Who then enters heaven? It is reserved for those who are saved from God’s wrath. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” We all deserve hell and punishment and yet, by God’s mercy and grace followers of Jesus enter heaven. Jesus describes aspects of heaven in John 14:2-3 “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. 3 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.” Jesus is using a house metaphor to communicate He has a place in heaven for His disciples. Not only that, He is going to come back from heaven to bring them in personally when they die. These verses apply to all who have trusted in Jesus.
In the letters to the Corinthian Church, the Apostle Paul was writing to believers. We read 2 Corinthians 5:1,2 & 6-8 “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. 2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven…6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” The house he speaks of is our body and the “building from God” is heaven. Once we die and are absent from the body, we will be in heaven present with Jesus. It will be a glorious existence one that Paul says is by far superior to living here on earth.
Heaven is the good news; hell is the bad news. Heaven is for those who worship and follow Jesus Christ; hell is for those who prefer to worship themselves. A great quote from C.S. Lewis in his book The Great Divorce, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.' All that are in Hell chose it.”
The Bible is not detailed exposition concerning heaven or hell. However, Jesus said more about hell than heaven. In fact He said more about hell than anyone else in the Bible. I am going to provide a series of Scriptures from Jesus that will give us a glimpse at hell and what awaits those who reject God’s Son.
What did Jesus teach about hell?
Matthew 5:29-30 “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. 30 “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.
Matthew 13:49-50 “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 50 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 18:8-9“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. 9 “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.
Matthew 22:13 “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.'
Matthew 25:41-42 “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; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;
Matthew 25:46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Mark 9:43-49 “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, 44 [where Their worm does not die , and the fire is not quenched .] 45 “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, 46 [where Their worm does not die , and the fire is not quenched .] 47 “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, 48 where Their worm does not die ,and the fire is not quenched . 49 “For everyone will be salted with fire.
Luke 12:5 “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!
Luke 16:19-31 “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. 20 “And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, 21 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. 22 “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. 23 “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw* Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 “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.' 25 “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. 26 ‘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.' 27 “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house—
28 for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' 29 “But Abraham said*, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.' 30 “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!' 31 “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.'”
In part 4 I will continue examining what the Bible teaches about hell.