The angelic audience, witnessing the epic drama of His story, now shift their focus from what is happening to what will happen. In Act 2 Scene 4 they have been given the script for the final defining moment of the Son of God. The details of their role are not yet complete, but they see enough to anticipate it with a combination joy and sorrow: joy because they will get to announce His return and sorrow because they will help execute divine justice.
They are also amazed as they read the script to find people, especially those who read the Scripture, so cavalier about this final defining moment. The angelic audience observes that people are living as though there is no continuity between their current life and the next. They marvel that God’s people live as if there is no accountability for their lives…as though grace has wiped out personal responsibility.
The angels are especially perplexed that some would claim that the love of God will “win out” as if there is a competition within the nature of God in which one trait could trump the rest. Considering the scope of Scripture, why would they have such a compartmentalized, mechanistic view of the nature of God in which certain traits can operate independently from the others? The angels can only shake their heads in befuddled confusion.
In the scene yet to be played out on the stage of history, the music crescendos to a climax as the Son of Man (the previously invisible King) now takes his place as King Triumphant. Accompanied by the hosts of heaven, He is announced with great power, splendor and glory for all to see. When He returns, the living and the dead, the righteous and the unrighteous…all will behold Him (John 5:28-29). No one is excluded.
Not only does He return as the visible King, but also as the righteous Judge. It is this part of His revelation that brings sorrow to the angelic army. They know that their task is to separate those who have a “kingdom passport” from those who don’t. Every person’s passport will be checked identifying their picture, date of spiritual birth, and country of citizenship. There are only two options: the domain of darkness or the kingdom of light. They are tasked with the sobering role of escorting one group into the eternal presence of God and the other to a destiny without Him. There is no second chance and annihilation is not an option.
It is this display of the righteous wrath of God that is most sobering. Sobering because despite the clear evidence around them, people refused to believe, choosing darkness instead of light and slavery instead of freedom. They were warned yet rejected the message. They blew it off, rationalized it away, creating a caricature of God that made sentimental movies but ignored truth. Maybe they thought that since justice was delayed, it would never come. But now the righteous Judge is here and the justice of God is revealed.
Along with the revelation of Christ as King/Judge and the exposure of His legitimate family, there will also be the revelation of each person’s stewardship of the one life he was given. The assessment will be personal, thorough, accurate, and fair. There will be no excuses, alibies, or defenses. The revelation will be accompanied by retribution and recompense (1 Cor. 3:11-15, 2 Cor 5:10).
Considering the implications of this critical event, the angels ponder why the family of faith basically ignores it even though Jesus taught it clearly in his kingdom parables. Paul continued the teaching claiming that this day of accountability was a personal motivation for his life and work (I Cor 3:10-15; I Cor 4:1-5; I Cor. 5:6-10).
But maybe it was important to Paul (and not others) because his life’s ambition was to please the One who had called him. To Paul, accountability was more than the gain or loss of rewards, but the desire to delight the One he had come to know. To Paul (and some in the family of faith) pleasing Him (not to be confused with appeasing Him) was the central motivation for living as His ambassador. Their greatest reward will be to hear the words, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
At this final scene of His revelation all humanity from the beginning of time will see His return. He will be revealed as sovereign King and righteous Judge, returning with power and glory. Finally, continuity will be comprehended, justice served, and consequences experienced. His patience will end, the Book opened, hypocrisy exposed, and faithfulness celebrated. His family, permanently transformed into a new expression of humanity, will perfectly fit the new dimensions of their eternal home.
With the curtain on the stage closed the post production party begins. The star of the drama, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Lord, gives all the Oscars to the Father surrounded by the angelic hosts and His family of faith, each expressing worship in the language and music of their culture.
Although the curtain will come down on this epic drama, it is not the end. It is only the end of the beginning. With sin abolished, Satan banished, and time irrelevant, the journey of knowing Him will continue on forever in a renewed and recreated universe. Read His Story (4)