Friday, May 22, 2009

Images and Visions of Eternity - Heaven & Hell

Politics and religion are topics, it’s said, which should never be discussed at social gatherings. They bring from within us such divergent views. And people from different perspectives, at times, must fight for their convictions rather than respect the other’s viewpoint, which is a much wiser stance.

This has got to be one of the most contentious and debated topics in religion and spirituality: “What happens when I die?” I can only answer this one general way; the way any Bible-believing Christian would, or should I say, ‘should.’

The only way to heaven and to spend eternity with God is through the stated and believed acceptance and discipleship of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God (John 3:16; 14:6; Romans 10:9).

When we die we will all meet God. We will be judged for what we’ve lived for and our deeds, both known and unknown--yes, even the secret ones (Ecclesiastes 12:14)--as God knows everything. He will bring us to account for everything we’ve done--everything i.e. no exceptions.

So, having met God (all of us)--and get this, to finally see how awesome he really is--we will then be ushered to one of two places to spend the rest of eternity… (the term ‘rest of eternity’ in itself is wrong as it implies a timeframe. Eternity is not time-based--it’s forever i.e. from everlasting to everlasting.)

Above the door into heaven might stand a sign, “forever accepted regardless of fault,” whereas the door leading to hell might have a sign, “forever condemned.” (See also, John 3:18.)

Between the two eternal destinations will stand a great chasm (Luke 16:19-31)[1] and it will be impossible to crossover.

Heaven is a place, a circumstance, a context or an environment totally filled with God. It’s a place where joy and peace and love prevail to the glory of God. Once we’re there, we’re there for eternity and in continual awe at, and of, God’s Presence.

Conversely, hell is a place, a circumstance, a context or an environment devoid of God. After the equivalent of one year totally without God the people in hell will probably already know the depth of their poor judgment in life, not to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Imagine how they’ll feel after the equivalent of one thousand years… or the equivalent of one million years? (Though, again, time is really a poor comparator in the context of eternity. The period of one million years is not even a blip in the context of eternity. Eternity is an ‘absolute’ concept and reality.)
Imagine the horror for those bound for hell... having only just seen the transcendent brilliance and majesty of the God who cannot be adequately described; in awe, they must now leave his Presence, which must be the most wonderful thing anyone could imagine, to spend eternity with the Tormenter. That is quite honestly a shocking thought.

And this is the ultimate choice for all non-God-followers, presently. You do not know what time is yours. It could be today that you meet God and are judged (immediately) prior to hell and damnation. It’s your choice.

If the Bible’s wrong we all lose… but what if, just if, the Bible’s right? Imagine that now!

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

[1] See the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 for more.

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