In history, heaven is often taken to mean the air. The God of heaven is associated not only with the Hebrews, but also with the heathen and strange people. Actually, the Hebrew people acknowledged three heavens.
!. The Aerial Heavens where the birds fly and the winds blow.
2. The Heaven or Firmament where the stars are located.
3. Heaven of Heavens, the place of God’s residence, the dwelling of angels and the blessed.
Each heaven named goes higher into the sky. In the true palace of God is a place immune from impurities and imperfections. The word, idea, and some description of heaven is to be found in many places in the Scripture.
I’m afraid that for many folk, the idea of heaven is a concept that is not clear, and in many cases, there is no clear belief that there IS a heaven.
Why would anyone want to do to heaven? It is a concept that is associated with our life after death, if it is considered at all. I believe the thought of an afterlife began long before the Jewish people existed as a race. The ancient people of Egypt certainly had this belief of life after death and somewhere along the way, the afterlife was believed to be better and more secure than our earthly life.
The further away man’s distance from the Bible and its teachings, the more uncertain the concept and details become. The further away that man deviates from the Bible, the Scriptures—the more theories there are about any afterlife, and the more bizarre such theories are.
I am certainly not expert in expounding all the theories about heaven, its reality or absence, but many people have come up with many ideas about an afterlife. We will have to concern ourselves with only the most prevailing beliefs.
- Some believe there is no afterlife. When you die, you, or your soul, ceases to exist anywhere. Perhaps this belief is not as popular as it once was. Many folks believe that no afterlife is a very crass and stupid belief, conceived in ignorance. The big problem with this belief is just this—what is the purpose of life, then? What reason have we then for our existence?
- Then there are people who believe that everyone will go to heaven when they die on earth. This view is a blow to the average intelligence. Why should anyone who is bad, or whom society labels as bad, go to a place of peace and rest, and maybe rewards?
- Then there is the idea of purgatory—a holding place for those who die, and may not qualify for heaven because of a life that hasn’t been so good. Again, who is to make that judgment? Now, according to the prevailing theory, it is possible to get out of purgatory and enter heaven. Good deeds and/or money must be paid or done in the name of that person. It could even be possible for that person (in purgatory) to prove his worthiness. But the idea of purgatory is nowhere to be found in Scripture or anywhere else. It is a piece of man-made fiction.
- And I believe most all of us, when we were young children, heard and may have believed this notion. After you die, St. Peter, up in heaven will get out his balancing scales and weigh your good earthly deeds against your bad deeds. You know, balances. Now, according to this story—IF, and I say, IF—your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, you will be admitted to heaven. If the scale is tipped the right way, you are safe. I cannot imagine a more humanistic notion than this. If there could be anything to this man-made nonsense, what about the severity of each good deed and bad deed? How would that affect the balance? One cold not win an election or a war with such a fantasy—how could one get to heaven with such a belief??
- Now, brace yourself, folks—you haven’t heard it all yet. Why, man is the MOST IMPORTANT BEING in the universe!—He is his OWN guide, and his OWN god. There is no mythical God, somewhere up in heaven, telling you what to do and who to believe.
Now, everyone has a free will. Everyone ought to know that. These people may be well-meaning, and all that, but there is no REAL God up there, who tells you what to do and stands watch continually over what you do.
Why, the way some people have pictured God is utterly unreasonable. This is the day of MAN—we are past those “old” days of an unreasonable, so-called God; we have gone past those days of fables, those old ways are unreasonable. Why, this is the age of Intelligence, the era of promise, the era of accomplishments—why the Bible itself is old and out-dated, and so is our country’s Constitution. Why the era of man should be glorified, the accomplishments of man need to be glorified. Getting ahead and getting glory for oneself is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing!
And another thing—don’t criticize a belief that is different from yours—as long as that belief is sincere, let it alone. Homosexuality and lesbianism are o.k. They may not suit your style, but they should be honored as alternative lifestyles. And if someone has his own god, one who doesn’t conform to your ideas, let it alone! His so-called guide will be a comfort to him, perhaps. In the end, it is man on the throne of life that is to be honored and embraced. And cling to this truth, ALWAYS—As long as what YOU believe is “true for YOU”, in YOUR mind, it is “Truth.”
Dear Friends, item number 5 here is secular humanism at its best! You see, if absolute truth can be manipulated and changed, and challenged to suit the need, any principle of life can be broadened to suit any need and any belief system. Thus, REAL truth, then has no basis, no usefulness, and man has just become his OWN god, with the great seal of approval from anyone agreeing with this horrible idea.
It becomes obvious then, that a man-centered system of belief, does not need, nor welcome any other system of belief.
Now, my question to you is this, Dear Friend—many folk just can’t buy into the systems of belief I have outlined here in my little talk—people with real compassion and sensitivity can’t see these beliefs as rational.
Suppose it IS true, after all, that there IS a God in heaven, who created man and woman, and who will have the final say about your life, once it is over for you on earth. Suppose that the Bible is TRUE—that God must judge sin—that man REALLY does have a responsibility to God. In what condition will you find yourself, Friend, at the end of your earthly life? What will your present belief system do for you at the end of your life? You had best realize what a young man realized as I counseled him—“I guess I’m driving down the road without any insurance.” [GOING THE WRONG WAY]
This young man came to Jesus Christ, as God The Father has throughout the ages urged men to do. Here’s how it unfolded.
He prayed a prayer to God that went something like this:
Dear Lord Jesus, I realize that I am a sinner, that I have not obeyed You, and have never sought Your forgiveness. I need You to forgive my sins and come into my life and direct my life. I thank You for dying on the cross in my place. Receive me and forgive me now. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Those who pray this type of prayer in sincerity are born again and become TRUE children of God. Ask any true born-again Christian to explain how he or she became a child of God. It is your passport to heaven!!