| Part 4: How They Got Into Heaven |
How did all these people get into heaven?
By accepting the free gift of salvation from sin, through faith alone in Jesus Christ. Being those who:
"That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)
“For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
Now the question arises, if you have to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus in order to be saved, how did the missing people know that Jesus was actually raised from the dead? Because they took the time to objectively evaluate the evidence in God’s Word. This is a very important point that’s accepted as truth by genuine Christians due to the overwhelming evidence in support of this fact.
Why is it so important? Because if God was not able to resurrect His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, then how can we believe His promise to give us eternal life and so put our faith and trust in Him? But if He did in fact resurrect Jesus, then He can certainly give us the eternal life He promises – if we choose Him.
[Evidence] Due to the criticality of the Resurrection, many great minds have meticulously researched and evaluated the integrity of this biblical claim, and there’s substantial available evidence. In fact no other world-view has even close to the amount of credible evidence that the Bible contains in support of anyone overcoming death.
Consider the testimony of Sir Lionel Luckhoo, a defence lawyer listed as the “World’s Most Successful Lawyer” in the Guinness Book of World Records for achieving an unprecedented 245 consecutive defense murder trial acquittals – quite possibly the world’s foremost authority on objective evidence evaluation.
“I have spent more than 42 years as a defense trial lawyer appearing in many parts of the world and am still in active practice. I have been fortunate to secure a number of successes in jury trials and I say unequivocally the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt.”Sir Lionel Luckhoo, Defence Lawyer.
1. Just being a “good person” will NOT get you into heaven.
Do not be deceived. You can run an orphanage, feed the poor, clothe the homeless, minister to the sick and give your last dollar to the Church - yet still end up being condemned to hell.
Because salvation is a free gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9), not something you can earn or deserve, but rather something you can only receive by faith. Good works are the by-product of your salvation, not the means to obtain it. Only genuine belief in Jesus Christ alone for salvation is acceptable to God.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6)
2. God does NOT send anyone to heaven or to hell.
God has provided you with a free will to decide where you will spend eternity and He is very clear that He will abide by your decision, whatever that may be. Where you’ll spend all eternity rests squarely on you and no other.
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)
The Bible does not specifically state what will happen to babies, infants, and children when the rapture occurs. Therefore given this event has now occurred, you will have the hindsight to know the answer to this question.
However, if a child has not reached the age of accountability where they can make a decision for or against Christ for themselves, then it is our view that if they were to die, they would be granted entrance into heaven, based entirely on the grace and mercy of God. This viewpoint is, among others, based on 2 Samuel 12:21–23 where King David, a servant of God (Acts 13:22) destined for heaven, has a baby that dies and he states: “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
Therefore it is our belief, albeit not explicitly taught in Scripture, that all those under the age of accountability will participate in the rapture and be taken into heaven.
God clearly defines these people for us:
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
“(Those) being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;” (Romans 1:29-31)
“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
No doubt you’re thinking, how is anyone worthy of heaven if even “all liars” are deserving of God’s wrath? Who on this earth hasn’t lied at some point? And you’re right, God declares “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). In fact all people are born with a sin nature, inherited from Adam and Eve when sin first entered the world, thereby deserving of death (Romans 5:12).
So if we’re all sinners, then how are the missing people in heaven?
It’s because they have repented for their sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ. As a result all their sins – regardless of quantity or severity – were forgiven (washed away), and those people have been declared righteous (justified), made holy (sanctified) and purified even as Jesus Christ is pure, thereby becoming a “new creation” in Christ and acceptable to God.
“And such [sinners] were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11)
“And everyone who has this hope in Him [Jesus Christ] purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:3)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Firstly you need to understand that all sin is ultimately committed against an eternal and infinite God (Psalms 51:4). Now if all you had to measure sin by was time, then clearly it would be unfair. But that’s not what measures the grievousness of sin. The grievousness and heinousness of sin rises to its infinite proportions not by the length of time that we sin, but by the One whom we dishonour when we sin.
If you dishonour a toad, you’re not very guilty. If you dishonour a man, you’re very guilty. If you dishonour God, you’re infinitely guilty. Any dishonour against an infinitely worthy, infinitely valuable, infinitely dignified, infinitely glorious, infinitely holy and pure being is an infinite sin, and therefore righteously deserving of an infinite punishment.
In the next part we’ll explain what happens before God’s wrath on mankind and what His wrath involves.