The best preparation of all
There are only two ultimate destinations—the Holy City and the lake of fire. One ought to choose the first. And making the necessary preparations before the end is the wisest decision of all.
By ROMMEL V. SAN PEDRO
LIFE EVENTUALLY ENDS, so all must prepare. The Bible says:
“What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave?
“Remember how short my time is; For what futility have You created all the children of men?” (Ps. 89:48, 47 New King James Version)
The psalmist, King David, stated two cold hard facts: everyone dies and life is short.
The fragility of life is shown by its analogy to a mist or vapor:
“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14 New International Version)
Young or old, weak or healthy, people have met their end; for many, even unexpectedly. How easily people can pass away—by calamity, accident, violence, or sickness. The suddenness of this end is likened to a bird caught in a trap or a fish in a net:
“You never know when your time is coming. Like birds suddenly caught in a trap, like fish caught in a net, we are trapped at some evil moment when we least expect it.” (Eccles. 9:12 Good News Bible)
Fearing death, there are those who vainly attempt to prolong their life with various medications or drugs, many times with the opposite effect because of complications or unexpected reactions. Those who can afford medical care are no exception. The Bible explains:
“No one can keep himself from dying or put off the day of his death. That is a battle we cannot escape; we cannot cheat our way out.” (Eccles. 8:8 GNB)
And those who have amassed great wealth and are counted among the famous, in the end, realize that “we leave this world just as we entered it—with nothing. In spite of all our work there is nothing we can take with us” (Eccles. 5:15 GNB).
If this happens to all human beings, then, why even prepare for death?
The judgment after death
For those who think that death is the end of all suffering, the Bible teaches otherwise:
“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.” (Rev. 20:12-13 NIV)
The dead will be resurrected in order to be judged:
“Do not be surprised and wonder at this, for the time is coming when all those who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, And they shall come out—those who have practiced doing good [will come out] to the resurrection of [new] life, and those who have done evil will be raised for judgment [raised to meet their sentence].” (John 5:28-29 Amplified Bible)
The Lord Jesus Christ, Who was the first to be resurrected, taught that there is a time when those who have practiced doing good will come out to the resurrection of new life while those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. Hence, preparing for the Day of Judgment should be a priority and no one should take it lightly.
The Lord Jesus Christ will descend or return on Judgment Day. On that day, those who died in Him will rise or be resurrected first (I Thess. 4:16 amp). Those in Christ are in the one true Church He established:
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18 Revised Standard Version)
To be in the Church that Christ established is to be in Christ because the Church is Christ’s body and that which He will save:
“For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.” (Eph. 5:23, 25 New Living Translation)
Christ loved His Church so much that He gave His life or shed His blood for it:
“Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.” (Acts 20:28 Lamsa Translation)
The blood of Christ is what cleanses man from all things that defile or from sin (Heb. 9:13-14), so those inside the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) are the ones whose names are written in the Book of Life.
That the powers of death will not prevail over the members of the Church Of Christ does not mean they will no longer experience physical death. They may still die, but having done what is good (Rom. 7:12; II Tim. 3:15-17), they will be resurrected to life everlasting.
Thus, Christ commands people to enter in Him by being a member of His flock or the Church Of Christ (John 10:9, 16 Revised English Bible), for them to be saved (Matt. 24:13; I Thess. 4:16-17).
The two destinations
The members of the Church Of Christ shall reside in the Holy City, thus:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth disappeared, and the sea vanished. And I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared and ready, like a bride dressed to meet her husband. I heard a loud voice speaking from the throne: ‘Now God’s home is with human beings! He will live with them, and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.” (Rev. 21:1-4 GNB)
On the other hand, the rest of humanity will be resurrected one thousand years after Judgment Day to be punished forever:
“But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. … Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Rev. 20:5, 7-10 NKJV)
There are only two ultimate eternal destinations: the Holy City or the lake of fire. One ought to choose the former. Making the necessary preparations—joining and remaining in the true Church Of Christ—before it’s too late is the wisest decision of all.
This article was originally published in the Pasugo: God’s Message magazine.
For more articles, visit www.pasugo.com.ph