by Kevin Burton
On Friday we talked about our tendency to put off thoughts of death and the afterlife, even though death is a certainty (A Theology Lesson From My Microwave, April 15).
When my microwave is finished counting down cooking time, instead of flashing zero, it flashes “End.” So if I forget about the tea I was warming up and go back to the microwave to see what time it is, I will see “End.”
That is what it will be like for some of us when life is over. We’ll be looking for business as usual and be quite surprised to learn that our earthly time is done.
It’s understandable when people say they are too busy living to think about dying. The day-to-day pressures of life demand that to some extent.
In fact, your brain shields itself from thoughts of your own death, according to a study by researchers at Bar Ilan University in Israel, reported on livescience.com and elsewhere last October.
But each minute on average, 106 people in the world die according to something called the World Death Clock. That means if you read Page 7 on Friday and you took three minutes to do it, approximately 300 people died while you were reading.
That’s 300 people who if they could talk to you, would plead with you to settle the question of eternal life while you still have time.
And so I plead with you today to settle that question, as we look at the two alternatives.
According to the Bible, Heaven and Hell are the only two destinations humans can go to after death. The Bible describes Heaven as a place of indescribable joy where all sin has been removed and where God will reign.
First Corinthians 2:9 reads, “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.”
Revelation 21: 4-5 reads “..and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.”
For those who reject Jesus, Hell is described in Mark 9: 43-48 as a place with “the fire that never shall be quenched:Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.”
Revelation 20:15 adds, “And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
One of the parables Jesus taught about the afterlife is in Matthew 13: 47-50. ”Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
There is only one way to Heaven according to the Bible. From John 3: 16-18 we read, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
And finally, Romans 10: 9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in your heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”