“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” vs. 2
Christians are an Easter people…we confess our faith in resurrection in nearly every one of our worship services. We can’t even imagine what it would be like to live without a solid confidence in life beyond death. But people haven’t always felt that way. In fact the Hebrew scriptures seldom give even a hint of such a conviction. The people of God in those days spoke of death as the end…as a great sleep. That’s why this little passage from Daniel speaking of a great awakening is so startling. This writer believed that in the midst of great turmoil and anguish God would act to bring new life even to those who slept in the dust of the earth. Others expanded on the idea and by the time of Jesus most Jews did believe in a great resurrection at the end of time. Based on their experience of the Risen Christ early Christians made new life the cornerstone of their proclamation. Some, like the writer of Daniel, believed that resurrection was the prelude to a day of judgment where there would be a separation of the good from the evil. Others, more graceful in their orientation, simply focus on the promise of new life in Christ…they don’t want condemnation for anyone. Regardless of our position on judgment, it’s good to know that beyond the sleep of death there will be a new and glorious day of life.
Thought for the Day: How do I feel about a day of judgment?