
In his second epistle to Timothy he mentions the names of the preachers, Hymenaeus and Philetus, "who have been thrown off the way of the truth pretending that the resurrection has already taken place, by which they break the faith of some people," II Timothy 2:18.
"Avoid the unholy, hollow sounds, for they will drive godlessness still further and their word will eat into the flesh like a cancer," verse 16.
Controversies of the so-called "gnosis". Think of the little tale: higher world - lower world; a son of God criminal.
Paul calls out to the Corinthian Christians: "Evil communications spoil good manners," I Corinthians 15:33. He does not mean by it the language of the street. But (mind the place of this word: in the middle of his gospel of resurrection, I Corinthians 15) he means such "conversations," "ideas," "dogmas," in which the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is denied.
Our walk of life is being influenced by it, the "good manners" of life in loving respect for the Lord: steadfast, unmoveable, being always abundant in the work of the Lord, as one who knows that your work is not idle in the Lord, verse 58.
The life made by God in creation is being broken in two. Our daily goings out and comings in fall into destruction, perish by death. Therefore it does not matter so very much. We should not be so "set on earthly things" to talk about resurrection out of the grave. Then a man is far too much attached to "the dust," to the "bodily things" that we surely leave behind when we die. Death elevates us "above sight and sensuality." Then we are happily "no longer a man of the earth."
"May I strive upward to live in You" (from "God is present," by Gerhard Tersteegen). Loose from that despicable dust. Here we taste the anti-christian spirit.
While God loved His creation so much that He gave us the Lord Jesus to deliver us from the power of death, this spirit of apostasy acts as if sin hides in bodily-material-earthly existence instead of in our corrupt heart. There lies one of the deepest causes of the withering of many an old and young Christian life.
It is easy to understand: What sense and purpose has our life here if death is the end of it and if, "properly speaking," the core of our life is really not to be found here on earth?
PREACHING WITHOUT CONTENTS
"Then our preaching is null and void, and so is your faith," Paul exclaims, I Corinthians 15:14.
If we may not expect restoration of our life-in the-flesh, what in fact have we to preach then!
Then Christian preaching is in fact without contents. Then we may as yet deliver religious addresses for people that are in trouble, in order to comfort them a little, but a prospect, a future, a redeeming of our body, our life-in-the-flesh on the blessed earth, that isn't there any more!
The Christian proclamation, the announcement of the total recovery of our life and the real hope in it, has gone then!
The physician in a case of severe illness sometimes gives no hope any more. The end is approaching rapidly and is no longer to be averted. Then he still gives a little morphine for relief, but the struggle to preserve life has in fact been given up.
What has there been in Christianity alarmingly much "preaching" in this way. Intoxicating of souls in view of the miseries of hard life. I am afraid that much religious music (especially at Christmas time and Easter) means for many people such a quietening by means of conscience-intoxication.
The typical thing is: this sort of religiosity is washing over all churchwalls. And it finds its power not in the last place in the so-called interchurch ecumenical song-festivals. But the end is not to be averted: death and the grave.
Is that the preaching of the gospel of the risen Saviour?
Is that deliverance? Being forced to let loose everything at the end of a long or short, oftentimes wearisome, life of struggle, to return never to the true, full, glorious life as complete people in full communication with God and with each other on the beautiful new earth of God?
Then in fact we have nothing to preach!
Then we as Christians are the most miserable ones of all men.
THE MOST PITIABLE OF ALL MEN
Then the unbelievers do better.
They fetch what there is to be fetched and they don't cherish idle expectations of a recovery of this life. At best they are still hoping for a so called "hereafter" but that is in their notion so remote from our life here that it doesn't have any connection with it; yes, it forms a contrast. It is such a hazy, unreal thing that it is something quite other than this life.
Hence on one side an unheard of revival of all sorts of "Christian" religiosity as consolation drinks against hard life, and on the other side an alarming secularization and a "greed" to fetch what there is to be fetched. "You live only once."
