This is perhaps the most important question a person can ask. Yet there are so many myths and false beliefs about this. And this life on earth is very brief, but the eternity that begins at death lasts forever. So it’s critically important to know for sure where you will spend eternity and not rely on someone’s opinion.
If we want to know the answer to this question, we need to search in God’s Word. Here’s what it says on the topic.
The word "limbo" is not found in the Bible, but the concept comes from Jesus teaching about two men who died.
"Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.' But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. 'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.' And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house-- for I have five brothers--in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.' But he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!' But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'" (Luk 16:19-31)
In this passage, one man who lived a life of wealth, comfort and ease, ignoring the needs of his poor neighbor died and went to Hades. This is the name for the underworld. From this passage, we know it was a place of torment. The man was in agony there. But far away in another place, he was able to see the poor man that used to beg at his gate during his lifetime. That man was resting in the bosom of Abraham, the father of the faithful. But the poor man was not in agony. He was being comforted. But there was a great chasm between the two places and no one could pass from one place to the other.
Many people refer to the place of comfort where the poor man was resting as “Abraham’s Bosom”, for lack of a better term. We know it was in the underworld of Hades, but was not a place of torment. This is the abode of the faithful dead prior to Christ’s resurrection from the dead. When Christ was in the grave for three days, he descended into the lower parts of the earth and preached there, according to Scripture. The apostle Peter referred to this when he wrote:
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. (1Pe 3:18-20)
Three days after Jesus died, He rose from the dead. And forty days later, He ascended into heaven. The apostle Paul speaks of the descent and the ascent that Jesus made.
Therefore it says, "WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN." (Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) (Eph 4:8-10).
So when Jesus ascended far above all the heavens, He led a company of people behind Him who had been held captive there, awaiting His resurrection. These were the people who had lived righteous lives by faith in God. For a list of who some of these people, you can look at Hebrews 11, but they included Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, and Gideon. So when Christ ascended, he emptied what we have referred to as “Abraham’s Bosom,” or that former abode of the faithful dead. This place was once referred to in Latin as limbus. So this is where the original idea of limbo came from. But as we can see, this place has been empty for two thousand years.
In Catholic theology, it has been taught that babies must be baptized. This is foreign to Scripture, where we never see babies baptized but only those who have made decisions for Christ. The notion that babies must be baptized in order to be saved comes from the false notion that God will not allow them into heaven due to the stain of Adam’s original sin on their souls. The ancient Catholic theologians thought that these babies were not pure enough to go to heaven but would not go to hell, since they had never committed any sins of their own. But as I said, this is foreign to Scripture.
Jesus always welcomed little children and blessed them. He never pronounced one warning or rebuke to a child, although He rebuked the people who tried to keep the children from coming to Him. Jesus said you must become like children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. Then He said the kingdom of heaven is such as these. And He said that God has ordained praise from the mouths of babes. So if we go by what the Word of God says, we will never find anything but complete acceptance in God’s heart for little children. He would never turn away one of these little ones. So if we refer to “Abraham’s Bosom” as limbo, that place is empty and no one goes there any more since the resurrection of Christ.
The concept of purgatory is also a Catholic one. It comes from a period in the Catholic Church when there was great corruption. It was taught that people who served Christ but did not live holy lives would need to pay a penalty for their sins after death. It was thought to be a place of purification where a soul could spend thousands or millions of years burning. And since the pope was raising money to build a basilica, this concept was supposedly used to help raise funds. Here’s what happened.
A Dominican preacher named Johann Tetzel was selling indulgences in 1517. These indulgences were considered to be full or temporary pardon for sins, which had already been forgiven. He went from town to town, preaching about purgatory and playing upon people’s sympathies for their lost loved ones in order to convince them to buy indulgences from him. He is credited with a little rhyme that went like this: "As soon as a coin in the coffer rings / the soul from purgatory springs." Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Just put your money in the bucket and the soul of your loved one will spring out of purgatory.
The people had no reason to question the preacher, since in those days nobody had a copy of the Bible to verify whether what Tetzel said was true. Naturally they felt sorry for their Christian loved ones suffering in purgatory. They felt that it was a small thing to part with their money if it meant reducing the time their loved ones would need to spend in that awful place.
