The events being reported today ... the mass shooting and killing of so many people in Las Vegas ... interrupted a post I was working on. Interrupted it with a whole flood of thoughts.
One of them was a question I'd like to have asked the shooter just before he killed himself:
"What makes you think it'll be better after (after you kill yourself)?"
That got me to thinking of what it will be like, for him.
Of course, we're all familiar with the Bible description of Hell: the lake of fire, constant torment, etc. Just about the worst things we can think of, and surely the worst things people could have thought of, when the Bible was written!
People would not have been fearful of no wi-fi, no cell phone service, no cable TV, or anything of that sort. So the Bible described hell as a place as bad as possible, in terms meaningful to people 2,000 years ago.
Surely not a place they ... or we ... would want to live in perpetuity.
And heaven? Golden streets, pearly gates, jasper, all that sort of thing? But is that really its composition?
I've often jokingly said that it wouldn't be heaven if I didn't have a Ferrari there, and gold would make for lousy traction as a paving material.
Nonetheless, I think that God, and the Book He wrote, are quite clear on the matter. Heaven and hell are as good, or as bad, as we imagine. And they are even better, or worse, than what we can imagine.
Which brings us to Mr. Stephen Paddock. The shooter in the massacre in Las Vegas. And to what it's like for him, right now.
Taking a bit of a side trip here, let's imagine that when we die, we are basically just a spirit, without a physical body. Without that sinful flesh which leads us to sinful acts, like shooting into a crowd. If that's the case, he is now somewhere and fully aware of what he did. Without the sinful mind to fog his thinking, and without the urge to commit evil things. And fully aware of every sin he ever committed, including shooting all those people. And now appreciating the misery and suffering caused by every sin he ever committed. Plus unable to do anything about it ... and never getting "used to it". Plus, add to that a new physical body incapable of ever dying. Incapable of ever ending the suffering.
Sounds like hell, to me. Intolerable, never-ending suffering.
Now: Let's apply those thoughts to an unnamed Christian who died about the same time. He is fully aware of every sin he ever committed, and the results of each one. But with the knowledge they are ... every single one ... removed as far as the East is from the West, from him. And that God has promised never ever to bring them up. Not a one.
Plus: That Christian will also be aware of every deed he did in Jesus' name ... from teaching, witnessing, leading someone to faith in Jesus ... right down to that cup of cold water he gave to a thirsty stranger. And aware of the eternal consequences .. all the "ripples" that went out ... of his righteous acts. And don't forget to add that he'll never ever get used to the joy of seeing all the things God did with what he did.
Perhaps we will recall all the things we never did ... the opportunities we passed up for one reason or another ... which might grieve us. But Revelation 21:4 tells us Jesus will be there to wipe away every tear.
Sounds like Heaven, to me!
God tells us to lay up treasures in Heaven, but in that verse ... Matthew 6:20 ... He doesn't instruct us just how that's to be done.
Peg and I put money into our company's retirement plan for 8 or 9 years. Those funds now enable us to do some things we'd otherwise not be able to do. It brought us no joy at the time, but it does, now. Knowing we were prudent to that extent. But what it brings us, here, we can get accustomed to.
Laying up those treasures in heaven is different, though. It brings us joy while we do that, down here. But after we die?
Good golly! Can you spell H-E-A-V-E-N?