Where do people go after death? Some say heaven, some say hell, and some deny the afterlife all together. With so many varying opinions and religions across the world, people often remain confused and uncertain about where they will spend eternity, or if there even is such a thing. Among these positions, Christianity stands alone as having total assurance of life after death.
This article will seek to answer questions related to death, the assurance of eternity, and how to get to heaven.
Death is inevitable. Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for men to die once” (NKJV). This may be uncomfortable to discuss, but it is important to face the truth, so do not go through life trying to ignore it. Sin brought death into the world, and because of sin, everyone must face death.
The Bible teaches that death was not part of the human existence before Adam. Although there is some debate on this, the Bible is clear on the matter. 1 Corinthians 15:21 teaches that “by man came death.” Paul elaborates on this in Romans 5:12 when he wrote, “Sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all of have sinned.”
He continues in Romans 8:20-21 by saying that because of sin the earth is in a “bondage of corruption.” In his article on death before sin, Bert Thompson maintains that to deny this is to directly contradict the truth of scripture. It is critical to establish the problem of death in the earth, because it sets the stage for the glorious solution that Jesus Christ provides.
Perhaps the most convincing piece of evidence that Jesus truly was the promised Messiah is the fact that He resurrected from the dead. It was discussed in the previous section that the problem of death entered the world because of sin. For there to be life after death, someone had to defeat death and the grave to provide a solution.
This is the hope of the Gospel for the believer: that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. Although death entered the world through man, the Bible says that “by Man [Jesus] also came the resurrection of the dead.” (1 Corinthians 15:21). Paul continues in verse 22 by saying that “in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” When Jesus arose from the grave, He arose with “the keys of Hades and death.” (Revelation 1:18), and with these keys, He has the power to offer eternal life to those under the curse of sin and death. No one else has the power to offer eternal life, because Jesus is the only one with the keys — and therefore authority — to do so.
Eternity either way: heaven or hell
The truth and power of the resurrection is the glorious hope of the Gospel for the believer. However, this truth is not only for Christians. Everyone should know of the resurrection regardless of their belief. As mentioned previously, Romans 5:12 confirms that “death spread to all men, because all have sinned.” This means that everyone will face eternity. The only remaining question is where you will spend it.
Though some have tried to ignore the idea of a place called Hell, you can be assured that it is a real place. In Matthew 25:32, Jesus is telling of a coming judgment where He will separate the “sheep from the goats.” He boldly confirms that those who were not counted as sheep will “go away into everlasting punishment” (verse 46).
2 Thessalonians 1:9 also tells of a place of “everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.” The Bible also describes Hell as a “furnace of fire” (Matthew 13:50), and a “lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8). However, thanks be to God that man was not designed for this place. Rather, God has prepared a place in heaven for those who believe and obey His Son.
Heaven is described throughout the Bible as a beautiful place. The Bible tells of a place where every tear will be wiped away, where sorrow, hurt, and pain do not exist (Revelation 21:4). Jesus Himself described heaven as a “paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Throughout the Book of Revelation, John describes the beauty of Heaven. House to House quotes an artist who once said, “The stones in the foundation of New Jerusalem, when placed in order, form a perfect harmony of color. Were a convention of artists called to produce a perfect color scheme, they could not improve upon it.” Heaven is truly a beautiful place, designed and created by the most brilliant Creator.
How do I get to heaven?
Although Hell is a real place, the truth is that God does not wish that anyone would spend eternity there. God deeply desires that everyone would spend eternity with Him (John 17:24; 2 Peter 3:9). The Bible says that God loved you so much that He gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross as a sacrifice for all (John 3:16). He died, was buried, and rose again to conquer death so that all who call upon Him could have eternal life.
If you are unsure of what will happen after you die, then you can have assurance today. The Bible says that if you believe in Jesus, repent of your sins, and be baptized, then you can have an assurance of eternal life (Acts 2:38; 16:30-33). Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for you and has laid life and death in front of you. Choose life today.