Anti-christianity doesn't really believe that Jesus will come back as He has ascended. "From where is He to come then?" "Out of space?" "Where should this man of flesh and bones be, somewhere in space at this moment?"
The church that teaches this antichristianity bears the guilt that modern man of the space age turns away from her.
In this way there more and more comes into existence a "Christianity" which does not believe in the coming back of the Lord.
For many Christians it is not in practice a living truth: His coming back on the clouds. Thousands of them absolutely don't reckon with it in their daily life.
What a really pitiable man was that poor Paul then.
For the sake of the gospel of the risen Messiah he had intentionally remained unmarried, he "died" thousands of deaths daily, he had been beaten with rods, stoned, was shipwrecked, etc., etc. "What is the better for one's life then?" And the end for Paul? Just like what it is for everybody: death and the grave.
How pitiable: that young female slave Blandina and the fifteen year old Ponticus in the arena at Lyons, torn to pieces by the wild animals.
The same holds for Vivia Perpetua and Felicitas (at Carthage), Johannes Huss, Jan de Bakker. How pitiable: Maria Durand, who during thirty-eight years of her precious life was confined in a tower in an island near the Mediterranean: for the sake of Jesus.
And we, spending handfuls of costly money for church and worship services and for the Reformed education of the children, for the sake of the name of Jesus and the gospel of God, and the end . . . for all the same: death and the grave.
If Christ has not been raised, then we are indeed the most pitiable of all men. Therefore those Corinthians were no longer so steadfast and abounding in the work of the Lord.
And therefore many young people are asking themselves nowadays whether their daily work is in fact not idle and without sense.
BUT NOW THAT THE LORD HAS ARISEN
. . .
The same who also has been crucified. "Look at my hands and feet. It is I Myself; touch Me and see that a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see that I have," Luke 24:39. He ate before their eyes.
Our Saviour has become the firstling of those who are deceased. This means: in Him we can see what God has in store for us.
Therefore we are the happiest of all men.
Of course (!) nobody of us doubts the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But they in Corinth didn't do that either. And yet they ran the terrible risk of believing "in vain" (verse 2).
When I tell you: "Our queen has been in Zeeland," then you say: "That's true, I myself have also read it," and you settle to work again as usual.
But big boys in The Netherlands burst into tears when they heard a few decades ago: "The queen has been in Zeeland!" What a world of hope and delivery opened before them then! For this meant: the end of their misery in the hiding places where the presence of the Nazi oppressor forced them to stay.
Then they could bear better their grey and wretched existence.
In this way the word of the living Saviour was heard: "I have been dead."
If He has been dead, then there have been more things.
Then passes away the whole shape of this world with its sorrow and distress, under the power of death. Who is able to overlook that?
We may say: "I have been ill" or "I have been tired." But nobody can say: "I have been dead."
Our Saviour (has death radically behind His back and He is a breathing, eating and drinking and walking Man. He is the only Man that can fall from us never again, Whom we can lose by death never again.
We may say: "I have been ill" or "I have been tired." But nobody can say: "I have been dead."
What a world full of gladness that knowledge gives us!
"I live and you shall live."
What political men in power on earth, what leader of people or of a group can say that? They can promise everything "from the cradle to the grave" but not beyond that. We have a Leader who says: "I have been dead and now I am alive for evermore and I hold the keys of death and of death's domain."
He has proven that He is able to fulfil all His promises and He will presently fetch all His people out of their graves in order to live like Him.
Therefore we are not the most pitiable but the happiest of all men.
We are no sheep without a shepherd and no citizens without a king.
But we are "strangers" on earth. Be sure of it. Not like a tourist in a foreign country, but strangers in our own (promised) land. Canaan was the country of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God had promised it to them. But the Canaanites rule, and the patriarchs were "sojourners." They only lived in with the Canaanites. That gave trouble and much grief. But they never despised Canaan, nor looked down condescendingly on this life of sojourning.
