Is there Purgatory before Heaven or Hell? What do you think?
I can’t Enter Heaven unless I’ve lived a Pure Life?
That’s what the handwritten sign informed me as I sat at the red traffic lights on Queen Street. I was turning left down Main Street, my left flashers were blinking but I couldn’t hear the clicking because of the overpowering noise of the loudspeakers.
It was the way the sign was written that got me pondering. What it actually read, in crudely printed red marker ink was…
‘UNLESS YOU LIVE
A PURE LIFE
YOU WILL NOT
The paper signs, there were 4 of them, one on each corner of the crossing, were being waved in front of motorists by four nubile women – there was no mention about what the young women had to do with preventing my entrance to Heaven. On the left corner, the one I was turning, a young man was standing up on a soapbox, shouting into the microphone he was holding in his left hand.
The speakers were just in front and on both sides of him, and the decibel level was so high that I wondered if the windshield was going to withstand the shock, never mind my left ear. As he beckoned us towards him with his right hand, he called on us to forget sin otherwise we would all be bound for Hell. I should be OK for an entry ticket, I thought; at my age sin was a distant memory.
For a month the Watchtower convention owned the city; two weeks for the French speaking Jehovah’s Witnesses, and two weeks for the English speakers. But the man on the soapbox wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness. He was from another religion that made it a habit to come out during the Witnesses visits, possibly to annoy them or perhaps in order that the city wouldn’t completely forget about the speaker’s religious beliefs.
By the time the lights had turned to green and I’d moved into the centre of the road, which coincidentally was the cone of convergence for both speakers, and waited for a chance to turn, my brain was on the point of exploding. I was halfway down Main Street before I remembered what I was pondering.
When I attend church I pray and listen to the minister’s sermons. I also sing hymns and at Communion, I confess all my sins and look forward to entering the Kingdom of Heaven – but the sign had me wandering what heaven was.
The sign had read ‘ENTER HEAVEN’. But just what was it I couldn’t ‘ENTER’?
How do you visualise Heaven?
Do you think you will become an angel, and flutter from cloud to cloud trying to avoid the billions of other angels - perhaps playing a harp, for all eternity?
Do you think that you will come back to earth – but in a classier neighbourhood, after a few hundred years?
Are you going to come back to earth immediately as a ghost – or perhaps be transmogrified?
After Judgement Day do you believe Heaven will be a mirror image of earth, but without any evil?
Or do you think you'll do some space travelling and go back to the planet we first came from in Noah's ark? If so, how far into space will 40 days and 40 nights take you? Could 40 days and 40 nights take you to Mars?
How do you see the Hereafter?