Written by Vinnie Tumia
Eternity. It’s a word that is difficult for the human mind to grasp. We accept that things have a beginning… and an end. We recognize that summer gives way to fall. We celebrate births and and mourn deaths. We witness the sun rising and then setting. When we hear that the afterlife is never-ending, our human mind hits a wall. But there is a truth we must accept: God is eternal, and the life after this one is forever. This truth makes a verse in Daniel very troubling.
“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 12:2)
There is a celebration of all that eternity includes for those who know Christ as their Savior. We cannot totally understand all the details of what the afterlife includes, but we know we will enjoy the splendor of who God is in every way.
However, there is an opposite to this exciting wonder that some will experience: dread and horror. “Everlasting contempt” is how Daniel describes it.
Hell is as real as heaven. And just as long. We cannot overstate the horrors of hell. The Bible gives descriptive details that will scare any sane person. It should cause all us to stop and consider the seriousness of eternity there. Every person will be in one place or the other. Every family member. Every neighbor. Every coworker. Every person we pass at the store or on our commute to work. What’s the takeaway? Daniel answers that for us.
“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.” (Daniel 12:2–3)
Shine the gospel. That’s the takeaway. Be a light for Jesus in the grocery store, at the restaurant, and over the fence in your backyard. Everyone will inhabit eternity somewhere. Ask God for a passion for those who don’t know Christ and ask Him for opportunities to share the gospel. When He answers, work hard to turn people “to righteousness.”
The only thing worse than not understanding eternity is not helping people prepare for it.