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Death, Hope & Heaven

Here's an illustration from MovieMinistry.com based on the third installment in The Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Return of the King.

The Big Idea:
The hope of heaven is the death of fear.

Scene Setup:
War has come to Gondor. The city is virtually surrounded by the evil hosts of Mordor. The cause appears hopeless. All that remains is the onslaught, which must lead to horrible, violent deaths for the city's inhabitants. Pippin comes to Gandalf in despair.

Scene:
Pippin sits with Gandalf. Pippin is terrified of the coming battle, telling Gandalf that he is afraid to die.

Gandalf leans back, and comforts Pippin, "Our journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path. One we all must take." Gandalf says that this grey world in which they live is rolled back revealing "silver clouds. And then you see it."

Pippin is stirred. "See what, Gandalf? See what?"

Gandalf has a far away look in his eyes as he says, "White shores. And beyond, a far green country, and a swift sunrise."

Pippin considers, "That isn't so bad . . . "

And Gandalf, agreeing, says, "No, no it isn't."

Application:
Death will eventually come to all of us. For those who believe that this is all there is, the finality of death is a source of terror. But those who believe in the promises of God have an answer to that terror - heaven.

Pagan rulers of old were astonished at the bravery shown by the early Christian martyrs. These men and women were not focusing on what would happen to them here, but on what awaited them once death arrived - heaven.

Heaven is not something far off, but is a present place. Those who recognize it as their home can live fearlessly here, knowing that whatever happens to them, when their tasks are done there is an eternal dwelling made for them, and a loving, forgiving God prepared to welcome them.