Here’s a few more responses to questions submitted to me during my sermon last Sunday. The theme of that message was on Heaven and Hell.
If the dead could look into heaven, when we go to heaven will we be able to see friends and loved ones that are in hell?
There is nothing in the Bible that says we can. You may have noticed during the message on Sunday, Luke 16 does not say that Lazarus could see the rich man in hell. It seems to me that if it were possible for me to see loved ones in hell, it would be incredibly sorrowful. We do know there will be no sorrow in heaven.
You said people chose to go to hell, what about those who have never heard?
Will people that have never heard or not allowed to hear the word of Christ be allowed to go to heaven?
I addressed this a little bit on Sunday. I want to first say that I share a burden about this issue. I know the Bible says no one can come to the Father except through Jesus Christ. In my mind, it seems this means they will not only need to know that God exists, but they would need to at least know enough of the Gospel message to know they need to repent of their sin and place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. With that said, I also fully believe the Bible. The Bible says in Romans 1:18-20 says, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” This verse clearly says several things. 1 – God has made what may be known about him plain to humanity. 2 – God’s qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, are clearly seen and understood from looking at and experiencing creation. 3 – Because of this level of revelation, people who reject God are without excuse. There is a missing element in this verse, but I still trust God with the issue. One cannot gaze at a sunset and know through this experience they must repent of their sins and trust Christ as their Savior. The way I sort through this is to know that creation alone is enough to prompt people to seek after God. While Jeremiah 29:13 was specifically written to a Jewish people in captivity, I believe the principle also applies to us: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” This say that if an individual begins to ponder his origins and the source of all life by experiencing the creation and he really begins to seek after God, he will find God. There may be additional things God does to reach across the chasm to make himself known, but the impetus for that search is God’s creation, which is available to all. Granted, those of us who live within Gospel rich societies certainly seem to have an advantage, but at the same time, God is not limited. If someone is seeking God, he can make himself known to that individual. I’ve heard and read many stories about God doing just that.
How do you know that “Abraham’s side” means heaven and not a holding place where Abraham happens to be (Abraham’s bosom)?
I think Abraham’s side could very well have been a holding place for believers as they awaited the resurrection of Jesus. I call it heaven because it could be considered pre-resurrection (Christ’s resurrection) heaven. The post-resurrection concept of immediately being in heaven and not in a holding place comes from several places. 1 – In Luke 23:43 Jesus told the thief dying on the cross “today you’ll be with me in paradise.” The thief did not have to go to purgatory or some holding place waiting on a more opportune time. It was to be instant. 2 – 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 clearly says there are two options for Christians: in the body and away from the Lord or out of the body and present with the Lord. 3- Ephesians 3:15 indicates we already have family in heaven.
Will Jews, the chosen people of God, get to be in heaven even though they never believed in Christ?
No. Jesus said “No one comes to the father except through me” (John 14:6). Jews fall under the “no one” clause. Eternal life requires salvation and that must come through Jesus Christ.
Will we eat in heaven?
I believe the answer is “Yes.” Jesus made reference to eating together in the Kingdom in Mark 14:25. Also Revelation 21 talks about fruit bearing trees that will line the river of life. I personally think Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice-cream will be like health food in heaven.:)
Will animals be in heaven?
The Bible does make reference to the lion lying down with the lamb in the millennial reign of Christ. It is also interesting to note that animals were a part of the creation of the world before the fall. The scripture also says the creation is groaning (Romans 8:22) in response to the broken state of our world. I do not believe our animals will be resurrected, so any animals that might be in heaven will be new. When I asked my mother this when I was a little boy, she asked me, “Will it take Prince being in heaven for you to be happy?” She then told me that God says I will be eternally happy in heaven, and if my eternal happiness depended on my dog’s presence, then he would be there. That comforted me as I stood by my little Prince’s grave, and the concept is true. Now, however, as an adult, I realize my happiness will not depend upon my dog’s presence.
Will there be our Earthly hobbies in heaven.
While we know heaven is going to be a wonderful and amazing place, we do not fully know what we will do. It seems we will work and have projects, etc. We do know there will some ruling going on during the millennial reign, but the Bible is not real specific. It seems to me that there will be a lot of really rewarding, fun, enjoyable things going on throughout eternity, so hobbies could very well fit into the concept. With that said, the Bible really does not give us an answer to this one.
If God knows the plans for our life does he know if we are going to end up in heaven or hell when we are born?
Yes. God knows everything. He sees the beginning at the same time he sees the end. We call this “foreknowledge.” God has foreknowledge, which means He knows ahead of time not only who will be saved, but exactly what is going to happen around us.
Do we keep our personalities in heaven
Jesus seemed to keep his in his resurrected form. The Bible really does not address this. My only thought is that God is a creative God, and part of His creativity is seen in our unique personalities. It does make life more interesting and varied. It seems to me there will be personalities in heaven.