“So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no man knows whether love or hate awaits him. All share a common destiny—-the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. As it is with the good man, so with the sinner; as it is with those who take oaths, so with those who are afraid to take them. This is he evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of men, more over, are full of evil and there is madness in their hears while they live, and afterward they join the dead. Anyone who is among the living has hope—-even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealously have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes9:1–6)
The future for mankind, both the good and the sinner, is in God’s hands. Left to discover it for themselves, persons might conclude death ends discover it for themselves, persons might conclude death ends it all for everyone. This text, as much of Ecclesiastes, does not reflect the fuller revelation of the New Testament. The pessimistic view of life and death reveals what human eyes see which do not see beyond death’s veil.
Beloved, out of the fact that future destiny is in God’s hands grows the God-given expectation of divine judgment. What mortals cannot know about the future, God by revelations can and does make known.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, though we may not always understand exactly what to expect next, we believers of Jesus Christ can always depend upon God our Father, to lead us confidently and boldly, towards the kingdom of heaven. It is a matter of letting go and allowing God to take our hands to deliver us safely to where we need to be and at the right time. It is in Jesus’ precious name that we pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Forgiving is not hurting, when others hurt us.”
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:11–12)
The baptism of fire could be related to the Spirit’s coming at Pentecost. However, many believe it refers to future judgment. If so, this statement about Christ’s work is given without regard for the interval between His firs and second comings.
Then the baptism to be performed by Christ is twofold: a Spirit baptism and a judgment baptism. The first of these relates to His first coming and His present work through the Spirit in believers. The second refers to future judgment upon the wicked (Malachi 4:1). Jesus’ coming was good news. Part of the good news is His assurance of the final destruction of evil.
“But the one who does not know and does thing deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48)
One principle of divine judgment is that of proportional responsibility. Levels of punishment will be fitted to variations of opportunity, thus to degrees of accountability. Premeditated or high-handed sins have always been deserving of greater punishment than unwitting sins (Numbers 15:22-32). The result of this principle is that there are to be degrees of punishment and reward.
SECOND THOUGHT of the DAY:
“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John5:21-24)
Jesus’ claim to be the unique Son of God the Father and insisted that He was given the same power over death that the Father has (v 21). That power over physical death provides hope to believers to be faithful to their Lord even in the face of persecution by those who can kill the body. This power over death is of crucial important to a Christian view of death. Among the greater works of Jesus is His power to give spiritual life in the present time, which continues into eternity (v 24).
This power is commensurate with Christ’s power to raise the dead. Spiritual life begins at the point of conversion and transcends death. Another of Jesus’ greater works is that of judgment. The power over physical and spiritual life and the Resurrection and judgment are closely connected eschatological (end times) events. The first of these was foreshadowed in Jesus’ earthly ministry by the quickening to life in spiritual birth, The future judgment was foreshadowed in Jesus’ temporal judgment in the condemnation of the religiously unrighteous and hypocritical in His earth life.