I Want To See An Execution
I want to see an execution. I want to watch the condemned beg. I want to hear him plea for a stay of execution. I want to watch him grovel for mercy from the Judge. I want to see the iron resolve in the eyes of the merciless Judge as he gives the nod. I want to hear his agonized screams and watch him burn. I want to witness the death of Death.
You see I am tired of witnessing death. I am tired of seeing grief. I am tired of mourning. It has been twice this year that I have felt the overwhelming dark presence of the Reaper. The first time was at the switching of the calendar page. A former Concordia University Irvine (CUI) alum who was serving as a Flagstaff police officer was shot and killed in the line of duty. He was a young man who was in his mid-twenties. At the same time a coast away a current Concordia student—a young girl in her early twenties—was coming home from a holiday event when her car was involved in a horrific flaming car accident and she was killed on site. Not long after that one of my colleagues experienced the tragic loss of his teenage daughter.
There was then a brief reprieve and then summer hit. Three more deaths occurred. The first was the death of my last grandparent. Grandma was in in her mid-nineties when she died. It had been a long battle with Alzheimer’s. The second one was of the original founding president of CUI—Dr. Charles Manske—who finally lost his long battle to cancer. The third was a mom of two young boys, in her thirties, whose husband teaches at the university. She too lost her long battle with cancer.
In grief, in mourning, in exasperation I cry out: “God damn you death!”
And God hears my cry and responds: “That’s exactly what I plan on doing.”
It is in the final book of Holy Scripture where God promises to carry out his damnation of death. We read the following from Revelation 20:11-14:
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
Did you catch what v. 14 said? Jesus throws Death into the lake of fire. Death is going to drown in fire. Death is going to burn. At the final judgment the baptized army of the Living God will watch the execution of Death. In one of the weirdest and wildest ironies of the Bible death dies! The Reaper will gasp his last rattled breath. Here we will witness the final act of God’s grand drama. We will witness the final defeat that began with the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and which will culminate after our own resurrections from the dead. In the words of Job, with our own eyes, we look upon our Redeemer, we look upon the Judge, and we will watch Him carry out the greatest sentence of all as Death is cast into that burning hellhole (Job 19:25-27).
Oh, how I long for the day when the last enemy is finally destroyed (1 Cor. 15:26). How I long to experience in my own resurrected flesh the rejoicing of the saints of God over the final promised victory of Christ. How I yearn to see and touch, once again, baptized brothers and sisters who have been ripped from me by the scythe of the Reaper.
How I long for the day.
Which is why we cry as saints today: “Come Lord Jesus, Come!”