The Bible describes our days on this earth as “like the morning dew” that quickly disappears. Like God’s trustworthy word, our days pass very quickly. We need to contemplate how empty and meaningless human life is and how quickly it fades away. As people of Zion, we should devote our whole time to what is true and hopeful─what is entrusted to us by God. Unlike the people who waste their whole lives pursuing worthless things, we live our lives for the eternal kingdom of heaven. Now, let’s have time to renew our hope for heaven through the words of the Bible.
Do not boast about tomorrow
A fisherman happened to find Aladdin’s magic lamp on the seashore. When he rubbed the lamp, a giant genie popped out and said that he would grant him one wish. The fisherman asked him to bring a newspaper of the following year. After receiving the newspaper, he began to look up stock prices to find out what stocks to buy in order to earn lots of money and become a millionaire. He was browsing through the newspaper, feeling very happy. However, he was soon shocked to find his name in the newspaper’s obituary. Planning ahead for his future after one year, he wanted to invest in stocks and make lots of money. But he turned pale with surprise when he saw his name in the obituary. Such is life. Like the fisherman in the story, around us there are many who suddenly pass away. Lately we’ve heard on the news that a Korean comedian, who was not even fifty years old, died a sudden death after finishing exercise. Just a few days ago, he breathed the same air as us, full of great expectations about his future in the United States. However, death overtook him unexpectedly. This could happen to anyone else. People make so many worldly plans, without even being aware of their death approaching.
Pr 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.
Men do not even know what will happen to them after an hour. They may live longer or suffer a sudden or unexpected death. Some die in surgery, some during exercise, and some in a car accident. Sometimes, many are killed in unexpected natural or man-made disasters. Recently a landslide occurred in a country, and all the inhabitants of the village were buried alive under heaps of earth while sleeping at night. Things like this occur often. So God told us not to boast about tomorrow.
Lk 12:16-21 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ ”
The foolish rich man thought there were many years left for him to increase his riches and live a life of ease. He was full of dreams for the future, making great plans to eat all kinds of delicious food and build a fine house. However, that very night he died. How foolish and pitiful! Death is a sleep and rest for those who abide in God, but to those who don’t, it means eternal destruction and punishment. Human life is so transient. So through the above parable Jesus told us to repent without delay and prepare to return to the kingdom of heaven. “Do not boast about tomorrow.” Through these words, we can find what is God’s will for us. He wants us to constantly prepare for eternal life.
Prepare for the kingdom of heaven
Mt 4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
Life is uncertain. Nobody knows what may happen tomorrow. God took pity on us, poor men, and came to this earth in the flesh to save us. He urged repentance, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near,” and taught us that we must have eternal life in order to go back to heaven.
Jn 6:27-58 “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” …Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. …unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. …”
Jesus came to this earth to give us food that gives eternal life, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” He Himself became the bread of life, and promised eternal life to mortal men through His flesh and blood. We can find out what represents Jesus’ flesh and blood through the truth of the Passover.
Mt 26:17-19, 26-28 …So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. …While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Lk 22:7-20 …When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. …” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
The disciples prepared the Passover as Jesus had directed them, and Jesus said He had eagerly desired to eat the Passover. This clearly shows us that the Passover is an essential truth of our faith. He spoke of the Passover bread as His body and the wine as His blood of the covenant. This is the new covenant established by God. He declared the Passover to be the new covenant, and promised to give eternal life to those who eat and drink the Passover bread and wine which represent Jesus’ flesh and blood.
Through the new covenant, we can receive the promise of eternal inheritance in heaven (Heb 9:15-17). Those who have eternal life will go to heaven, but those who do not receive it will go to hell. The Passover of the new covenant provides a criterion to discern between the place where we have to go and the place where we must not enter.
A life that ends in death, and a life that continues into eternity
What does the kingdom of heaven, which God has prepared for us, look like? Revelation chapter 21 paints a glorious picture of heaven.
Rev 21:1-27 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, …. “ …God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” …The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. …Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
There is no death or mourning or crying or pain in the kingdom of God; there is only everlasting joy and happiness. If we dedicate our whole life to God, fearing Him and keeping His commandments, we will enjoy the delights of heaven, prepared by God, forever and ever. Through the following story, let’s think about how beautiful and worthy God has made the life of the children of Zion. Alexander the Great, the world conqueror, had Aristotle as his teacher and learned from him philosophy, ethics and politics in his childhood. One day, Aristotle asked the young prince Alexander what he would do when he became king.
