I admit, this is not a popular topic. Not in this day and age. No matter how you pepper it with soft, comfortable words, hell is a place that will always signal horror, regret, damnation and eternal suffering to each of us. There are things that we don’t see – but oh how we feel it. And its effects extend to our physical, financial, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual life.
I believe that there is a place called hell where eternal fire and suffering exists. Where nothing but eternal pain, horror and excruciating torture is felt. I believe that this hell is one of two places where people go when they die. I believe I was headed there.
I lie. I don’t remember when I did it the first time. But I’m sure it wasn’t far from when I was born. I don’t remember when I did it the last time either – but I’m sure it wasn’t far from today.
2) I’m a Thief
I steal. Something grabs my attention, piques my desire, arouses my greed – I take it. It’s not mine. But I store it away anyway. I’ve stolen some things.
3) I’m an Adulterer
My eyes wander to and fro. My heart yearns for the forbidden. I lust after another woman who is not my wife. My heart darkens. I’ve fallen deep and fallen often.
4) I’m a Fornicator
Taken deep by my lust, I wandered out to sate my appetite for my fleshly yearning. I go after another woman. I can never go back. There is no second virginity.
5) I’m a Murderer
I am guilty of murdering the only Son of God. He was crucified in my stead – a sinless man took away my sins on the cross. An excruciating, tortuous and painful death that should have been mine. Jesus Christ was the only qualified substitute for my place in hell.
I was well on my way to hell – because I am inherently evil. Trapped in my sinful desires. But God, in His great grace and love for me, sent His Son – Jesus Christ, to die for my stead so that I won’t have to go to hell.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
Because of Jesus’ sinless life, death could not hold Him. He was raised again to life on the third day and I await His return – to go and join Him in His Kingdom in heaven.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” – Romans 10:9-10
He did it for you too, you know?
We have always wondered what heaven would be like. Will heaven be boring? Would it be just a series of praise and worship? Would it be an eternity of singing and harps and trumpets? Let’s face it, the heaven we picture in our minds seems a lot boring than what we have here on earth.
There were times when I would wonder what heaven is like. And from what I hear and from what I watch, it pretty much seems boring and uneventful. Yes people tell me that we can ask God anything we want (which would seem like it would take an eternity to accomplish), people also tell me that heaven would be a happy and joyful place (but how happy is happy? And how happy would it be when it seems so boring?), people also tell me that it would be wonderful and different. Still, life here on earth seems pretty much more exciting, wouldn’t you think so?
This entry is inspired by the book ‘The Journey of Desire’ by John Eldredge. Most of the words that I have used in this entry has been derived from his own words in his book – this is because I cannot describe heaven better than how he wonderfully he paints it.
When we think of heaven, we can’t even begin to imagine how it would be like. And if we try, it would seem bleak and boring. Churches don’t really describe heaven in much detail so we try to use our imagination. Unfortunately, our imagination is as tainted as our world – and we take our ideas from the media.
“I think the fear of being bored is an unspoken fear of many people about the life that is coming. After-all, the never-ending singalong in the sky isn’t exactly breathtaking.” – John Eldredge
“During a long layover at O’Hare, I studied the man who sells popcorn from a little stand in one of the terminal hallways. He sat silently on a stool as thousands of people rushed by. Occasionally, every fifteen minutes or so, someone would stop and buy a bag. He would scoop the popcorn from the bin, take the money and make change – all without a word being spoken between them. When the brief encounter was over, he would resume his place on the stool, staring blankly, his shoulders hunched over. I wondered at his age; he seemed well past fifty. How long had that been his profession? Could he possibly make a living at it? His face wore a weary expression of resignation winged with shame. Adam, I thought, what happened?” – John Eldredge
All our miseries prove our greatness: “They are the miseries of a dethroned monarch.” – Pascal
In our world today, only a very few people are blessed enough to make a living doing what they love. We yearn to do something of meaning and value that flows naturally out of the gifts and capacities of our souls. We were meant to be the kings and queens of the earth.
Alas, we have come a long way from the Fall.
The Kingdom of God
We usually hear of the Kingdom of God and that it is near. What does it mean?
It simply means the restoration of things to that which God said “It is good.” It means that things will be as they were meant to be – by the Creator, Designer and Maker of this universe. It means that this world will be healed.
