Heaven and Hell
Jesus speaking in (John 14v2-3): “In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
What are heaven and hell like? Both are physical places where every person will be in one or the other. There is no biblical warrant for purgatory. It is either heaven or hell. Is heaven sitting on a cloud with a harp and angel for company as popular myth has it? Is hell going to be a place where people who knew each other in this life will meet and have constant parties? What does the Bible say about heaven and hell?
Jesus spoke about the reality of hell more than any other person. Even a cursory look in the Gospels will reveal that! It is a real place!
- Everlasting fire and punishment (Matthew 25v41-46)
- Constant and outer darkness (Matthew 8v12)
- Everlasting destruction (2 Thessalonians 1v9)
- Lakes of fire (Revelation 19v20)
- Satan and his demons (Matthew 25v41; 2 Peter 2v4);The Wicked (Revelation 21v8)
- Disobedient (Romans 2v8-9); Beast, his worshippers and the false prophet (Revelation 14v11; Revelation 19v20)
- Those who reject the Gospel (Matthew 10v14-15);All those who are not written in the Book of Life (Revelation 13v8; Revelation 17v8)
Punishment will be:
- Physical (Matthew 5v29-30)
- In the soul (Matthew 10v28)
As opposed to this Heaven has the following
- Joy (Luke 15v7-10)
- Rest (Revelation 14v13)
- Peace (Luke 16v19-25)
- Righteousness (2 Peter 3v12)
- Service (Revelation 7v15)
- Reward (Matthew 5v11-12)
- Inheritance (1 Peter 1v4)
- Glory (Romans 8v17-18)
- Those recorded in the Book of Life (Malachi 3v16-18; Philippians 4v3);
- The Righteous (Matthew 5v20);
- Obedient (Revelation 22v14);
- Holy (Revelation 19v8)
- House (John 14v2)
- Kingdom (Matthew 25v34)
- Paradise (2 Corinthians 12v2-4)
- Holy City (Revelation 21v2)
- Christian Disciples current attitude towards heaven is to be:
- Desired (2 Corinthians 5v2-8)
- Looked for (2 Peter 3v12)
- Put treasure there now (Luke 12v32)
Jesus promised us “I am going to build a place for you“ (John 14v1-4). Jesus has been working on it for almost 2000 years to this point in time!! Heaven is a beautiful place, prepared for all Christian Disciples, to live forever and ever with Jesus the King! When we get to heaven, Jesus has prepared a place for those who love Him, trust Him and obey Him as King. He is expecting us, wanting to lavish His love upon us. We know He loves us now, but that is only in part. When we are with Him eternally, we shall have the full picture of Jesus. He is with us now in Spirit, but then we shall be with Him physically and face to face.
Heaven is also a pure place (Revelation 21v1-4). Today we all suffer in some way. When our King returns, no more will man’s inhumanity to man be allowed. No more pain. No more death. No more suffering. No more sin.
Suffering of any kind leaves a scar or mark. Do you have physical, emotional or mental scars due to sickness, somebody else sinning against you or as a result of your own sins? Scars come as a result of human life. Yet, one day they will be gone!! A pure body we will have as His Disciples!! Perfection attained and it is to the glory of God and His majestic doing, that this will occur.
One glorious day, all suffering will be banished for those of us who love Him. Revelation 21v4 - “God will wipe away our tears. There will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying and no more pain, for former things have passed away.” God Himself, with your face in His hands, wiping away your tears. It is a place where “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5v22-23), are both permanent and universal. What a day, that will be when we will enter those gates, thanking Jesus, looking back at how we suffered. Suffered not only medically, but also for His sake under persecution. We will be able to say with likes of Jeremiah and John “It was worth it all. The sufferings I endured and overcame for the sake of Jesus, was all worth it, so as to be here and living with our King forever.” Persecution of Christian Disciples is only going to get stronger in the west. We are going to be shouted down for saying Jesus as the only way to Heaven. Yet we must persist.
3. Pearly gates
We enter heaven through giant gates of pearl (Revelation 21v21). A pearl is formed when an oyster gets an irritating grain of sand within its shell. It covers the grain of sand over with layers of mother-of-pearl until the irritation and the suffering is no longer felt. Now what do you think the suffering was that created these giant pearls that are the gates? I think they are to remind us of the cross and the incredible suffering and pain that Jesus endured, when God who is outside of time and not confined by space, became confined in a man’s body and stepped into history. People denigrate the cross. I have had people say to me that “the cross doesn’t matter” and “your religion is as good as mine thank you very much.” Still others have stated, “that all religions lead to heaven”.
However, the very gates of heaven tell us that it is only through the cross, by which we get to pass through and enjoy heaven in worship and service of God. Our King Himself has suffered for us on the cross, so that we may enjoy His company forever and ever, if we only trust and obey Him now and place our full faith in Him while we are here in this our temporal home on earth.
When the Christian Disciple first decided for Jesus and turned over their life over to Him, that is when eternal life with Him commenced. We should be yearning to be with our Master. Yet, we are to keep one part of our mind on Heaven and the other on the responsible work we have been set to do, here on earth. We are not to be so heavenly minded, that we are of no earthly use. Conversely, we are not to be so earth bound, that we are not tied to King Jesus in our eternal home.
Have you heard people say, that a loving God wouldn’t send anybody to an everlasting place of Hell? The God we serve as Christian Disciples doesn’t send anybody there. He has given everybody every opportunity to reject Hell and embrace Him. As Christian Disciples we are to evangelize, and tell others of the saving love of Jesus Christ on the cross. That is the Gospel we speak and live. Heaven is a great big place, and there will be room for everybody in this world to enter through one of those twelve gates! Look for Jesus coming again! Be expectant, for the King is coming back for us soon! Jesus is coming back as King of Righteousness to judge evil and reject those who rejected Him, whilst rewarding His disciples who patiently trust and obey Him.
For more to think about please do ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.
Q1. Read Luke 10v20. How can I help others to have their names written in Heaven?
Q2. Read 2 Peter 3v12. How am I looking forward to Heaven?
Q3. Read Revelation 2v7-11. What do I need to overcome?