Several acquaintances have told me that when they die, they know they’re going to Hell, and that’s o.k., because all of their friends will be there too. Sounds cute but begs the question of what Hell is. If there is a Hell, it is because God created it, and He sends those whom He chooses to spend eternity there. So, according to the Bible, what is Hell all about? Firstly, it is spiritual separation from God for eternity. Eternity is forever – no end! That’s a long time. If you were a kid waiting for Christmas morning to open presents, you recall waiting for that moment to come seemed like an eternity.
Hell is also described as “weeping and gnashing of teeth”, eternal flames, unquenched thirst, torment, and who knows what else? It does not sound like those “acquaintances” will be enjoying their “friends there”! It sounds like a very unpleasant time.
So, what’s the alternative? Heaven is held out as the alternative. There is a song that laments that “Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to make the climb!” That’s a clever ditty, but not Theologically correct. You see God makes the decision. Scripture tells us that He chose us before time began. Well, then why should we even do anything to be good or bad? That’s a good question, and the only answer I can offer is that God tells us to “repent”, “obey” and “believe”. God changes hearts, and the best example of that is the thief on the cross who was minutes from death when he repented and Jesus told him “Today you will be with me in paradise!” So, Heaven is described by Jesus as “paradise”. The Bible also describes Heaven as a place where “there is no night there”, and where “every tear is wiped away”. Heaven sounds like it will be a continual worship service of God. There will likely be some social types of activity, but that is not clearly explained. Also, it sounds like there will be hierarchy’s and job responsibilities, although again, not clearly explained.
So why is dying “personal”? Well, for one thing, you do it alone as a physical act (nobody can keep you company on the journey), but more importantly, if you don’t have Jesus Christ on your side, you will do it alone spiritually as well. To spend eternity spiritually bereft of any company is not what those above “acquaintances” are expecting. There will be no camaraderie in Hell. So, dying is very personal because it incorporates all of you; mind, body, and spirit.
Historically, there are only two examples of people who never died. They are both related to in the Bible, Enoch in the book of Genesis; Enoch “…walked with God and was no more.”, and then Elijah who left his earthly chains in a chariot of fire in 2nd Kings. Apart from those two examples, every human throughout history has died – rich, poor, smart, dumb, popular, unpopular, powerful or weak; they all died! Some died peacefully, and some violently, some in terrible pain, and others with no pain at all. Some die instantly, and some drag it out for years. The bottom line is that we all die, and to quote Hebrews 9:27 “….and then the judgment!” How do you think you will be judged? God knows, but do you?
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