Ask Your Preacher
HEAVEN & HELL
If we are rewarded in heaven for our life on Earth, meaning that others will have more in heaven than others, will there be jealousy? I feel like I would be jealous of others that were rewarded more than I in heaven. I feel silly saying that because I would be thankful just to be in heaven at all, but I would feel like God loved others more than me. Is it okay to feel like I would be jealous?
Dear Going Green,
It is true that the Bible talks about storing treasures up for yourself in heaven (Matt 6:19-21), but that doesn’t provide us with many details as to how those treasures work – the mechanics are a total mystery. One analogy that seems to help people is to think of it like two people gathering water from a well; no matter the size of the container, the container will be full. Storing up treasures in heaven has been described as “getting a bigger bucket”. As we said though, this is simply speculation, and we wouldn’t be too dogmatic on the issue.
As for your concern of jealousy in heaven, we don’t know the mechanics of how heaven will work, but we do know that there will be no sin there (1 Cor 15:54-57). Covetousness is a sin (Jas 4:2). In this life, we struggle to rejoice in the joys of our fellow Christians (Rom 12:15); sometimes it stings when we see others with more than us, but the time will come when we will shuck this mortal coil, and those fleshly temptations to covet will no longer plague us.
Does the Bible say hell is for real?
Afraid Of Fire
Dear Afraid Of Fire,
Mk 9:47-49 says that hell is a place where “the worm never dies and the fire is not quenched”. 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. Examine yourself and ask, “If I died today, would I be ready to meet God?” If you aren’t sure, read “What Must I Do To Be Saved?”
Are there really such things as ghosts?
The idea of ghosts cannot be found in the Bible. Ghosts are supposedly the souls or spirits of those who have died. These dead souls are presumed to be wandering the Earth interacting with the living from time to time. The Bible tells us what happens when we die, and there is no Halloween-ish spiriting involved. Jesus told the story of a wicked rich man and a faithful poor man named Lazarus in Lk 16:19-31. When these two men died, the rich man immediately woke up in torment, and Lazarus was escorted to Paradise (Lk 16:22-23). This is what happens when the righteous and the wicked die. There is no wandering or ghostly haunting. In fact, the rich man was specifically told that the dead aren’t sent back to the Earth to preach or effect the course of events here (Lk 16:27-31). We die, and then we wait to face the judgment (Heb 9:27).
Is it true that billions and billions won’t be saved? Someone told me more people will be sent down than up.
Jesus said, “Enter in by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are they that enter in.” (Matt 7:13) Most people will not be saved because most people don’t place their faith in the Lord. We cannot be saved by our own strength. Jesus is the way of salvation (Jhn 14:6). God desires that all be saved (Jhn 3:16), but we must seek Him (Heb 11:6).
What happens to the souls of people that have never heard the actual gospel of Jesus, and are they really ignorant of salvation, and, therefore, excused from hell?
Concerned For Others
Dear Concerned For Others,
God is the only one who can judge where someone’s eternal destination will be. The Scriptures give us an insight into how the Great Judge will decide our verdict. Here are some Scriptures to consider:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
As we said, 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.