“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
- Matthew 7:21-23
“Thanks to Christ, this earth can be the nearest you come to hell.
“But apart from Christ, this earth is the nearest you’ll come to heaven.
“A friend told me about the final hours of her aunt. The woman lived her life with no fear of God or respect for his Word. She was an atheist. Even in her final days, she refused to let anyone speak of God or eternity. Only her Maker knows her last thoughts and her destiny, but her family heard her final words. Hours before death, scarcely conscious of her surroundings, she opened her eyes. Addressing a face only visible to her, she defied, ‘You don’t know me? You don’t know me?’
“Was she hearing the pronouncement of Christ: ‘I never knew you; depart from me.’ (Matt. 7:23 ESV)?
“Contrast her words with those of a Christ follower. The dying man made no secret of his faith or longing for heaven. Two days before he succumbed to cancer, he awoke from a deep sleep and told his wife, ‘I’m living in two realities. I’m not allowed to tell you. There are others in this room.’ And on the day he died, he opened his eyes and asked, ‘Am I special? Why, that I should be allowed to see all this?’
“Facing death with fear or faith, dread or joy. ‘Whoever believes in him shall not perish …’ God makes the offer. We make the choice.”
- Max Lucado, 3:16, The Numbers of Hope
My Dad’s father opened his eyes before death and my parents said that he smiled and his face glowed. He said nothing, but they could only imagine that Granddaddy had seen Jesus. When my brother was dying of a brain tumor, he had conversations with his first son who had died of infant crib death decades before. My Dad died almost exactly three weeks after my brother passed. He said that he could see my brother and his son waiting.
I have also heard of people that were so afraid near the end of their lives that they kept the lights on all night. They could see a man dressed all in black, hovering over them. They feared what was to come.
I believe that it was a Max Lucado video where he talked about an oncology wing of a hospital. The nurses loved visiting one room because the woman was joyful and passed along cheer and love to all who entered her room. The other woman down the hall almost had to press the call button to get anyone to visit her. She was afraid. Her fear put her ill-at-ease. In this state, she was rude and angry with all who entered her room, even with those who came to make her life more comfortable.
I wrote yesterday about John 6:66, and how the odd numbering of the verse might lead to the idea of the sign of the beast. In the verse, it says that many of Jesus’ disciples left when Jesus tried to explain that He was the Bread of Life. He had just fed the 5,000. It should have been easy to understand, but they left because the teaching was too hard.
Now add Matthew 7:22-23 to that. Jesus says that some of the people at judgment will ask, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Now let’s do some investigative work. In Luke 10, Jesus sent out 72 disciples with authority to perform miracles. John 6 says that some of His disciples left and never returned. So, I can only assume that some of the 72 could have been part of the ones who left. They could indeed be among those who perform many miracles, but only those who have a viable, honest relationship with their Master will be saved.
“Depart from me. I never knew you.” These are words, when spoken by Jesus, worse than death to all who hear them. Literally, they are the judgment leading to the second death.
Come to Jesus. As Max Lucado ends this quote above, God has made the offer. It is up to each of us what to choose. Yet, choose we must.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.