Once a person dies their soul goes before God. Right after death a person’s soul goes before the great white throne in heaven where they are judged and told if they are going to heaven or to hell. Once a person is dead you cannot do anything for them anymore. They are in front of God and their day of trial and judgment has begun. Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour will go to heaven, and those who have not accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour will go to hell.
The sheep and the goats
Jesus told a story about sheep and goats. Believers are referred to as sheep because they are usually gentle creatures who like to stay in groups. Goats are usually more independent, harsh and aggressive animals.
Here is what Jesus taught about eternal life in a story about sheep and goats:
“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.” (Matthew 25:31-33).
Jesus said that the goats, those people who do not want to follow the Lord, “will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46).
Here we see that no one can pray for a person after they die because God will separate those people based on what they did here on earth, and what it is they believe in their hearts.
Money cannot buy your way into heaven
Some people think that money can buy everything. But money cannot buy your way into heaven. There is not enough money or riches in the world that we can give God so that God will allow us to go into heaven. Eternal life cannot be bought with money, and eternal life cannot be earned with good works.
So if you send money to buy a goat and then slaughter the goat on behalf of your dead ancestors this will not help them get into heaven. The blood of a goat will not forgive your ancestors sins. Only God can forgive sins.
The Bible teaches us: “…it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:4).
By slaughtering a goat many people think they can have the sins of their ancestors forgiven. They invite holy men to the feast and invite poor people to eat the meat. Then, they ask God to forgive their grandmother and grandfather.
But it is too late. The Bible teaches us: “And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:27-28).
The story of Lazarus and the rich man
Jesus told the people that you should not talk to the dead. He gave the story of a rich man who lived a very selfish life without God. The man died and went to hell. When the man was in hell he wanted God to send him someone to give him some water. But God said that He could not send anyone to him because there was a great space between him and the man with the water.
Then the rich man asked God to send the man to his brothers and sisters on earth to warn them not to live a selfish life without God.
Here is the story the way Jesus told it:
“Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.
“Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet. The rich man also died and was buried, and he went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.
“Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’
“But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’
“The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’
“But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” (Luke 16:19-31).
Jesus is the way
If you want to go to heaven then the time is now for you to put your faith in Jesus Christ so that you can be saved. If you wait until you die and hope that your relatives on earth will be able to pray for you to enter heaven, it is too late then. When you die your soul will go before God and you will be judged.
If you have been forgiven of your sins by Jesus you will be wearing the white clothes of righteousness, you will not be judged guilty and sent to hell. If you have accepted Jesus Christ on this earth as your Lord and Saviour, then God will show you the way into heaven.
Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).