There is a terrifying and deadly moment of time between this life and the next which is entirely defined by absolutes. That moment allows for no gray areas, game playing, excuses, or rationalizations. It is, indeed, a time of absolute truth and absolute outcomes.
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David Dyke involuntarily stepped forward and unexpectedly penetrated some sort of ethereal curtain in space and time. With this step, seemingly he had finally reached the head of the line in which he had been slowly advancing for what seemed like an eternity. If the normal laws of gravity had still been in play, fear and emotional weariness would surely have buckled his knees long before this final step.
David was 28 years old when Earth’s last day came. He and his wife and little boy lived in Silver Spring, Maryland, just out of D.C. where David was a bi-vocational pastor. He was working part time as photographer for the Washington Post. His wife Becky was also employed as a staff writer for the paper.
Life was very good for this vibrant young couple. They were truly thriving amidst the daily swirl of the Church, the paper, and the daily drama of Washington’s political circles. And, the issues of that swirl had become the very fabric their active social life with a large circle of friends, both secular and religious.
But, in this moment, David stood completely alone, tears streaming down his face as he peered into the churning, smoke-filled abyss which was now only one more uncomfortably short step in front of him. He had, for some time now, been hearing the terrified screams of others who had preceded him to this very precarious position. But, for the moment, all David could manage was an unceasing whimper. It was flowing out of his abject confusion as to why he was even here, and the absolute terror that he actually was.
As David took that final step through that intangible curtain, his eye became immediately fixed on the powerfully built being just to his right. He was not even an arm’s length away. And, being colored by the redish-orange glow of the rising smoke, this noticeably larger than life-size being seemed very menacing. David somehow knew that he was an angel – but not like any representation which he had ever seen before.
The angel was squarely facing in David’s direction, but he stood absolutely silent and stoic. He had a thousand yard stare which was leveled slightly above David’s head. In David’s mind he bore the look of some divinely appointed enforcer. Nevertheless, he spoke not one word nor made any move to do anything. But, the message in the angel’s eyes was clear, “No pity resides here.”
As the smoke of the pit rose before David, suddenly bright flaming words began to appear in the thinner foreground of the smoke. They moved upward in loose sync with the sulfurous, swirling wisps of the smoke.
These fiery messages first materialized in the shallower depths of the pit. Then, very slowly, they rose in front of David only to eventually disappear in the heights of the smoke’s column - like cosmic movie credits.
And, with each emblazoned word which appeared in the foreground of the smoke, there also appeared, a short scene from David’s life. It was as if these were somehow projected onto the greater density of the more central smoke. Each scene seemed, a kind of gossamer movie clip.
And, surrounding all of this, was a heavy and very absorbent silence, only barely broken by the sound of David’s whimpering and the faint background voices of those life-clips. Very quickly, David realized that each of those scenes were connected to the words in the foreground. It became obvious that those scenes were verifying the accusations formed by the words. And, he now understood that this was a divine method of indictment.
So, David stood there in that hot, chocking environment of God’s final judgement. He was not, now, able to actually speak or move – only to see and hear. He was absolutely arrested by both divine decree, and his own fear, as he watched the flaming charges rising before him.
And, adding to David’s confusion, those blazing words, never alluded to even one external failure, that is - a failure in his actions. They pointed only the failures of his inner man, the failures within his heart, having to do with motives and values. And, those flaming words, with their corroborating scenes, continued to expose those inner failures for a very long time.
There appeared words like Arrogant, and Self-assured, and Apathetic. And, as David began to fully realize that these were, indeed, accusations aimed at him, he began to lash out defiantly, in his mind. But eventually, as the process continued, these mental arguments started to seem ludicrous, even to him.
They became ludicrous, one, because they were actually entirely muted, thus, having absolutely no effect, whatsoever. But more, they started to seem ridiculous from the standpoint of substance.
As this indictment + evidence process continued, word after word and scene after scene, something started to become clear, even to David. It began to be obvious that throughout his life he had, indeed, been living in a very small, and very carefully constructed, delusional bubble - of his own making. And, denying that now truly seemed intellectually dishonest and entirely futile in the face of what was presently appearing before him.
And so, those fiery indictments continued to appear and rise up before him for a long season: Insincere… Pretentious… Underinvested… Materialistic… Rationalizing… Self-centered … Blind… Worldly… Delusional… Indignant… Doubleminded… Deaf… Haughty… Deceiving… Deceived… Shallow… Compromising… Insensitive… Stubborn… Compartmentalizing… Self-willed… Evasive… Weak. And on, and on, and on they came.
And always, with each new word, there were those confirming life scenes. And, as each new construction appeared, more and more, of David’s delusional bubble was abraded away. Until finally, in that last desperate moment, even in his own mind, there was simply no defense left to him by the divine scrutiny.
Thus, exposed to God’s objective and encompassing Absolute Truth, David’s flimsy life-delusion was systematically and undeniably debunked – from the inside, out. And, the ultimate outflow of that process was the stark exposure of the true shallowness of his personal response to Christ.
And then – the work of divine judgement was done. The truth was firmly and finally established by the unchallengeable estimates of Almighty God. And, David’s fate was irrevocably sealed forever as these final, fiery words appeared before him, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
The angel then simply nodded. And, as he fell, David’s screams sounded very much like the screams of those who had preceded him into that eternal pit. And then, Shanice Jones stepped through that Veil of Separation to face her own judgement – entirely alone.
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“Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” -Jesus