Does Everyone Go to Heaven?
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you... John 14:2, KJV
If you were to describe the most beautiful place in the world, what would you select? The Dolomites in Italy or the Swiss Alps? Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia, a garden of incredible beauty? Perhaps you would describe a beach in the Philippines, or the peak of a sunset over rolling fields of grain. James Michener described the South Sea island of Bora Bora as the most beautiful place in the world. To single out the most beautiful place in the world would be tough, right?
When my wife and I visited Keukenhof Gardens in Holland, the tulips were at their peak, and I would have to rate that as one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The 24 major distributors of tulip bulbs in the Netherlands join together in designing a garden containing more than 6 million tulips in a pattern of indescribable beauty. In this garden, which is open to the public for only eight weeks of the year, there are tulips as large as a man’s hand in shades of salmon, flaming red, deep purple, and yellow with varieties that mix all of these as indiscriminately as a small child would his water colors.
OK, there are some beautiful places in our world, right? We agree, but--and are you ready for this--the most beautiful spot in the world pales in comparison to the beauty which I expect to find in heaven at the end of my life. Why? Well, for a start, take your Bible and read Revelation 21 and 22, the last two chapters in the Bible, which tell of streets of gold and gates of pearl, and jewels which are considered so precious and expensive that jewelers keep them in steel vaults with alarm systems and armed guards protecting them. “But,” you say, “that’s hard to understand because I’ve never seen anything like so much gold you could pave the street with it, or diamonds large enough that you don’t need a magnifying glass to see them.”
Right! I understand that. John, in writing about this, also knew that it would be hard for us to comprehend, so he began to explain what is not going to be in heaven. For example, if you told an Eskimo about the tropics which he had never seen, it might be hard for him to understand. But if you told him that in the tropics you are never cold, you never have to shovel snow, you never have to worry about ice, he could begin to understand.
What won’t be in heaven? No hypodermic needles or antibiotics. No cemeteries or funeral plots called “Babyland,” such as I saw some time ago. In heaven, there will be no death or dying, no good-byes. Flowers will not fade and die, and rivers will not freeze.
Thomas Edison, the inventor of the incandescent bulb, was never one to waste words. When he lay dying, his wife and doctor leaned over to catch his last words. With a smile, he clearly and distinctly said, “It is very beautiful over there.”
The place which Christ went to prepare is beautiful beyond description, but the Bible never suggests that everyone goes there at the end of his or her life; that if you simply do the best you can, when you die God will let you into His heaven. The same book that tells of heaven also speaks of a place of torment which has been prepared “for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). There can be no heaven without a hell. In the same passage which talks of heaven’s beauty, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He is the bridge which leads to heaven’s door. Make sure you know the way.
Resource reading: John 14:16-31