Ever wonder if God and heaven exist? I have experienced some very affirming and convicting circumstances in my ministry to paint a pretty vivid picture of the answer. I have had the privilege of being with hundreds of people as they have died, passing from this world into the next. Perhaps you say there is no afterlife- good luck to you then. Consider the consequences.
We are eternal beings and our soul and spirit live forever. It is our choice as to where. Heaven is a place of light and love in the presence of God. Jesus Christ is the light so artificial sources are not necessary. It is a beautiful and real place as described in the Bible by the Apostle John in the book of Revelation. There are no more tears, pain, sorrow or death in heaven. Hell is spoken of as a place without God.
There is condemnation to a place of fire, pain and torment in darkness described in the gospels. The choice is ours.
I have experienced the reactions of people as they have died with or without physical pain or illness. The dramatic difference came between believers and non-believers. I have found a peace and even an early heavenly experience in the believer, as they are slipping from this dimension into the next. Frequently people, without hallucination begin to enter the spiritual realm where they see loved ones and other spiritual beings such as angels. Experiencing the peaceful presence of relatives who have gone before has been the most common expression of the dying. As a former hospice chaplain, I was privy to incredible liaisons with family members and even Jesus Himself.
I recall particularly a woman I had known for several years. As I entered her hospice room she asked, “do you see them?” She was speaking of angels. I had come to believe that angels are large creatures, but we really don’t know all about these heavenly creations. She said they are blue-winged and flying around me. I must report that without question, I saw the small angels, several of them flying like “Tinker Bell” in Peter Pan. As she spoke, I had already seen exactly what she described, not suggestively, but in reality. We prayed and praised God together. She was very joyous and peaceful at the same time as she closed her eyes and slipped into the presence of God. “Absent from the body and present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). There was a peacefulness that transcended understanding.
I contrast this experience with those of non-believers. Almost without exception, there has been agitation, pain, fear and even agony expressed in the passing of an unbeliever. This is a statement of my actual experience, described to reveal the reality of the spiritual world, heavenly and not. I have felt helpless and frightened myself in these situations, knowing that the person was experiencing the presence of painful thoughts, images or more that is represented by hell or Hades. The Scripture in Revelation 19 & 20 tells of the lake of fire into which Jesus Christ threw Satan. In Revelation 20, speaking of the Judgment, Christ throws non-believers into the lake of fire or hell forever.
I know that these thoughts are scary, but they are taken right from the Bible concerning faith in Jesus Christ and the judgment. I personally am frightened for anyone whose name is not written in the “Lamb’s Book of Life” (Revelation 21:27), for their eternity is hell, away from the presence of God.
Heaven and hell are real and each person has an opportunity to accept this and receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, before it is too late. “ I tell you now is the time of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Jesus is returning soon, as all prophesy with the exception of the rapture has occurred. So be ready!