Why I Want To Go To HeavenWritten by Stephen Kingery
Why do you want to go to Heaven? Have you given it much thought? When I was younger, before I became a Christian, I can recall hearing several sermons about how terrible it was going to be in hell. I can still recall some twenty years later one particular sermon in which preacher gave a very detailed picture of hell and torment of those who will be there. I can still recall way I felt as I heard that sermon - fear that it brought to my mind. Another sermon that I can still recall was preached on text that today is day of salvation, that we should make a decision to follow Christ today - for some day it will be too late and we will be doomed to hell.
I am sure that these sermons, as well as others, had a lot to do with me wanting to become a Christian twenty some years ago. Part of my motivation was definitely to avoid that awful place called hell.
But now, as a more mature Christian, having spent many hours studying God's Word, having attended many wonderful worship services, and being able to dwell on beauty of my future home rather than thinking about how awful hell would be, I see things more clearly now. I no longer see Heaven as an alternative to hell, and I no longer see being a Christian as means of avoiding hell. I want to go to Heaven, and in this article I will share with you why.
One cannot study Bible without coming to realize that God loves His creation, man, very very much. It is because of this love that He sent His son to die on cross and suffer for our sins. It is because of this love that He has preserved His word for us throughout ages. And it is because of this love that He has prepared a place for us called Heaven.
The Bible is replete with accounts of God's love for us. One of most beautiful is John 3:16, "For God so loved world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
However, being a Christian is not just about us being loved, but also about us loving others. One of many joys of being a part of a local congregation is love we can share with our fellow Christians. It is really refreshing to visit a congregation for first time and witness love that people have for each other. You see warm handshakes, beautiful smiles, hugs, words of kindness and encouragement, and many other expressions of Christian love.
As I visit sick, shut-ins, and those in nursing homes again I see love all around. These fine people are so grateful for visit and knowing that you care. Have you ever noticed how someone's face lights up when you have sent them a flower when they are sick or even for a special occasion? This too is evidence of Christian love.
Even though love that I have spoken of here warms our hearts and provides us with many blessings, it is pale compared to love that we will experience when we get to Heaven. I'm sure that I cannot even begin to imagine love that will be there. I know that I do not have words to describe how wonderful it will be to experience that great and magnificent love of God, His Son, Holy Spirit, saints of old, loved ones from our families, and brothers and sisters in Christ we have known here on earth. It will truly be a wonderful experience.
There is a song that I dearly love, "What A Day That Will Be." It says, "What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see. When I look upon His face, One who saved me by His grace. He will take me by hand, and lead me through promised land. What a day, glorious day that will be." It is hard to describe how I feel about that day. Unless you are a Christian and have same longing to see our Lord and Savior, be able to feel His loving arms around you, and see His smiling face and know that you have pleased Him with your life, then any attempts to describe this would be in vain. But nonetheless, of things I hope for in relation to Heaven and what it will be like, this is one thing I hope for most. When I enter those gates of Heaven, that Jesus will be there waiting for me and He will throw His arms around me and say "Welcome home, My good and faithful servant."
About "The Mark of the Beast"Written by Hoyt W. Allen, Jr.
What does "the mark of beast" and 666 mean? The last few verses of Revelation 13 speak about a certain "mark" which man would receive on his right hand or forehead. This "mark," as well as number 666, has caused no small stir among those desiring to interpret Book of Revelation.
Theories and Their Error. As we would attempt to consider meaning of above, may we realize that a great number of theories on subject have been advanced. Some have said that mark of beast was: symbol of free masonry; face that appears on American dime; observance of sabbath on first day of week; N.R.A. of early 1930's; and, last and probably most popular theory today, "bar codes" for products, places and people. This last theory says that all people will have a final I.D. transaction card, and without it you'll not survive. What will be next theory, only God knows.
As one views Book of Revelation as a book filled with symbolism, I see an error in these theories. I see it because each theory interprets "mark" as a single, individual, outward, visible sign that will appear on forehead or hand of wicked at one particular moment in history. But, beast is constantly persecuting church, and indicates every form of secular power that attempts to destroy believers in Christ. Thus, wherever and whenever beast appears, you will find mark of beast.
The Language's Origin. In Bible times, "branding" of cattle or slaves was common, and it was referred to as "the mark." Thus, it showed ownership.
Note in Revelation 14:9-11; 20:4, that term "mark of beast" seems to refer to worshiping beast, as well as belonging to him and wearing his name. Thus, "mark of beast" is God-opposing, church-persecuting spirit of antichrist, wherever and whenever it manifests itself. The "antichrist" has been among us since first century, even prior to closing of New Testament writings (I John 2:18; 4:3; II John 7). Thus, "antichrist," or those against Christ, are not of a 20th Century origin.
The forehead symbolizes mind, thought-life, philosophy of a person. The right hand indicates his deed, action, trade, industry, etc. (see Deuteronomy 6:8). Thus, receiving "mark" indicates that person so characterized belongs to company of those who persecute church in what he thinks, says, writes or what he constantly does.
The Trade Prohibition. In Revelation 13:17, reference to man not being able to buy and sell without "mark" has been a difficult passage. The marks of identification should not be misunderstood literally. Yet, in days of New Testament writing, trade guilds (wool workers, linen workers, makers of outer garments, dyers - as Lydia [Acts 16:14] - leather workers, tanners, potters, etc.) were popular. The trade guilds were associated with tutelary deities (protection, guardian), and each guild had its guardian god.