A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.
After a while, they came to a high white stonewall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight broke it. When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.
When he was close enough, he called out, “Excuse me, where are we?”
“This is Heaven, sir,” the man answered.
“Wow! Would you happen to have some water,” the man asked.
“Of course, Sir, come right in and I’ll have some ice water brought right up.” The man gestured, and the gate began to open.
“Can my friend come in, too, the traveler asked gesturing toward his dog.
“I'm sorry: but we don't accept pets.”
The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog. After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that had no fence and looked as if it had never been closed. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.
“Excuse me,” he called to the man. “Do you have any water?”
“Yeah, sure, there’s a pump over there, come on in.”
“How about my friend here,” the traveler gestured to the dog again.
“There should be a bowl by the pump.”
They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself then he gave some to the dog.
When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree. “What do you call this place,” the traveler asked.
“This is Heaven,” he answered.
“Well, that’s confusing,” the traveler said. “The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.”
“Oh, you mean the place with the gold-street and pearly gates? Nope. That’s hell.”
“Doesn't it make
you mad for them to use your name like that?”
“No, we’re just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.”
I was having breakfast with a friend of mine one morning and the subject of religion came up. Although, I am not a religious person, I am a very spiritual one and have very strong beliefs. I pray, I believe Christ is our savior, and I believe God is always in control. My friend, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same kind of faith.
“I was raised Pentecostal,” she said of her upbringing, “and I firmly believe in the power of prayer; that there’s something above us. Anything positive is a good thing. I’m just not so sure about the after-life.”
“What’s wrong with the afterlife?” I asked.
She kind of laughed and said, “Heaven. I’m not sure it exists. Think about it; if heaven is so great, then why are people so afraid to die? Why does everyone fight so hard to stay alive?”
She rates a good point. I’ve thought long and hard about it. I’ve resorted to looking up scriptures and I’ve prayed to ask the One who knows that answer. I think I have a small idea why people are so afraid of dying.
Here are some of my ideas. First and foremost, the unknown. We don’t know what to expect. Even though Scriptures tell us we will sleep until Christ comes to judge us, many just cannot conceive the idea. And Christ will come. “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Mathew 24:30
“And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” Mathew 24:31.
Still, we fear what we do not know.
Second: We’re taught (young) to mourn the loss of our loved ones as they will mourn us. “You’ll never see them again,” we’re told and so, we mourn because we, the living, will not see the deceased again. Naturally, we’re taught this is a sad event, not a happy one.
Scripturally speaking, in the book of Genesis we know that God tells Adam and Eve not to partake from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, as they will surely die. When the Lord created them, Adam and Eve were not meant to ever die. They lived in the Garden of Eden for over a thousand years. So, when God said they will surely die, he meant they will become mortal and “eventually” die.
In Gen. 2:17, they (Adam and Eve) are told that in the “day” they eat of the forbidden fruit, they would die. But they didn’t. Instead, God provides a promise for a way out (Gen 3:15). At the cross, (Rom 3:24-25) God shows that he was just in not killing our first parents on that day because of the cross where Christ would die for our sins. God took the loss instead for those who would have faith in what Jesus did.
“It is appointed onto man once to die, and then the judgment.” Heb 9:27. Woe to him who dies the second death. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’” Rev 2:11 “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power.” Rev. 20:6.
The White Throne judgment is the death we want to avoid. “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.” Rev 20:14
Satan, who is perceived to be the Angel of Death, or the Grim Reaper, understood God’s implication and lied to Adam and Eve saying, “You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. - For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5 - This is the first lie.
Through this, death has been given quite a negative overcast. God himself threatens death to his own beloved creations: man and woman. If God is threatening it, it must bad.
