Lion’s Den Survival Principles is a series designed to help Christians thrive in the often hostile world of media and entertainment. The principles from Scripture, however, can apply to every situation where you find yourself in the midst of lions!
|Dr. Larry Poland|
No Story Is Complete Without an Ending
“At that time . . . there will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars . . . .”
— Daniel 12:1-3 (NIV)
Jean Paul Sartre, the French existentialist, wrote a monstrously depressing play entitled No Exit as the ultimate expression of his philosophy. Since Sartre believed that human life has no Planner and no Plan, he portrayed an eternity in which depressed and hopeless people get off an elevator into an endless existence in which they live for each moment in ultimate selfishness with . . . no exit. Depressing indeed! Yet, this philosophy of life is common in the often-vacuous world of the media.
In contrast to this worldview, Daniel—in the final vision given to him by God—heard the words of the Planner and saw the end of the Plan! The vision, a powerful presentation of God’s philosophy of history, can be summed up in three statements. One, at the end time, things will get worse before they get better. Two, a general resurrection will take some people to eternal life and others to eternal shame, and, three, wise people should be spreading their spiritual light now.
Daniel’s vision fits like a glove with that of The Revelation chapters 4-19 in predicting an end to life as we know it marked by unprecedented suffering and distress. The proverbial Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are part of that vision as they bring oppression, bloodshed, economic collapse, famine, and disease. Thank God, the story doesn’t end there.
God will then resurrect all those who “sleep in the dust of the earth” to face His decision about their future. Those whose names are “written in the book” are delivered from the final suffering to eternal blessing. Knowing this is powerful motivation for survival in whatever kind of distress we experience. Enduring the horrific ordeal of a shipwreck is easier if you know your name is on the rescue list, so be sure your name is written in the “Book of Life.” (Revelation 20:11-15)
Survival Principle: Life is most precious when it is threatened. No distress, no deliverance.
The “eternal shame” part of Daniel’s vision may not sound like good news to those who want to believe that everybody goes to heaven, that “all roads lead to the top of the mountain.” But the absence of a hell is radically more depressing. It means that the Adolph Hitlers of the world go to the same place as do the Mother Theresas. It means there is no justice for evildoers. It means that the “How-could-a-loving-God-allow” questions go forever unanswered. Judgment and hell are wonderful motivators to goodness and belief. Take judgment and hell out of the future life and you introduce them into the present one.
Survival Principle: Trust in a God who can empower you to goodness and rescue you from hell, or you will end up with evildoers in this life and the next.
Jesus expressed the same concept as the Father did in part three of Daniel’s revelation when He said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) The message to Daniel declared that the “wise will shine . . . and lead many to righteousness.” In a nation where 97% of Christians say they have never led another person to Jesus Christ in a one-on-one setting, and 90% say they have never gone through an entire presentation of the Gospel with an unbeliever, we have a lot of foolish believers.
Survival Principle: By spreading your light, you not only illumine your own path, you avoid responsibility for those in your social circle who fall in the darkness.