As far as God is concerned, there are only two choices we can make: we can either choose life or death. These choices have their corresponding destinies. If we choose life, we are destined to be blessed or to prosper. On the other hand, if we choose death, destruction or curses are the inevitable destiny. While we are free to make our own choice, God, as a good Father, commanded that we make the right choice when he said, “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deut. 30:19). Certainly, God was not only talking in terms of this present life—whether we shall be blessed or cursed, depending on how we live our lives. He was also referring to our final destiny—heaven or hell.
Many are not motivated to live righteously because they have no idea of what awaits them in the next life. Some are wondering whether heaven and hell truly exist and, if so, how these places look like. However, there are those who are motivated either positively or negatively. The motivation of the former is the blessing that awaits them, while the latter are motivated by fear—fear that by not doing good, they will end up in hell.
But how is hell described in the Bible? We have a good glimpse of hell by listening to the words of Jesus. In Matt. 25:30, Jesus said, “And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” In this statement, hell is described as a dark place, a place of hopelessness where the only thing one can do is to weep and gnash his teeth. Again, in verse 41, Jesus said, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Hell is a fire pit, or a lake of fire, according to the Book of Revelations. As if these descriptions are not enough to scare someone from going there, Jesus warned, “ And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:47-48). This last description should cause all of us to want life. There is eternal suffering in hell, because the fire is not meant to kill, but to torture. Not even worms will die because of the heat, but the worms will be used to torture, in addition to the heat of the fire.
To better illustrate these two destinies, Jesus used the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the beggar, to describe hell and give a glimpse of heaven (Luke 16:19-31). When Lazarus died, the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. When the rich man died, he was thrown into hell and was in torment. He looked around and saw Lazarus being comforted at Abraham’s side. He cried out, “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.” The reply of Abraham is an eye-opener. He said, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.” Our final destiny is determined by the way we live our lives here on earth. No one can cross over from hell to heaven once we have departed from this life. Besides, no prayer request will ever be answered from those in hell.
In contrast, heaven is a wonderful place. Jesus described heaven as the Father’s house with many mansions. Jesus himself prepared a room for every believer (John 14:1-3). The Book of Revelations (Chapter 21) describes it as a place where there is no more death, mourning, crying or pain—and the city is made of gold. There is no darkness, because the glory of God gives it light and the Lamb is its lamp.
Who will enter heaven? “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” The only way to heaven is through the Lord Jesus Christ. If you have not received him yet as your Saviour and your name not written in the Book of Life, he is saying to you, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20). Friends, choose life and prosperity today. Receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and be saved. Hallelujah!