Finally, outside of the unknown, I think it plays heavily on many about their own salvations. However, we are all sinners. God realized that we, as humans, will always sin. To save us, God sends us a gift, he sent us Christ, his beloved son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
The key to heaven is to believe that Christ, as the son of God, is the Son of Man. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2-8
“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
There are many scriptures that tell us we are saved through the grace and blood of Jesus Christ and yet, it seems to be the hardest thing to grasp because, as I said, we are all sinners. God understands that too. He knows it’s a hard concept to wrap our head around and, therefore, we fear death. None of us are worthy of His love and yet, we receive it and should not fear death because of His love.
But. this is just my opinion supported by Scriptures. Thank you, Karl Wagner, for helping me with this.
Stephen Hawking, whose IQ is estimated at being between 200 and 250, is claimed to be the smartest man in the world. He also claims that there is no God. I was online reading about him one day. He suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease (remember the ice bucket challenge?). Once I read this I realized he’s just angry with God.
Lou Gehrig’s, in laymen terms, will shut down the voluntary and involuntary muscles. It commonly starts in the feet, to the legs, to the abdomen and so on, affecting the lungs and speech near the end. The patient is well aware they are dying and there is no cure to stop the disease. Yes, he’s angry. Just because he’s the smartest man in the world does not mean he knows everything either.
1 Peter 4:11 “Whoever speaks, let it be with God’s words. Whoever serves, do so with the strength that God supplies, so that in everything God will be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever.”
I posted on Facebook, that, in my opinion, Stephen Hawking is just angry and this is his way of getting back at The Almighty: to deny His existence. I’ve also posted about Helen Keller when a friend of mine stated that although there is no proof that God exists, there is no proof that He doesn’t. In my opinion, Helen Keller proved that God does, in fact, exist.
Helen Keller was born deaf, dumb, and blind. After having spent most of her young life in silent darkness, her parents found Anne Sullivan, a teacher, to teach Helen how to communicate even though she couldn't see, hear, or speak. When Anne finally started talking to her about God, Helen's response was "I wondered when someone was going to talk to me about Him."
Think about that - no one had anyway to talk to Helen about God, yet she was born with the knowledge that God existed, as we all are. We are all taught faith, or lack thereof, through our upbringing. My sisters and brothers were all taught about God, me as well, during our youth and grew up with the knowledge of His existence. Whereas, sadly, I have a couple of nieces brought up in an Atheistic household and so, they do not believe in God. They were taught to disbelieve.
In Matthew 18:3 Christ said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (NIV). Children humbly accept a lot of things as true by faith, but always because they have confidence in a person, parent, or teacher.
Knowing about Helen Keller only solidifies my conviction. I just cannot get over how a deaf, mute, and blind woman knew about God before ever being told about Him. My brother told me that little tidbit - I looked it up, it's true. So yes, there is proof God exists. We are all born with the knowledge of Him and we should keep that dear to us. He certainly keeps us dear to Him.
John 14:7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
This is about my experience with The Mormons. I was raised Seventh Day Adventist and am used to the radicals. The book of Leviticus teaches that it’s a sin to eat the meat of beasts without cloven hooves, the carcass of a swine (even though they are cloven hoofed) fish without scales and fins, birds that soar in the air, and animals that “creepth and slither upon the earth,” or have paws.
Yes, it’s all there. I’ve read it many of times. I can almost quote it by rote. Many of the SDA radicals live off that book in the Bible. They will tell you though that we live in the days of the New Testament but always revert back to the Mosaic Laws. Not all SDA’s are radicals though.
If you were to compare them to The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, AKA, The Mormons, they are kittens in the radical department. The Mormons, whom I firmly believe to be a cult, used to believe in having many wives as many of the Biblical prophets did (some still practice polygamy). I’m very familiar with the Mormons having lived in Utah for a year when I was twelve. My aunt, a Mormon, tried to get me to convert.
I almost allowed them to baptize me when, fortunately, fate interfered. I had been tricked by my father and his wife to go visit my aunt who lived in Utah. I was told I would be spending the summer with her but, when I got there, I was told I was moving in with her. I resented it; I resented being tricked, I resented being taken away from my ailing mother who lived in a nursing home, I just flat out resented the whole situation (Elvis had died that same year. Maybe that was why I was so cranky?).
