Seeing the Glory, Viewing the Dead

Alec Motyer

READ : Isaiah 66

I am coming to gather all nations . . . and they . . . shall see my glory. (v. 18 NRSV)

If ever the Bible surprises us, surely it is in the conclusion of Isaiah (v. 24). What
a verse on which to end this glorious prophetic book—viewing the dead bodies of the
wicked and noting their eternal fate!

But Isaiah knew that part of our appreciation for our wonderful salvation is to keep in
mind what we have been saved from. We have been brought into life—and saved from
death. We have the comfort of the city, as when a mother comforts a child, but the wicked
face unquenchable fire. We have the life that is life indeed; they only an existence of
unending corruption. Both, says the Bible, are revelations of Jesus—both the
vengeance of eternal fire, and the display of his glory in those who have believed (2
Thess. 1:7-10).

Isaiah’s typically vivid way of picturing this is to think of a cemetery next door to
the New Jerusalem, so that the joys of the latter are always sharpened by awareness of the
reality of the former. Eternal light and life on the one hand, eternal fire and punishment
on the other (Matt. 25:46). Joy and trembling (Ps. 2:11) march together for the saved.


Worship: There, between us, stands the cross,

two arms outstretched to save,

A Watchman set to guard the way

from that eternal grave.