Reflections on the Holy Scripture

The entire concept of a Heaven and Hell has to do with our fates after we die. After you die, your spirit is destined to go to either Heaven or Hell. Where you go depends on a single decision: whether or not you accept Christ as the savior and the only way into Heaven. Your spirit then dwells in either Heaven or Hell for all of eternity making this decision absolutely crucial.

Heaven

Heaven is where we as believers in the sacrifice of Jesus go, or at least that is what it is called. After everything is done, Tribulation, Final Judgment, and all, those who remained with God until the end receive eternal life in Heaven, or what is called the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21. In Heaven, there will be no death, pain, or sadness as mentioned in Revelation 21:4. Heaven is described in Revelation 21, and this is just a small excerpt:

10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.

~ Revelation 21:10-11 NKJV

The best part about Heaven is that God will always be with those who believe. God will be the light, and it will be pure. The whole city is of gold and precious gems, and glory will be brought to it. Heaven is unimaginably great, and it is essentially the reward for those who remain with God until the very end.

Essentially, Heaven is a satisfaction of preferences. Despite what people claim to want, Heaven makes its occupants unspeakably happy. Some who claim that Heaven would be undesirable in some way fail to understand the unique nature of having every possible desire fulfilled - it inherently promotes as much pleasure as possible, which isn't conceptually plausible without having been there.

Hell

Hell is the place designed to be the eternal punishment of Satan and his fallen angels. Because of Satan's sin, God prepared this place to be his everlasting punishment. Ultimately, Hell is the punishment for all sin. This is definitely the worst place to end up in, and if you lack the salvation of Jesus Christ, this is the punishment.

Hell is separation from God. Throughout Revelation, Hell is called the "Lake of Fire". The verses Revelation 20:10 and Revelation 20:15 show who will suffer this terrible fate. Jesus, in Mathew 13:41-42, describes Hell to be a place of sadness and torture.

41The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

NKJV

The Bible makes a lot of references to Hell being filled with flames, but this is almost certainly symbolic of judgment, as fire is often used as such in the Bible. This is not to say that Hell is not painful—it will be more painful than anything we can experience on Earth or even imagine, both physically and spiritually. Separation from God is the absolute worst aspect, and it is eternal. Revelation describes Hell as the second and final death. But just as Heaven is a satisfaction of preferences, Hell is a satisfaction of our dislikes, fears, and hatreds. There is too much pain to be imaginable. Considering the eternal hopelessness of Hell, and an inability to ever escape, what we choose on Earth is vital.

Are there other places?

There is a Heaven and a Hell. There is no other place; there is no middle ground. According to Jesus, if you are not for Him, then you are against Him (Matthew 12:30). God makes it clear that you are either going to Heaven or going to Hell. In Revelation, the lukewarm church is addressed, a church that claims to take a middle ground.

15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

~ Revelation 3:15-16 NKJV

All will be judged before God's throne. Those whose names are found in the Book of Life will live eternally (Revelation 3:5), and those whose names are not in the book of life will be cast into darkness (Revelation 20:15).

Purgatory

In Roman Catholicism, Purgatory is where souls who are destined for Heaven, yet are not completely purified of their sins, go. Those who die having been forgiven of their sin are to go to Purgatory if they have not been completely purified of their sin on earth.

However, Purgatory is not biblical. Nowhere in the Bible is a place like Purgatory even mentioned or described. The idea of Purgatory implies that Jesus did not die for all of our sins. It implies that one is only spiritually pure at the time of getting saved, and then a sin after that results in the loss of salvation. However, Mark 3:28 says that Jesus died for all the sins of man. Jesus's sacrifice completely cleanses all people of all their sin if they believe in Him (John 5:24). All that is required is the blood of Jesus, and no further purification is needed. To say otherwise is to say that Jesus's sacrifice is insufficient to save our souls.

Limbo

Limbo, while not officially part of the Roman Catholic Church's doctrine, is a place many Catholics believe exists. They describe it as the "edge of Hell," where people who died prior to Christ's death and resurrection and infants who died before they could be baptized are sent. As with Purgatory, however, Limbo is not only never described in the Bible, but it is also not biblical. Genesis 15:6 says,

6And he [Abraham] believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

~ Genesis 6:15 NKJV

This verse makes it very plain that even before Christ came to Earth, salvation was attained by faith in God.

However, the Bible does not specifically say what happens to infants who die before they are capable of committing to Christ. Some say that God is merciful to them and allows them into heaven while others say they never accepted Christ as their Savior and must go to hell. There are arguments that defend both sides of this issue, which will be addressed on the Age of Accountability page.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Fix IE