I was asked to speak to the bishop (the equivalency to a pastor or a priest). While it was supposed to be confidential, not that I cared because I’d been carrying on openly about it the whole time anyway, he’d gone back and told my aunt what I said about being tricked.
That left a sour taste in my mouth. How can a man of God lie to a child and then try to justify it? It didn’t set well with me. The other thing that bothered me was the fact they ate pork. For being radical, they didn’t mind eating the meats of sin. They habitually added “sins” to their bi-laws which were handed down by man, not by God. Surprisingly enough, most of the Mormons I knew followed those laws almost to a fault.
Later, when my cousin Jim joined the Mormon Missionaries, he was sent to Switzerland with another missionary. At the time, Jim was engaged to the same bishop’s daughter, Connie, and they were set to be married upon his return. Apparently while Jim was in Switzerland he cheated on Connie. The other missionary reported him for “committing adultery.”
I told my aunt, “That’s not adultery; Jim and Connie aren’t even married yet!”
As my aunt pointed out though, “Her father is the bishop of the church; he can do whatever he likes.”
“It would be fornication,” I insisted.
“Yes, I agree, however, as I said, it’s his daughter and he doled punishment out. Jim has no choice if he wants to marry Connie.”
What he liked was ostracizing Jim and banished him for a year. He was not allowed to marry Connie, nor was he allowed to attend church for the whole year. I learned through my own experiences, and that of my cousin, that the Mormons tend to make up their own rules as they go. They forgive who they want and hide the rest. I certainly learned they didn’t mind lying or changing the rules.
How can someone tell you that you cannot go to church or whom you can marry? How can he persecute, execute, and take away Jim’s God given right all in the name of Mormonism? Jim did marry Connie sometime later, and he did return to the church after a year of banishment. It was explained to me by another church member, “We have to have guidelines and rules set up. Whenever they are broken, the offender needs to be punished.”
“Yes, but it’s not your place to punish anyone and tell them they can’t go to church,” I argued. “You are taking the place of God by doing that!”
Several years later, I was watching a program and the speaker was Joseph Smith’s great-granddaughter. She was talking of his relationship with Brigham Young, both known as co-founders of the Latter Day Saints.
She stated they were two con men who had met up in jail and concocted the scheme of leading a group of people out west. She also claimed to have proof that her great-grandfather did not get shot by a mob while in jail. In fact, he was shot by the hand of a jealous husband who caught Joseph Smith in bed with his wife. Brigham Young took up the pioneering once Smith was dead. The “church,” as it were, decided to hush it up because they feared if the other “members” on the trail knew they would all turn around and leave. The great-granddaughter stated these events were well documented in her great-grandmother’s diary who was one of Smith’s many wives.
They lied? They covered it up? Color me so surprised!
My husband had mentioned to an acquaintance of his that I used to attend the Mormon Church while living in Utah. Holy catnip, Batman! He was worse than an entire Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witnesses. He insisted on coming to my house several times during the week or calling me. I kept telling him I was not interested. I felt that particular religion was that of a cult group and I wasn’t about to get involved with them again.
It took about six months before he finally backed off. He had someone from the “Women’s Circle” call me and invite me to join them. I told her the same thing. I was just as gruff with her as I was with him because I felt now, he was trying to sic her on me. I was in no mood to play with these people. I told her, “I am not interested! I do not want to be involved in your little group, so please stop calling me!”
“I’m so sorry,” she said. “I was told you were not sure what you wanted to do and I was asked to encourage you.”
He lied? Get outta here! Still, in an agitated voice I answered, “No, he lied! He flat out lied! He won’t leave me the hell alone. If he comes back to my house, or calls me again, I will call the police and have him arrested for harassment! Tell him to stay the F#&$ away from me!”
That was over twenty years ago. He’s not been back since.