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Bible Top 1000

Can a Person Who Has Not Heard the Gospel Go to Heaven?

jack By: Jack Heckathorne Author of “Separation of Church and God, The Final Judgment” – GJCN Commentary – http://www.gjcn.org

 

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” {Matthew 24:14}

When one asks the question “Can a person who has never heard the Gospel go to Heaven? He is making the assumption that there are people who will go through their entire lives without ever having heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. At this moment, yes, there are those who have never heard the gospel, but tomorrow, through evangelism, more will hear it and the next day even more and so on. Then those who hear it and accept it will tell others. There are currently missionaries in every country and continent including: Israel, The USA, Russia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Australia, Afghanistan, India, Libya, Japan, the Philippians, Egypt, Africa and Europe. Furthermore, all countries have been evangelized since the time of Jesus by the Church.

The gospel is nothing new. It has been around for two thousand years and even in the Apostle Paul’s day the message was universal.

“If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.” {Colossians 1:23}

So, we start out with the whole world having heard the gospel in the first century. We must remember that God is “omniscience” he knows everything that is knowable including everyone’s thoughts. Therefore, if a person seeks knowledge of the creator based on things he has observed in nature, or for whatever reason, God will send the message to him either in the form of writing or he may lead a Christian to cross paths with him at the right moment. This is not unusual at all. Many times I have unexpectedly come across a person seeking the Gospel and many of you may have as well. This is precisely why the apostle Peter wrote:

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” {1 Peter 3:15}

What about a person who can’t understand the gospel?

Any person who is normal can understand the gospel because it is the Holy Spirit who makes the gospel conspicuous or obvious to him.

“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” {John 15:26}

Now, if a person is mentally ill or incapacitated in some way he will be taken to Heaven, taking into consideration all of God’s perfect attributes. For instance, God is perfect justice and perfect love. Why would he send someone to the Lake of fire who was unable to comprehend the Gospel? That would be neither just nor loving.

I think it is interesting the way John 3:18 is worded.

“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

A person who does not understand is unable to believe or not believe. If your two year old child got a hold of your car keys and threw them in the lake, would you punish him? Of course not, because he did not know what he was doing. However, if your 14 year old child did the same thing out of spite, then discipline would be in order. So it is with God. He is fair and just and loving.

When is a person accountable?

Every normal person reaches a stage in his life when he becomes accountable for his own actions and beliefs. For some, who have been raised in a Christian home, it may be a young age, perhaps fourteen or fifteen, but for others who have been raised in a Godless or “religious” home it may be an older age. However, if properly explained, even a young child can understand. A parent should not wait until teen years or depend on a church to explain the Gospel. It is most beneficial to raise up a child with biblical principals. Satan will go to work on a child at a very early age, and the longer he has to work on them the more difficult it will be to accept Christ in later years.

A good example of this is a young person who has gone through high school and college and become indoctrinated in evolution. He has only heard one side of the story for his entire life, and even though evolution is vague, contradictory, and absurd, to any thinking, knowledgeable person, he will believe in it. In other words, he has no ability to discern truth from lies because his thinking process always starts with the false assumption that there is no God. Evolutionists are strictly materialist thinkers for some unexplained reason, so they rule out God from the beginning. They brainwash people to their philosophy and call it science. They even call it “philosophical science” which means “believe us because we are smarter than you are.” Young people believe in this philosophy because they have nothing to compare it to. Even though there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they will continue in their belief. Even though, in the back of their mind, they know there must be something out there (God-consciousness), their arrogance and egotism and any idea of God is offensive to them. Their conscience is seared, their hearts are hardened and they are on their way to Hell in a tea kettle.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” {Proverbs 22:6}

God-Consciousness

“…I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” (Hebrews 8:10-11}

Everyone is conscious of God even though some will not admit it. Since God knows your heart, there comes a time when he will hold you responsible for your own actions based upon Biblical concepts. Atheists, for example, claim that there is no God, but yet they unknowingly accept God’s laws and principals. If someone were to steal an Atheists car the atheist would say that is wrong. Right and wrong are determined not by what we declare right and wrong to be, but what God says right and wrong are. Is it wrong to steal and atheist’s car? Well, to the atheist yes, but to the one who stole it no, because he gets a free car. Laws cannot be relative, they must be absolute and apply to everyone equally, therefore, they must come from God, not man.