Joseph spent twelve years in the prisons of Egypt. From his 18th to his 30th year: "the best years of your life." But he did not become cynical because of his many miseries of youth. Hear how obliging and interested the young Joseph has remained in spite of his own grief. When one morning he sees the gloomy faces of the baker and the cupbearer, he doesn't say: "O gentlemen, you are sitting here for but a few days only; I have been here for many years already." No, though he was himself filled with grief, he with attention sought the cause of his fellowprisoners' troubles. He didn't say: "Everyone is on his own and must see how he will manage." After that, God gave him eighty years (from his 30th to his 110th year) of streams of wealth and prosperity. And in all these years of unimaginable wealth there remained burning in his heart the yearning for Canaan. Canaan was the present of God in which they tasted His love. When he was dying in Egypt, he didn't listlessly push aside the cup of wealth. High as a tower there flamed up in him the burning longing to be present when God turned to His people to lead them out of Egypt to Canaan. To participate! We may participate when God lets His people inherit "the heavenly Canaan," the so blessed earth. (One question: If Joseph could manage, keep on his feet in his misery as a prisoner and in his wealth as a viceroy, and that long before the coming of our Saviour in the flesh, would that not be possible anymore now?)
This doesn't mean that the world is none of our concern or leaves us cold or that we look down upon "this life." Not in the least. For the earth is the Lord God's and our Saviour is the Redeemer of the world. It does mean: in this world, but not: of the world. The devil poses as if he is running the show here. But it isn't true. The Lord Jesus has all power and He is busy redeeming the earth and our life and making it free. Therefore we are not to be pitied. We are well off in this life with the great privilege of being "strangers" because we belong to Jesus. That is certainly no trifle.
CURSE AND VANITY BROKEN
When the disciples had been fishing once all night for their daily bread, they had caught nothing. So they had to go home. Then Jesus was standing on the shore. The eternally living Man was simply standing on the beach and He was calling. A question, a word of advice and . . . the net was filled to the brim. So He broke the curse and vanity of all their toiling. If He is willing, He wipes the sweat off our brows and He lets us eat our bread to satisfaction and with joy. But you must see it. You must see His hand in all sorts of events. The one sees that sooner than the other. John saw that sooner than the others. "It is the Lord!" Peter was the first to take action. He jumped into the sea. The remaining ones also did very good work. They counted the blessings one by one: 153 big fishes. John, Peter, the other ones: one did this thing, another that, and they did not slight each other by claiming that all must be equal and must do equal things. In this way the risen Lord revealed Himself there and then.
If He is willing, He takes away the exhaustion from our work. For so our Lord still is! He is the Eternal-in-time who strengthens us in bearing the burden of the "vanity" that we in our work are subject to, who gives us courage again when everything breaks off at our hands, who revives us when we are exhausted.
Now the new life is beginning. There are not three dispensations, but two. The first dispensation: till the coming of the Lord Jesus in the flesh. The second dispensation: after His coming in the flesh. Old Testament and New Testament. "Christ has by His death and the shedding of His blood brought to eternal validity the new and eternal testament, the Covenant of grace and atonement, when He called out: 'It is consummated!' " It is an "evil communication" to say: "After the coming back of our Lord, only then begins eternal life." No, now the new life is beginning. "He who puts his faith in the Son has hold of eternal life," John 3:36. The coming of the Lord Jesus in our flesh is the great turningpoint in world history. His coming back on the clouds will complete the delivery of the creation in the perfect glorification of it by the renewing of heaven and earth and the resurrection of the flesh. He is the firstling of the dead. The forthcoming renewing of heaven and earth and the glorious continuation of our renewed bodily life presently is not the great turning point, but the completion of the "coming age." The "coming age" is not the same as the "future era." "Coming is in this connection something else, something more than futurity. The new age has already been going on for a long time! Nineteen centuries already! "Coming" is "arriving." In Him the whole coming age is already present. When the Lord Jesus stood up from His most severe struggle, the coming age broke through into "this era."
