This is aimed primarily at those who are not Christians, or who otherwise don’t consider Jesus to be their Saviour and God to be the primary focus of their lives here on earth. However, many who call themselves Christians would do well to read on and equally give thought to some of the points I’m going to raise here.
I suspect that if you asked 100 people whether they wanted to go to heaven or hell, at least 99 of them would sensibly say heaven. But if you asked them why they figured they should be allowed into heaven answers will vary from the sublime to the ridiculous with everything in between, with even some Christians not having a good answer sadly. If you’re one of those, read on as what I’m going to say may make you rethink your reasons.
I imagine most people want to go to heaven because firstly its something ingrained in us since childhood – this idyllic nirvana state we’re brought up to believe is pretty much our right if we are “good” and don’t do “evil.” Many have varying views on what heaven actually is. Most consider it to be a place of rest and/or peace, and some actually do think they’ll spend most of eternity sitting on a cloud somewhere watching the world go by. So lets start by having a little scripture lesson on the reality of the 2 places you could spend eternity in for starters – just so you know exactly what God says they are.
It will be full of more people than heaven as Jesus stated that the road was broad (i.e. easier to travel on) that leads to it.
Isa 5:14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.
There will be angels (or rather demons!) there also:
2Pe 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
It is a place of final total and utter destruction with no hope of ever changing your mind:
Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
By contrast it’s impossible to find any singular or even just dual verses dealing with heaven – Jesus spoke about it at length in more parables than about any other topic other than salvation itself (Matthew 25 in total, Matt 22:2-13, Matt 20, 1-14 and multiple other instances).
But Revelation 21 provides greater insight to the magnitude of the new Holy Jerusalem and is precisely descriptive. V. 22 is the one most people are alluding to when they talk about “streets paved with gold.”
“And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. “
But over and above those descriptions is the purpose of heaven. If it was purely a new home for everyone on earth who was good, once again, there would be no need of a Saviour for all would end up there, as there would then also be no reason for hell. Some people seem to think hell is purely for Satan and his demons forgetting Satan’s role and purpose on this earth – he is the “Prince of the air” and has been given the earth as his domain!! In other words he rules here as is rather evidenced by the increasing propensity for evil even amongst children nowadays. And his other role is to pull as many people down with him as he can and that’s becoming easier by the year as more people succumb to the “Live your best life now” syndrome rather than concerning themselves with their eternal future. Heaven is solely for those who have been made worthy of living there, and who desire to live with God and to worship Him alone for eternity. God created man solely to worship Him, but man determined from the outset he’d rather worship Satan and have his own way, so God has allowed him to do so, but has equally (thankfully) also provided a way back to Him for those who desire to take it. What Adam destroyed, Jesus rebuilt – a relationship with God by faith. There are no “good” people in heaven – only saved sinners. Even Jesus Himself asked:
“And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God” Luke 18:19.
So if you’re one of those who errantly thinks you’re going to get into heaven by merit of your own “goodness” whatever that may mean to you, think again. Jesus says otherwise:
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matt 7:21-23
And a final thought – if you don’t want to spend your time here worshipping God (90 years perhaps at most) then why on earth would you want to go to heaven where you will do so for eternity???