“The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.” – Isaiah 65:24
Pollution will be gone, global warming will be a thing of the past, and the race of man will once again be put back in their rightful place as kings and queens – rulers of the earth. Sons and daughters of the King of the universe.
How’s it gonna be like?
“I’ve spoken with many people who believe that we become “spirits” when we die; that we lose our bodies when we float around. Some even believe that we become angels. But I don’t want to lose my body; I very much want it to be renewed. When we conceive of our future existence as something ghostly, mysterious, completely “other” than anything we’ve ever known, we place it beyond all hoping for. (You can only hope for what you desire.) the “otherness” of it takes away its power. But look at the first example — Jesus. What happens to Him after He dies? He is resurrected, of course. As someone or something else? No, as Himself, only healed and very much alive. Then what — float around? No, He has breakfast.”
– John Eldredge
Here we see how our lives after this life will be like. People and the world will tell you that you will be a different being. A ‘Spirit’ perhaps, which will float around and look at the world and watch as it grows old and everyone dies and joins you. There are so many myths and lies about the life after the one we’re living. There are so many myths and lies about heaven that we need to renew our minds.
What are we gonna do?
The God of the heavens and of the earth is a master craftsman. He is the most creative and intellectual being you have ever known.
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27
The Bible says that we are like God. We are sons and daughters of God.
If you meet the son of Einstein, you would probably consider him somewhat of an inventor and intellectual, if you meet the son of Mozart, you would probably expect him to be musically inclined somewhat. We are expected to be like God. God is a creator and a monarch.
“Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’?” – John 10:34
We are the creation of the great Creator – designed and purposed to be like Him. When the Bible declares we are God’s image, it is describing not certain qualities of our character but capacities of our nature. This is why, when the essence of our likeness to God is announced, it is in the context of our position upon the earth, our place in creation:
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” – Genesis 1:26
We are made like God in our creative powers because we are to be like God in ruling the earth. We are meant to be kings and princes who are free to work as we please and desire. And in God’s Kingdom, we shall do so.
Imagine, a gardener who is given a garden without weeds and with good soil. Imagine an architect who can carry out his own designs without having to answer to anyone. Imagine your work – complete and perfect. Just the way you want it to be. Then you show it to God and say “Here Father. This one’s for you.”
“Somehow, we human beings are never happier than when we are expressing the deepest gifts that are truly us.” – Os Guinness
There are little precious times in our lives when we finish a work we love and say “This is what I’m made for.” Remember those precious moments? Remember how temporal they are? Do you desire a lifetime of such accomplishments and self-fulfillment?
Heaven is what you’re made for. It is where you can truly be yourself.
Some people I’ve talked with tell me that heaven is just a state of mind. Or that heaven can be found in this earth, when you do good things and feel good. Love songs talk about heaven as an emotional high. All in all, heaven is a word used for and from a lot of different perspectives to describe a feeling, a thought or a place.
But what is heaven, really? Let’s look at it from the Biblical point of view:
Notes from: Pastor Vince Burke
There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.[a] If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
Heaven is a place
There is no mistaking it. Heaven is a place described in the Bible in ways we can never imagine. Take a kid for example, who’s spent his whole childhood life playing in McDonalds playground. Can you imagine describing Disneyland to him? It would be tough because all his life, he’s known McDonalds slides and tunnels and play area to be the place of “fun and excitement.” He has a McDonalds point of view about Disneyland when in fact, Disneyland is way, way bigger and better than the play area in his imagination.
Heaven is not a state of mind or a feeling or whatever the world would like us to think. The world is trying to make our minds compromise the reality of heaven to the point that people would accept heaven not as a place, but something else that they believe they have already experienced here on earth – so as not to look for or long for it anymore. But we are created for that place, for heaven.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
I just hoped to enlighten people who keep on thinking that they’ve found their own version of heaven here on earth. Well, yes it might be your own version of it – there’s always that. But I want you to know the real version of it, straight from it’s origin and source which is the Bible.
Think about it. Heaven is a place we were created to be in. There’s something bigger than this life and you know it. It’s not the boring place where you imagine Christians go playing harps and dancing with cute, baby-faced angels. It’s something else. Something I can’t describe to you because hey, all of us have the “McDonalds” mentality until we see the real thing for ourselves.