Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Wise Shall Shine

In this post:  The resurrection, Ten Virgins, and baby stars

The Kingdom of God will be inhabited by people whose souls shine like the sun.  (Matt 13:43)  Light is often associated with good and dark with evil.  Is this just poetic or will people really shine?

An angel speaking to Daniel in the Old Testament said, “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.  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.”  (Dan 12:2-3)  I’m fascinated by the angel’s description of the next life.  A person who is sleeping in the dust of the Earth is dead.  When they awake, they are resurrected to a new life or to an everlasting contempt.  (Contempt is such a loaded word)  

Jesus used similar language when he said, “all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:29)

I looked around and found another verse that puts the state of the wicked in another way.  This one is in Luke 13:28, “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.”  I know the bitter disappointment of being rejected.  This verse seems to describe hell as state of being left out.  What I read into it, which maybe is only implied, is that the people thrust out are surprised by the outcome.

In another story, the one with the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-12) there are only five that hold their lamps with oil and all are surprised by the bridegroom.  There are five virgins that haven’t noticed that their lights are gone out.  The verse in Daniel uses the word “wise” which is what made me think of the virgins.  Are they holding their souls (little lights) in their hands?  And when they enter the kingdom of God, is it their souls that shine?

Image used with permission

Paul speaks of turning souls to the light in Acts 26:18.  “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”  He is preparing for the kingdom of God when he talks about the “inheritance.”  Paul hopes to turn souls but really we have to turn ourselves.

I guess I like to think of my soul as a light.  I hope it shines.  I think it probably flickers.  On good days my eyes sparkle and on bad days, they are dull and lifeless.  I hope to be like the wise virgins whose lamps have oil.  I never thought of those lamps as “baby stars.”  Maybe they are going to shine forever.  Pretty thought.

I’ve got a new video that goes into depth on John 5.  You can watch it here.

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