Spring 2006 Magazine: Torture in Heaven
Author: John Triplett
Publish date:
 
 

Torture.

Have you noticed that torture has been brought to the attention of Americans lately? Ten years ago, we only read about torture in school textbooks as an archaic, morbid, sadistic way to get a recantation from someone about their faith, but today torture is making a comeback. Of course, it only applies to terrorists, those who threaten America. And besides, if they talk poorly about America, they deserve torture, right? 

Be very careful how you answer that question, because if you want to stand for Jesus at the end of time, you will be preaching about how America is speaking as a dragon. Certainly, that will be considered as a terrorist act. Even now, it is considered that to witness about Jesus Christ to others is an act of violence, because it violates that persons human rights. So sometime in the near future, you and I by the grace of God, will be looked upon with more vehement hatred and opposition than Al-Qaeda.

You see, the Gospel has never been a popular message, and the present truth has never been popular either. In the days of Noah, the truth about the destruction of the world by water was definitely not popular. And in our day, the Three Angels' Message is going to be even less popular. Most people do not like being told that they need a savior. They don’t like being told that they are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and that it is important to treat our bodies well.

They don’t like being told that we are living in God’s judgment hour, and that we need to search our hearts, and be totally right with God. They don’t like being told that how the great majority of religious systems have fallen and have become the habitation of devils and hold of every unclean bird. And they don’t like being told that Sunday worship is not based upon the Bible, but solely a dictate and command of the Roman Catholic Church. Indeed, the message that we have as a people to bear is more pointed than that of John the Baptist. 

This article is not about the torture debate going on in America. Instead, we will examine the torture debate in heaven.   

Think for a moment about what in life you enjoy. What do Christians enjoy? Do Christians enjoy church? Do Christians enjoy the Sabbath? Do Christians enjoy prayer meetings? Do Christians enjoy talking about spiritual things? There is a vast difference between enjoying something and tolerating something. Some of us tolerate church. We don’t want to go, but we have to. 

I can remember as a small child going a few times to a Baptist church. I absolutely hated church. I wanted to get home so I could watch Brent Musburger and Irv Cross on NFL Today. 

I was not a Christian. I went to church, but that did not make me a Christian. What is a Christian? A Christian is one who enjoys the things of God. Sure, Christians will make mistakes along the way, but they will recognize their sin, confess it to God, and continue walking on the pilgrim pathway.  

Some of us are Sabbath lookouts. We watch with great earnestness either the horizon, or the clock, and soon as the sun goes down, we start to enjoy our life again. Is this a Christian life? 

Do you think that this is God’s ideal? Do you think that this is what God had in mind when He called the Sabbath a delight? A thousand times no! If this is our experience it should tell us that are hearts are not right. Many are cultural Christians; we are living off of Mom and Dad’s experience. We have never experienced God for ourselves. Although we are in church and sit and sing, and we even say the right things on Sabbath, we are still lost. 

Notice this statement from Steps to Christ:

In his sinless state, man held joyful communion with Him "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Colossians 2:3. But after his sin, he could no longer find joy in holiness, and he sought to hide from the presence of God. Such is still the condition of the unrenewed heart. It is not in harmony with God, and finds no joy in communion with Him. The sinner could not be happy in God's presence; he would shrink from the companionship of holy beings. Could he be permitted to enter heaven, it would have no joy for him. The spirit of unselfish love that reigns there --every heart responding to the heart of Infinite Love --would touch no answering chord in his soul. His thoughts, his interests, his motives, would be alien to those that actuate the sinless dwellers there. He would be a discordant note in the melody of heaven. Heaven would be to him a place of torture; he would long to be hidden from Him who is its light, and the center of its joy. It is no arbitrary decree on the part of God that excludes the wicked from heaven; they are shut out by their own unfitness for its companionship. The glory of God would be to them a consuming fire. They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them (SC 17.2 emphasis added).

If you are planning to be in heaven with God for eternity, do you think that you would be happy there if you are watching to clock for the Sabbath to end? No, heaven would be a place of torture for you! And the only loving thing that God could do would be to destroy you. 

Notice this next statement from the pen of inspiration:

Heaven is to begin on this earth(FLB 367.2).

Those who take Christ at His word, and surrender their souls to His keeping, their lives to His ordering, will find peace and quietude. Nothing of the world can make them sad when Jesus makes them glad by His presence. In perfect acquiescence there is perfect rest. The Lord says, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." Isa. 26:3. Our lives may seem a tangle; but as we commit ourselves to the wise Master Worker, He will bring out the pattern of life and character that will be to His own glory. And that character which expresses the glory--character --of Christ will be received into the Paradise of God. A renovated race shall walk with Him in white, for they are worthy (FLB 367.3).

As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond to His invitation, Come, learn of Me, and in thus coming we begin the life eternal. Heaven is a ceaseless approaching to God through Christ. The longer we are in the heaven of bliss, the more and still more of glory will be opened to us; and the more we know of God, the more intense will be our happiness (FLB 367.4).

When the Lord's people are filled with meekness and tenderness, they will realize that His banner over them is love, and His fruit will be sweet to their taste. They will make a heaven below in which to prepare for heaven above (FLB 367.5).


Consider the following verses about how a spirit filled Christian should relate to spiritual things:

And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it (Isaiah 58:12-14).


The Sabbath is a dress rehearsal for heaven. If we enjoy the Sabbath today, we will enjoy eternity tomorrow.

I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart (Psalm 40:8).

I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word...Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors...Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight (Psalm 119:16,24,35).

Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them. And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God (Ezekiel 20:12,20).


The Sabbath is the mark of God. It is a sign or seal on how God is sanctifying us. Do you delight in spiritual things? Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness? Do you long to wake up in the morning to spend time with Jesus? He longs to spend time with you.

 

Some people say that the message of the Church is not relevant. I would like to say that it is the most relevant message in the world, and as the seconds of this world tick forward, it will only become more relevant.

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