A note from the author:
story of Heaven and Hell is fictional...well, sort of. Although
the story itself is a work of fiction, it is based upon what the Holy
Bible teaches about Heaven and Hell, along with how I imagine it to be.
The details of this story may be fiction, but the reality of it
fiction. I admit right up front that, in order to get
right to the topic of Heaven and Hell, I did skip over many of
the biblical debates concerning exactly what happens immediately upon
death and how long after dying it might actually be until one ends up
either in Heaven or Hell; however, regardless of how and when one ends
up at either of these two destinations, rest assured that everyone
does eventually, ultimately end up at one of these two destinations.
You are invited to read this story as a work of fiction, but I
hope you will regard the implications as fact--which indeed they are.
This work is
not intended to be a literary masterpiece. I simply wanted to
write a short story about how I perceive death, Heaven and Hell to be,
and more or less how the Holy Bible teaches that Heaven and Hell will
be. The images and concepts may seem rather antiquated and trite
to some readers, but that in no way indicates that they are untrue.
I have made every attempt, within my writing ability, to make
this a story that will draw the reader in, and keep them
interested; however, I will be the first to admit that it is also an
warning as well as a story of hope. If you don't care for the
religious implications, then please just enjoy reading this story as an
interesting work of fiction.
I'm always interested in hearing your questions, comments, or constructive criticism so please feel free to contact me.
have made a concerted effort to write this story with graphic
detail and emotion. I promised myself before beginning on this
that I would pull no punches and would hold nothing back. For
that reason, some may find parts of this story unsettling or
disturbing--and if you do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ,
then this story should be unsettling and disturbing.
Tony, a seventy-year-old, distinguished-looking,
had been sitting on a metal bench, for what seemed like
forever. Next to him sat a well dressed, clean cut man
half his age whom he did not know. Tony really didn't
want to be here in the first place since, to him, long
shopping trips always seem like a waste of time. His philosophy
of shopping has always been: go into the store, purchase what you came
be on your way as quickly as possible. The only reason he even
agreed to come to the mall today was because his wife told him
that she just
needed to pick up a few things and promised that it would be
quick--that was almost an hour ago. Tony couldn't help
that the facial expression of the man sitting next to him seemed to be
indicating a similar opinion of trips to the mall. In fact, it
seemed to Tony that is was bothering the other man a lot more than it
himself. Yes, Tony was probably as irritated as this other man
was, but there was noticeable anger to the man's expression;
partially conveyed by the fact that he kept mumbling
seemed to be having a hard time sitting still.
Sure, Tony was irritated too, but he was still doing his best to
to be patient; although, he was beginning to wonder exactly how much
longer he could keep it up. Tony
was suddenly startled from this train of thought by a rather exuberant
male voice saying, "Good afternoon gentlemen," a bit louder than Tony
"My name is Dave; How are you two today?" the young man continued.
was a clean-shaven man who seemed to be somewhere in his twenties. He was dressed rather plainly
in old, comfortable-looking jeans and a simple, blue T-shirt. Tony figured the man was
either going to ask the time, or for a donation on behalf of
some obscure organization that Tony had never heard of, so Tony was a bit
surprised when Dave instead asked:
"What do you gentlemen think happens when you die?"
"Are you a born-again Christian by any chance?" asked Tony.
am," Dave responded enthusiastically. "Been born-again since I was sixteen years old.
What about you? Do you know what will happen to you when
"Yes I do," answered Tony, "I gave my life to Christ when I was in
my early thirties--that was nearly forty years ago and I'm still as born-again
and going to Heaven now as I was then."
"Glad to hear it. And what about you my friend?" Dave continued as he turned to face
the man who had been sitting next to Tony for the last hour.
"The name's Joe," the man on the bench responded
sternly, "and I'm not your friend. I don't even know you."
"Joe--got it," said Dave, "so Joe, what do you think happens when you die?"
think I'm going to Heaven."
"Do you know for sure?" Dave inquired.
"Well, nobody can know for sure, but if there is a God, I think
He pretty much lets everyone go to Heaven
except for maybe murderers and people like that. But I'm a pretty
good person so I know I'll be going to Heaven." Joe said with a hesitant sound of authority to his voice.
"So," Dave followed up, "you believe in the God of the Bible, but you
think He will let you into Heaven because you're a good person; sound
"Well, that's not exactly what I said,"
snapped, "I don't know for sure who or what God is--to be honest, I doubt that He even exists, but I don't have to
worry about what the Bible says happens after a person dies since I
believe in the Bible in the first place. There isn't much God could
do to me since I'm not even sure I believe in Him or the Bible--and I'm not just making this stuff
up; I got it from people
who know because they've already been through it."
"Been through what...dying?" Dave asked, somewhat surprised; "As far as I know, Jesus Christ is the only one who has
died and then came back to life to tell us about it."
"I didn't say they came back to life," Joe retorted rather sharply.
"They were still there...you know...dead. They spoke to me from
the other side."
"You mean like a seance?"
"Yes, a seance. But there were also some fortune tellers, mediums
and channelers who told me basically the same things. Come to think of it,
I even got pretty much the same message from a Ouija board one time.
The way I see it, that's a lot of support for what I
believe about going to Heaven."
"But," Dave said with a sound of
sincere caring in his voice, "the Bible, a book from God Himself, tells
us differently. And it really doesn't matter if you believe in
or not. When you die, you're going to find out that God does
you will have to deal with Him. It's kind of like falling
off a high cliff. You can say to yourself 'No problem,
gravity,' but when you hit the ground, you're still going to die.
Just because you don't believe in something, doesn't mean it
isn't true and can't hurt you, Joe. It doesn't matter at all if
you don't believe in
gravity and it doesn't matter if you
don't believe in God. You still have to deal with both--sooner or
"First of all," Joe
snorted," You're what, in your twenties? I'm educated and
successful. I probably make more money in a month than you make
in a year. I know more about life and death than you do and I got
my information directly from
the other side--your information just came from some book that's mostly
fiction. If there is a Heaven, then everyone gets to go there if
they're a good person.
And if there isn't a Heaven, then it won't matter anyway since
there really is no such thing as Hell. Hell is just what you
perceive in your mind.
It's what you imagine it to be. Hell is what's going on in
the world right now."
"How do you know you can trust this 'information from the other side?" Dave inquired.
"Because," Joe offered, "any spirits that appear to me are always
surrounded by light to let me know they're good, helpful
Dave quickly interjected, "The Bible says that even Satan himself can appear as an angel of light."
"Don't interrupt me!" Joe demanded and then continued with his thought:
"Besides, one of the sources of information was my own
Adam, who died of cancer twelve years ago. Since he's already
he should know what happens when someone dies. Besides, Adam was
pretty much a born-again Christian type like you. He believed everything the Bible teaches.
He was always talking about having a 'relationship with Christ,'
whatever that meant, and he was always trying to get me saved. Well,
after Adam died, he told me himself, during a seance, that it
turns out what he believed when he was alive wasn't even true. He
explained to me that everyone's going to Heaven as long as they do more
than bad things in their lives."
"You sure it was Adam?" Dave quipped.
"What?" Joe responded.
"Never mind." Dave said somewhat quietly. "Let me see if I can
put this into some kind of perspective. God created man to love
God, worship God and have a relationship with God. God loved...no...loves
us more than we can possibly imagine. When God first created us, we had it made! But we
messed it all up when Adam and Eve originally sinned...Hey, 'Adam'...same
name as your brother..."
"That's not by
accident," Joe interrupted, "My mom gave both of us kids Christian
names from the Bible: Joseph and Adam. That, and she had us
baptized when we were babies. That makes going to Heaven when I die even
more of a sure thing."
Without bothering to acknowledge what Joe had just
said, Dave continued: "When Adam and
Eve sinned, they broke God's Law--His rules. The fruit that Adam
and Eve ate in defiance of God was put there so man could prove his
obedience to God. That fruit pretty much just
free will to accept or reject their Creator. God teaches us that
unforgiven, sinful man can't be allowed into Heaven--into the presence
of a Holy, Perfect God. God is so righteous and perfect, that He
cannot allow sin or evil into His presence. God says in the
Bible that if your life
ends without your sins being forgiven, then He cannot allow you into
Heaven and you will die. And God's not talking about physical
death; He's talking about eternal death
"Well if that's true," Joe announced somewhat
triumphantly, "then since everyone has broken God's rules--you
know--sinned, then no one gets to go to Heaven; not even you."
"That would be true," Dave continued,"except that the penalty, eternal death that is,
was paid for by Christ Himself. Satan thought he'd won by
getting Adam and Eve to sin so God would have to destroy His own
creation. But God turned it into a victory for Himself by sending
His very own Son, Jesus, to live a sinless life and then die on a cross
to pay the death sentence for us. I don't know all of the details
of exactly how that worked, but God tells us in the Bible that it did
work. All we have to do is be truly
sorry for our sins, accept that Jesus' death on the cross paid the
price for those sins, and then
bring glory to God by living the way the Bible teaches us to live.
Once you belong to Christ, your perspective changes. You're
still not perfect, you're just forgiven. You try to live the way
the Bible teaches because you want to, not because you have to.
Just like you said, Joe, all of us have messed up and sinned and
God's Laws, so none of us can go to Heaven by being a good person.
We can only go to Heaven through a relationship with Jesus
Christ, just like your brother tried to tell you.before he died.
Jesus said Himself that He is the Way the Truth and the Life
and no one gets to Heaven except through Him."
"OK fine, that's what your religion teaches. There's a whole
bunch of different religions out there, how could you possibly know
that yours is the right one--that yours is the truth and all
of the others are wrong? It sounds pretty narrow-minded to me."
"Well," responded Dave after a second or two of thinking quietly to
himself, "I would probably have trouble believing it too if I never saw
any evidence that what I believe is the truth. For one thing,
I've seen the changes for the better that a relationship with Christ made in my life.
I've also seen those same kinds of changes in the lives of others after they finally accepted the Truth..."
"That's just personal feelings." Joe abruptly interjected. "That
doesn't prove anything and doesn't mean a thing to me."
"Well, there are other reasons why I believe that what the Bible
teaches is true. For one thing, the Bible tells us that God
sacrificed his very own Son, Jesus Christ, for us. We puny little
humans should be nothing to an all-powerful God, but still, He loves us
so much that He sacrificed to us so that we could be reunited with Him
in Heaven. God was willing to sacrifice to us in order to restore
the relationship He had with us before sin ruined it all.. As far
as I know, none of those other religions teach that their god made that
kind of sacrifice for them; in fact, most other religions sacrifice to
their god, not the other way around. And even if there
I don't know about that teach that their god made some kind of
sacrifice, I'll bet they came after Christianity and just copied what
the Bible teaches. Satan likes to do that, you know, copy things
that belong to God so Satan can feel more powerful and god-like."
"There you go again with stuff from the Bible," Joe snapped. "None of that means anything
to me since I don't believe in the Bible."
"Fair enough," Dave went on," then here's something you can see for
yourself. The Bible is full of predictions of things that would
happen in the future. Some of those things have already come true
even though many were predicted thousands of years before
they happened. Yes, I know, it's the Bible that tells us those
predictions came true, so I don't expect you to buy that; but, the
Bible makes many other predictions about future events that haven't
happened yet. Even though they haven't come true yet,
only need to watch the news to see things starting to fall into place
for biblical predictions to come true. And these are very
that would have been unlikely or impossible at the time they were
"I watch the news every day," Joe added, "and I don't see anything like that.
What predictions are you even talking about?"
"OK, for one thing, the Bible teaches us that one day there will be
some sort of cashless economy in the world. People will buy and
sell without using cash and that will become the standard. Just
look around you. Credit cards and bank cards are so common now that many people
don't even bother to carry cash. Granted, the prediction hasn't
come true yet, but I can sure see how credit cards, or something like
them, are going to make it possible. The Bible also teaches that
an evil world leader will eventually rise to power and will not allow anyone to
buy or sell unless they are faithful to him. This prediction was
made thousands of years before computers even existed, but without
computers, I don't see how something like that would even be possible.
Without computers, there's no way I see that a government
could track and control the spending of billions of people. The
Bible also talks about wars in the Middle East and attacks on the
nation of Israel. Come to think of it, that's another prediction
the Bible made--that Israel would once again become a nation after
being scattered. Well, Joe, that happened in 1948 and Israel is
more and more often popping up in the news. So there you
go, Joe; even if you choose to ignore everything else in the Bible, you
can't deny that some very specific predictions are starting to come
true just as the Bible said they would."
"Well that doesn't..." Joe started to say, but Dave went on without
giving him a chance to continue the thought.
"Besides, did you know that nearly every human
civilization that has ever existed on earth has developed some form of
religion and worship? That's because man was created to
love, worship and have a relationship with God--they may have
never heard about who God is, but they worship anyway because,
since God's the one who made us, it's built right into us. And
unbelievers who hear about Jesus, whether they'll admit it or not,
down on some level, know that the message of Jesus Christ paying
for their sins and being the only way to Heaven is true. That's
why, as soon as someone mentions the name of Jesus Christ, unbelievers
become defensive just like you are now, Joe. I could
talk about Confucius, Mohammad, Buddha or Satan worship and you might listen
just out of curiosity; but, as soon as I mention Jesus Christ,
you take offense and become defensive--well, now you know why--you are made in God's image just like the Bible says."
spoke up again a little bit louder and much more emphatically, "That
doesn't mean that what the Bible teaches is the only truth.
Belief in this Jesus of yours isn't the only way to Heaven.
It might be one of the ways, maybe, but it isn't the only way."
"Joe," Dave said calmly and sincerely, "the Bible tells us that Jesus
is the only way to Heaven. If any part of the Bible is true, then
it all has to be true. Otherwise, you would have no way to know
what parts to believe and what parts not to. And if you think
parts of the Bible are not true, then you have to disregard the whole
thing. And if you disregard the entire Bible because you don't believe parts of it are true,
then how do you explain the accuracy of it's predictions?"
"I think I've heard enough now." Joe said so loudly that people nearby
turned to see who was speaking. "You're just trying to confuse me
and I already know what I believe.
I have my own spirit guide and every time I contact him, he lets me know that what
I believe is right. If all of that information I've gotten
directly from the dead and from spirits isn't enough to convince you
that you are the one who's wrong, then that's your problem.
Maybe after we're both dead, some day, you will finally see that what Adam told me after he died is what's
true. While he was still alive, he was just messed up the way you
are about Jesus. Adam was my very own brother so I know he
wouldn't lie to me, especially now that he's there and sees the other side firsthand. But you're some stranger I just met.
Guess who I'm gonna believe! I think we're done here, so
you can shut up about all of your Jesus stuff now."
"It's my God-given responsibility to tell you about Jesus and warn you about Hell, " Dave said
earnestly, even though Joe was no longer even looking at him, "I don't have to keep at it until you believe me, I just
have to tell you the Truth. Please, Joe, give some serious
thought to what I've told you today--your eternity depends on it.
Heaven is a very real place and so is Hell, and without a relationship with
Jesus Christ, Hell's exactly where you're headed. It was very
nice meeting you." Dave concluded and then slowly walked away with a look of sincere concern on his face.
"You know what I think?" Tony asked, "I
think you need to really give some
to all the things that young man just told you."
"Well if you heard that conversation," Joe countered, "then you
already know where I stand on the whole thing. I heard you tell
Dave that you're a born-again Christian like he is. That means
that you don't know any more than he does. You get your
information from a book--I get mine straight from the spirit world.
And besides, if there really is a loving God, then He wouldn't
send people to Hell--that wouldn't be very loving"
"Joe," Tony continued, "Hell was
created as a place to punish Satan and his demons, and as a place to banish sin forever. Hell was never meant for
"Then why would a loving God send people there?" Joe asked rhetorically.
"Joe, God doesn't send people to Hell. In fact, God doesn't want any of us
to go to Hell. That's why He gave us a way out. That's why
He sent his very own Son Jesus Christ to be tortured and killed to pay for
sin so that we would have a way to avoid Hell. God also loves us
enough to allow us free will--freedom to make our own decisions.
If He just forced
all to obey, that wouldn't be love, that would be ownership. God
gave us His Son as a gift--as a way to avoid Hell, restore our
relationship with God and live forever with Him.. Since we have
free choice, it's up to each of us to accept
or reject that gift. If we're forgiven through Christ, then
die, God looks at us and sees His Son Jesus in us. But
if we die without that forgiveness, we have nothing but our own sins
and our own, arrogant rejection of God's gift of forgiveness. God
can't allow sin into His Holy presence--into Heaven. And if
you can't be allowed to enter Heaven, that only leaves one place you
go and that's Hell." Remember when I said that Hell is a place for
God to banish sin forever and get the ugliness of sin out of His sight?
Well, it's your rejection of Jesus' gift of forgiveness, and your
unforgiven sins, that send you to Hell, not God.
He loves you so much that He gave you a way out. In fact,
He's offering it to you right now through what that nice young
man Dave and me are telling you about Jesus. You are deciding to reject it. I'm sorry, Joe, but in a way that
really means that you are sending yourself
to Hell. You've been told the Truth and you've been given a
way to avoid Hell--and you have refused it. That's not God's fault, that's
With that, Joe stood up from the bench and walked away as briskly
and defiantly as he could in order to make a statement and further punctuate his
position on what will happen to him when he dies--someday. He
wasn't too terribly worried about it since he was only in his thirties
and wasn't even half way through his life yet.
As Joe walked away, obviously irritated, he saw that Dave had only wandered a short
distance before being stopped by a woman who had been discretely
listening to everything that Dave had told Joe. Joe couldn't hear what
they were talking about, but the lady seemed genuinely interested in what Dave
had to say. After ten seconds or so of talking, Dave and the
woman sat down on another bench apparently settling in for a deep
conversation. "A long, boring conversation," Joe thought to
himself. "Who does he think he is--like what he believes could be
the only real truth."
You Never Know
Just as all of this interaction was coming to a close, Tony's wife
Anna, holding three or four good sized shopping bags, strolled over to
the bench. Tony couldn't be sure exactly how many bags Anna was
carrying since she was gripping them so tightly that they all seemed to
merge into one gigantic bag. "Just picking up a few things," Tony thought to himself with a silent chuckle.
"What was that all about?" Anna asked.
"Just a nice young man trying to tell someone the Truth about Christ,
I'll tell you all about it on the way home." Tony said as he and
Anna walked to the exit doors and then out into the parking lot.
Joe wandered around the mall looking in all of the
stores he thought might be of interest to his wife. It wasn't too
terribly long before he found her and they were finally getting to their
the short, six minute drive home. As Joe helped his wife load her
the trunk he couldn't quite let go of the feeling of
being a little peeved at Dave's arrogance in thinking that there was
only one way to Heaven and that was this Jesus that Dave was putting so
of his life into. Joe took at least a little comfort in the
thought that some day Dave would die, find out that there is no God who
lets people go to Hell, and then Dave would realize that Joe was right
all along. Without being aware of it, a satisfied smirk came to
Joe's face as he wished he could somehow be there to see the
look on Dave's face when it finally happened.
With the car loaded and both Joe and his wife safely
strapped into their seats, Joe pulled out of his parking space and
headed for the parking lot exit. Joe saw a small opening within the line of fast-moving
traffic, so he used it to pull out
of the mall parking lot and onto the main street. It surprised
him to see that one or two additional cars pulled out behind him.
he barely had enough room to pull out--those fools behind him
really took a chance of causing an accident.
"Oh well," Joe thought, "it's their lives and
they're the ones whose car insurance would go up." Joe figured
that as long as they didn't get him involved in any of their little
accidents, it didn't make any difference to him.
Just as Joe was
approaching a major intersection, he saw the traffic light change form
green to yellow.
"I can make it in time," Joe thought to himself as
he hit the gas and sped toward the intersection. When Joe saw the
light go from yellow to red, he wasn't nearly as close to the intersection as
he thought he would be. He surmised that he had just enough time to slam on the
brakes without going through the red light so Joe stomped down hard on the brake peddle. As his car came
screeching to a halt halfway into the crosswalk, Joe let out with a string
of just about every swear word he knew.
"What's bothering you, Joe?" his wife asked. "You
seem like you've had something on your mind since we left the mall."
"Nothing important," Joe said in a condescending
manner before waiting in silence for the light to turn green.
After what seemed like an eternity, the light
at last changed to green and Joe proceeded through the intersection
followed by the cars that had pulled out behind him when he first left
the parking lot. Joe was
nearly through the intersection, and lost in his own thoughts, when the
car was inexplicably filled with a piercing scream from his wife.
Joe had just
enough time to turn and see the semi-truck swerving slightly as it came
through the red light from his left. Joe was gripped by
a man's terrified, gut-wrenching scream. The man
screaming sounded very close even though Joe knew he was the only man
in the car. It was then that Joe realized that the man who
was screaming was actually himself. There wasn't
even enough time
for Joe to react before the semi hit Joe's car, glanced off, and
slammed into the car behind him.
Joe felt the
air exploding from his lungs as the back end of the semi truck's cab,
and then the front corner of the trailer it was hauling, quickly
buried themselves in the side of his car. Joe could hear
crunching metal, shattering glass, and more screams from his wife
although, by this time, the breath had been knocked out of Joe causing his own screaming to stop. Joe
instinctively glanced out the windshield to try to get his bearings,
but the view was moving so quickly and erratically,
that he couldn't make any sense of the blurred images.
Judging by the feel of motion and the screeching tires, Joe's car
seemed to be sliding sideways to the right, although he couldn't be
since the view out the windshield was still nothing but a blur.
there came unnerving sounds of even more crunching metal grinding
metal, but louder this time. Then, there came a jolt that felt as
though it would rip Joe and his wife from their seats and fling
them across the car like rag dolls. Joe knew that, if not
for the seat belts, that's exactly what would have happened.
Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion now and it seemed
as though the sounds and trauma went on forever.
As the sounds of his car being twisted and torn apart began to
subside, Joe could hear the air come bursting from his wife's lungs
much the same as it had from his own. The sound she made
quite a yell and not quite a grunt. Joe felt a deep, primal fear
build up quickly inside him when he heard such a guttural, animalistic
sound coming from his
The next sensation was an
unbelievably powerful impact on the left side of Joe's body as his car
became pinned against a tree causing the truck's trailer to intrude
even deeper into
what remained of Joe's car. Joe would expect such
an impact to result in unbearable,
excruciating pain, but it didn't. Instead it brought a
dull ache followed by the sound and feel of shattering bones down
the left side of Joe's body. Joe could tell that the motion of
his car had now completely stopped and he felt a cold chill
building quickly in his broken, shattered body. He began to
shiver and shake with a feeling of all-encompassing cold the likes of
which he had
never before experienced. His teeth chattered and his muscles
shivered so violently that Joe could feel the splintered
bones throughout his body moving and grinding against each other.
came the intense, penetrating pain he had expected a moment
ago. The intensity of the pain caused Joe to feel an
overwhelming nausea deep in the pit of his stomach and hit so hard
and so fast that he could not take even a shallow breath.
Joe began to hear a ringing in his ears so loud that it
drowned out the cacophony of shouts and screams around him. He
exactly how he knew he was dying, but somehow, he knew. Joe was
grasped by an sudden,
intense feeling of fear, dread and pain. Joe tried to scream, but
his body was no longer capable of it.
the time rescue crews arrived, Joe was unconscious and unresponsive.
He never heard the creaking, cracking, snapping sounds of the jaws
of life ripping through the structure of his car to free his wife.
She was unconscious, but still alive--barely.