Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More on Revelation 20:11-15 from Hanns Lilje

I love the description of Revelation 20:11-15, about which I wrote here, by the late Lutheran scholar, Hanns Lilje (1899-1977):
The great description of the "last judgment"...has been represented...often in art. The element which distinguishes it from the mass of pictorial representations...is its strange, unearthly character. The whole scene is bathed in a transparent light which is not of this world at all...here everything that belongs to our earthly life fades out of sight...God's throne glows with a white radiance...[T]he presence of God is of such transcendent majesty that it can only be described indirectly...

Heaven and earth "flee away"...and fade into the background. They disappear; they are no longer there. This void means that all what made human life on earth possible has vanished. All that is left is a vast open space of spiritual emptiness, in which no human being could breathe or stand--peopled only by the dead in countless numbers, undifferentiated, without any earthly and historical differences, bound together by one thing only: that they are "before the throne of God." This expression really means the "second resurrection." All that the preceding chapters [of Revelation]...have constantly emphasized becomes clear: God has kept the last judgment in his own hands. It only seemed as though the course of history ran counter to his holy will. But no single day in earthly history has been able to detract for one moment from God's sovereignty.

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