What happens to you after you die? Where do you go? Do we return to dust and never exist again or does something spiritual happen? All of these are questions many ask, and all of them can be answered by looking into Gods inspiring Word. The bible talks about two places called Heaven and Hell, that are spiritual and cannot be seen by the physical realm. 1 Corinthians 2:9 tells us this saying, “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” No one has seen Heaven and has returned to tell us what it looks like. Jesus was the only man to come down to earth from heaven and return to his home once again.
Some don’t believe that there is a heaven and hell where are spiritual bodies ascend after we die out of these physical bodies. Can you imagine being nothing after you die? You’re just not here, you’re nothing for eternity, forever. Not many can fathom this, and therefore we go to another place. The bible doesn’t doubt the fact that there are such places, God and the writers of the books knew they existed. Hebrews 11:16 tells us, “Instead, they were longing for a better country, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Here we see a heavenly place where the great men of faith in the bible long for. In John 3:13 “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven, the Son of Man.” Now we see no one has gone into heaven except Christ. Therefore heaven must exist according to the bible.
Well, what about hell? Does it exist too? Absolutely! Matthew 10:28 gives us great insight into this, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Here Jesus is speaking of fearing God because he cannot only kill the body but also our soul in hell. Hell is described for us in Revelation 21:8, “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” In other verses it is described as a fiery lake or pit as well (Revelation 20:14-15, Matthew 13:50, Matthew 5:22) The rest of Revelation 21 is a description of what heaven will look like.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 tells us that our physical bodies return to dust from whence they came. Genesis 2:7 says, “the Lord God formed the man from dust of the ground…” Now we see that our bodies “essentially” came from dust. Where do people normally bury the dead nowadays? In the ground, dust in a sense. But Ecclesiastes 12:7 also says that our spirits will return to God after we die. And that’s true, our spirits do go to him to be judged on Judgement Day. So our bodies are turned to dust, and our spirits go to our Father.
Now that we have biblical evidence that these two places are real, what do we do now? Let’s look at a few verses to determine just that. Matthew 25:31-46 gives an excellent view of what will happen on Judgment Day. In a nutshell, those who do his will and follow and obey his word will enter into heaven. Those who don’t, go to hell. It’s that simple. One might claim, “How can a merciful God send anyone to eternal punishment?” Good question, but it has a simple answer. You see, God showed us mercy, by sending his son to die on the cross to forgive our sins so that we can be with him for eternity (John 3:16). If we don’t except that mercy and grace, then we sin and we deserve death. Because “the wages of sin, is death” (Romans 6:23).
Jesus told us how to get to our heavenly Father. John 14:6 tells us “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”” So Jesus is how we get there. We have to follow him and obey his commandments. Our “home” is not on this earth, it is in heaven with our Father from where we once came. Some look at our time on this earth as just “passing through” this foreign land to get to heaven. Others though, like C.S. Lewis, think of it as “training” ourselves to get there. “If you think of this world as a place simply intended for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place for training and correction and it’s not so bad.” – C.S. Lewis
Baptism plays a key role in this as well. When we are baptized we are forgiven of all past sins, and now we have forgiveness. Acts 2:38 sternly proves this as Peter says, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…” If we know and acknowledge the fact that we have sinned and honestly turn back to God and seek him, we repent. Then we are baptized in Christ. Coming up out of the water a new creature, pure and cleansed from all your sins. After we have done that our life is now for Christ (Galatians 2:20). (For more on baptism, check out the article “Baptism”.)
So to wrap this all up, Heaven and Hell: REAL. The bible clearly says so. Now we have to live a life for Christ, who died for us, so that we can be with him for eternity. Remember one thing as you go throughout your day. Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through It. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Ask yourself this question, Don’t you want to be that few?