Is there really a heaven or hell?
If you died today and went into eternity, where would you go? Heaven, or Hell? There is NO in between and if you cannot answer definitively that you would be going to heaven with conviction, you are going to hell!
When asking this question to random people on the street, most people would not be able to tell you one way or the other. Some would say that they HOPE or THINK that they would go to heaven, but have no reason why or have no basis as to their thought process.
If you stood before the All Powerful, All Knowing, God and He asked you, “Why should I let you into MY heaven?”, what would you tell Him? If you don’t have any definite reason WHY, you don’t get to go in!
Why would that matter? Because if you don’t get to go into Heaven, you WILL go to HELL!
Yes. Hell is a very real place. It is NOT a place where a person will get to party for the rest of eternity. Think about this…
Who is the one that presides over all of today’s parties that are filled with debauchery and drunkenness and sex and filth and drugs and … the list goes on…? Who is the Father of all of that sinful behavior? Why, it is none other than the “Father of Lies” himself, Satan – or as he is otherwise known, the Devil.
Why is that important at all? Because, if Satan is going to be punished for the rest of eternity for revolting against God (along with a third of the angels) by being thrown into the “Lake of Fire” full of pain and sorrow and weeping and gnashing of teeth where a person will want to die but it will never happen, where there will be torment and torture for the rest of eternity (a very long time – NEVER ENDING!) That is what is in store for Satan and his angels according to Revelations 21.
But, what does that have to do with you? Well, as it says that Satan et al will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, it also says that death and the grave will be thrown into the Lake of Fire with him (them).
If you were not able to give God the right answer to the question above, then you will be included in the “death and the grave” part of that statement.
There is no purgatory, unlike some might think. It is never mentioned in the Bible, but rather, it was made up by a pope many years ago as a ploy to get the catholic people to feel sorry for their dead loved ones and the pope allowed the living relatives to give gifts to the church in order to shorten the time that they will have to spend there before they are finally prayed/payed into their heavenly place. Sorry, it isn’t going to happen that way. I challenge you to find me one place in the Bible where it says that any of this purgatory stuff will actually happen – you can’t do it because it isn’t there.
Back to the important topic at hand… Where are you going to spend eternity?
Friend, if this were not important, do you really think that I would be wasting my valuable time talking to you about this? In fact, in God’s eyes, this is the most important topic in the world!
You see, God desires more than anything in this world to have you spending eternity with Him in His heaven. In fact, since heaven is a sinless place and we humans are very sinful beings, we are not going to be allowed in to God’s heaven the way we are. In fact, you could be the absolute best role model on the face of the earth but you would still be far from the perfect being that would be required to enter God’s heaven.
See, God knew this ahead of time (He knows everything from eternity past to eternity future – even the stuff that hasn’t happened yet), that is why He devised a plan to provide a substitute sacrifice for your atonement of your sins. What does that mean? As we have determined in the last paragraph, we are not good enough to get into God’s heaven, so the alternative is only to go to Hellllllllll!
God’s substitute sacrifice happened to be God the Son – the Second Person of the Godhead out of the “Trinity” (that is discussed in another post), You see, God the Father was going to send His Son down to live with man for an honest-to-goodness sinless lifetime.
He started with the immaculate conception when the Holy Spirit implanted the seed that was to be Jesus within Mary’s womb. No, it’s not what you think – contrary to what some religions believe, there was no sexual intercourse that occurred between God and Mary or an angel and Mary. Mary was a virgin before conception and continued to be a virgin until Jesus the Christ was finally born. After that Mary and Joseph produced a very healthy family in the conventional manner known to man and woman.
Jesus’ mission on earth was to be born as a man-child, to be raised in the normal Hebrew manner, being taught the scriptures that they had up to that time (Moses’ writings and the prophets). He frequented the temples where he would debate the scriptures with the priests and pharisees, usually ending up with Him teaching them rather than them teaching Him. He would literally sit with them for days (and we get upset when the pastor of our churches takes more than an hour for a sermon).
He would live out a normal life as a child developing into a man – the only difference is that He was tempted in every sense of the word, just as we are now, but rather than succumbing to the temptations in front of Him, He remained clean and perfect and without sin. You see, only a sinless, perfect sacrifice could take our place in death. The death that was the penalty for the one sin that we have committed – yeah, right; I know that you’ve sinned many more times than once.
As a slight side note:
I’m sure you are familiar with the 10 commandments that are referenced in Exodus 20. Among those are: killing, adultery, idolatry, lust, envy, putting any god in front of the only One and True God, disobeying your parents. Did you also realize that the Bible also tells us that if you were to even think in your heart about any of these commandments to break them, you are guilty of breaking that commandment. In fact, it goes further and says that if you are guilty of one, you are guilty of all of them.
According to that statement, where does that put you? Did you know that you are surrounded by a group of mass murderers? That might sound a bit comical, but in God’s eyes it is totally true! And, as we established earlier, the penalty of any sin – regardless what sin it might be – is DEATH! This doesn’t mean that you die and then that is it. NO! That could not be further from the truth. Rather, when we die physically, our bodies might be buried or cremated or whatever your preference might be, but someday there is going to be a resurrection. In fact there is going to be two resurrections. One for the ones that are truly on their way to Heaven and the other will be for those who will be thrown into the Lake of Fire with Satan.
As I said, Satan is not the ultimate party DJ, although he might be the loudest of the screams of pain that will be emanating from the pit of hell. This trip to hell is not going to be a vacation. It will not be a party with 72 virgins (or however many they think they will get). In fact, even though, as the name depicts, “Lake of Fire”, it isn’t going to be like it is here on earth where when something encounters fire of differing temperatures, it will be consumed and that is that – no more existence! In fact, the Bible says that it is a place of eternal torment, where the thirst is not quenched and the “worm dieth not” – you’ve just become a worm….