While it was believed that Tetzel was trying to raise money for the reconstruction of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, the money actually went towards helping the Archbishop of Mainz, Albert of Brandenburg. Tetzel was operating under Brandenburg’s authority, and was giving the money to him to pay off the debts he had incurred in buying hid Archbishop position from the pope. It was a very corrupt scheme, but it really happened. And to this day, Catholics sincerely believe that this place exists and that their loved ones who believed in Jesus are in purgatory. This is why they pray for the dead and it is why they pay for prayers to be said for their dead loved ones. It is all done in the hope of granting indulgences to their loved ones to shorten their time in purgatory.
However, this concept of purgatory was not born out of Scripture. You will not find it anywhere in the Bible. It is believed that this concept may be found in a book called 2 Maccabees, which is not one of the books included in the canon of Scripture. If we want to know the truth, we need to go to the Bible and not to extra-biblical writings like 2 Maccabees for man’s ideas. This concept denies that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is able to save completely. Yet the Word of God teaches us that we are saved by grace through faith. It’s full and complete salvation and we don’t need to pay the punishment for sins, since Jesus paid it all.
This one perfect sacrifice put away sin. It makes holy and perfect those who put their faith in Jesus. “We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Heb 10:10). It’s absolutely clear that it was once for all.
Just in case it wasn’t clear the first time, the writer of Hebrews repeats “But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD.” (Heb 10:12). One sacrifice, not many. And it was for all time, not for a limited time only.
So what about people who go on sinning willfully after they have put their faith in Christ? Let me address that. When you truly give your life to Jesus, you change the way you’re living. That’s called repentance. If you have put your trust in Jesus, then your life will certainly change. You will stop living in willful sin. It doesn’t mean you will never sin again. The difference is that before you know Jesus, you are running after sin, but after you come to know Him, you are running from sin.
The Scripture says, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” (Heb 10:26). You see, if you receive the knowledge of the truth about Jesus and His loving sacrifice for you, and you just go on sinning willfully anyway, this is a dangerous place to be. What sacrifice is left for you after that? The one sacrifice Jesus made for all is finished. It will never be made again. There will never be another better sacrifice. Never! So if you have received this knowledge and go on sinning willfully, then there is no longer any sacrifice that can be made for your sins.
When Jesus hung on the cross and completed His perfect sacrifice, He said, “It is finished!” There is no other sacrifice for Him to make. And there is no other sacrifice that you or anyone else can make for your sins. No amount of burning in purgatory, or prayers from your loved ones, or money paid for indulgences can save you.
There is no purgatory, for if there was one, Jesus would have said so. Instead, there is Hell, the lake of fire, the precious New Jerusalem, and the Paradise. But there is no purgatory; IT'S A LIE FROM THE DEVIL. THERE IS NO PURGATORY.
For more about this matter, click here to see the text of a visit to hell on January 4, 2010 by Angelica Zambrano. You may also read what Jesus Christ told Bernarda Fernandez during her visit to heaven (see here).
So then if there is no limbo and no purgatory, then where do you go when you die? The Bible has much to say about eternal judgment. Scripture teaches that all have sinned. We’ve all fallen. No one is righteous in himself. We’ve all come up short of God’s perfect, glorious, and holy standard (Romans 3:23). And the penalty for this is death. The apostle Paul wrote, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 6:23) This clearly means that we all earn wages for our work. The wages we earn for our sin is death. That’s what we will be paid back with. Death is separation from God, who is Life. And to be separated from God forever is hell.
But notice that Paul says there is a gift that was given to us. The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. We’ll come to that later. For now, let’s look at what the Bible says about the destiny of those who don’t know Jesus.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. "For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (Joh 3:16-20)
So it’s very clear that those who do not believe in Jesus are condemned. They have not believed in God’s one and only Son.
As John the Baptist said, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (Joh 3:36).
Jesus also said, "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment." (Joh 5:28-29).
There is so much written in Scripture about this place of eternal condemnation that space doesn’t permit me to go into it all.
Jesus said, "I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come." So the Jews were saying, "Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, 'Where I am going, you cannot come'?" And He was saying to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." (Joh 8:21-24). So He plainly taught that those who do not believe Him would die in their sins. Now let’s look more closely at the various aspects of the place where you go if you die in your sins.