He has already passed "the point of time," that "indivisible moment" (I Corinthians 15:52), but we have it still before us. He has already inherited the eternal, bodily, fully spiritual life. And He is our imperishable, immaculate and unfaded heritage which is preserved in the heavens for us (I Peter 1:4). In the heavens the whole new life is lying ready for us in Him. Any moment it can break through into this time, to clothe with imperishableness the "vanity" and perishableness of our life-here, and to consume death, which is still dominating.
HOW LONG WILL IT STILL LAST?
We must not speculate on that. One sometimes says: "It can still last a hundred years," and another says: "Still a thousand years." When we talk in this way we are in practice also "scoffers," according to Peter's word ill Peter 3:3) - though it may look very pious. For if we speak in this way, we don't really expect Him. Such an "evil communication" corrupts in the practice of our Christian life the looking for (which is still more than the "expecting") "the heavenly fatherland," the city of God, the new Jerusalem (Hebrews 11:14, 15). What can happen after a thousand years we don't expect and we are still less looking for it. Then we are not in practice focused on it like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who made known by their being "aliens" that they looked for the "fatherland." When we don't continually look upward, where He is ready and where in Him our new living together is also ready, then we do not have a living expectation of the future. That has always been the strength of God's people.
Without a living expectation of the future it is difficult for us to bear the cross and to resist the spirit of this age. Then it is also difficult for us to deny ourselves something. But when our Saviour was personally still on earth and the Kingdom of God violently broke open a road, prepared a way, then "violent persons" were seizing it (Matthew 11:12). When He went through the country and was preaching and restoring people to health and providing help out of all distress, then there arose in many sincere hearts a powerful longing for this King and His realm.
"Violent persons." Don't take it in a "worldly" way but spiritually, in faith, scripturally. "Violent persons" were the disciples who left everything and followed Him and who were not to be flogged away from Him. "Violent persons" like that woman, ill for many years, who so mightily believed Him that she thought it enough to touch only the hem of His garment in order to become healthy again. While it is as "violent" now as to be ill for many years and yet not to be in doubt about this King and His coming Kingdom.
Oh, it's beyond telling what He can awaken in us and what He is able to bring us to! Among Israel the Lord at times stirred up Nazirites, who received the great privilege of being so filled with His Spirit that they might dedicate themselves to His service for a time or for their lives. And for it they were able to deny themselves much which in itself was not unlawful (Numbers 6).
They are there as yet. New Testament Nazirites! Those who in times of deterioration have "stimulated" others by their example of devotion. Church history knows of many people in such times whose names are often forgotten, who gave themselves in indescribable love and faithfulness. Women and girls, oftentimes of nobility, who let go high positions and wealth. For what? To dedicate themselves to tending the sick and the wretched, to take care of prisoners, to fight the slave-trade, to educate orphans, etc. That meant something in former centuries! In Finland, England, Germany, Africa.
What sacrifices! What burning hearts! Nothing was too much. Unobserved they went their way and they are forgotten. What examples of His great power! They set an example to the mass more by deed than by word. "Precious stones on the garment of the Church!" Why does one thousandth of it weigh sometimes so heavy on us? They saw Him. He made them rise up and made them participate in His imperishable life. They lived the new life in the light of His coming. They lived out of Him in the "coming" age. In this way He fetched them over mountains and through seas.
THE NEW LIFE
What is it? That He made them "crave" for the "genuine milk of the Word," I Peter 2:2. Life must be nourished. When a child isn't hungry, then it's ill. Then we call for the physician. Living children are hungry children. Formerly people said: The Lord feeds us with hunger, gives us drink with thirst, strengthens us with weakness. Those are the signs of the new life. Thirsty for "the milk of the Word."
During the great Reformation in the sixteenth century Jan Arendsz, a feeble little man, preached outside the walls of Alkmaar for three hours while standing on a farmer's cart. I don't say that it must be done so nowadays. But then something of that new life out of our Saviour forced his way with violence. How great did they then see that our Saviour was!
