Passport for Heaven
Sir Francis Newport, a head of the English Infidel Club, said to those gathered around his death bed, "Do not tell me there is no God for I know there is one, and that I am in his angry presence! You need not tell me there is no hell, for I already feel my soul slipping into its fires! Wretches, cease your idle talk about there being hope for me! I know that I am lost forever."
Dwight L. Moody, the famous Christian preacher, awakening from sleep shortly before he died had just the opposite to say: "Earth recedes. Heaven opens before me. If this is death, it is sweet! There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go."
"No, no, Father," said Moody's son, "you are dreaming." "I am not dreaming," replied Moody. "I have been within the gates. I have seen the children's faces." His last words were, "This is my triumph; this is my coronation day! It is glorious!"
Thomas Edison, the great scientific genius who was not given to idle words, in his dying moments, said to his wife and doctor, "It is beautiful over there."
Third, we have evidence from the experience of someone close to us. One of my best friends had cancer and passed away at age forty-four. As Graham's end neared, with arms outstretched and lifted heavenward, he graphically described how he longed to meet God.
It’s beautiful over there.
The day before Graham died he went into a coma. While still in the coma, though gravely weakened in body, without any warning he seemed strangely energized as he suddenly sat bolt upright in bed and, turning his face heavenward, reached out his arms as if being greeted by someone only he could see. A moment later his body slumped back lifeless. Jenny, Graham’s wife who witnessed this, said, "Immediately following, a great sense of peace and a feeling of divine presence filled the entire house."
Graham was a committed Christian. He had accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He knew where he was going after this life and died triumphantly.
How different this was to Rosemary’s experience. She also died of cancer. I was asked to visit her in the hospital. As far as I know Rosemary was not a Christian and was terrified of dying. She sat in a chair night and day, refusing to lie down for fear she would go to sleep and never wake up again.
It was difficult to communicate with her because she kept going in and out of consciousness. I just held her hand and repeated, "God loves you, Rosemary, God loves you."
"When she brightens a little," I said to her friend, "send for me and I'll come right back."
But Rosemary never brightened. Two days later she died—terrified. I can't think of anything more tragic than to end this life and go into a lost eternity when there is absolutely no need to do so.
Fourth, and best of all, we have evidence from Jesus Christ and the whole of God's Word, the Bible. Speaking about heaven, Jesus said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."3
According to one Bible scholar, there are 1,845 references to Christ's coming back to earth that are recorded in the Old Testament, and 318 in the New Testament. Also, there are many more references about heaven and hell. And as Jesus said, he is right now preparing heaven for all Christians and will, when everything is ready, return to take them to be with him forever. While on earth Jesus repeatedly made mention of heaven.
Nobody alive can prove that there is a heaven or a hell. Neither can anybody prove there isn't. The evidence, however, confirms that there are both, and I know which side I'd rather be on. If I believe, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. If I don't believe, I have everything to lose and nothing to gain.
Further evidence to support the validity of biblical teaching about the end times and life after death is seen in the many prophecies concerning Jesus Christ's first coming, that are found in the Bible, that were written centuries before his birth, and that were fulfilled in minutest detail.
For instance, 700 years before Christ was born in Bethlehem, Micah wrote, "But you, Bethlehem ... though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel."4 A thousand years before Christ's death David predicted how Jesus would die. "They have pierced my hands and my feet," he wrote.5 This happened at Christ's crucifixion. This is even more remarkable when considering that, in David's time, death by crucifixion was unknown. This inhuman, torturous death was first used by the Persians centuries later.
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