Name on the List?
26th Sunday after Pentecost
Grace, Mercy and Peace to you from God our Father and His only Son, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
12 “At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.
And at that time your people shall be delivered,
Everyone who is found written in the book.
2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3 Those who are wise shall shine
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness
Like the stars forever and ever.
My older brother lives in California. On the weekend he would sometimes go with friends out to the nightclubs in and around Los Angeles. Some of these clubs were exclusive; only letting in people who were on the list held by the bouncer at the door.
One evening, after waiting in line to reach the door, my brother was told that only people on the list were allowed in. The sentinel then asked for my brother’s name. Now he knew his name was not on the list because he was not wealthy or famous, nor did he know people of that ilk. But he thought, ‘I’ve been waiting in line a long time. I’ll give him my name anyway.’
He gave his name and the guardian of the special list looked and replied, ‘I found your name, go right in!’ Surprised but happy, my brother entered. He thought this was a curious accident but he decided to try his name at different nightspots to see if it would happen again.
Throughout the summer he was ushered in ahead of others who were not so lucky to have a reserved spot on the list at many different establishments. Until one night, he gave his name and the attendant told him that he was already inside! Well this really piqued my brother’s interest and he had to meet this man who had the same name.
Eventually he was able to enter the club and he met the man with his name. It turned out to be a large black man who was quite wealthy. He was also very amicable after my brother introduced himself. The man said, ‘I have been wondering who was using my name all around town and if I would ever meet you!’
Some of you may have been to events where your name was recorded so that you could gain entry. Most of us have been to events where you must have a ticket to get into the venue. In either instance, you must have planned ahead in order to make the necessary arrangements in order to gain entrance.
The faithful man of God, Daniel, was given insight to the greatest event of all – the End Times. This is not surprising as, like Joseph, he had been given the gift of interpretation by God. Daniel was one of the children of Israel selected to be trained to serve in the king’s palace. Yet it was Daniel’s gift that, even though he was a captive, gave him access and credibility with the King.
Understand that Daniel’s service to King Nebuchadnezzar was not always a bed of roses – for once it was even a den of lions – yet he was able to remain faithful to God and even witness to the king about the ‘God above all gods’.
Years passed for Daniel and:
“In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision.” [Daniel 10:1]
This vision spoke of Kings and nations and wars. These things came to pass and we have recordings of these events from various historians. Yet the final vision of Daniel was not so near-sighted.
This final vision was to happen “At the time of the end…” At that time there will be another battle between kings. And, “At that time Michael shall stand up… And there shall be a time of trouble such as never was…”
When is this time? We don’t know. Every generation believes that theirs is the ‘End Times’ because the world does not seem to be getting more peaceful or God fearing. Also, I am sure that every generation hopes and prays that if it is their time that their name is written in the book of life.
The question then becomes, ‘Is my name on the list?’ We ask ourselves, ‘Who can be saved?’ We all know that we are mortal sinners who cannot extend our lives by even a hand’s width and so we rightly are concerned about our salvation.
As followers of Christ we believe that on the Last Day “…many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.” [Daniel 12:2] And so we ask ourselves – and our Lord – ‘How do I get my name on the list?’
Whom do we call to make that reservation? What ticket must I buy to get into the big event? Well, my brothers and sisters, I have some good news and some bad news.
The bad news is – you can’t buy your way into the Kingdom of God nor can you get in by your good works. We don’t decide whose names are written on the list.
Now here is the good news. Jesus Christ came down from his holy kingdom to invite you to a life in his Father’s house. By taking our debt of sin upon himself, by dying on the cross, by being buried in the tomb and finally, rising again in victory over sin, death and the devil, Jesus Christ paid for our eternal life.
Through our baptism into his death and resurrection, our names have been written in the book of life. Even though we do not deserve it, we have been given a free pass into his glorious kingdom. On the Last Day, at that time, you shall be delivered.
At that time, Jesus will say to you, ‘Your name is on the list, come right in!’