How great did Mary see our Saviour, though He was not yet crowned with glory and splendour as now, but in humiliation, as it were incognito, living on earth. Without any reserve she broke a bottle with "genuine, very costly" nard. And to know then that nard is used by drops out of a narrow neck. What an excess! "The house was filled with the perfume of the salve" (John 12:3). We repeat it after the disciples: "Must it be done in this manner! We must still use our brains. This is a waste.' But that was not the case with Mary. That is in times of real reformation not the case either! Those are times of living and giving! Then there is in an empty purse still always something left.
Why could it happen then and not now? Why does our gladness and delight perish? On account of the circumstances? And it's prosperity and wealth? On account of the threat of war and destruction? But those things were there in former times too! Think of Alva, of Zutphen, of Naarden massacred. Because then we don't see who our Lord is! When our gladness is failing, then fails our principal proof that we are the Lord's.
Gladness isn't an accidental thing but the sign of the "coming age" and of the fact that we are living in it. "Look, I proclaim to you great gladness," so the new Covenant was announced, and that's still the sign of that eternal covenant of grace and atonement. All sadness and adversity can't rob us of this gladness after all. And if we have sometimes lost it, we must hear the Apostolic call: "Awake, you who sleep and get up from the dead, and Christ will shine on you," Ephesians 5:14. As when a mother draws open the curtains in her child's bedroom in the morning: "Look at the sun, awake and get up," and the child awakens, for the night has passed. It takes off its night-dress and puts on the day-clothes. "You are all children of the light and children of the day; we are not of the night nor of the darkness," I Thessalonians 5:5. Put on the clothes of the coming age, which has already long begun! Therefore we are not to be pitied.
"A LIFE IN HIS GLORY"
"Child," a grandfather sometimes says, "you have still a whole life before you," when a child is lamenting that it doesn't have this or can't do that. Children of God, you have still a whole life before you! Though we are standing with one leg in the grave. "Have you still ideals for which you are ready to set your life at stake?" so young people were asked recently.
What a foolish question! With of course foolish answers. "I should certainly be a fool. My only ideal is my own life" - and other answers of that kind. In other words: we have no "ideals" (conceptions and ideas which we have formed for ourselves and goals we have set ourselves). That's "human-centric" and egocentric and egoistic. We have Him. He Who had to suffer for us so deeply because He is our Redeemer. From Him is all our expectation. "Our life is with Christ hidden in God," Colossians 3:3. Therefore we must not let ourselves be disheartened by "circumstances."
A certain recruit bluntly answered the army chaplain: "Ah, minister, centuries of Christianity and yet everything is misery and discord." The clergyman saw the unwashed fingers and (especially) nails. The answer came as a blow: "Nineteen centuries of soap and yet dirty hands!"
We are to be pitied and also worthy of punishment if we expect so little from Him. Not: because we expect so much from HIM! For the life (which is and which is coming) surpasses all our expectations and "ideals" by far. Therefore it is not becoming for us to live on in "misery," cynically or condescendingly despising this life as prisoners of the spirit of this age (think of the earlier mentioned criminal-son of a god). Don't think: "I shall step out presently and leave everything behind." Take care! All men come back again presently "accompanied with what they have done, either good or wrong." Then we are there, everyone with his deeds and his practices of life. And then the judgment...!
Oh, what if He were not there then, our Vindicator and Saviour! But He will be there. All who have loved His appearance and who have daily reckoned with it will He lead into the joy of our Lord. "Further the prize awaits me, the garland of righteousness which the Lord, the all-just Judge, will give me on that day," Paul says, II Timothy 4:8. Really, we don't stand a bad chance. The cemetery is not our last resting-place. Our last restingplace is the new earth and the new heaven and the so blessed life "into all periods of eternity." And if sometimes our soul bows down in despondency, let us remember then: "Our Saviour has really arisen," and this Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen Him ascending, Acts 1:11.
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