Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

HEAVEN & HELL

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No Little Loss

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
What happens to a child that dies shortly after birth?  And what comforting words can I tell a mother and father whose child died after being born?

Sincerely,
Empathetic Friend

Dear Empathetic Friend,

There are no words that can remove the pain that a parent feels when they lose a child – their grieving hearts know a pain that is all their own (Pr 14:10).  There is a grieving process that they must go through (read “Great Grief” for details on what the Bible says on grieving).

However, you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the baby is in Paradise with God.  King David settled that question when his son died.  David was in great distress and sorrow because his child was sick and dying (2 Sam 12:16-17).  Yet, when the baby died, David stopped his distress and fasting (2 Sam 12:19-20).  When David’s astonished servants asked him why he was better considering the child just passed away, David simply said, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Sam 12:22-23)  David was keenly aware that all children go to heaven.  You can confidently tell any grieving parent that their baby is in the arms of a loving Father.

Distance Learning

Friday, January 12, 2018
I don't want to sound blasphemous, but if God is a just god, why would people that haven't had a chance to be baptized or haven’t had a chance to hear the Word of God be condemned to hell?  I’m not talking about ignorant people; I’m talking about people in third-world countries who the missionaries don’t get to that just grew up in a different culture.  I refuse to believe that if those people are good people, they would be sent to hell.

Sincerely,
It Isn’t Fair

Dear It Isn’t Fair,

We would caution you about saying you “refuse to believe” something before studying the Bible’s teachings on the topic.  One of the main reasons that people are lost is because they are unwilling to accept the Bible’s teachings over their own preconceived notions.  With that in mind, let’s look at a few teachings on this topic.

  1. Just because someone is ignorant, doesn’t mean they aren’t at fault.  God tells us that anyone who seeks the truth will find it (Matt 7:7-8).  The Bible is the most widely available book on the planet – just because someone hasn’t read it, doesn’t mean they didn’t have opportunity.
  2. People go to hell because of their sins (Rom 6:23), not because of Jesus.  Jesus’ death on the cross is a cure for mankind’s self-inflicted spiritual death sentence.  It is the same as a disease outbreak – the disease kills people, not the lack of a cure.  If Jesus had never come, and none of us had ever heard of Jesus, we would all have been lost.
  3. God tells us that everyone has been given enough information to seek Him.  Rom 1:20 says that the very beauty of the created universe speaks of God’s existence and leaves mankind without excuse.  God has provided an “all call” message anyone can hear through the wonder of His creation.
  4. God doesn’t desire anyone to perish (2 Pet. 3:9).  God won’t make any mistakes on the Day of Judgment, and no one will accidentally end up in heaven or hell.  He is compassionate, loving, and ready to show mercy (Ps. 86:5).  If someone goes to hell, it is because the most faithful and loving Being in existence believed that is where they should be.

God is the final judge.  We will all face Him when we die (Heb 9:27).  The best thing we can do is make sure we are prepared for that day.

A Gateway To Trouble

Thursday, December 14, 2017
I love God, and I stand strong for my religion, but I have recently gotten into pot.  Does this mean I am going to hell?

Sincerely,
Dabbling In Drugs

Dear Dabbling In Drugs,

God is the judge of the living and the dead (1 Pet 4:5)… we cannot make the judgment on whether you will go to heaven or hell, but we can say that you are doing things opposite of what the Bible teaches.  Consuming marijuana for “recreational” purposes is wrong.  God created every green herb on day three (Gen 1:11-13), but He didn’t create them to be used inappropriately.  God condemns drunkenness and insobriety (Rom 13:13, 1 Cor 6:10).  If any drug, including marijuana, is used to create a state of drunkenness – then, yes, it is a sin.

God created everything in this world for our good, and He created us for good works (Eph 2:10).  Abusing the plants and herbs that God has blessed this world with harms us and is a sin.  When we don’t treat our bodies with respect, we harm ourselves as well as displeasing God (1 Cor 6:19-20).  Glorify God in your body and stay free of the damaging effects of drugs.

Eternal Torment

Friday, November 10, 2017
Do you believe in Annihilationism… because there are some people like the Jehovah's Witness, United Church of God, and Seventh-Day Adventists that believe a person's soul is annihilated (or extinguished) in hell, instead of being punished.  To me Annihilationism isn't biblical!  Some say it's a heresy!  But, also, there are some verses in the Bible that annihilationists interpret as "Annihilation" (Ex: Isaiah 66:24).  Also, annihilationists interpret the "second death" as annihilation.  Like I said before, though, I don't believe in Annihilationism!  It's also unbiblical!

Sincerely,
Keep The Flame Alive

Dear Keep The Flame Alive,

There are several very clear texts that deal with what happens to lost souls when they die.  Mk 9:47-49 says that hell is a place where “the worm never dies and the fire is not quenched” – the exact opposite of annihilation.  Jesus also told the story of a rich man that died and went to torments (Lk 16:22-23).  In torments, the rich man was in constant burning anguish without relief (Lk 16:24).  Abraham told the rich man that he would remain in anguish and that there was a great gulf eternally fixed between those in Paradise and those in torment (Lk 16:25-26).  Though some good brethren believe that hell is not an eternal location and that the wicked are destroyed at death, we don’t believe that this holds up to biblical scrutiny.  Hell is a real place, and you really don’t want to go there.

Sudden Death

Tuesday, November 07, 2017
I have a friend who unexpectedly passed away a few weeks ago.  He collapsed, went into a seizure, had a heart attack, and finally entered a coma -- all within minutes.  This was all due to a brainstem leak which was inoperable.  He had no brain or body organ activity.  He was taken off life support after four days.

He was not a christian as far as I know.  He was involved in sin (living with his girlfriend who is currently pregnant, drinking, cussing, etc., and his girlfriend is married to another man… although I'm not sure if he knew this as this was a new relationship for him, and it's all come out since his passing) when he passed away.

My question is: do you think he had a chance to make it to heaven?

We on the outside look at collapsing as happening within a second or two; although, people that talk about death experiences, talk about "their life flashing before their eyes."  Do you think, by chance, in the person’s mind as they are dying everything becomes slow motion?  Although, we looking from the outside look at it as a second or two?  That God allows their mind enough time to repent when we don't see that time?  What about being in a coma?  Could that be their moment?  As far as I know, doctors don't really know what's going on inside you while in a coma.

I hope this makes sense.  I am broken because, as a christian, I know what the Bible says about going to heaven, but I also know God doesn't want anyone to perish, and He is a God full of grace and many chances.  I don't believe the Bible says anything about this subject (or does it?), but what are your thoughts?  Thank you so much.

Sincerely,
Clinging To Hope

Dear Clinging To Hope,

There is absolutely no way to tell what happens in someone’s mind in the last moments near death.  What we can tell you is that God doesn’t make mistakes.  We can find comfort that God doesn’t desire anyone to perish, but for all of us to come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9).  Anyone that goes to hell will go there because they chose to be there in spite of God reaching out to them throughout life.  No one accidentally ends up in hell, and no one accidentally ends up in heaven.  Our lives dictate our eternal future.  We can’t tell you the eternal future of your friend – Christ is the judge of the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1).  We can tell you that we are so very sorry for your loss and that a sudden death is extremely painful.  Our prayers are with you in this time of grief.  We can also tell you that the only way to know for sure that we are going to heaven is to do what God says it takes to get there.  Read our article “What Must I Do To Be Saved?” for yourself, and then decide for yourself where you feel your friend stands in relation to the Bible’s teachings.  Ultimately, God doesn’t make mistakes – if your friend is meant to be in heaven, he will be.

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