Heaven or hell

When this life is over, there are only two possible destinations for our soul – heaven or hell! We will go to one or the other:

Matthew 25:31-33: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left…”

If we are on the right, we will hear: Matthew 25:34 – “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…”

If we are on the left, we will hear: Matthew 25:41 – “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels…”

The Bible assures us that both heaven and hell are very real, describing them in terms we can understand yet leaving us to wonder how glorious the one is and how terrible the other is. Let’s compare the options:

Hell is designed for the devil: Matthew 25:41 – “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels…”

Revelation 20:10 – “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

After Jesus returns, Satan will be thrown into hell to be punished! He won’t rule it, as some believe! He will suffer in it!

Heaven is designed for us: Matthew 25:34 – “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…”

John 14:1-3: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And 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.”

Where do you want to go, to a place prepared for the devil or to a place prepared for us? I want to go to heaven, don’t you?

Hell will be filled with a despicable crowd. According to the Bible, all sorts of creatures will be in hell. The devil and his cohorts will be there, along with the wicked and ungodly! Some are people we might not expect – good, moral individuals who either refused to turn their lives over to the Lord or have become unfaithful.

Psalm 5:4 – “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You.” NKJV

Psalm 9:17 – “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” NKJV

Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” NKJV

Mark 16:16 – “…he who does not believe will be condemned.” NKJV

Mark 11:25-26: “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” NKJV

John 3:5 – “…unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” NKJV

Galatians 5:19-21: “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” NKJV

1 Peter 4:17-18: “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” NKJV

Revelation 21:8 – “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” NKJV

Revelation 22:14-15: “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.” NKJV

Revelations 20:15 – “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” NKJV

Heaven will be filled with a desirable crowd. In contrast to the inhabitants of hell, imagine eternity with those who will be in heaven. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit! Angels and the faithful of God who washed their robes in the blood of the lamb, those who gained the victory over Satan through the sacrifice of Jesus, to include loved ones who have gone on before!

Revelation 7:9-10: “After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” NLT

Where do you want to go – the location with a despicable crowd or the place with desirable companions? It’s not a difficult choice, is it! I want to go to heaven, don’t you?

Hell will be a place of damnation and despair: Hell will be a terrible place of torment, a place of darkness (disorientation and dread), a place of fire and brimstone (unbelievable pain)!

Matthew 25:30 – “And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” NKJV

Revelation 14:11 – “And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night…” NKJV

Matthew 13:41-42: “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” NKJV

Revelation 21:8 – “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” NKJV

Heaven will be a place of deliverance and delight: Hell is ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly! Hell is described as a terrible place – so horrible it brings tears to my eyes to even preach about it! But heaven is beautiful beyond imagination with streets of gold, precious stones, the river of the water of life, the tree of life, a place of light, a place where we will not suffer at all:

Revelation 21:4 – “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Where do you want to go – a place of damnation and despair or a place of deliverance and delight? I want to go to heaven, don’t you?

Hell = death: How can we summarize the punishment of hell? One word – death!

Revelation 20:14 – “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”

Revelation 21:8 – “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” NKJV

The word “death” does not mean to annihilation, but separation! Physical death results from the separation of body and spirit (James 2:26). Spiritual death results when the sinner is separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). The “second death” is eternal separation from God.

2 Thessalonians 1:7-9: “…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day…” NKJV

The word “destruction” does not refer to annihilation, but permanent misery! If lost sinners were actually destroyed or made extinct, their punishment could not be everlasting.

People who will be in hell will be dead in the sense that they are separated from God, but that doesn’t mean they cease to exist like an animal. They will be alive and conscious, but they will be “…suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7).

In this life, the sinner is separated from the Lord, but that separation can be reversed. In hell, however, the separation will be complete and irreversible – that is the true meaning of death!

Heaven = life: How can we summarize the blessings of heaven? One word – life! If the word “death” means “separation” and eternal death means being eternally separated from God, then eternal life means being in God’s presence eternally/forever!

Revelation 21:3 – “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.”

Which place do you want to go to – a place of eternal death or a place of eternal life? I want to go to heaven, don’t you?

Hell’s duration = forever: There is one way that heaven and hell are both the same? Both will last forever! To be in hell forever is a curse beyond imagination: Mark 9:47-48: “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire – where ‘Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” NKJV

Revelation 14:11 – “And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night…” NKJV

Heaven’s duration = forever: To be in heaven forever is a blessing beyond our ability to comprehend: Revelation 22:1-5: “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.” NKJV

Do you want to go to heaven forever or hell forever? I want to go to heaven, don’t you?

The people who go to heaven are the ones who do God’s will on earth: Matthew 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” NKJV

Revelation 22:14 – “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.” NKJV

Revelation 21:27 – “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” NKJV

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