(The following is a submission to The Recorder's weekly column, “Faith Matters.” Each Saturday, a faith leader in Franklin County offers a personal perspective in this space. To become part of this series, email email@example.com or call 413-772-0261, ext. 265.)
An American tourist visited the 19th-century Polish Rabbi Hofetz Chaim. Astonished to see the Rabbi’s home with only a simple room filled with books, plus a table and a bench, the tourist asked, “Rabbi, where is your furniture?” to which the Rabbi replied,
“Where is your furniture?”
“Mine?” said the tourist. “I’m a visitor. I’m only passing through.”
“So am I” said Rabbi Chaim. “I’m only passing through.”
In matters of our faith, I want to be very clear, simple and plain. One of the great questions of life is: “Is there life after death?” According to Jesus and our Judeo-Christian faith, the answer to that question is an emphatic “Yes.” There is life after death. The Bible says, “It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment.” But then the question is asked, “If you were to die today, where would you spend eternity? In heaven or in hell?”
There is a real heaven and there is a real hell. It seems the subject of Heaven and Hell are not preached about in many churches today. The truth concerning the real place of both is being withheld from so many in our society today. Some don’t want to talk about it. Some don’t want to believe in it. Some are not sure about it because they never hear anything preached about it.
For others, they want to hear about heaven but don’t want to hear about hell. Heaven is a real place and so is Hell. And when preachers stand before God on the judgment day, they will give account to God as to why they did not warn their people against a real place called hell, the Lake of Fire, and many of their people they preached to ended up there. How glad will the preacher be, thoug,h to see so many in heaven and having escaped the pangs of hell because they warned their congregations to flee from the hell to come and put their faith in the Lord Jesus who came to save them from a place called hell and prepare them for a place called heaven.
Heaven is real.
Jesus said in John 14:1-6, “In my Father’s house are many mansions (dwelling places); I go to prepare a place for you.”
Thomas asked, How can we know the way? Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes unto the Father but by me.”
The Apostle Peter, writing to persecuted Christians, reminded them that there was an inheritance reserved in heaven for them.
Paul the Apostle in 2 Corinthians 5:7 reminded the believers that when the Christian dies, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” The believer goes immediately to heaven to be with Jesus. John the Apostle gave a great description of what heaven will be like in Revelation chapters 21 and 22.
Heaven is real.
But Hell is a real place, as well. And that is what Jesus came to save all mankind from. The Bible says, Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels. Mat_25:41. “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Jesus called it a place where the fire is not quenched and the fire never goes out. Jesus said it is a place of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth — language very descriptive of it being a place of suffering forever. Jesus called it “fire everlasting.”
In Revelation 21:8, John the apostle called it “The Lake of fire.” It is also the place where those who reject Jesus as their personal Savior, and thus decide to follow the devil’s schemes of life, will choose to be cast into that Lake of fire.
God doesn’t send anyone to the Lake of fire. People choose to go there because they refuse to accept Jesus, God’s gift of eternal life as their Savior and Lord. “God so loved the world (the world of humanity) that he gave His Only Begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him (Jesus) would not perish (end up in Hell) but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
This coming April, several Evangelical churches in the area are putting on a Drama in Greenfield called “Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames.” Members of these local churches will be doing all the performing of the Drama. Be looking forward to the publicity of this great world-renown drama coming to our area. About Living Waters Assembly of God
GREENFIELD — Living Waters Assembly of God is at 450 Davis St., at the corner of Harrison Avenue.
We have been serving the Tri-State area for over 50 years as an Evangelical church with classical Pentecostal roots based on the Day of Pentecost new Testament church practices in Acts chapter 2. We are part of a worldwide movement of Assembly of God churches encircling the globe with a membership of over 68 million members and adherents worldwide.
Some of our services and programs are as follows: Sunday Morning Bible Classes at 9 a.m; Morning Worship service, 10 a.m. Children’s Church, 10:30 a.m.; Sunday Evening service at 6 p.m. and Sunday Evening Girls Ministry Program at 6 p.m.; Wednesday Evening Pastor’s Bible Study and Prayer Service at 6:30 p.m. and Teen Youth Ministries on Saturdays. Other ministries are very active in the church as well.
Our mission is to present Jesus Christ to every person through worship, evangelism, discipleship and compassion ministries. We love you and we need you.