It was an awesome cluster of stars forming the background for a lighthouse in New Zealand that inspired me to write one of my previous devotions [Read Brighter Than Bright]. Can you guess what it was for this one?
While living in the Caribbean, I had the opportunity to witness not only amazing year-long starry nights but also many sailboats cruising the beautiful turquoise waters on clear sunny days. But never have I seen such a fascinating conglomerate of vessels side by side, especially in front of a lighthouse!
This is the Faro della Vittoria or Victory Lighthouse in Trieste, Italy. Built in 1927, it stands 223 feet and it is one of the tallest lighthouses in the world. This particular photo shows the lighthouse overlooking a fleet of sailboats. Like me, chances are you may be wondering why are all these boats gathered in this one spot. Unless, of course, you are familiar with sailing regattas (contests).
The event that brings together over 2,000 boat owners to test their skills on the Mediterranean is known as the Barcolana. It is the largest and most crowded regatta in the world. Several prizes are awarded to winners in different divisions.
Did you notice the angel-like figure on top of the lighthouse? A closer look at this statue reveals that it is holding a torch and a wreath that looks like a crown of thorns. Wow! I am not sure if you see it (if you are familiar with Scriptures and Eschatology), but this Victory Lighthouse image reminds me of a victorious scene witnessed by the Apostle John in the book of Revelation. The scene I am referring to is part of an event which I consider to be the believers’ spiritual “End Game” (For all you Marvel fans). True movie buffs never want to hear spoilers about the movies they look forward to seeing. However, because this devotion is about real life and not about a movie, I will tell you or remind you how it all ends for the followers of Jesus Christ and for those who reject Him.
Spoiler 1 – There will be true world peace at the end!
- The Barcolona attracts people from all over the world.
After the glorious appearance of our Lord and Savior (the Blessed Hope), born-again believers from every nation will enter into an eternity where they will celebrate and worship God along with the angels. No more bickering regarding denominational differences, no more racial tension, no more political battles, and no more language barriers! It will be a peace gathering far more glorious than what we have ever seen or imagined; A true universal peace.
“… I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands.” – Revelation 7:9
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:3-4 ESV
Spoiler 2 – We all get victory crowns!
- Barcolana winners get to take home well-deserved trophies.
Our life’s journey, in spite of the trials, temptations, and challenges we face, is one that can be traveled in complete confidence knowing that victory over oppression, sin, and condemnation, is possible if we keep our eyes focused on Him who is the Victor over sin and death! It is He who, at the very end of all things, will grant us the crown of righteousness.
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place” – 2 Corinthians 2:14.
“I [Paul] have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness is laid up for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me but to all who crave His appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Spoiler 3 – Jesus conquered death and so shall we!
- The angel on top of the Lantern Room is triumphantly holding a torch and a crown.
It was at Calvary’s cross that our Savior was crowned with our transgressions when he took upon himself the sins of the world. It was there where the torch of victory was lit when He declared, “It is finished!” But it wasn’t until the angel proclaimed, “He is not here, He has risen!” that He secured eternity for all His followers. What awaits us now is a promised union with our resurrected Savior. On the day the trumpet sounds, we will have defeated eternal death ourselves and live with Him forevermore! What an ending!
“He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” – Revelation 3:5
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. ” – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
I may not be a true superhero fan, but I enjoy those type of movies more than any other. That is why I waited with anticipation to see how technology and animation came together on the big screen to bring all my favorite comic book characters in “Avengers – End Game“. Like most movie lovers, I tried to avoid the spoilers as much as possible. I didn’t want anyone telling me what happened during and much less at the end of the movie. So, of course, I’ve respected the same wishes from other fans. However, I cannot and will not ever hold back in telling the world what happens when we take our last breath. Those of us who have surrendered our lives to Jesus, need to be occasionally reminded of these three spoilers. They encourage us to know that no matter what we face on earth, it will never compare with the glory that is to come.
“And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him. I consider that our present sufferings are not comparable to the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:17-18
Unfortunately, there is one more spoiler I must share. This is the one that concerns those who reject Christ and His gift of salvation. It is the imminent fate of all those who refuse to come to Him for forgiveness and new life.
Spoiler 4 – Eternal punishment awaits all who die without salvation.
- Not every sailboat can enter the Barcolona. They must be in tip-top shape.
The Bible is clear in that one day everyone will stand trial before God. On that day, EVERY knee will bow and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord. But unfortunately, not everyone will have the same eternal fate after the final verdict. In order to secure eternal life with God, we must be perfect, righteous, and holy. But that perfection, righteousness, and holiness is not our own. It doesn’t come as a result of what we simply believe. It is the perfection that comes from living for God; It is the righteousness of Christ imputed unto us through repentance and confession of Him as Savior; It is the sanctifying holiness that is achieved through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives. If anyone leaves this earth without these, the Bible is also clear in that they will suffer eternal damnation separated from God for all eternity in a place prepared for the Devil and his minions.
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” – John 3:5
“Those who are victorious will inherit all this [new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem], and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:7-8
“Then I saw a great white throne and the One seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from His presence, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. And there were open books, and one of them was the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their deeds, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead, and each one was judged according to his deeds. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. And if anyone was found whose name was not written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” – Revelation 20:11-14
So, there it is. We all Win! Well, not all, only those who have the ticket, which is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Do you have it? If not, follow THIS link.
Prayer: Almighty God and Heavenly Father, how reassuring it is to know that you are faithful to your promises. In the midst of my struggles, I trust you and I am reminded that no matter what I face I can experience your peace and victory. Nevertheless, I look forward to the day when you call me home to be with you and receive the eternal reward you have prepared for me. Help me to share this amazing finale of life with those who are yet to know you. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED.