Good people go to heaven, bad people go to hell - truth or myth?
"As a young lad growing up in the Anglican Church, I was told I had an immortal soul and that when I die, if I were a good person I would go to heaven and if I were bad, hell was my lot."
This is what Seventh Day Adventist pastor, Devon Champier, was told as a child and certainly, what many of us have heard and possibly still continue to hear.
But what is the truth about these places and how does one get there?
"When I checked the Bible, heaven is a beautiful place; a place of peace and tranquility and joys unmeasurable and there we will have the privilege to see as we have seen, to know as we have known, and to look on the face of our God. The Bible says in Revelation that God will dwell with us and we with Him."
He added, "It's every artist's dream to build such as place: streets of gold, walls of jasper, river of life and trees that grow on either sides. When I check out what hell is, I realize it is a place of suffering, despair and extinction. Hell is not somewhere on the ground where the dead go and they suffer at the hands of the enemy, the devil."
According to Champier, the Bible states that entry to hell or heaven is determined by the choice one makes.
"Hell is a place of punishment where the devil and his angels will meet there end and all who blink to sin will share hell with them. Then John tells us that God is going to make a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. We all agree to choose what we believe but it doesn't take away from the truths in the Bible; we agree to choose what we believe, but in the end we surrender that there's a judgment and we all must give an account."
Many believe that their loved ones who have died have crossed River Jordon into heaven, based on the type of life they led, but Champier says, in line with the word of God, this isn't so.
"If you follow the Bible, the dead don't go to heaven, neither do they go to hell. Whether they do good or evil, they all go to the same place, the grave."
John 5 says, 'Marvel not, for the hour is coming and even now is, when those who are asleep in their graves will hear the voice of the Son of man and they will answer and they will come'. It is at this point that the decision will be made; everlasting life or eternal shame."
"On the day when God puts in His appearance the wicked will run to the rocks and beg for it to fall on them and the righteous will say, 'Lo this is our God we have waited for him and he will save us."
Pastor Champier further mentioned, "It's about the heart and its rightness with Jesus; it's not about church attendance or profession; it is about the relationship you sustain with Jesus, who loved you enough to die for your sins."
We've often heard that surprises will be in heaven. No one truly knows who will be saved and who will be lost as that is dependent on how close or how far away one is from God.
"I ask you today as you reflect on life and what it really means and what God intends for sinners, what will your decision be where Jesus is concerned? What will your future be when that time comes; will it be life or death? I say to you, choose Jesus and live," he ended.