The question is often asked. Recently, it became viral – happily no one prescribed wearing masks. But I would recommend ear plugs — from bashers who had their day again cancelling the honest answers given by a media influencer to another media influencer who had asked the equally honest question. Anyway, bashing is no longer a malaise but an epidemic reality that we should live with the same way we live with pollution and germs.
True, the question is an honest query by probably an atheist or a nominal believer. Yet, it is also a commonplace inquiry using an idea contained in a cliché: going to Heaven. Before we explain what we mean by that, let us look at the conversation between the two celebrities. (Disclaimer: The following discussion is not meant to put down anyone [sincere seekers, insincere kibitzers, atheists, or people with other opinions on the matter] but to consider the question itself and why it has caused such a social-media storm and yet remains an issue many neither truly appreciate nor fully understand.)
Wil Dasovich (WD): Do you believe a non-believer can go to Heaven?
Joyce Pring (JP): A non-believer as in somebody who does not believe in Jesus?
WD: What will happen to them?
JP: They’re gonna face judgment . . . .
WD: God, that is so brutal! (Laughs)
JP: What?! You’re asking me honest questions; I give you honest answers.
WD: Hey, brutally honest; and what do they do in hell?
JP: Ah, suffer in eternity?
WD: You don’t think they should be forgiven or like given a second chance?
JP: Listen, listen. This is honestly something I really struggle with and I wished, I really honestly wished, that there is a different answer to this that, oh, anybody can go to Heaven. But I think what makes Christianity beautiful is that you don’t have to work for Heaven. Jesus already did that for you. And so the only thing that you have to really realize is accept that gift. What is the gift? The gift is: We’re sinners and God is a holy God.
Let’s say, for example, we are in a courtroom, right? And God is the judge and you’re the criminal. Would God be a good judge if He just said, “Ok, sigue, huwag na. You’re free.” Like you killed someone and you’re like, ok, you’re free to go. What Christianity says happens is Jesus comes in and says, “Ok, Wil deserves to be in jail but instead of Wil going to jail, I’ll be in jail for his sake.” That’s what Christ did on the cross.
WD: Can a murderer go to Heaven?
WD: As long as he’s Christian?
JP: If he honestly repents of his sin.
WD: But like a person who’s just a saint, never did anything wrong in their life. They’re not Christian, they can’t go to Heaven.
JP: If they don’t believe in Jesus, no.
WD: (Laughs) These are just brrrutal!!!
I have watched Wil Dasovich’s excellent vlogs and greatly admire his videographic skills, as well as his depth of character and his appreciation for beauty in Nature and in culture, especially Philippine culture. He has contagious childlike verve, or that “lust for life”, and is driven by a burning desire to reach out to the world to impart his sense of adventure and hunger for discovery. The main reason why it struck me as surprising that he should raise the issue is that ironic nature of humans, in general, to recognize the visible goodness and beauty contained in Yah’s Creation and yet miss the invisible beauty and goodness of Yah Himself, as He is, as He revealed Himself to humans in the past and in the present, and as He wants us all to know Him before He finally shows Himself in His real and original glory. (Watch Wil’s top-winning video at the World Vlog Challenge here.)
It is almost like reading or knowing about a wonderful place like Manila or Baguio as when I was a kid and finally savoring and enjoying the sights and the exhilaration of being there. We somehow know such wonderful places exist but doubt whether we would someday see it. Others may even give up that belief and live their whole lives believing that place never existed. They could care no less whether it is there or not. So, like Heaven or Yah, people may not think of them as anything that they can relate to or benefit from directly and, thereby, live without the slightest desire to go there or to find out their value to their lives.
And for people like Wil and millions of others who live comfortable and happy lives in spite of their lack of awareness of or desire for such a place as Heaven, the alternative reality can really seem brutal in their minds. Credit goes to Wil for expressing his initial shock as to the consequences of not addressing the question as a serious human problem, as deeply serious as the problems of having cancer (which Wil himself once had and triumphantly overcame) and of global disasters, if not even more dire than any other human problem.
Going back to our example: If a 39-year old man who had dreamed as a child of climbing Mt. Apo, the highest peak of Kapuluan, located in Mindanao, became blind as a lad, he would naturally give up his dream until his death because of his condition. But he was challenged to climb Mt. Apo by a female guide, whose name happened to be Angel. And he did! (Watch the GMA News video here.) That lack or loss of faith for something we once believed can be regained if someone showed us or led us along the way. I am quite sure many of the atheists in the world had believed in a divine being or in spirits as children. That includes Confucianists, Shintoists and Communist Chinese, who happen to believe the words of Confucius and other teachers, and may even offer flowers and prayers to the memory, and maybe to the invisible spirits, of their dead ancestors.
Certainly, those people constantly ask where dead spirits dwell. In Heaven or somewhere else? Hence, the more pressing question, Will I go to Heaven or somewhere else, requires our attention. But we will beg the question itself, for several reasons.
