“Lines”

My 1992 Webster’s Dictionary gives 63 uses of the word line.  We can well imagine that there are surely quite a few more by now.  One can find everything from a row of trees to a short written message as definitions of line.  When prepositions are added, we get; out of line, off line, on line, in line, lineup, etc, etc.  This lesson will use the idea of persons standing one behind the other (queue). 

The Biblical use of line is quite sparse with 2 Cor 10:16 being the only New Testament verse I could find, and then only in the KJV.  The other versions use territory or sphere.  Nearly all the Old Testament verses refer to measuring. 

The concept, however, is certainly found in many places.  Most of us have seen cartoons of the Apostle Peter sitting at the Pearly Gate with a quill in his hand presumably checking to see if each person in a queue is eligible for entrance into heaven.  This no doubt comes from Matthew 16:19 in which Jesus tells Peter that he will be given the keys of the kingdom of heaven.  Coupled with Revelation 20:12-15 one might envision such a scene, but Peter is not mentioned here or in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18.  Neither of these verses says that people will stand in a line.

When Jesus comes in His glory with all the angels and sits on the throne, He will separate people into two groups (Mt 25:31-33).  There seems to be a group judgment rather than having the “goats” and the “sheep” form a line.  In other scriptures many will try to hand Jesus a “line” (exaggerated claim) that they should be able to enter His kingdom because of their great works in His name (Mt 7: 22-23).  He tells them plainly, “I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers.”

If there will be a lineup waiting to be judged, Christians will not have to stand in it.  They will be in that great multitude from every nation, tribe, and language standing before the throne and wearing white robes (Rev 7:9).  God does not remember their sins (Heb 8:12).  Jesus will acknowledge their name before His Father (Rev 3:5) and their names will have been written in the book of life.  There won’t have to be any cutting in line to receive these blessings, we’ll have millions of years to take our turn if necessary.

                                                                        –Jim Bailey