Hell is a fiery place of torment
According to Jesus, hell is a fiery place. "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the Supreme Court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” (Mat 5:22)
"If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.” (Mat 18:9)
It is so hot that in the story of the rich man in hell, he needed someone to cool off his tongue, since he was in agony in the flames. "In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. "And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.' " (Luk 16:24)
"Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Mat 7:19)
Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. "And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." (Rev 14:9-11)
Its flames of fire cannot be quenched
Jesus taught that the flames never go out. "If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire.” Mar 9:43
"If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, [where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.] "If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell, [where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.] "If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED. "For everyone will be salted with fire.” (Mar 9:43-49)
"His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Mat 3:12)
It is a place of outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth
The apostle Peter taught that hell is a place of darkness. He spoke of false teachers who will end up in a place of black darkness. He wrote, “These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved.” (2Pe 2:17)
Jude also said that black darkness has been reserved for these false teachers. He wrote, “Wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.” (Jud 1:13)
Jude also wrote, "And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day." (Jud 1:6)
Jesus said there is weeping there and gnashing of teeth, due to the great torment people are suffering. "So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. “ (Mat 13:40-42)
"So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 13:49-50)
"Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. “ (Mat 25:30)
“and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 24:51)
"In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out.” (Luk 13:28)
"I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Mat 8:11-12)
"Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'” (Mat 22:13)
Hell is eternal
There are actually teachers among us who would say that hell is not eternal. If there is no hell, then we all go to heaven, regardless of the way we live our lives. Yet Jesus said, "If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. "If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.” (Mat 18:8-9)
Jesus taught that at the judgment, the Lord will sit on His throne and separate the people like a shepherd separates sheep from goats. He'll put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;” (Mat 25:41). He called it eternal fire.
In the Revelation, John wrote that it's a place of torment, fire, and wrath, where the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. He wrote: Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. "And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." (Rev 14:9-11)
This word “eternal” comes from the Greek word aiōnios. According to Strong’s, it means perpetual (also used of past time, or past and future as well): - eternal, for ever, everlasting. The word denotes continuance. God is referred to throughout Scripture as being eternal. He is the Eternal Father, the Eternal God. He is without beginning or end. We understand that when this word eternal is used to describe the Lord God Almighty, that it means without beginning or end. And when it is used to describe damnation of the wicked, as well as the life of the righteous, it means without end or forever.
It is impossible to get out of hell or for those in heaven to visit hell
I mentioned earlier the passage where Jesus taught about the rich man in hell. Here's what Abraham said to the rich man: "'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.' (Luk 16:22-28)
It is a place of eternal torment and punishment
“And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Rev 20:10)
When Jesus spoke of the judgment, and those on his left, He indicated that, "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Mat 25:46)
Both body and soul are thrown there
"If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Mat 5:29
"If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Mat 5:30)
"Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Mat 10:28
The spirits of disobedient sinners, as soon as they are out of their bodies, are committed to the prison of hell.
Fear the One with authority to cast you into hell
"But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!
It has been prepared for the devil and his angels
"Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;” (Mat 25:41)
And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, (Jud 1:6)
Disobedient angels have been cast into hell into pits of darkness
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; (2Pe 2:4)
“And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.” (Jud 1:6)
There is a bottomless pit
“He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.” (Rev 9:2)
At the very end, Hell will be thrown into the lake of fire
“And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.” (Rev 19:20)
“And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Rev 20:10)
“Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Rev 20:14-15)
Hell is below in the subterranean underworld and heaven is above
When Jesus referred to Hades, he indicated that you have to descend into that place. "And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom, which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. (Mat 11:23)
"And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades! (Luk 10:15)
Paul wrote of Jesus descending to the lower parts of the earth. "Now this expression, 'He ascended,' what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things." (Eph 4:9-10)
“In which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison,” (1Pe 3:19)
"No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.
When Jesus prayed in public, He looked up toward heaven. "Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds." (Mat 14:19)
"And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all." (Mar 6:41)
And looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He *said to him, "Ephphatha!" that is, "Be opened!" (Mar 7:34)
"But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!' (Luk 18:13)
Mark wrote that Jesus went up bodily into heaven after His resurrection. "So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God." (Mar 16:19)
While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. (Luk 24:51)
And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." (Act 1:9-11)
There are degrees of torment and punishment
"And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. (Luk 12:47-48)
Heaven is the abode of those who inherit eternal life through Jesus Christ. So let’s take a look at some of the Scriptures about eternal life.
