Mark of the Beast (Pt. 3): Who Will Enter the Kingdom of God?
Although there are many prophecies and signs to watch for, no one knows the exact moment Jesus will return. In this final installment of Mark of the Beast, I've disclosed some of my beliefs about the end times and the Christian faith. If you have further thoughts or questions, leave a comment or send an email to Tiffany@bigviewsmallwindow.com.
Q & A:
Are those who put faith in Christ the only ones who will enter the Kingdom of God? Yes. I do not believe multiple paths lead to heaven. Jesus Christ is the only way (John 3:16-18, 14:6). If someone dies in sin, can they repent on Judgment Day and enter the Kingdom? No. Our life on earth is the opportunity we have to put faith in Christ and follow Him (Lk. 13:22-28; Rev. 20:15).
If someone believes in Christ but lives apart from Him, can they enter heaven based on a past confession of faith? See John 15:1-6; James 2:19-26; 1 John 1:6, 2:1-6.
Do I (Tiffany) believe in the pre-tribulation "rapture" of the Church? I've searched the Scriptures and will continue to do so. I haven't found enough evidence to support this belief. Also, "rapture" is not found in the Bible - it is a Latin word that roughly translates to "plunder" or to "transport from one place to another place."
What about post-tribulation "rapture"? Short answer: I've considered the order of events as the trumpets sound in Rev. 8-9. When the last trumpet sounds in Rev. 11:15 (also 1 Cor. 15:52), it's obvious some Christians will have gone through the Tribulation. Scholars are never 100% certain which generation of believers is on earth during this time period.
If someone takes the mark of the beast, can they enter heaven? No, the mark is a curse. According to Rev. 13:13-17 and 14:9-11, those who take it will be under strong, hypnotic delusions and living in rebellion. They will also want the mark for economic reasons and as proof of their allegiance to the beast. Essentially, these are worshipers of Satan and false gods (which are really demons). For these people, the earth is heaven and there is no Lord above it.
Is "hell" the same experience for everyone, or will some suffer more/less than others? Parables such as the one in Lk. 12:35-48, or the judgment of the cities in Matt. 10:15 and Lk. 10:13-14, suggests there are varying degrees of punishment. However, based on the context of these passages, I believe Jesus is referring to this side of eternity, not the afterlife. And although it's debatable whether Lk. 16:19-31 is a parable, the rich man is clearly described as being in torment, agony, and flames. Finally, note that there are several Hebrew and Greek words for our one English word "hell":
Sheol: the underworld of the dead; "grave"; "pit"; where the wicked are tormented (Ps. 16:10)
Hades: "hell"; "grave" (Lk. 16:23)
Gehenna: known to the Jews as a valley for human waste, the remains of animal sacrifices, and the place where some human sacrifices were burned; Jesus used Gehenna as a reference for eternal punishment and torment (Matt. 10:28)
Abaddon: "place of destruction"; destroyer angel (Ps. 88:11; Rev. 9:11)
Abyss: "bottomless pit"; the deepest darkness; the abode of demons (Lk. 8:31)
Lake of fire: "second death"; the final place where death, hell, and the grave will go
My understanding is the devil, fallen angels, demonic spirits, and everyone who rejects Jesus Christ will eventually spend eternity here (Rev. 20:14-15)
HAVE FAITH IN GOD
Humans, by nature, are not morally righteous. Therefore, we should never trust our own judgment of right and wrong. Instead, God wants us to have full confidence in His word and trust in His character. Putting faith in Jesus Christ for salvation is a matter of life and death. This decision directly affects where we spend eternity. When we're born again, we are made right with God as if we've never sinned. If we continue faithfully in our walk as 2 Peter 1:2-11 exhorts us, we will be fruitful and have nothing to fear.
To the backslidden, lukewarm, compromised, and those living in the world - you are in danger of hellfire. I know many Christian ministers offer soft preaching and soothing interpretations that say otherwise. But consider that I'm not asking you for tithes and offerings. I don't expect you to attend my church or buy my merchandise. You're not accountable to me. Thus, I have nothing to gain or lose for speaking the truth. I'm no theologian but I have the Holy Spirit, and He's given me wisdom and authority to address these issues.
I pray something in this blog series sparked your interest. Pay attention to world events, challenge yourself to go deeper in your faith, and search the Scriptures to find answers. If you haven't already done so, consider putting faith in Christ. The end of all things is closer now than ever before. Jesus is our only hope to overcome the trials, persecution, and destruction that will soon conquer the whole earth.