It seems that some preachers conducting funeral services attempt to “preach the deceased right into heaven.” I once heard a denominational preacher at a funeral service declare that he guaranteed that the deceased had gone to heaven. Of course it is impossible for a preacher or anyone else to make such a guarantee. Only the Lord has the prerogative of determining our eternal destination, which is based on whether or not we have lived in harmony with His inspired Word. The apostle John, in speaking of the day of judgment, declared:
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works (Rev. 20:12).
The foolishness of a preacher attempting to preach anyone into heaven is seen in the following story. An old reprobate who spent most of his adult life carousing from one beer joint to another, died. He was known as the town drunk. This man left in this life a wife and seven children. The government and society had provided for his family, in that he was too irresponsible to do so. All he left his family were debts of unpaid bills. The Scripture warns: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Tim. 5:8). He had not “darkened the doors of the church building” since he was a young boy.
During his funeral service the preacher raved on about what a fine citizen and Christian this man had been. The preacher assured the family that the deceased was now in heaven. The widow punched one of her boys and said: “Johnny, you go up there and see if that’s your Pa in that box!” (Burying the dead in a coffin made of pine wood was quite common in the past. It was sometimes referred to as a pine box.) No preacher can preach anyone into heaven, including this man who was worse than an infidel.
Hear the inspired words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.