Our laws are based on God’s laws (or should be) because if we all decide for ourselves what is right and wrong then there can only be chaos. So, God must establish what is right and what is wrong. Even the atheist accepts many of God’s principals because he has a God-Consciousness, albeit suppressed, and will find himself without excuse on Judgment day. Therefore, it makes sense to teach children God’s laws as absolutes for their lives.

“Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” {Romans 1:19-20}

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” {1 Corinthians 15:3-4}

Will Babies Who Die Go To Heaven?

David had a child with his wife Uriah and it became very sick. Seven days later the child died. While the child was living David was very upset but once it died David said:

“While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, (in Heaven) but he shall not return to me.” {1 Samuel 12:22-23}

From this we can only conclude that God will take babies, young children and incapacitated persons of any age to Heaven.

Historical Evangelism

There are numerous records that reveal world evangelism from the first century until the present. Most likely you have never heard of these people because they were not on T.V. nor were they well know in their day, as missionaries today are not well known, but nevertheless they went about spreading the Gospel message as Jesus commanded his followers to do.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” {Mark 16:15}

“Quotations and records from the Ante-Nicene fathers emphasize the impact of the Gospel throughout the world. One of the earliest apologists of Christianity, Justin Martyr, (AD 100-165), was converted in Palestine as a result of his observation of Christians, of the personal witness of missionaries, and through the study of scripture. Later as a declarer and defender of his faith, he made an interesting observation on the extent of evangelism among the heathen.”

“There is no people Greek or barbarian, or of any other race, by whatsoever appellation or manners they may be distinguished, however ignorant of the arts or agriculture, whether they dwell in tents or wander about in covered wagons [an allusion to Scythians]—among whom prayers and thanksgivings are not offered in the name of the crucified Jesus to the Father.” [From the book “Heathenism” by R.B. Thieme Jr. 2001)

But for those who do understand the issue of salvation and choose to reject it, they have committed the unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirits conviction. The Holy Spirit is the witness of the gospel to the unbeliever and so they will be without excuse at the Great white throne judgment.

“Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” {Matthew 12: 31-32}

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools…” {Romans 1: 20,21,22,24}

In contrast, for the believer in Jesus Christ a new eternal life of perfect happiness awaits.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new…” {Revelation 21:4-5}

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” {1 John 5:4-5}

“And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” { Revelation 21:6-7}

2 comments to Can a Person Who Has Not Heard the Gospel Go to Heaven?

  • mark

    Interesting, however you dismiss the idea that there are people who have not heard the gospel too easily. There are indeed cultures where the gospel has not penetrated. There are a few very remote Amazonian tribes who have rarely if ever communicated with the outside world. The question is whether these people go to hell? It may be hard for you to imagine but there are entire tribes who would say to you 'who is jesus?'. This is confusing because if these people do go to heaven then the most logical next step would be to deny education about the gospel in order to ensure they get into heaven.. i'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on this.

  • JackHeck

    I said in the commentary that at this moment there are indeed people who have not heard the gospel as there is at any given point of time. Your assumption is that they will never hear the gospel message in any form for the rest of their lives. My grandfather accepted Christ on his deathbed with his last breath. God is not limited in his power.

    You or I cannot keep track of what is in everyones mind and their need to hear the gospel, but God can. One person in a village may hear the gospel and tell his whole tribe. They can accept it or reject it but you and I would probably never know. The very fact that we even know about the existence of remote tribes tell us that someone has been there.

    The fact is that there are many missionaries in the Amazon and all other parts of the world right now. You just don't know about them.
    http://www.projectamazon.org/missionaries/

    Any person who finds himself condemned on judgment day will be without excuse. The Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, will be know to them. Romans 1:20 Jesus told Christians to preach the gospel around the world and they are out there doing just that. He will lead us and take care of the details.

    J. Heckathorne