“I don’t want to go to hell!”
From what I can recall, that was the initial thought that motivated me to consider accepting Jesus as my Savior as a child. I decided that I wanted to go to heaven mainly because I did NOT want to go to hell!
Now, I have absolutely nothing against children’s church but way back in the day when I was a child there wasn’t any such thing as children’s church─at least not in the little country church I went to. They didn’t even have a nursery. So during the preaching service everyone, young and old, were together in the sanctuary and we received the same healthy dose of “hell fire and brimstone” preaching. And believe me, there were no “ear tickling” messages going on around there either! The sermons were heart pounding, attention getting, Spirit-filled Words from God. And no one worried or even gave it a second thought if the sermon was PC or if it was too graphic or if it was age appropriate (or should I say “New Age” appropriate?).
We heard a lot about what hell would be like for those stubborn enough or crazy enough to defy the warnings from the pulpit. And none of it was pleasant. I didn’t understand it all, but I was able to grasp enough to know that I didn’t want to go there! Not only did we learn what would be going on there, we also were told who else would be there.
If knowing what it will be like (eternal torment in a burning lake of fire) isn’t enough to convince you, how about the company you’ll be keeping? How about spending time with the abominable, the murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolaters, liars, the devil, the devil’s angels, the beast (antichrist) and the false prophet? Now I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to meet up with any one of these folks on a bright sunny day in a crowded public place, let alone be with all of them together in a dark lake of fire!
Needless to say, I was convinced at a fairly young age that I did not want to go to hell. However, the point of this article is to say that now that I am older and have learned more about what heaven will be like and I realize that I want to go to heave for heaven’s sake, not just as the only other alternative to hell.
I ordered a copy of Terry James’ new book, Heaven Vision: Glimpses Into Glory a few weeks ago. It was wonderful to tag along on his journey and peer over his shoulder for a small glimpse of what heaven will be like when we die. And I imagine, as I’ve said before in previous articles, how spectacular the Rapture will be and how I long to be a part of that experience.
Another of my favorite places to go for information about what heaven will be like is to Dr. David Reagan of LambLion.com and Christ in Prophecy (TV). On one of his TV shows he said:
“I had been led to believe that going to heaven meant being a disembodied spirit residing in an ethereal world, floating around on a cloud playing a harp. And I tell you what — I just couldn’t get excited about that picture! My interest in heaven developed slowly over a long period of time. It ultimately became a passion for two reasons. First, of course, was my study of Bible prophecy. The second reason was because of my growing relationship with the Lord. You see, the more I came to know Him, the more I desired to be with Him.”
I couldn’t agree more. The study of Bible prophecy has brought so many wonderful things about God, heaven and Jesus to my attention. And it’s made me realize how wonderful heaven will be and it has made me long for the company I’ll be keeping there. My heart yearns to be in heaven for heaven’s sake.