What is my point in telling you all of this morbid stuff? You see, we only seem to think that it is morbid because it is depressing since all we want to do while we are on this earth is to make lots of money, have lots of fun, travel, even have as much sex as possible (I only say that because it is true).
The thought of interrupting our plans of doing all of this to just stop and turn around and start making dramatic changes in our lives and start actually following Jesus and doing the things that are commanded us to do in the Bible – I can’t list them all here.
The main thing is that we were not put on this earth, much less to become a Christian, but to serve ourselves and make our existence on this ball of dirt to please our own desires and pass into eternity to be punished in hell for not serving God.
Why do we need to serve God so badly? Many years ago in the Garden of Eden, God created two beautiful humans that were sinless and faultless and naked without shame. Why did He create them? He wanted to have some intelligent companionship that WANTED to be with Him. And He even gave them a choice of being with Him or death if they ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Satan tempted them, they gave in to his temptation and they eventually died. The worst part of it all was that they didn’t only die physically but they also died spiritually – and that is why we are put on this earth.
I know that this world has a way of sugar-coating evil to make it look like it is fun – and it may be, but that fun wears off after a while and then there are penalties and consequences that must be paid. These payments may be in the form of a traffic ticket fine or you may do something that requires you to have a physical impairment for the rest of your life, or even worse yet, someone else might have that impairment or even lose their life. Or, your penalty may only be the eternal penalty of death in hell.
Friend, if you couldn’t tell God why He should let you into His heaven, you need to get this taken care of between you and God. Please, get on your knees before Him and beg for Him to forgive you and that you want to receive the gift that Jesus is willing to give you of eternal life in heaven with God and then give your life over to God to let Him use you to help show others about how God wants them to go to heaven too.
You know, you could walk away from reading this and go back to doing the same old sinful things, but God has a much bigger plan for you. And, trust me when I say to you, that being in God’s service and doing the things that God wants you to do, you could never get more joy and happiness from anything else that this world has to offer you.
In John 14, Jesus tells us:
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
What many people don’t quite grasp about being a Christian is that even though Jesus is not walking this earth right now, He will be coming to get us soon so that we can spend eternity with Him. He said that this is a word of encouragement that in His Father’s house (Heaven) are many mansions – these mansion (of whatever sort they might be) are made for us! I don’t see these being apartment buildings or condos, but mansions! He is going, at that time until He comes back, to be preparing these places for us. We get our very own mansions. These aren’t time shares either – we aren’t just buying a week or a year out of eternity to be there. He continues and says that He is going to come back again and get us and take us to where He lives (Heaven) so that we can be with Him as He intended for mankind in the first place.
In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul is talking to the Thessalonian church. They were concerned that they would never get to see their loved ones again that had passed into eternity before them. He tells them this:
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Brothers, I don’t want you to be ignorant (or unknowing) about those who have died already, that you don’t weep and feel like you will never see them again like those who are unsaved do (they have no hope of eternal life). If you truly believe that Jesus died and rose again, then you will see them again if they were saved when God brings them with Him. Paul speaks this by the authority of the Lord, that those of us who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord will not keep this from happening to those who have already died. Verse 16; For the Lord Himself (not angels or Michael the archangel) will come down from the heavens with a SHOUT, with the calling of the archangel and with the trumpet sound of God, Himself: and at that point, faster than we can even imagine, the dead that had been saved before they died, will rise to meet Him in the clouds: then the rest of us (who have been saved up to this point) will be caught up (modern term is “raptured”) into the clouds to meet them all even including the Lord – or Christ – and from that point on, we will always be with the Lord! Because of this, brethren, comfort each other with these words.
How much more beautiful could you imagine it? If you want a wonderful description of the “New Jerusalem”, you should check out Revelation Chapter 22. … No more sorrow, no more pain … I can’t wait!
My friends, the point in this article is not to, necessarily, get you saved, but to try to light a fire under you to sense the urgency of making sure that anyone and everyone that you come in contact with in the future, that you spend a few minutes and ask them what lies in store for them in eternity and give them the Gospel news that they could spend eternity in heaven with Jesus – and you and me.
Consider this …
… the cashier at the local grocery store is checking your groceries out and all you have to do is ask them that if they died today, would they go to heaven?
… the waitress at your favorite restaurant may have a car accident on the way home from work and end up in hell because you didn’t share Jesus with her.
… the friend you have had since childhood that has never accepted Christ as their personal Savior and you may be the last person that they get a chance to hear it from.
… maybe your parent(s) have never heard God’s plan of salvation and you are just the person that they need to hear it from so that they can make that final decision for Christ.
Remember that we, as Christians, are not out there to twist arms of everyone that we know and force them into a decision. All we are required to do is tell them what God’s Word has to say about their eternal future.
Some sow the seeds; some water the seeds; but God makes them grow. Occasionally, we have the distinct pleasure of actually leading someone to Christ and verifying with them that they are on their way to heaven with you. Even if you don’t get to do that, you – if you have done your duty – have done your duty. Just present God’s Word to them. If you need help knowing what to share with them or how to do it, there are quite a few different approaches listed in the “Salvation” section of my blog site here – or you can follow the links that I supply to you below.
Christian, I really hope that this has made you think about how you can spread the Gospel. The time is getting near when the Lord is going to come back for us and we don’t want to have to stand before Him and try to give Him excuses about why we didn’t do our job and why, now, that person is in hell.
God bless you and your soul-winning efforts. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below or you can go to my Contact page to contact me privately.
©2013 Mark Davis