Thanks to the providence of God, this writer and his family had the opportunity to briefly visit the ancient Chinese capital of Xian recently. This famous historical city that witnessed the cultural wax and wane of the Zhou, Qin, Han and Tang dynasties provides a fascinating record of historical relics and artifacts that is diverse and abundant. The museum of the Terracotta Army at the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang is of course not to be missed. When this writer was still in college, he had already dreamt of visiting what is proclaimed to be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century.
Since 1974, archaeological teams had dug out from the numbers 1,2 and 3 Terracotta Army pits that covered an area of over 20,000 sq meters around 8,000 terracotta figures of soldiers and their horses, 30 chariots, around 40,000 pieces of bronze weaponry, and many other artifacts. In the cavernous Terracotta Army Pit exhibition hall, one can see row upon row of these neatly arranged statues, their faces and demeanors all different, standing in formation and all facing towards the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang. This formidable underground battalion naturally leads one to recall his glorious conquests of yore.
Qin Shi Huang was a man who thirsted for life. In order to rule forever, he sent a fleet all the way to Japan to search for him the elixir of eternal youth. And to make preparations for his future, he employed hundreds of thousands of forced labourers to build himself a mausoleum so that if he died, he could still command a regimen of officers and soldiers in the afterlife to continue his hegemony over the Great Beyond.
This writer also had the opportunity to visit the mausoleum of Han Jing Di. Although it is not as impressive as that of Qin Shi Huang, a large number of finely crafted terracotta figures of officials of various ranks were discovered within 24 underground passages, forming what seems to be a subterranean government. Among them were also numerous figures of domesticated animals, and even many terracotta pigs that looked to be pregnant. That indicated that even this benevolent monarch also wanted to live in comfort after death, and be a king forever.
The ancient emperors all believed that there was a future life, and placed great emphasis on making arrangements for their existence after death. They made elaborate and comprehensive preparations to ensure that they would enjoy prosperity and continue to rule in eternity. In contrast, although people of this age possess much more advanced technology and affluence than those kings, the ordinary folk only cares about the present existence and considers that life ends as a candle-flame is extinguished. They make no contingency plans for their souls. That is most foolhardy.
Many Christians who have been believers for many years still have life views and values similar to people of the world. They only chase after the comforts of this life, has predominant concern for the things of the world, neglect the advancement and pursuit of life within the Lord, and do not strive for those matters that have everlasting value. These Christians lag far behind the ancients in their emphasis on the future life. Paul reminds us, ˇ§Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.ˇ¨ (Colossians 3:1-2)
God has prepared the grace of salvation for lost sinners, so that through the redemption of His Son, those who repent of their sins and believe can have eternal life and become the children of God. Not only that, Jesus Christ also promised us that God has prepared many crowns as rewards in the eternal life for those who faithfully follow Him (2 Timothy 4:8, James 1:12). The will of the Heavenly Father is that the children of God shall receive a glorious, incorruptible crown in the future and reign together with Jesus Christ. If we want to be kings in the eternal life, we must be loyal and work hard for the Kingdom of God. Christ admonished us saying, ˇ§From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.ˇ¨ (Matthew 11:12) Paul also said, ˇ§If we endure, we will also reign with Him.ˇ¨ (2 Timothy 2:12)
Dear brothers and sisters, are you now determinedly and loyally working hard for God, so that in the future you may be king forever?
By: Daniel To