Today we read the final chapters in both the Old and New Testaments. Both describe in graphic and symbolic detail the climax of world history. Malachi says, “the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and evildoers will be stubble” (4:1). But what should concern us most, are the principles God uses in accepting human beings – whether He grants them a wondrous eternal future or not!

Revelation says that Jesus, now at God’s right hand, tells John, “Behold I am coming soon, bringing my recompense (reward) with me, to repay everyone for what he (or she) has done” (22:12). The reward of the righteous is where they have “laid up treasure” (Luke 18:22) – but they do not go to heaven to receive it, Jesus brings it to them. Jesus declares, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life” (22:14,15). This Garden of Eden language takes our thoughts to Adam and Eve who were excluded so they could not eat of that tree.

Who is to be left outside in “outer darkness” (Matthew 8:12), the place of the eternally dead when the climax of the ages is reached? Revelation tells us, “Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (22:15). Compare Malachi 3:5.

The final category of those who “practice falsehood” embraces many people. How God despises those who are not honest in word and deed was stressed in chapter 21. Note verse 8 “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death”. The symbol of the “lake” is there plainly stated.

Luke 13:23-28 contains Jesus’ answer to the question, “Will those who are saved be few?” Jesus says, at his return, when he rejects them, they will say, “we ate and drank in your presence and you taught in our streets”. And will there not also be many who will say ‘we read the Bible’? But although they did this – if they loved and practised the wrong thing and the practice of their faith was parallel to that of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day! How tragic for those will be “the day that is coming”! May we all, in 2021, renew our endeavours to genuinely love God – and to know and believe what is true and practice a Godly way of life.