The Gates Of Heaven: A Story of a Man's Experience Outside the Gates of Heaven
We died only minutes ago. I looked around at the great beauty before me. It was even better than in the book. There were trees; tall trees, short trees, fruit trees loaded with fruits so large I was salivating from just looking at them.
The streets of gold called out to me. Begging to be touched. I can hardly wait to throw myself down on that road and run my hand all over it. I wonder if it is completely gold or if it is just coated in gold.
Lining the wonderful streets were angels. They're even greater than I imagined. They don't have halos but their hair and faces were alight. They were singing and greeting people who have already gone through the gates. Their dazzling white wings were unlike anything any man could have imagined.
I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. I'm shaking in anticipation. I have to jump down from Phillip's shoulders now so he can have a look.
Phillip and I are twins. We died only moments ago in a car accident. If I'd known we'd be at the gates of heaven so soon I would've stopped fighting to live the second that car flipped.
I squatted so that Phillip could climb up on my shoulders to peep through the hole in the wall. I hear him gasp when he finally finds the hole, and then he starts to pray. I've always thought he was a little too holy and he always says I'm going to end up in hell. But here we are both of us in line outside the gates of heaven.
I have to be let in. Can God overlook the fact that I was a deacon in one of the most generous churches in the country? Ahh, no He can't.
One of the apostles came out and told us to move along in the line. I have no idea what his name is, Samson probably.
Anyway, Phillip got off my shoulders and moved up in the line, hands fervently clasped before him. There are about four people before Phillip, who was before me. He's always before me. Born first, talked first, kissed a girl first, married first, died first; now he's going to heaven first.
I have to be let in. I gave to charities, volunteered in missionaries and outreach programs. There was that time I sponsored that kid in Australia, and I donated all my family's old clothes to the Salvation Army and children's homes. I remember when I saved that cat. All that must count for something. Everybody thought I was a pretty good guy.
After all, can God overlook the fact that I am, was, a deacon in the largest, most beautiful, most generous churches in the country. Ahh, no, I don't think He can. I'm sure to get in. I'm smiling so hard my cheeks are hurting.
I'm hurting? I thought dead people don't hurt. Well, maybe you have to be inside heaven before all the pain stops. After all, people hurt in hell, poor things.
I nudge Phillip in the back, "Stop all that sanctimonious praying, you're embarrassing me. I'm pretty sure God's made up His mind on you already, no need to be greedy." He doesn't even skip a beat in his prayer.
Two more people are before us now. I glance around at the faces behind me. They all seem cool and collected. I don't see anybody I know, and I can't tell by looking at them where they're from or their religion. We're all wearing the same thing; sandals and a hooded robe. I step out of the line to see how far back it goes, and you wouldn't believe the number of people. The line stretched on for miles.
Only one more person before Phillip.
Why is this taking so long, I'm going to die again of anticipation. I should have paid more attention in church and Bible study, I would've known exactly what to expect and who is who. Don't get me wrong, I was planning to devote the next year to studying the Bible; for real this time. I studied it in the seminary but that was just to pass and graduate. Which I did, on top of my class too.
Phillip's next. I pat him on the back and say, "See ya inside bro." He doesn't even glance around. He goes up to the man with the big book at the gate. I can't hear what they’re saying but I have a pretty good view of the entrance now. We were lined up against the wall so I hadn't noticed that there were two entrances. The gate was in the center of the wall and a barely visible door to the left of it.
My name is in the book!
It’s my turn now. This is it; all my life's work is finally paying off. The man with the book smiles at me and turns the pages: P - Q - R, I see my name, Richard Rhooms. I've got half a page! Impressive. I thought it would be more like a register, you know, your name and a tick beside it. The man is nodding; he seems impressed. He looks up at me and in a deep somber voice says, "God bless your soul."
"Thanks man! I mean," ahem "God bless you too dear sir."
An angel reaches out for my hand and leads me away from the table. If my heart was still beating I'd be choking on it right now.
This angel has some grip! He's leading me to the wooden door, wait! That's not right. "I'm supposed to go through the gate. Hey! Where are you taking me?" he turns around and stares straight into me, his eyes the shade of rubies. His wings, once white and bountiful, slowly transitioned before my eyes. As he led me into the rapidly darkening passage, the sounds ran up and swallowed me. Sounds of cackling, witch-like laughter; of screams and groans of people in pain.
And then the realization crashes into me. Phillip was right. My penniless, friendless brother was right. I am going to hell.