First, belief or faith has become the prime concern of professionals or practitioners trained to teach and explain it according to a particular system or, what I call, faith-system. Religion or theology to others. Often, having the right belief or religion means “going to the right place” or “doing the proper ways” according to one’s faith-system. Perhaps, the idea of “going to Heaven”, which is not essentially a scriptural concept, became a product of teachings that require you to follow rules or laws that one needs to satisfy before entry can be granted. We, therefore, have people from a certain sect claiming that if one is not a member of their sect, he or she is not saved and, thus, will not “go to Heaven”. Besides, John 3:13 (NASB) states that no one, except Yahusha, has “gone into Heaven”, no matter what some denominations may say or claim. The jury is not even out yet, except what is told in prophecy. Do not, repeat, do not believe any claims on the contrary. All the dead humans remain in the abode of the dead, not in Heaven or some other place, until the call of judgment comes.
Moreover, Yahusha never said anything about “going to Heaven”. He said, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Mt. Apo is literally and figuratively Abba Father and the trail going to Him is the Way; the guide is the Truth saying “follow my lead”; and the very life itself is the confidence and assurance that the guide is right beside the blind man, holding his hand and giving directions to him on their trek up to the peak. “Going to Heaven”, therefore, rightfully and properly means “coming to the Father”. Mt. Apo includes the foot, the middle and the peak of the mountain. The journey up is life itself. We are either in Yah or not. We do not need then to “go to Heaven” first before Abba Father can “come to us”. That is impossible! He comes to us. In fact, He did exactly that through Yahusha becoming flesh. Knowing and believing Yahusha and His words and works provides us the Way, the Truth and the Life right NOW to be with Abba and for Eternity. Why wait to die when He makes Himself available to anyone now; and His aim is precisely to give us His Eternal Life today?
Secondly, Yahusha did not come to establish Heaven on Earth or anywhere else, although that was Plan A. He came to show and, in essence, establish the Kingdom of Yah or of Heaven. And so, He taught people how to be “born again” in order to “enter the Kingdom of Yah”. (John 3:1-5) We “enter that Kingdom”, which is what must concern us while we dwell on the Earth. For Paradise used to be heavenly, if not part of Heaven itself. Why? Because Elohim walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden. It was a place for eternals. Now, if that is not what we mean by Heaven, then we know no other definition. But sin corrupted humans and were driven out of Paradise.
The reason that Yahusha came to establish His Kingdom or Rule upon Earth was to allow those He calls to enter or submit to His loving and abundant rule. He wants us to return to a Paradise-like existence. Even Muslims yearn for it. Others seek Utopia on Earth but for other reasons and by other means. The Utopia humans seek today enslaves humans under wicked rule or governance. One of the 3 temptations Satan in the wilderness sought to bring Yahusha to His knees in exchange for all the kingdoms of Satan in this world. (Those who do not kneel to Yahusha today offer their allegiance (kneel down to) to Satan’s kingdom of wickedness. (Matt. 4:8-10)
Third, “going into or being part of the Kingdom of Heaven” not only requires faith in Yahusha as Masshiak or Savior but also living or participating in the kingdom or rulership of Yah in our lives. This is what He called “the Kingdom IS (or being) IN you”. If the Kingdom is “IN” us, then we “ARE” the Kingdom. (Luke 17:20-21) It could also connote “being among you” or “in your midst”; and, certainly, that involves living beings, not material things. Hence, “entering the Kingdom” also effectively means “becoming the Kingdom”. How is this done?
Remember that Adam (Hebrew, adamah, meaning “read earth”) came from dust. But Elohim breathed life into his nostrils. His Ruach or Spirit quickened or gave life to his body of dust. Humans are flesh and spirit, pure and pristine in the beginning. The sinful or carnal person is corrupted flesh and spirit. The only time we become redeemed or cleansed of sin is when we turn to Yahusha and receive Ruach Hakodesh (the Holy Spirit) through the process of rebirth or the birth of regeneration (Titus 3:5) when He decides to live in a person’s heart. In short, Ruach becomes the Ruler of a person’s heart and life. A believer becomes the Kingdom of Elohim through that process. No need to go anywhere even in our desire to worship Yah. (Read this free ebook to learn more on this.) It is a where-you-are-there-it-is-Kingdom ruled and directed by Ruach within a person trudging the Way, the Truth and the Life. Walking in Ruach (the Spirit) is how the Bible calls it. (Gal. 5:16)
Fourth and last, for such people as are ruled by Ruach, there is no judgment. Love is perfected because fear of and the effect of judgment no longer exist or come into the picture. (1 John 4:17-19) The apostles and prophets did not fear death because they were the Kingdom of Heaven, individually and collectively, as we all can be. (Isa.61:6; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6) This truth and fact we have failed to grasp as a reality in our lives. For death is merely a process of giving up the adamah and allowing our ruach to be transformed and transported by Ruach, the believer’s own personal mountain-guide helping our blindness until we reach the heights of heavenly glory where Abba and Yahusha dwell and reign, awaiting Their redeemed children.
And those whose names are already written in the Book of Life, brilliant Kingdoms of Heaven upon the Earth shedding their light upon the dark corners of the globe, need not worry about the judgment. It will only be a matter of the angel reading their names – no, their new names – written in the Book of Life, and then finally drinking of the eternal waters of the River of Life flowing in the Heavenly City of New Yerushalem. (Rev. 2:17; Rev. 22)
Who will go to Heaven? Anyone who cares to listen to the simple, organic Way, Truth and Life in Yahusha Masshiak.