PREPARATION FOR THE LAST JUDGMENT
IT’S OUR CHOICE – VINDICATION OR CONDEMNATION?
The last judgment is a certainty and necessity for Christ will judge every member of the hman race, based on what they believe and chose to prctice in this present life. In the Orthodo
morning Prayers, we are warned: about the certainty of the event: “Suddenly the judge will come and the deeds of each of us will laid bare, but in the middle of the night let us cry out in fear: Holy, Holy, Holy are you O God; through the Theotokos have mercy upon us.”
It does not matter, that some believe in Christ and some do not, some in false gods, some in many gods, some in the Pope, others are with the Protestants and many follow the Islamic Prophet. No matter who a person believes in, his judge will be the one and only Judge Jesus Christ who will judge all the living and the dead. For there is only one judgment by one God and one Lord Jesus Christ, We know that He is the omniscient God and knows our every thought and idea in the minds and hearts of men. Also recorded in the Book of Revelation: “And I John saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it from whom the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened . . . And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” At that time standing before the fearful throne of God will be the entire human race, trembling and recalling all the evil deeds of their life, for these books are the consciences of mankind, and are never erasable. Every human being has a conscience, a fact which is well documented. Voluntary confession of crimes without supporting evidence verifies this. If we had no conscience and were like robots, we could commit crimes and have no regrets or memory. But we are all created in the image of God, destined to become gods who will live forever! Therefore , our conscience accuses and excuses our words, deeds and thoughts.
The conscience that is within all of us is the small voice of God who silently rebukes or praises what we say and do. It is the books that were opened. Few ever listen to the voice of God, but many tune Him out and listen to the voice, and accept the invitation of the ruler of the world who is our enemy. Silence and prayerfulness enables us to hear the still small voice of God. Most do not like His rebuke, and thus avoid silence and quietness. Parties, loud music, non-stop talking and texting, television, utilizing all the latest smart phones and other devices which drown out the voice of conscience. Each person goes into himself but never hears that still small voice. However their books or conscience keeps right on recording to the end.
When the books are opened, this voice, being permanently turned on cannot be turned off for it is not their own. In the book of conscience is written all the works of our lives. Further, “and the books were opened” also means that to our great shame and sorrow, we willreveal what we did with our lives.
But what of those who believe in Jesus Christ, keep His commandments and dedicate their lives to Him? A good report will come from each of their books testifying to the recorded truth of their faithful lives. In utter delight the faithful believers will hear: “and another book was opened which is the book of life, and the dead were judged out of those things which are written in the book of life.” All life comes from God the source of life. In the beginning Adam and Eve did not know death, but knew only life as given to them by God, but the venom of the serpent injected the poison of disobedience resulting in the scourge of death, which plagues mankind. God wants us to have live abundantly. Christ, who came to save and elevate man to his dignity cries out: “I am the life of the world!”
Christian life is not following some routine or doing certain things without regard. Going to Church and receiving Communion is not all there is, in fact there is so much more, for Christ gave us doctrine and dogmas to be preserved, commandments to be kept, virtues to acquire, and ethical life to put into practice. Orthodox Christian life is a continuously active life which leads us to sanctification and deification. If we do not die to sin and iniquity we cannot live only to Christ, He is our guiding light and the illumination of our souls, and food for both body and soul.
It is in this present life that we must prepare for the judgment certain to come after our death, The Lord and the Apostles, the Ecumenical Fathers and the Martyrs, the Theotokos and all Saints shine before us as an example of what our goal must be, holy as the Lord is holy, and perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect.
As certain as judgment are the rewards or penalties. Those whose names were written in the book of life, wear crowns of glory and enter into the presence of the Lord wiuth complete joy. But those who rejected Christ as King and God, as High Priest and Judge, those who despised good and loved evil, will be “cast into the fire. This is the second death. And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” There is no hope of escape from the second death, neither is there any type of consolation or comfort, but perpetual death with its endless miseries and bitterness.