Pope Francis, Muhammad, or Joseph Smith cannot take you into eternity…only Jesus Christ can
Jesus boldly proclaimed – “’I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.’” (John 11: 25-26) Jesus had told the Pharisees earlier – “’I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come…You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.’” (John 8: 21-24)
When Jesus said that whoever believes in Him shall never die, He was referring to the second death. All people will physically die. However, those who reject Jesus Christ will die eternally. They will be separated from God for eternity. If you do not experience a new spiritual birth in this life, you will die in your sins – or in a state of rebellion against God. Jesus will soon return to this earth as Judge. He will sit and rule as King of Kings from Jerusalem for 1,000 years. After these 1,000 years there will be a resurrection of the wicked dead – those who did not receive salvation through Jesus Christ. They will stand before God and be judged according to their works – “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20: 11-15) When Death and Hades are cast into the lake of fire – that is the second death. Where you spend your eternity depends on what you believe about Jesus Christ and what He has said.
Jesus spoke of Hades as He taught about the rich man and Lazarus – “’There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’” (Luke 16: 19-24) From this story, we see that Hades is a place of torment, an eternal torment that goes on forever.
How important is it to respond to Jesus’ word? Jesus said – “’Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.’” (John 5: 24) Consider who Jesus is – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1: 1-4) Jesus is the Word made flesh. There is life in Him. Jesus said the following in His intercessory prayer – “’Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.’” (John 17: 1-3) No other religious leader or prophet can give you eternal life. They are all men and will be judged by God. Jesus Christ alone is fully man and fully God. He alone has been given authority over all flesh. If you do not accept what Jesus did for you, your eternity will be one of torment.
Joseph Smith once stated – “I calculate to be one of the instruments of setting up the kingdom of Daniel by the word of the Lord, and I intend to lay a foundation that will revolutionize the whole world.” (Tanner 414) The third President of the Mormon Church, John Taylor, once stated – “We do believe it, and honestly acknowledge that this is that kingdom which the Lord has commenced to establish upon the earth, and that it will not only govern all people in a religious capacity, but also in a political capacity.” (Tanner 414) In 1844, an article in the St. Clair Banner newspaper stated the following about Joseph Smith being ordained “king” – “The great aim of Joseph Smith was evidently to clothe himself with the most unlimited power, civil, military and ecclesiastical, over all who became members of his society…The first step taken by him, was to satisfy his people that he had received a revelation from God…and gave the following as the substance of his revelation…That he (Joseph) was a descendant from Joseph of old through the blood of Ephraim. And that God had appointed and ordained that he, with his descendants, should rule over all Israel,…and ultimately the Jews and Gentiles. That the authority with which God had clothed him,…extended over all mankind,…Joe further stated that God had revealed to him, that the Indians and Latter Day Saints, under Joe as their king, and ruler, were to conquer the Gentiles, and that their subjection to this authority was to be obtained by the sword!” (Tanner 415-416)
Ibn Warraq wrote about Muhammad – “The character attributed to Mohammed in the biography of Ibn Ishaq is exceedingly unfavorable. In order to gain his ends he recoils from no expedient, and he approves of similar unscrupulousness on the part of his adherents, when exercised in his interest. He profits to the utmost from the chivalry of the Meccans, but rarely requites it with the like. He organizes assassinations and wholesale massacres. His career as tyrant of Medina is that of robber chief, whose political economy consists in securing and dividing plunder, the distribution of the latter being at times carried out on principles which fail to satisfy his follower’s ideas of justice. He is himself an unbridled libertine and encourages the same passion in his followers. For whatever he does he is prepared to plead the express authorization of the deity. It is, however, impossible to find any doctrine which he is not prepared to abandon in order to secure a political end.” (Warraq 103)
Neither Joseph Smith, Muhammad, Pope Francis, or any other religious leader can give you eternal life. Jesus Christ alone can do this. Won’t you turn to Jesus today and trust all that you are to Him. Are you going to follow a sinful man’s way to salvation? You may not end up where you think you will. You may have embraced darkness as light. Will you die in your sins and stand before God trusting in your own works to please Him? Or will you transfer your trust to Jesus Christ who alone pleased God through His life, death, and resurrection? If we stand before God in our own righteousness, we will only merit eternal punishment. If we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ, then we become partakers of eternal life.Who will you trust your eternity to?
Tanner, Jerald, and Sandra Tanner. Mormonism – Shadow or Reality? Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 2008.
Warraq, Ibn. The Quest for the Historical Muhammad. Amherst: Prometheus, 2000.