Summary: sermon on Last Judgment Sunday - standing before God
November 10, 2002 Daniel 7:9-10
“As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. 10 A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.
How many of you have ever been on a “blind date?” The pure concept of it is craziness to me. First off, if the person you are set up with is not attractive to you, the whole night is shot. Here you have to spend the night being cordial to a complete stranger who you have no interesting in dating. But let’s take it to the next step, imagine that he or she is a nice looking person. It’s one thing to be attracted to someone. But what are the odds that you will actually be able to carry on a conversation for a whole night? All night your mind would have to race to find things to say, in fear of the five second moment of silence. (Let’s see, I’ve talked about the weather, the food we’re eating - religion? Politics? What next?) No way. Not for me. I’d rather rub a cheese grater up and down my face and stick my head in a piranha bowl. I can only imagine how terrifying it would be to have to do this with marriage! Imagine living in the far east and having your parents say, “Lisa, here is your future husband.” Wow.
The idea of meeting God - face to face - is also a terrifying prospect. We aren’t just talking about spending one night of chit chat with someone. We’re talking about standing before the Judge for an eternal sentence of guilty or not guilty. However, this is not like a completely blind date. In today’s text, for this Last Judgment Sunday, gives you the ability to -
See Yourself Standing Before the Seated One
I. Look at the Seated One
It’s hard to envision standing before God, isn’t it. When I was going through O’Hare Airport with my wife, we walked across an elderly fellow that looked real familiar. We didn’t put it together til months later, but we had walked right by Art Linkletter. I’ve never stood that close to someone on TV. But it’s just a totally different experience when you are face to face with someone that when you see them on TV. That’s about the closest I can come to trying to describe what it will be like to be standing before God on Judgment Day. It will just be so much more vivid than anything we can imagine. Yet God tries to draw a picture of what He is going to look like on that Day - so we know Who we are meeting up with. Obviously, as we read this description, we will see that it is symbolic language. Yet we read this in a literal way- in other words - there is a literal interpretation behind it - this is describing a real thing.
Today’s text starts with Daniel describing, As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. There are basically two pictures that God is trying to draw of Himself in this vision to Daniel. The first one can be found in the name that He gives Himself - the “Ancient of Days.” We will standing before someone who has been around forever - as the white hair also depicts.
What does this mean to us? Or what should it mean to us? God tells us in Leviticus 19 to ‘Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD. Yet what’s the first impression that you have when walking into a nursing home? “These poor people. I’ll smile at them, pat them on the back, and throw them a little cookie of youth, then I’ll get out of here as quickly as possible.” Grandma wants to talk to her high school granddaughter, so granddaughter smiles and says, “yes, grandma. I know.”, while all the time looking for the nearest exit. Let’s be honest. We live in an age that gives millions of dollars to a guy who can throw a ball. So if this old guy can’t throw a ball, what good can he do me? Instead of rising in their presence, we rise and leave the room. These are people who have been there, done that. They’ve made the mistakes in life already. They are less likely to be swayed by emotion or to make rash decisions. In God’s eyes, being elderly is an honorable thing. It shows experience. It shows wisdom. So why does it irritate us so when grandma and grandpa have some suggestions on how to raise our children or what decisions to make?