Ask Your Preacher
HEAVEN & HELL
Do animals go to heaven… like, when Elisha flew to heaven in a fiery chariot, wouldn’t a horse pull the chariot? And when Jesus comes back, won't He be riding on a horse that came from heaven?
Dear Horse Whisperer,
Any horse that could pull a chariot that is on fire and flying through the sky isn’t a “horse” in the traditional sense, and Rev 19:11’s reference to Jesus on a white horse is symbolic just like the rest of the book. The white horse represents purity, not necessarily a physical steed.
Animals don’t go to heaven. Animals are a blessing from God (Gen 1:26). Animals have the “breath of life” just like humans do (Gen 2:7, Gen 6:17). This “breath of life” is also sometimes referred to as the “spirit” of a man or animal (Gen 7:22). Animals have spirits, and humans have spirits, but humans were also made in the image of God (Gen 1:26). Our spirits are eternal and will go up to be with the Father, and animal spirits are temporary and will return to the dust of the earth (Eccl 3:21). God made our spirit of a different caliber than He made those of the animal.
Once you give your life to Jesus Christ, and your name is in the Book of Life, all your sins are washed away. Does this mean we do not have Judgment Day since our sins are forgiven?
Skip The Sentencing?
Dear Skip The Sentencing,
Several verses refer to the saints not being judged, but this doesn’t mean they won’t be at the judgment. Jhn 3:18 and Lk 6:37 clearly state that Christians will not be judged. In this context, ‘not judged’ means they won’t be condemned… but we will all face the judgment bar of God. God is judge of all mankind (Heb 12:23), so everyone will be brought before Him for judgment (Eccl 3:17). When you die, God will judge you (Heb 9:27). When the Scriptures say that Christians won’t be judged, it is referring to the painful part of judgment – the punishment. Christians will be spared the punishment that all the wicked must endure (2 Pet 2:9).
I am worried about going to heaven; I pray often, but I have never felt the Holy Ghost. I am wondering, and sometimes I have sinful thoughts. What can I do to make it to heaven, be with my passed family members, and be with my Lord?
Dear Getting Home,
The Holy Spirit dwells in those that follow the Bible and put to death their previous sinful lifestyles (Rom 8:12-14). The Holy Spirit gave us the Bible, and when we follow it, we are led by the Spirit. Those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God, and the Spirit dwells in them (Rom 8:14-16).
Christians do have the Holy Spirit dwell in them (Rom 8:9) – but not literally. The Holy Spirit dwells in christians in the same metaphorical way that Christ dwells in christians (Rom 8:10). The Holy Spirit and Jesus do not physically dwell inside christians miraculously, therefore, you don’t “feel” the Holy Spirit in you. They dwell within christians in a figurative way because a christian’s life follows the path the Holy Spirit and Christ set for them.
If you do the five things the Bible says to become a Christian, the Holy Spirit will be in you as you walk the path that He has set for you. Read “Five Steps To Salvation” for more information on what those five things are.
When Jesus died on the cross, what happened to Him? Was He just dead, or did His spirit go heaven for some time and then return to His body once He was resurrected? Sorry if this is a stupid question.
Where’d He Go?
Dear Where’d He Go,
It isn’t a stupid at all – many people have the same question. Jesus went to Paradise when He died – He said so. Jesus told the thief on the cross that they were both going to Paradise after they died (Lk 23:43). Some say that Jesus went to hell when He died. That argument refers to the verse where it states Jesus would spend three days and three nights in “the heart of the earth” (Matt 12:40). However, that verse is simply stating that Jesus’ body would be buried for three days. Jesus’ spirit was separated from His body at death (Jas 2:26). Jesus’ body went into the ground, and His spirit went into Paradise.
My wife’s grandmother passed away a few months ago. They were very close. My wife came from a Baptist family. When we met, I was able to show her the truth, and now she is a member of the Church; my heart was broken when she looked at me and asked me, "Is it wrong for me (my wife) to think my grandmother is in heaven?” I didn't know what to say. We both know what the Bible says, and we know that no matter what, what we would like to believe is irrelevant. The Bible still says we must be baptized. How can I answer a question my wife already knows the answer to? Does that make any sense? What would you recommend the best way to word this answer? It's much harder than I thought.
Dear Compassionate Husband,
Mourning is such a difficult process because grief isn’t logical; it is emotional. The fact is that you don’t have to give your wife an answer at this time; sometimes the best comfort is what Job’s friends provided him with – quiet companionship (Job 2:13). Sometimes all you need to say is, “I can’t imagine how much you are hurting at this time” and leave it at that.
However, if your wife looks for a more in-depth answer, God says that He finds no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek 33:11). That tells you that God will not send anyone to hell by accident, from spite, or out of malicious intent. Anyone who ends up in hell really, truly belongs there, and all those who are meant to be in heaven will be there. When your wife’s grandmother faces God on the Day of Judgment, God will make the right decision concerning her fate. There is some comfort in knowing that God will not make any mistakes.