We will all spend eternity somewhere, and we only have two choices: heaven or hell. The scriptures tell us that everyone will live forever in either heaven or hell, with God or with the devil, in paradise or in torment. The choice is ours.
When we die, our body is laid down into its final resting place. Our soul and spirit is no longer there, because death is the separation of the soul and spirit from the body. Our soul also goes to a resting place – awaiting the final judgment. The soul of a person that is righteous goes to a place of rest. The soul of the sinner goes to a place of punishment.
Luke 16:22-28 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Under the Old Testament, all souls went to a temporary holding place, known in scripture as Abraham’s bosom, until the time that Jesus would lead the righteous souls into heaven.
When Jesus died, he went into hell and led the captives out of captivity.
Ephesians 4:8-10 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Now when Christians die their souls go to be with the Lord in heaven.
2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Philippians 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
Heaven is the place where God dwells.
Isaiah 66:1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool:
Psalm 11:4 The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven:
Christians will dwell in heaven with the Lord forever.
1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
In heaven there will be perfect rest.
Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
The ultimate destination of the righteous is New Jerusalem (Doctrines of the Bible, p. 256).
Revelation 21:2-7 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Those that have not been born of the water and Spirit and kept themselves ready will not enter into the kingdom of God.
John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
The lost will ultimately go into the lake of fire (Doctrines of the Bible, p. 251).
Matthew 11:23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
Luke 10:15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.
Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Matthew 5:29-30 29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
Hell is a place of torment.
Luke 16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
It is an everlasting fire.
Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Mark 9:43-44 43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
All that are not ready to meet Jesus will be cast into hell.
Matthew 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Jude 1:13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Most of the descriptions we have about hell come from the teachings of Jesus (Doctrines of the Bible, p. 251). Jesus shows us that the wicked will be punished in everlasting fire forever and ever. He describes that hell and the lake of fire are so bad that it would be better to cut off our hands and pluck out our eyes than to go to hell. His point is that we should do everything possible to avoid hell. There won’t be a second chance. It’s easy to go to hell. Simply do nothing. We are born into sin, which means we’re automatically going to hell until we accept and obey the salvation that God has provided us by His grace.
Jesus also teaches of heaven. Jesus describes the beautiful perfect peace and everlasting joy that those who accept His salvation will enjoy. There will be no more sorrow, no more death, and no more tears (Doctrines of the Bible, p. 257). All we have to do is believe on God according to His Word and obey the plan of salvation He has given us. Believe on Jesus as the scriptures have said. Repent of your sins. Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins. Be filled with the gift of the Holy Ghost, and go on to live an overcoming life that is fully devoted to God. Peter gives us the plan of salvation in a nutshell:
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Follow this plan of salvation- the plan that Jesus bought with his own blood- and avoid hell at all cost.
Bernard, D. K., Hall, J. L., et al, (1993). Doctrines of the Bible
Hazelwood: Word Aflame Press