Eternal life is something that is inherited by the sons of God: "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. (Mat 19:29)
This inheritance of eternal life is a free gift that can only be found in the person of Jesus Christ. It is set in juxtaposition to eternal death, which is meted out as deserved repayment for sin: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:23)
Eternal life is obtained through faith in Jesus
· So that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. (Joh 3:15)
· "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. (Joh 6:47)
· These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1Jo 5:13)
· Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. (1Ti 1:16)
· And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. (1Jo 5:11)
· Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" (Joh 11:25-26)
Jesus Himself is the Resurrection and the Life, and everyone who believes in Him will never die: Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" (Joh 11:25-26)
Eternal life is for those whose faith in Jesus causes them to persevere in doing good:
to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; (Rom 2:7)
Jesus is the source of eternal salvation for those who obey Him: And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, (Heb 5:9)
Eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ is the merciful alternative offered by God in contrast to perishing:
· "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (Joh 3:16)
· "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (Joh 5:24)
Those who believe in Jesus God’s Son have eternal life, but those who do not believe in Him will only receive wrath and not life: "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (Joh 3:36)
Eternal life is “through” Jesus Christ: so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 5:21)
The life that Jesus gives is eternal
· but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." (Joh 4:14)
· "Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. (Joh 4:36)
We who walk by faith in Jesus have an eternal building from God in the heavens:
· For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2Co 5:1)
· for we walk by faith, not by sight-- (2Co 5:7)
Jesus promised a resurrection for those who inherit eternal life through His blood: "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (Joh 6:54)
God’s will is that everyone who believes in Jesus will have eternal life: "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day." (Joh 6:40)
Those to whom Jesus gives eternal life will never perish: and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. (Joh 10:28)
Only those who hate their lives in this world will have eternal life, while all others will lose their life: "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. (Joh 12:25)
Jesus alone has authority to give eternal life to all whom the Father has given Him: even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. (Joh 17:2)
Eternal life is personally knowing Jesus and the heavenly Father
· "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (Joh 17:3)
· And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1Jo 5:20)
Not all people are appointed to eternal life, but those who are appointed to it believe: When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. (Act 13:48)
Those who are justified by God’s grace are made heirs of eternal life: so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Tit 3:7)
Jesus obtained eternal redemption for us through shedding His own blood: and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (Heb 9:12)
Through Jesus our Mediator with God, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance: For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (Heb 9:15)
The entrance into the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ is supplied to us who confirm our calling through the practice of godliness: Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. (2Pe 1:10-11)
We proclaim the eternal Life – Jesus Christ -- which was with the Father and was manifested to us: and the Life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal Life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- (1Jo 1:2)
Only those who have washed their robes may enter the eternal city, while all others will be shut out: Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. (Rev 22:14-15)
Heaven is a Wonderful Place
The Bible describes heaven as a wonderful place where God has His throne. Those who are made righteous by faith in Christ dwell there in mansions with Him forever.
"In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. (Joh 14:2-3)
I think the most complete description of heaven in found in chapters 4, 21 and 22 of the Revelation of Jesus Christ that was given to the apostle John.
We find an awesome description of the throne of God: Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads. Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME." And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, "Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created." (Rev 4:2-11)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He *said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true." Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. "He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. (Rev 21:1-22:5)
Putting it All Together
Through this study we understand that the concepts of people going to limbo or purgatory are foreign to Scripture. Rather, Jesus taught there was only eternal punishment for the wicked and eternal life for the righteous. The word “eternal” means forever and without end. Hell and heaven are not temporary destinations.
We also understand that the punishment of the damned is eternal fire. It’s a place of darkness, torment and gnashing of teeth.
When Jesus is revealed, He will deal retribution to those who do not know God or obey the gospel, and the penalty paid by these sinners is eternal destruction, away from the Lord’s presence.
The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. Sinners who do not repent will all perish. Those who do not receive the love of the truth will fall for the deception of wickedness and perish. There is not a single person of whom we can say God has predetermined through an intentional plan that they should perish.
There will be destruction of the many, but Life for only a few. The gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction. This is the way most people take. Jesus stated that the fate of the wicked at the judgment is an eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
The reason why Jesus bore our sins on the cross was that we might both die to sin and live to righteousness. Those who believe in Jesus will enjoy eternal life with Him in heaven. Heaven is a place of light, life, and joy, where there are no tears, no pain, no sorrow, and no dying. Those who live there will enjoy rewards forever and live in the most beautiful dwelling places that have been prepared for them.
If you still do not believe in hell after reading this, then I challenge you to a holy dare. Click here for the holy dare.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, please see the Main Directory for Eternal Destinations. I recommend my daughter's poem, called "At the Crossroads." You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.