, originally uploaded by andai.
I was listening to one of my favorite pastors, Ken Ortize who said something that I had not really though about before but got me really thinking. What he said was something to the effect that, if you are not a believer, your life here in earth, no matter how great, is the best it will ever get for you. But if you are a believer, then your life here on earth, no matter had bad it gets, will be the worst it will ever get.
Lets this about this for a moment. We who believe in the bible know that if you are not a believer, when you die, you will go to hell (or hades) which is analogous to a holding place where you will await the final judgment. At the final judgment, you will be judged according to what you have done. Now the bible says very clearly that everyone has sinned and that the wages of sin is death. So when you are judged, you will be found guilty and you will be sent to the lake of fire or what the bible calls the second death. As Jesus puts it, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. The idea that there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth is something I had not really pondered until just the past few days as I was reflecting on what was going on in Kenya with all the violence and destruction. I’ll come back this in a little bit.
But what if you are a believer? If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour, your name will be written in the book of life and you will skip the judgment altogether and go to be with the Lord in heaven. There is no temporary holding place for the believers, they just straight to heaven.
So what about this wailing and gnashing of teeth? I have been thinking a lot about what it is that makes man wicked and totally given over to evil, where they will murder innocent men, women and children? What about the leaders who do absolutely nothing, shirking in their duties and responsibilities while such things happen? I have also been wondering if there really is justice, if not in this world, maybe the next. And what kind of justice can there be that will make those who do such things in this life absolutely and completely regret that they had done when they lived their wicked lives here on earth? This is when I remembered Jesus’ explanation of hell and the suffering that will go on there. This suffering will result in the wailing and gnashing of teeth! I think we take that term lightly and don’t really think about it much, but if you really take the time to imagine what it must be like, I think that it must indicate really terrible suffering… the kind of suffering that is unendurable even for a minute… and yet, those who will be suffering that punishment are doomed to suffer for eternity. The bible also makes it clear that these who will be cast into hell for punishment will include the rich and the poor, those who were great (by human standards) and small.
This gives me some level of comfort that those in Kenya who have been involved in this terrible state of affairs will eventually face the final judgment and will have to account for their sins. Those involved include certain wealthy and powerful politicians and also certain poor and ignorant Kenyans who were willing to murder, loot and steal. The irony here is that the poor Kenyans are claiming to have been downtrodden and oppressed and so they are striking back, mainly against other poor and defenseless Kenyans. The bigger irony is that for these Kenyans, as bad as it is, this is the best it will ever get for them… And for those who died as they were fighting, their fates are sealed. They are now awaiting the final judgment… and the bible makes it clear that they are well aware that the judgment is coming…
The good thing about all this is that as long as you are alive, you have an opportunity to repent. Since you never know when you will die it is better that you act sooner rather than later and ask Jesus into your heart. Because once you die, fate is eternally sealed. Your best life, no matter how lousy it is, is over and things quickly go downhill from here. You will be wailing and gnashing your teeth for eternity.