WHAT YOU BELIEVE HAS ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES! Below you will find Scriptures about what the Bible says about life-after-death, the afterlife, and the eternal destiny of human beings. But first, here are a few personal reflections on the subject.
There are personal testimonies, books, TV documentaries, and all manner of films and productions of Hollywood-imagined ideas from which people draw conclusions about what follows death. The vast majority of testimonials, writings, and and video productions have at the heart the distortion or dismissal of Biblical truths related to life-after-death, to the existence of Hell, and to the relationship between human conduct and their afterlife.
I have been a follower of Jesus Christ for more than five decades. I cannot even guess how long it has been since I last heard preaching or teaching about what the Bible says about Hell. It seems that even the Church has “dismissed” the perils of Hell as one is more likely to find a “Christian” who does NOT believe what the Bible teaches, instead believing the latest “near-” or “after-death” experience story seen on TV or read from a book, than you are to find a Christian who believes, much less willing to present the Biblical view of afterlife that includes the subject of Hell.
LISTEN! I HATE talking about Hell!! I confess that, in the strongest terms I can think of, I DO NOT like what the Bible teaches about the destiny of all humanity that rejects the promise of God to those who believe Jesus Christ and trust Him for salvation.
The Bible emphatically declares the existence of Hell; and emphatically declares Hell as being the destiny for every human being who, because of their unbelief, denies Jesus Christ as being the ONLY hope of their salvation. I HATE that Hell exists for the condemned; and I am unfathomably grateful that someone introduced me to Jesus Christ and that my belief and my trusting Him has sealed for all of eternity my destiny in Heaven. If God demanded of me my perfect behavior to get into Heaven…then I would have NO chance whatsoever.
BEWARE AND DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE THAT GOD DOES NOT DEMAND PERFECTION AND PERFECT BEHAVIOR IN ORDER TO GET INTO HEAVEN…as God most CERTAINLY demands it!! “…Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” (Galatians 3:10).
God’s gift of eternal life with Him in Heaven is because of my belief is that “…Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’)…” (Galatians 3:13).
Let me REPEAT that: I AM NOT GOING TO HEAVEN WHEN I DIE BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN “GOOD ENOUGH”. The fact is: I’ve NEVER been “good enough”! And neither am I NOW good enough! I know that I’m better than I used to be…but, O Lord, how far short of God’s perfect way I am STILL!! Yet, I’m going to Heaven when I die because Jesus was good enough and because Jesus already paid the debt that I owe for my sins, and because Jesus is already waiting at my future “death-bed” to take my hand and He promised to escort me through the gates of Heaven.
WHEN YOU BREATHE YOUR LAST BREATH…AND WHEN YOUR HEART BEATS ITS LAST BEAT…you are going to “wake-up” IMMEDIATELY and you are going to instantly experience either…
JOY and HAPPINESS beyond anything you have ever experienced or imagined, as you are brought before God in the nail-scarred hand of your Advocate, the risen Savior, and remembering that special “someone” in your life who first told you about Jesus Christ and you decidedly chose to believe, trust, and follow Him…or…
…UNIMAGINABLE SHAME, HORROR, TERROR…and perhaps even FURY as, in that instant, you find yourself standing ALONE, naked, judged, and condemned by your disbelief before the God that you decidedly refused to believe, having no advocate to argue for your defense, and knowing now that the penalty you’ve earned is now demanded by God to be paid. You remember the day that you found this website and read this article; and you will remember vividly all of the times in your life that a loved one or someone told you about Jesus and you decidedly dismissed them and decidedly dismissed God and / or His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Without question, in that moment the ONLY desire of your heart will be that God would give you just ONE chance to go back and tell your children, your brother or sister, your wife, your grandchild, or your best friend about Jesus! You’ll BEG God to send SOMEONE to them that they might be saved from this day!
Once again, READER, God has put before you on this day the chance to DECIDE to believe Him…or not! IT IS YOU WHO DECIDES YOUR ETERNAL DESTINY!
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT AFTERLIFE and ETERNITY
(1) Everyone will exist eternally either in heaven or hell (Daniel 12:2,3; Matthew 25:46; John 5:28; Revelation 20:14,15).
(2) Everyone has only one life in which to determine their destiny (Hebrews 9:27).
(3) Heaven or hell is determined by whether a person believes (puts their trust) in Christ alone to save them (John 3:16, 36, etc.).
Key Passages About Hell
(1) Hell was designed originally for Satan and his demons (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
(2) Hell will also punish the sin of those who reject Christ (Matthew 13:41,50; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8).
(3) Hell is conscious torment.
- Matthew 13:50“furnace of fire…weeping and gnashing of teeth”
- Mark 9:48“where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched”
- Revelation 14:10“he will be tormented with fire and brimstone”
(4) Hell is eternal and irreversible.
- Revelation 14:11“the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever and they have no rest day and night”
- Revelation 20:14“This is the second death, the lake of fire”
- Revelation 20:15“If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire”
Erroneous Views of Hell
(1) The second chance view – After death there is still a way to escape hell.
Answer: “It is appointed unto men once to die and after that the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
(2) Universalism – All are eternally saved.
Answer: It denies the truth of salvation through Christ which means that a person decides to either trust in Christ or else he/she rejects Christ and goes to hell (John 3:16;3:36).
(3) Annihilationism – Hell means a person dies like an animal – ceases to exist.
Answer: It denies the resurrection of the unsaved (John 5:28, etc. – see above). It denies conscious torment (see above).
Objections to the Biblical View of Hell
(1) A loving God would not send people to a horrible hell.
Response: God is just (Romans 2:11).
- God has provided the way of salvation to all (John 3:16,17; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15; 1 Timothy 2:6; 4:10; Titus 2:11; 2 Peter 3:9).
- Even those who haven’t heard of Christ are accountable for God’s revelation in nature (Romans 1:20). God will seek those who seek Him (Matthew 7:7; Luke 19:10).
- Therefore God doesn’t send people to hell, they choose it (Romans 1:18,21,25).
(2) Hell is too severe a punishment for man’s sin.
Response: God is holy-perfect (1 Peter 1:14,15).
- Sin is willful opposition to God our creator (Romans 1:18-32).
- Our sin does merit hell (Romans 1:32; 2:2,5,6).
- What is unfair and amazing is that Christ died for our sin and freely offers salvation to all (Romans 2:4; 3:22-24; 4:7,8; 5:8,9).
Biblical Terms Describing Where the Dead Are
- Sheol – a Hebrew term simply describing “the grave” or “death” – Does not refer to “hell” specifically
- Hades – A Greek term that usually refers to hell – a place of torment (Luke 10:15; 16:23, etc.)
- Gehenna – A Greek term (borrowed from a literal burning dump near Jerusalem) that always refers to hell – a place of torment (Matthew 5:30; 23:33)
- “Lake of fire”- the final abode of unbelievers after they are resurrected (Revelation 20:14,15)
- “Abraham’s bosom” – (Luke 16:22) a place of eternal comfort
- “Paradise” – (Luke 23:43) a place of eternal comfort
- “With the Lord” – a key phrase describes where church age believers are after death (Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 2 Corinthians 5:8)
- “New heavens and earth” – where believers will be after they are resurrected (Revelation 20:4-6; 21:1-4)
Our curiosity about the abode of the dead is not completely satisfied by biblical terms or verses. What we do know is that either eternal torment in hell or eternal joy in heaven awaits all people after death, based on whether they trust in Christ’s payment for sin or reject Christ.