The Great Deception
During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
Revelation 9:6 KJV
Funerals are alike in many ways. They all require someone who has deceased, expired, kicked the bucket, died; however, you want to say it. Flowers, a casket, and a preacher are common sights in these services for the dearly departed. A fine meal follows the preacher’s message, put on by those who thankfully minister through their crockpots. All these are expected parts of saying goodbye to those we have spent time with on this spinning globe. Funerals are, hopefully, honoring to the one in the casket and healing for those in the pew.
However, there is one common denominator to all funerals that I have ever conducted or attended that disturbs me. Without exception, every deceased loved one has, “gone to a better place.” If they have been sick, they are, “suffering no more.” Regardless of the life they lived, which testifies to a clear lack of any faith at all, they are now, “at peace.” As a preacher of the gospel, I know this cannot be true. Jesus taught that narrow is the gate that leads to life and wide is the path that leads to destruction. According to Him, few are saved, and unfortunately, many are lost.
Now I understand that none of us can judge whether a man will go to Heaven or Hell from outward appearances. No one knows what is in a person’s heart. Preachers do not have that insight and I am the first to say that we should be sensitive to the grieving families before us. We must never give false assurances of Heaven, and in the same light, we should never assume a person is in Hell because they never darkened the door of a church.
Regardless, it is difficult to preach a funeral for a person who displayed no regard for Christ in life. Our desire is to be sensitive to those who are grieving but we have an obligation to God to remain true to the Scripture. We cannot, and must not, attempt to preach a person into Heaven. This difficult situation does present to us an insight into one of the greatest deceptions that sin has incurred on mankind. It is the notion that regardless of the life we lived, Heaven is assured. In the last book of the Bible, this hideous lie is fully revealed.
In the book of Revelation, after the fifth trumpet is blown, swarms of demonic locus cover the earth. As a judgment on the sin of mankind they torment unbelievers with a vicious sting from their tails. As a response, they cry out for death, but death alludes them. They believe that death is to be preferred over the torment they are feeling from the satanic venom running through their veins. If death were granted them, they would be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire, but they are woefully ignorant of that reality. They believe that the afterlife will relieve them of their present distress. Unfortunately, death is only the beginning of their sorrows and God graciously keeps them alive so that they might repent. On men’s tombstones all are in Heaven, but God’s writes the final eulogy. Come to Christ today. The day of your funeral is too late.