From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
“Thence” means “that place,” heaven. “Quick” is an old English word meaning “living” (like the quick of a finger-nail; or, as a boy once said, “The quick are the people who cross the road safely; the dead are those who don’t”).
At our Lord’s Ascension angels said that he will return to this world (Acts 1, 10 and 11). This will be The Second Advent (Latin, “coming”); The First was on the first Christmas Day. Of this Second Coming we think especially during Advent, the four weeks in December. But as nobody knows when it will be, a million years from now or next week, wise Christians are prepared, living always ready to go to God at any moment.
At the Second Advent this world will cease to be; and there will take place The Judgment, when all who have ever lived in it (including the “quick,” those living in it at the moment) will be judged by our Lord as fit for either eternal heaven or eternal hell. As he is both perfect God and perfect Man he will be a fair and just judge, having no favourites, loving us all. He will judge our thoughts (! Corinthians 4, 5), words (St. Matthew 12, 36 and 37), deeds (Revelation 20,12 and 13), and duties left undone (St. Matthew 25, 42 and 43); all our secrets; every sin that we thought nobody knew anything about, that we had even ourselves forgotten. But we shall have nothing to fear if the motto of the Seventeenth Shoreditch (or any other Scout Group) has been ours.
Hell is the place of unending separation from God, meant only for the devil and his evil angels (St. Matthew 25, 41). Heaven is the place of unending happiness with God, meant for every one of us (St. Matthew 25, 34). There is only one heaven, only one hell: to one or the other we must all go one day. It is common sense for Christians to “Be prepared.”
[In to-day’s picture, instead of a bit of wire there is something else to remind you of your promises.]