There is a Chinese saying, “Sen, lau, ping, se”, “Birth, old age, sickness, death.” This is man’s journey from cradle to grave. As Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of modern Singapore, said, “Life is better than death. But death comes eventually to everyone…. I prefer a quick one.” (One Man’s View of the World, 298). To Mr Lee, life is better than death, but why is it better? Why can’t death be better? Can death be better than life? Is life on earth all that great? And is life on earth all there is for a human being? Or is there a life after death? What happens after death? To an agnostic like Mr Lee, he concluded, “I just cease to exist… otherwise the other world would be overpopulated. Is heaven such a large and limitless space that you can keep all the peoples of the world over the thousands of years past? I have a large question mark on that.” (One Man’s View of the World, 299). Whether there is a heaven or not, or a hell, to some is a big question mark. But it does not have to be. In fact, heaven and hell are knowable. They are real places, and the Bible reveals to us what they are like.
The Bible tells us that God exists and heaven and hell also exist. God holds the keys to heaven and hell, and human beings cannot escape from the judgement of God and ending up in one of these two places. Psalm 139:7–8 says, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.” To His disciples, Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1–3, see also Luke 23:43).
The man who denies God’s existence (ie the atheist) would invariably deny the existence of life after death, whether in heaven or in hell. God exists. Christopher Hitchens—a most notorious atheist and the darling of all atheists—who authored a book called God Is Not Great mocked God, St Peter and heaven in an article by The Guardian called “Unthinkable: Christopher Hitchens at Heaven’s Gate” where he said, “This… continent of spacious heaven, adorned with plant, fruit, flower ambrosial, gems and gold… This kind of divine North Korea? Come off it. Where are the ashtrays? I'm off somewhere I can get a drink.”
Atheists and antitheists scorn and scoff at heaven. The Bible warns, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Gal 6:7). The reality is—all atheists/antitheists do not even make it to the doorsteps of heaven. They go straight to hell (Luke 16:22–23). Hitchens, by the way, died in 2011 at the age of 62. I am sure he is no longer atheist.
Know that God made man a moral and immortal creature. The Westminster Confession states, “After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image, having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change.” (IV.2, see Gen 1:27, 2:7, Eph 4:24).
It further states, “The bodies of men after death return to dust, and see corruption, but their souls (which neither die nor sleep), having an immortal subsistence immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous being then made perfect in holiness, are received unto the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. Besides these two places for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.” (XXXII.1, see Eccl 12:7, Heb 12:23, 2 Cor 5:1, 6, 8).
Like it or not, heaven and hell exist. We want to end up in heaven and not in hell. How to escape the judgement of hell to come? The only way is to be saved in and by Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24). Just confess your sins to God, and call on Jesus to be your Saviour; bow yourself to Jesus and pray, “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner, save me from the wrath to come. I believe in Your death and resurrection for me. I want to receive You as my Lord and Saviour.” When such a humble prayer is made, the Lord Jesus will hear and will not turn away. “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (Ps 34:18). “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom 10:9).
SHARING FROM THE BIBLE
As I share from the Bible,
The truth is undeniable.
Mistakes in the Bible is impossible,
Even as its truth is infallible.
Sharing with many unbelieving people,
They must have a heart that is teachable.
Sharing the gospel is inevitable,
But the wealth and health gospel is questionable.
Even as some do not believe in the rapture,
It is still a fact from Scripture.
To some it is not sensible,
Rapture cannot be belittled.
To be sceptical is condemnable,
Faith in the rapture is commendable.
Full repentance is desirable,
It is a command that is non-negotiable.
Let us be as godly as possible,
As we must stay humble.
Being an atheist is unacceptable,
We must be Jesus Christ’s disciples.
Finally, the lake of fire is irreversible,
As such an end is true and credible.
Written by Yao Ho
[Yao Ho is a member of Tabernacle Bible-Presbyterian Church.]
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