“First of all, I will conquer Asia Minor,” Alexander replied. The teacher asked him again. “What will you do after conquering Minor Asia?” “I will conquer Palestine and Egypt.” “What will you do after you conquer them?” “I will conquer Persia and India.” The prince answered briskly. Aristotle asked him once again. “What will you do after the conquest of Persia and India?” Then Alexander replied as follows: “By that time, I’ll probably be dead.”
The final answer of the great hero, who had more power and more wealth than any one had ever had before, was “I will also die.” All people will give the same answer. “What are you going to do after that?” To this question there is only one answer for them-that is ‘death.’ What about us? How are we going to answer the following questions?
“First of all, what would you like to do as a gospel worker, reborn as a child of God?” “I want to conquer Asia Minor through the gospel.” “What are you going to do after that?” “I will conquer Palestine, Egypt, Persia and India through the gospel.” “After that?” “I want to evangelize the whole world.” “After that?” “By that time I’ll be in heaven.”
Alexander dreamed to conquer the world by the sword. However, we are dreaming and working to save the whole world through the gospel. The world greatly respects a person such as Alexander. But compare his conclusion with ours. He concluded by saying that he would die at the end of his life. But our answer is that “the everlasting kingdom of heaven is waiting for us.” There is a huge difference between their end and ours, isn’t there?
Though some have great power and wealth envied by all, their splendor does not last forever. To the people of the world, death means the termination of life. However, there is no end to us. If we evangelize the whole world, then the eternal and beautiful kingdom of heaven awaits us. Nothing awaits them except death. But for us God has prepared a kingdom-the heavenly one, which we will possess forever and ever. So we are to be joyful always and give eternal thanks to God for calling us into the truth.
The true path which human beings must proceed on
The book of Ecclesiastes, written by Solomon, describes well the emptiness of human life that ends with death.
Ecc 1:1-10 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? …All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. …
Solomon had experienced everything a man could aspire to-wealth, power, honor, fame and sensual pleasure. However, writing the book of Ecclesiastes towards the end of his life, he stated that everything is empty and meaningless. It was the same with Alexander the Great. After acceding to the throne, he set out on his Asian expedition and built a huge empire of which he had dreamed. But while on his return journey, he contracted a fever, and died at the young age of 33. He killed so many people and took away many things, so he could fulfill a long-cherished dream. But what did it profit him? He fought many bloody battles in which he might be killed by the spears and swords of his enemies at any moment. In the end, he died young of illness. Considering his whole life, everything is empty, meaningless and useless.
No one is worthless whom God has created. However, men do not understand God’s will and chase a life dedicated to worthless goals, and they face death in the end. In the last part of the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon gives us the secret to live a worthy life, not a meaningless one.
Ecc 12:7-14 and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Everything is meaningless!” … Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
The most blessed and worthiest thing in life is to fear God and keep His commandments. The book of Ecclesiastes starts with the words-“Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless,” and concludes with the words-“Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
Men must have God on their side. Happiness can be found in a relationship with God. Apart from God, everything is worthless. Money, materials and anything else in the world cannot bring a person true happiness. Worldly-minded people only cling to meaningless and worthless things, being held in slavery to them throughout all their life. And finally they meet a tragic end-death.
What about those who dwell in Zion and fear God, diligently keeping all His commands and teachings? Their life is not in vain. Through the new covenant we are given the grace to go back to our eternal heavenly home. So, we have hope for the future and our labor is not in vain. Surely we live a true and valuable life.
Meaningful labor for the kingdom of heaven
We are really blessed to have met God. We have understood by grace the glorious path that God has prepared for us and entered the path. But so many people in the world choose a meaningless, worthless path. Mother takes pity on them and sends all peoples an invitation to “come” so that they may choose a meaningful path to the forgiveness of sins and the eternal kingdom of heaven, not a meaningless path of life. Many prophets go to the nations of the world and deliver Mother’s invitation to them diligently. God opens the eyes, ears and minds of many people around the world. In time people from every nation will come crowding into the arms of Jerusalem Mother.
Our heavenly Father and Mother have led us to live such a wonderful life. While the people of the world choose the meaningless path of life, we have chosen a truly beautiful and meaningful life. We are obligated to bring this good news to all people around the world, so that we can all proceed toward the everlasting kingdom of heaven together. In obedience to God’s command-“Save the world,” we shall devote our whole hearts and lives to the meaningful and valuable work.