Sometimes a single line–or a single word–in a blog post can spark confusion and stir debate and discussion.
In my “What if the gospel is fake news” blog post Monday I wrote–“we will one day gather with all the Saints at the gates of heaven”. The word “gather” got me in trouble. From “gather” some readers seemed to think all God’s children would congregate at the pearly gates but enter later.
Another reader wrote, “Billy Graham and many other prominent theologians believe we go to heaven immediately at the moment of death, if we have received Him by faith as our Savior.”
God’s word provides us with authority for that belief:
One of the criminals who were hanging there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43
I was trapped once by a pastor “prooving“, he told me, when and how we get to heaven. He rambled on about post-millenial and pre-millenial theories and a whole bunch of other theological mumbo jumbo I never understood. He sprinkled his disertation with a smattering of disconnected scripture. After listening to him for 45 minutes I still didn’t understand how he believed we get to heaven.
Folks have widely varying ideas about how–and when–we get to heaven.
Here’s what I believe1and what I intended to convey with that gather business in my post but apparently missed the mark.
In the day of the Lord–when He returns–the dead in Christ shall rise to meet Jesus in the air. Then Jesus will gather all his children from the four corners of the earth. And we will all go straight to heaven and live with God for eternity. Will that happen in an instant? In an afternoon? At the midnight cry? In a week? In a season?
Who cares? What difference does will it make?
One reader replied, “since eternity is timeless with no beginning or end, does it really matter? Once we finite beings become immortal, we enter the realm of infinity.”
Well said brother. My sentiments exactly.
Shouldn’t we be making sure we’re going heaven rather than trying to figure out how and when we’ll get there?