Summary: The certainty of death and the realities of heaven and hell compell us to make preparations for eternity.
* On the night of April 14, 1912, during its first trip from England to New York, the Titanic struck an iceberg. The collision tore a 300-foot gash in its hull, and in 2½ hours the unsinkable ship sank. Some 1500 people died.
* On May 6, 1937, in Lakehurst, New Jersey, the mighty German Zeppelin, Hindenburg, was attempting a mooring. The Hindenburg was one of Nazi Germany’s finest airships. It was supposed to represent the greatness of the German Reich and its leader, Adolf Hitler. It had just crossed the Atlantic on its maiden voyage of the year when it exploded. 36 people died.
* On August 31, 1997, Diana, the Princess of Wales, was killed shortly after midnight in an automobile accident in a tunnel by the Seine River in Paris.
* On September 11, 2001, hijacked airplanes, in the hands of terrorists, crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Nearly 3000 people died.
* On the day after Christmas 2004, a monster tsunami hit several countries in South Asia and Africa, and 150,000 died in one day!
* On the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina battered the gulf coast of the United States. It was the sixth-strongest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history. Its damage is estimated at $75 billion dollars making it the costliest hurricane in U.S. history. As of March 20, 2006 the confirmed death toll stood at 1,604, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since 1928.
* Today 150,000 people die.
I. WHERE WILL YOU BE THE MOMENT YOU DIE? Luke 16:19-23
Note: There are only two destinations after death.
Note: This passage does not teach that rich people go to hell and poor people go to heaven.
A. If You Accept God’s Word You Will Be In Heaven. John 14:1-6
Illustration: The Master’s There
In one of his books, A. M. Hunter, the New Testament scholar, relates the story of a dying man who asked his Christian doctor to tell him something about the place to which he was going. As the doctor fumbled for a reply, he heard a scratching at the door, and he had his answer.
“Do you hear that?” he asked his patient. “It’s my dog. I left him downstairs, but he has grown impatient, and has come up and hears my voice. He has no notion what is inside this door, but he knows that I am here. Isn’t it the same with you? You don’t know what lies beyond the Door, but you know that your Master is there.” (Christian Theology in Plain Language, p. 208.)
B. If You Reject God’s Word You Will Be In Hell. Matthew 13:49-50
Illustration: Whatever Happened To Hell?
The following are some of the cults listed by John Ankerberg and John Weldon in Facts on Life after Death. Listed also is each group’s divisive opinion about both heaven and hell along with its founder’s quotations.
1. Christian Science, founded by spiritist Mary Baker Eddy, teaches, “There is no death.” They believe that “heaven and hell are states of thought, not places. People experience their own heaven or hell right here on earth.”
2. Edgar Cayce, a spiritist and New Age prophet, said that “the destiny of the soul, as of all creation, is to become One with the Creator” and that no soul is ever lost.
3. New Age cult leader Sun Myung Moon of The Unification Church believes that “God will not desert any person eternally. By some means...they will be restored.”
4. Mormonism, founded by occultist Joseph Smith, argues, “The false doctrine that the punishment to be visited upon erring souls is endless...is but a dogma of unauthorized and erring sectaries, at once unscriptural, unreasonable, and revolting.”
5. Jehovah’s Witnesses, founded by Charles Taze Russell maintains that the wicked are forever annihilated because “the teaching about a fiery hell can rightly be designated as a ‘teaching of demons.’”
6. The Church of the New Jerusalem (Swedenborgianism), founded by spiritist Emanuel Swedenborgh, emphasizes that God “does not condemn anyone to hell.”
7. Eckankar, a New Age religion founded by Paul Twitchell and Darwin Gross, insists, “There is no death”...and that there is no eternal hell.
8. Lucis Trust and the Arcane School/Full Moon Meditation Groups, established by New Age spiritist Alice Bailey, argue that “the fear of death is based upon...old erroneous teaching as to heaven and hell.”
9. The Love Family (The Children of God), founded by spiritist David Berg, views hell as a temporal purgatory: “The lake of fire is where the wicked go to get purged from their sins...to let them eventually come...out.”
10. Rosicrucianism, an occult philosophy, declares, “The ‘eternal damnation’ of those who are not ‘saved’ does not mean destruction nor endless torture,” and that “the Christian religion did not originally contain any dogmas about Hell.”