In Daniel, chapter 12, we learn what happens to those people who have passed on to the grave. Even from generation to generation, there will be a record of what people have and have not done. There is a book of life, and those that are found in it are those that are saved, but those that are not and the ones who are damned. This will be made known to people when they rise from the graves and enter the halls of judgment. Where Jesus will be there judge. And in Daniel’s own words, it reads, “and at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:1,2) Now, as you’ve read, the spirit shall come back into people’s bodies in that day that they awake. This doesn’t mean that their spirit was resting, but that their body was. For until this time, those who are in Christ were in paradise, but those who are not were suffering in hell. We know this from the story of the rich man and Lazarus. This is where “in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” (Luke 16:23) Lazarus was in paradise, while the rich man was in hell.
When Christ returns, the dead shall rise from the graves, but those who are saved through Christ Jesus will rise first. As Paul said, “for the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18) And the best part is this… Those who brought people unto Jesus throughout their lifetime will be greatly rewarded on that day. They may have had the light of Christ in their lives, all throughout, but that same light will now burn even brighter in heaven. Their light will be even like unto the stars of heaven. Praise be to God. As Daniel said, “and they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Daniel 12:3,4) My friends, and brothers and sisters in the faith, how do you want God to see you when you rise up from the grave? Do you want to have His rewards fall upon you, by becoming His witness to the world, or simply hope that you are found worthy another way? What happens after this will continue forever and ever.
Let us pray:
Oh Lord, I pray that we will all be ready when You return. Many people who read this prayer today may not be with us tomorrow, next month, next year, or even years to come. But what matters is what they have done in this life. Though our bodies are asleep in the dust in the earth, as You have spoken, our spirits will return to them in that day. We will either have been in paradise or been suffering in hell. And it is my prayer that people in the faith will be true to their belief in You, Jesus, and find themselves in paradise before Your return. For we know that the day You return, our spirits will return to our bodies and then either be rewarded by You, Jesus, or have to go before You in judgment. Surely, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. And I do not wish to be one of those who are in the myriads of lines awaiting their fate. Instead, I wish to be Your elect and go before You worthy. It is my prayer that I will hear You say, “well done, thy good and faithful servant. Come into my presence, my dear beloved child”. This is waking up unto everlasting life, where there will be no more pain, sorrow, or death. On the other hand, my soul cries out for people to turn to You before it is too late. I do not wish people to rise from the graves unto everlasting torment, shame, and regret. This is when people who are unworthy will be tossed into the lake of fire. But I know that You, Jesus, is a just God, and will deal with people justly. I believe in You, Lord. Lead me to more people, who will be receptive to Your message of hope. I love You. Amen.