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My chest exploded with unbearable pain as I pressed my cupped hands against a now sweaty and slumped body. I felt a chill sweep over me as my lungs gasped like a clogged bellow. My soul pleads for life, but my body yielded to an inevitable final breath. Now what?
That sliver taken out of eternity, called time, faded as I inhaled my first breath of forever. The reality of my endless fate began to tug at my spirit. An anxious trembling overtook me as I surveyed this limitless expanse of brightness that surrounded me. Then this new world came into focus. Celestial sights and sounds preempted a disrobing of my control.
A magnetic force drew me toward voices. Faint at first, but they grew louder and louder like tempestuous waves encroaching the shore—gentle whispers caressing the coral, then a crescendo of thunderous crashes.
“Where am I going?” I asked myself as the sea of transformed souls started to part like the Red Sea at the command of Moses. There I stood and watched the divide grow larger and larger.
The voices had become an increasingly disconcerting mixture of soothing bouquets of praise and thanksgiving blended with harrowed screams, cries of anguish, and torturous mourning. And beyond the sea of perplexity was a glowing figure. A mesmerizing character with every eye fixed upon its majestic glory.
My body became powerless. I not only felt a force I struggled with but a tugging to move toward a glorious radiating figure. My mind searched and reeled for some semblance of understanding. My eyes bulged with apprehension. “Yes!” I screamed out as I quickly moved toward the head of this massive gathering. “It is the promised Messiah; I have come to receive my reward for my undaunting service to His people.” But I was unnerved by the growing sense of sadness that was crushing my innermost being. All I could focus on in my soul, the promise.”
Born a Levite, I labored tirelessly gathering wood for the sacrifices, removed the entrails of animals, and often vomited while washing the putrid blood from the temple floor. I attended every temple worship, absorbed every word my forefathers had passed down. My relentless dedication proved worthwhile. I became a priest of the highest order. I spoke and all listened. The Lord will most assuredly now praise me and use me in His rule on David’s throne. Then a disquieted feeling thrust my hands to my face.
Flashes of my past, like disjointed nightmares, whisked by as I passed those moving forward on my left — a beggar I had ignored, an adulterous woman I condemned, and a healed sabbath breaker. They dawned a consoling frown. “What arrogance,” I screamed out. “I will certainly mention this to my Lord.”
I now was at the front of the line, “The Lord will wipe that demeaning grin you bear right off your irreverent faces,” I let out a huff. “Such insolence will be punished. Humph!”
A force swept over me as if hands were grasping my shoulders and forcing me down. I threw my shoulders from one side to the other. Contempt for this compulsion gripped my soul. As I knelt, my eyes immediately focused on the Lord.
“Lord, Lord,” I screamed out, “why do I feel so restrained?” My head now compelled to bow. My spirit struggled against a riptide of condemnation as He spoke.
“Not everyone that says to Me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven,”
“But… but Lord, I was a dutiful son. I was your servant who spoke every word you had our forefathers pass down.” I tirelessly studied your every precept.”
The Lord did not say another word but motioned with His head in the direction of a man standing to my right. I turned to see a figure faintly familiar, but I was confused. His brow was sagging with remorse, tears streaming down furrows of regret.
“That is the one who followed you when you crossed to the other side upon seeing that wounded soul who fell among thieves on the road to Jericho.’
“But Lord, I was doing your work. I was in a hurry. This wretched soul was not worth wasting time on since I was doing more meaningful work. I often fast, I tithe of all that I possess.
I groaned miserably as the words fell from the Lord’s lips, “Depart from me you that work iniquity.”
His radiant appearance faded into darkness. Indescribable blackness engulfed my soul. Hopelessness, eternal hopelessness now ushered in unrestrained anguish and pain. My head writhed from side to side as my body thrashed with torment. My gnashing teeth could not filter out the hopeless pleas that could not ascend out of this chamber of punishment.
Years, decades, centuries have now passed and not a glimmer of hope has quenched my parched tongue. If only someone could go back and warn others. But as my fellow chamber mate had sadly stated, “They wouldn’t believe even is one rose from the dead were to warn them..”
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