We recently watched a very interesting documentary about the 1974 archaeological discovery of mass graves from before the time of Christ. These mass graves were not of human bodies but life-size clay models of Chinese warriors. They were perfectly preserved for over 2000 years, except for the paint. From remaining paint fragments some of the clay statues have been repainted for display in the Museum of the Terracotta Warriors.
The clay warriors were commissioned - or, rather, commanded - by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. The workers had to finish all 8,000 before the Emperor's death, which of course they did not know when it would happen. From the time the order to create them was given to when the Emperor died was ten years, and we have the proof that the project was completed in time. With today's technology it takes one month to make one warrior. Because each warrior had to be uniquely different in form and feature, no molds for mass production could be used. Each statue bears the name of its creator and there are eighty-seven names. Each of these master craftsmen would have had their own support team of workers, therefore making it possible to complete the work in time.
At the Emperors' death, his concubines, his officers, his staff and men close to him were given poison to drink giving them the honor of being buried with him so they could continue to serve him in the next life. The Emperor's tomb, - a scale model of his palace- is huge and elaborate with his coffin surrounded by the coffins of those buried with him.
The Chinese had a strong belief in an eternity that simply continued, after death, the life as it was lived on earth. Therefore, much thought and planning went into what they would need to take with them so they would not be deprived of the comforts and position they enjoyed in their earthly life. The Emperor's plans began with a 20 square mile underground city that would house all the treasures he would take with him . This city would be protected by the terracotta army of 8,000 warriors.
As I watched this documentary, I could not help but feel so sad for the people who planned so diligently for a destination they had completely wrong. We would laugh at someone who planned a trip to Jamaica and packed snow suits, sweaters, boots, scarves and gloves thinking that they would enjoy a skiing vacation. How unprepared they would be when their plane landed and they stepped out into the blazing sun.
We who believe the Bible, know where we are going. We know that this earthly life is for a very short time and yet how often are we guilty of focusing 99% of our time planning this life and 1% of our time thinking about the next. Someone said, "Imagine all the grains of sand in all the beaches of the world, then pick up one grain of sand and let it represent the time span of your earthly life. Then consider that each of all the other grains of sand represent the same amount of time, but in eternity. Then ask yourself why we try to cram everything into the one little grain of sand, totally oblivious to how insignificant it is in light of all eternity."
As believers in the salvation Jesus provided for us, we know our destination. We know that this life is our 'preparation' time, and while we can take nothing with us out of this life - our eternity does depend on what we do with our life here. All the striving we do to lay up for ourselves the things that make this earthly life comfortable will be left for someone else to enjoy... only the things done with eternity in mind will make a difference. And it is interesting to note that the 'treasure' we store up in heaven cannot be 'stolen' ~Matt. 6:19.We need no terracotta warriors to guard it!
Though we will step over the threshold of death with nothing in hand but our faith - we will find our eternal home perfectly planned and waiting for us to enjoy it. Everything that we could ever wish for and beyond what we could ever imagine will make our new life so exciting that this earthly life will lose all its allure. And best of all, we will see God in all His glory and live in His love and presence for ever more!
"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind".