As the Day of the Lord approaches, we gather regularly on the Lord's Day to worship and be fed by the Word of God. Our feet walk the pilgrim's path as we journey towards the Holy City - towards the holy ground which is sanctified, pure, radiant and resplendent. John describes this destination in Revelation 21:1-11 in words that carry such significance for those who are heavy-laden and burdened by the pressures & sorrows of life. Our journey is ongoing and our path is mired with conflict, division, struggle, and the fleeting experiences of peace and love that mark our days.
This journey reached a climactic point in the life of the patriarch Jacob who meets his beloved son Joseph in the land of Egypt (Genesis 46:28-47:12). We will be reflecting on the meetings that take place in this passage as the LORD God brings his own into the land of safekeeping. Perhaps if you have a moment you can spend time reflecting on Jacob's words about being ready to die and Paul's words in Philippians 1:21 on the very same subject.
Our afternoon service tomorrow will bring our focus to the last judgement which shall take place on the Day of the Lord. Drawing on the riches of 1 Corinthians 15:35-58, we will explore the end or the goal of life as image bearers of the LORD God. To that end, Article 37 of the Belgic Confession offers us much to reflect on (see below).
May the Lord richly bless you as you enjoy this day, prepare for the week ahead, and await the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
Finally, we believe, according to the Word of God, when the time appointed by the Lord (which is unknown to all creatures) is come and the number of the elect is complete, that our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, corporally and visibly, as He ascended, with great glory and majesty to declare himself Judge of the living and the dead, burning this old world with fire and flame to cleanse it. Then all men will personally appear before this great Judge, both men and women and children, that have been from the beginning of the world to the end thereof, being summoned by the voice of the archangel, and by the sound of the trump of God. For all the dead shall be raised out of the earth and their souls joined and united with their proper bodies in which they formerly lived. As for those who shall then be living, they shall not die as the others, but be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and from corruptible become incorruptible. Then the books (that is to say, the consciences) shall be opened and the dead judged according to what they shall have done in this world, whether it be good or evil. Nay, all men shall give account of every idle word they have spoken, which the world only counts amusement and jest; and then the secrets and hypocrisy of men shall be disclosed and laid open before all.
And therefore the consideration of this judgement is justly terrible and dreadful to the wicked and ungodly, but most desirable and comfortable to the righteous and elect; because then their full deliverance shall be perfected, and there they shall receive the fruits of their labor and trouble which they have borne. Their innocence shall be known to all, and they shall see the terrible vengeance which God shall execute on the wicked, who most cruelly persecuted, oppressed, and tormented them in this world, and who shall be convicted by the testimony of their own consciences, and shall become immortal, but only to be tormented in the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels.
But on the contrary, the faithful and elect shall be crowned with glory and honor; and the Son of God will confess their names before God His Father and His elect angels; all tears shall be wiped from their eyes; and their cause which is now condemned by many judges and magistrates as heretical and impious will then be known to be the cause of the Son of God. And for a gracious reward, the Lord will cause them to possess such a glory as never entered the heart of man to conceive.
Therefore we expect that great day with a most ardent desire, to the end that we may fully enjoy the promises of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen. Amen, come, Lord Jesus!