“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that LOVE (capitals mine) him.”
1 Corinthians 2:9
So, what are we waiting for? This post is not about “speeding” things along but rather a question of what comes next? Regardless of your religion, you probably believe after you die there is a Heaven and Hell. How you get to either may vary by religion and beliefs but the Holy Bible is very clear after our physical death (or the soon coming Rapture of the true Believers in the Last Days), ALL of mankind from throughout history will be judged to spend eternity either in Heaven or in Hell.
So, what exactly are we personally waiting for, Heaven or Hell? One of the best joke lines I ever heard was someone saying they didn’t believe in Heaven but they prayed there was no Hell! If Heaven exists, so does Hell! Some perceive their eventual entry into Heaven will be based solely as a result of their good works while on earth. This is NOT true! As Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by GRACE (capitals mine) are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” The Bible is very clear that earthly “works” will be graciously rewarded in Heaven but WILL NOT be the reason we go to Heaven. Rather, our entry into Heaven is predicated solely upon the belief that Jesus Christ, as the Perfect sacrifice, died for our sins and we only have to ask Him for forgiveness of those sins. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” – John 3:16-18.
I fully understand that some (or many) may disagree with me and point out that this is all from a purely a Christian perspective. Actually, it is what the Bible says! However, most Jews still await their Messiah and the promise that God made to them on earth (not necessarily in Heaven); Muslims don’t really know outside of good works (or death in jihad) what will need to be judged worthy by Allah to go to paradise (it is said that Mohammed on his death bed even told his followers he did not know if he would be going to paradise or hell); and, most other religions don’t have a guaranteed path to salvation. The beauty of the Bible and of Christianity is we know how to get to Heaven! Unfortunately, we also know what will send many to Hell.
What comes next in your mind I am sure is what exactly then are we waiting for, in either Heaven or Hell? I like the scripture below as a slight inkling of what to expect, understand this is not the final Heaven and/or Hell but rather the “holding” area of Hades, where we will go after our earthly death (or Rapture) until either the Great White Throne Judgement at the end of Christ’s 1,000 year Millennium rule on earth is over and the unbelievers are judged and sent to Hell, or we are Raptured. For the believers, we will rest in a much better place than what we have on earth until we join Christ with our new Heavenly bodies:
“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores. And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abrahams bosom (Hades): the rich man died and was buried. And in hell (Hades because he has yet to go before Jesus at the Great White Throne) he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham have mercy on me , and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said , Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.”
Let me be clear. The opening Bible scripture quoted in this post says we WILL NOT know God’s ultimate plans for those “that love him”. Heaven is for the believers, not the unbelievers! While we know we will spend eternity in His presence much like Adam and Eve spent their time in a close relationship with God in the Garden of Eden prior to their Fall, we also know that those who DO NOT believe that Jesus died for their sins and have not asked for His forgiveness will go to Hell. Of Hell we know a lot!
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”
So, what is this “lake of fire”? Before Christ judges the unbelievers at the Great White Throne, he would have already cast the Devil, the beast (anti-christ) and false prophet into it. “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night FOR EVER AND EVER (capitals mine).” – Revelation 20:10. The “lake of fire” is Hell, pure and simple, and it is there that unbelievers will suffer torment forever.
As Pastor Robert Jeffress said in his great book, Perfect Ending, “People frequently ask me, “How could a loving God ever sentence anyone to that kind of punishment?” The simple answer is that people choose to go to hell. Those participants in the Great White Throne judgement have said in effect, “I do not need Jesus Christ as my Savior. If God is going to judge me, I will take my chances and let Him judge me by my works.” Thus, God grants them their wish and judges them by their deeds.”
Or, as someone once said, “God does not lock people into Hell because they themselves have kicked God out and locked the door to Hell from the inside!” God gave man free choice and it is with that choice he can elect to accept or not accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Once condemned to spend eternity in Hell, there is no escape regardless of their request to be saved once they experience the hell of Hell. After death it is too late! “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” Isaiah 57:21. “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Matthew 25:46.
For those who believe, there are many, many Blessings we will receive in Heaven. In many places of the Bible it does say that we enter Heaven based on our acceptance of Christ as our Savior but we will be rewarded based on following those things He has taught us. Perhaps one of the most comforting statements Jesus uttered when asked about when He would return is when He 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.”
It took God 6 days to create EVERYTHING but for 2,000 years now Jesus has been preparing a place in Heaven for us! Now you know why man cannot even imagine the things to come for those of us that believe in Him. I find this not only comforting and reassuring but makes me anxious for His soon return. It is with this Promise from God that I hope you also are comforted and continue to “…comfort one another with these words.”
Please like and share this message with your friends and family if you feel the same way I do.
“What are we waiting for”
Wonderful words of Assurance. So easy for us to rest in today’s comfort, forgetting that tomorrow may be THE DAY we stand before God.