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Heaven and Hell: What Does the Bible Really Teach?

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Heaven and Hell

Few things could be more important than what happens to us when this life ends. Most people believe the Bible teaches that we will go to either heaven or hell at death. They might be surprised at what it really says!

The Biblical Truth About the Immortal Soul

Ideas about us going to heaven or hell hinge on belief in the immortal soul, which must go somewhere when the body dies. Yet the Bible nowhere teaches the soul is immortal. So where did the idea originate?

Do Some Bible Verses Teach We Have an Immortal Soul?

Some believe that various scriptures support belief in an immortal soul. Let's consider some of these passages and understand what they really say.

The History of the Immortal-Soul Teaching

Despite widespread use of the phrase immortal soul, this terminology is found nowhere in the Bible. Where did the idea of an immortal soul originate?

Jesus Christ and Biblical Writers Compare Death to Sleep

What happens to a person when he dies? The Bible compares death to a state of sleep.

The Spirit in Man

The human spirit is critical to our destiny, since God's Holy Spirit joining with it is what makes us God's children.

Will a Loving God Punish People Forever in Hell?

Millions believe that God is loving and merciful, but also that He has condemned millions to suffer torment for all eternity. Is something wrong with this picture, or is the problem a distorted belief about hell?

Lazarus and the Rich Man: Proof of Heaven and Hell?

Many interpret one of Jesus' parables to mean that people have immortal souls that go to heaven or hell immediately at death. But does this parable really say that?

Are Some Tortured Forever in a Lake of Fire?

Any human being thrown into the lake of fire will be destroyed and will not be tormented for eternity.

Will the Torment of the Wicked Last Forever?

Rather than describing eternal torment of people in hell, from the context we see that this passage is actually describing specific events to take place on earth at the end of this age.

Does the Bible Speak of Hellfire That Lasts Forever?

Two verses that many assume prove the wicked are to be eternally tortured in hellfire are Matthew 25:41 and 25:46. But do they? Let's take a closer look.

Is Heaven God's Reward for the Righteous?

If heaven is the reward for good people, why does the Bible reveal so little about what they will do there for eternity? Could it be that this isn't our reward at all and that God has something far different in mind?

Ancient Pagan Belief in Heaven

The idea that souls go to heaven at death originated in pagan religion, not the Bible.

Paul's Desire to "Depart and Be With Christ"

Many have assumed from Paul's words in Philippians 1:23-24 that he believed that at the moment of his death his consciousness would leave his body to join Christ in heaven. But is this the case?

Did Elijah Go to Heaven?

A biblical event many cite to support belief that the righteous go to heaven when they die involves the prophet Elijah.

Was Enoch Taken to Heaven?

Some people believe Genesis 5:24 and Hebrews 11:5 declare that God took Enoch to heaven. But is that what these verses say?

The Thief on the Cross

Many people think Jesus assured the thief on the cross that he would go to heaven with Him that very day. But is this really what Jesus Christ meant?

Are There Saved Human Beings in Heaven?

The popular teaching is that when Christians die they immediately go to heaven, where they take up residence in their permanent abode. But can we find such a teaching in the Bible? Have any human beings ever ascended to heaven?

The Resurrection: God's Promise of Life after Death

The Bible clearly teaches that the dead will be raised in a resurrection. But if their souls have already gone to heaven or hell at death, what's the point? Could it be that popular beliefs don't agree with the Bible?

Your Awesome Future

A careful study of the Scriptures reveals major problems with popular beliefs about life after death. Sadly, these misguided ideas have masked the truth about the incredible future God has planned for us!