Today I was visited by two Jehovah’s Witnesses ladies. They told me they were giving me information to help me if there was a disaster of some type. The booklet did indeed have some rudimentary and generic information on that topic, but it was really just a way in.
Besides having the wrong idea about Jesus – they told me that he was the first creation of God, they also talked about what happens to people when they die.
According to them, when people die, they have paid the penalty for their sins, (based on Romans 6:23), and so when they come to life again after Armageddon, they will have a second chance to turn to Jehovah. They explained it wouldn’t be right for God not to give them a second chance if they hadn’t had a proper chance to learn about him in this life.
Two issues then proceed from this:
- Do people deserve a second chance, and
- Will people get a second chance?
As I said to them, in Romans 1:18-22, Paul explains that everyone is rightly held accountable to God because they know sufficient about God from his creation to hold them as being without excuse for their rejection of him. So, no, people do not deserve a second chance. None of us are guiltless in the way we have responded to God (Romans 2:1; 3:9-18).
So do get a second chance? Hebrews 9:27-28 tells us we face judgement when we die. At that time, Jesus will bring salvation to those who are waiting for him, and by implication he will be bringing judgement on those who aren’t.
In Revelation 20:11-15 we have the picture of people being judged according to what was recorded in the books about what they had done. If their name was not written in the book of life, they end up in the lake of fire. From this we see there is judgement, but it is not based on a second chance, but on what they did during this life. The question is, how does one’s name end up in the book of life, given that we all are sinful and deserving of God’s righteous judgement (as we have seen)?
It is interesting that according to Revelation 17:8, that people’s names are written in this book from the creation of the world! So again, how does one’s name get into it? If the name was added before the creation of the world, then that means it is “the elect”, who are in it. These are those who God considers to be righteous.
Jesus talks about these people in John 10:26-29. The elect are those who listen to his voice. They are the ones the Father has given to him and Jesus will give them eternal life. Those who are not his sheep don’t believe (put their faith) in Jesus. This is based on their reaction to Jesus in this life.
To put this another way, going back to Romans, but a few verses on from where I quoted above, (Romans 3:21-26), we see that those who put their faith in Jesus are redeemed by him and receive his righteousness. Again this is something that we do in this life.
On the basis of what we do now, we will be judged when Jesus returns. So we need to choose wisely now. There is no second chance.