Dwayne Duncombe II is a sixth-grader at Peterson-Warren Academy. Photo credit: Eunice Duncombe

April 1, 2021

I had to preach the Word | This is what I learned

When I was told I was going to be in Countdown to Eternity during COVID-19, I was happy to do it.

This was mostly because I would be able to see some of my friends while recording it even though we had to be socially distant. Countdown to Eternity was a virtual, evangelistic series that was streamed via Facebook and YouTube. It was presented by students of the Lake Region Conference schools. Each participant was asked to share a presentation that had been pre-written by Dr. Tim Gardner. The series counted down from day ten to day one. Its purpose was to show what to expect in the last days and how to find shelter in Jesus in times of trouble. The messages also revealed what Heaven and the New Earth would be like.

Some of the presentations included “The Great Controversy,” “The Mark of the Beast” and “The Return of Christ.” My assignment was to preach for the final night, day one of the countdown (the tenth presentation). My topic was “The New Earth,” an overview and explanation of what the New Jerusalem and a brand-new planet would be like. This would be a new home for people who were faithful to Christ on Earth. My presentation described the beauty of the city, what resurrected bodies would be like and the type of things we will do when we get there. I also explained the things that would not be there like violence, death, suffering and tears.

This experience had a big effect on me. Because it was prewritten, I learned some things I did not know before. I learned while I practiced my sermon, but I also listened to other sermons being recorded and learned from them, too. For instance, I did not know that there would be no large bodies of water in heaven. I learned that this had a special meaning for John while he was on the Island of Patmos. The sea separated him from people that he loved and cared about. So, a new heaven with no more sea was a symbol of no more separation. I thought about all the people who are separated from friends and family members because of COVID-19, and I hoped that this would comfort them.

Another thing I wanted people to learn from what I was saying was that there was something better to look forward to. I wanted to encourage them to give to their hearts to Jesus so they could go to Heaven and learn about Him forever. It also caused me to want to be there even more than before. Lastly, I was blessed by the final appeal to come to Jesus and share in His promise. It says, “and the spirit and the bride say come! And let him who hears say, come! And let him that is athirst, come! And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17). This is the new earth!