What if I grew up in a remote area, all my forefathers before me had been worshiping idols...that is all the god I knew and will ever know, will I go to heaven?'' That is the common question and I believed needed some clear answer.
My answer to this an emphatic NO! Okay, hold your stone before you hit me...let me explain. All unbeliever in Jesus will Not go to Heaven directly!
When Jesus said, "...I am the way, the truth and the life No ONE can come to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
What a declaration, it was actually an imposition like saying "There is No other formula!" Jesus is saying, it is an absolute truth.
But is it unfair for my ancestor who have not even heard about Jesus?
First, what Jesus had declared was a privilege given to "those who believed" as a prerequisite for eternal life. Mohammad did not promise that to Islam, Buddha or Judaism had no such teaching. It is a unique Christian experience.A unique brand...Christians had the True Messiah, the son of God himself.
The package included in believing in Jesus is that You as believer have access to the Truth, which is Jesus Christ. You have the privilege to call God as Father! It is a personal relationship...with God.
There is a belief that in every place there is a localized savior that God send, well maybe there is some truth in it. BUT Heed! This is different than what New Age teachers are saying, that aside from Jesus there is other way to the father. That is misleading! Is it complicated? Listen...
The point I should stress here is Ignorance vs. Ignoring.
This is what I believe and what the Bible supports: Those who intentionally ignore Jesus and His teachings will not go to heaven. Those who bend, twist, and mold another Gospel is going to Hell. Jesus is saying No Other Word except my Word.
But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven. -- Matthew 10:33The hard fact is once you heard about Jesus, better listen to Him. And when He said listen, listen carefully because there are many false Prophet who will claim they are Christ. They will insist on another Gospel.
Many New Age teachers suggest that Christ is just one of the many avenue to achieved heavenly state or Nirvana. Some even claim Jesus is just an idea of good and the devil is just a representation of evil.These are dangerous ideas that denies the real Jesus as a person.
I suggest you go back to my post "People Formed God" where I have discussed how men created a god according to their desires...to suit their lifestyles and traditions. They even change the day of Sabbath...
As a point of clarification, why I believe those who have not known Jesus will not go to heaven, not directly, not yet, given the above requirements of God how to have everlasting life...but they still have a chance.
Yes, that was not the theology most of your teacher taught you. Because they are blind teachers...they don't know the heart of God. They are making God cruel for annihilating innocent people who have not even heard of the Bible.
That is the purpose of the second coming. Second coming is not just about Judgment day!!! it is second chance to know Jesus for those who have never heard Him and to those who had been misled, He will plainly reveal himself.
Let me focus on an important event in the future that proves there is a second chance available...this is written in Revelation 9:20-21
The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.
Isn't God speaking Now? The plagues: Earthquakes, Viruses, War and famine, and sign like oil price hike or global warming? Isn't these the 2nd chance He is saying...
How about those that have died? Are there another chance for them? Let us also examined another future event...found in Revelation 20:12
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books
These are Zombies! Dead people being resurrected...note that they are not yet in heaven or in another dimension as most spiritualism claims...John saw them as dead people rising from the graves. These are people with No previous knowledge about Christ. They are not going to be judge base on Religion but according to work. Now, that's another difference with Christ believer. Christians or the Christian era will be judge according to faith and not in work.
The old testament era will be different to the new testament dispensation. As well as there is separate Judgement to those who have not heard and those who have heard.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Rev. 20:4)
Now, second chance will not be given to those who willfully disobey God and follow their own lust and ignore Jesus' teachings. God is merciful, just and fair but he is not stupid.
Hebrew 10:26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (other translation render reprobates as disqualified)
So if you think you can get away with Sin this time and repent later and then sin again and repent once more...Do not mocked God. God is forgiving but He also know how to say STOP!
There are also those who teach that belief in Jesus is not necessary to achieved eternal life. They are new age religion, teaching the doctrines of men.
How many prophets do you need before Jesus return the second time?
On side note about Judgment Day. Another privilege a Christian have is that we have an active role in it.
Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! -- 1 Corinthians 6:3
Another good read that I suggest you pay a visit is on Got Questions.org. Click here Is Jesus The Only Way To Heaven? It's a different perspective on the subject that I recommend for believers.