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Heaven & Hell

Heaven & Hell
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—What Does the Bible Really Teach?

How much do you know about Heaven and Hell? Take this short true/false quiz to find out...

Q1. The Bible clearly teaches humans have an immortal soul.

Q2. The apostle Peter said Israel's King David, a man "after God's own heart", went to heaven when he died.

Q3. The Scriptures teach faithful men and women such as Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Moses and Rahab went to heaven as their reward.

Q4. The Bible tells us the wicked will suffer eternally in an ever-burning hell.


The correct answer to all of the above is false. If you missed some, don't be surprised. After all, most of us were taught these teachings are found in the Bible. They are not!

Hard to believe? You'll discover the answers to these and other questions in our eye-opening booklet Heaven and Hell: What Does the Bible Really Teach? We can know the truth about what happens after death. Are some of our loved ones writhing in everlasting flames? Could a God of love sentence people to an eternity of agony in hell? Can you reconcile a loving God with such ideas? 

Only a minority of the earth's population lays claim to being Christian. Those who profess Christianity total only some 28 percent of the world's population.

Vast numbers of the other 72 percent have never had the opportunity to genuinely repent and accept Christ simply because of where they live. Millions more through the centuries likewise never had the opportunity because of when they lived.

Would it seem just and right for God to subject them to the same punishment He will give to those who reject Him and make themselves His enemies?

Join us on a journey through the pages of history and your Bible. You may find its wonderful answers quite surprising!

What's Inside

Introduction: Heaven and Hell

Few things could be more important than what happens to us when this life ends. Most people believe the Bible teaches that we will go to either heaven or hell at death. They might be surprised at what it really says!

The Biblical Truth About the Immortal Soul

Ideas about us going to heaven or hell hinge on belief in the immortal soul, which must go somewhere when the body dies. Yet the Bible nowhere teaches the soul is immortal. So where did the idea originate?

Do Some Bible Verses Teach We Have an Immortal Soul?

Some believe that various scriptures support belief in an immortal soul. Let's consider some of these passages and understand what they really say.

The History of the Immortal-Soul Teaching

Despite widespread use of the phrase immortal soul, this terminology is found nowhere in the Bible. Where did the idea of an immortal soul originate?

Jesus Christ and Biblical Writers Compare Death to Sleep

What happens to a person when he dies? The Bible compares death to a state of sleep.

The Spirit in Man

The human spirit is critical to our destiny, since God's Holy Spirit joining with it is what makes us God's children.

Will a Loving God Punish People Forever in Hell?

Millions believe that God is loving and merciful, but also that He has condemned millions to suffer torment for all eternity. Is something wrong with this picture, or is the problem a distorted belief about hell?

Lazarus and the Rich Man: Proof of Heaven and Hell?

Many interpret one of Jesus' parables to mean that people have immortal souls that go to heaven or hell immediately at death. But does this parable really say that?

Are Some Tortured Forever in a Lake of Fire?

Any human being thrown into the lake of fire will be destroyed and will not be tormented for eternity.

Will the Torment of the Wicked Last Forever?

Rather than describing eternal torment of people in hell, from the context we see that this passage is actually describing specific events to take place on earth at the end of this age.

Does the Bible Speak of Hellfire That Lasts Forever?

Two verses that many assume prove the wicked are to be eternally tortured in hellfire are Matthew 25:41Then 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:
See All... and 25:46. But do they? Let's take a closer look.

Is Heaven God's Reward for the Righteous?

If heaven is the reward for good people, why does the Bible reveal so little about what they will do there for eternity? Could it be that this isn't our reward at all and that God has something far different in mind?

Ancient Pagan Belief in Heaven

The idea that souls go to heaven at death originated in pagan religion, not the Bible.

Paul's Desire to "Depart and Be With Christ"

Many have assumed from Paul's words in Philippians 1:23-24 that he believed that at the moment of his death his consciousness would leave his body to join Christ in heaven. But is this the case?

Did Elijah Go to Heaven?

A biblical event many cite to support belief that the righteous go to heaven when they die involves the prophet Elijah.

Was Enoch Taken to Heaven?

Some people believe Genesis 5:24And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
See All... and Hebrews 11:5By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
See All... declare that God took Enoch to heaven. But is that what these verses say?

The Thief on the Cross

Many people think Jesus assured the thief on the cross that he would go to heaven with Him that very day. But is this really what Jesus Christ meant?

Are There Saved Human Beings in Heaven?

The popular teaching is that when Christians die they immediately go to heaven, where they take up residence in their permanent abode. But can we find such a teaching in the Bible? Have any human beings ever ascended to heaven?

The Resurrection: God's Promise of Life after Death

The Bible clearly teaches that the dead will be raised in a resurrection. But if their souls have already gone to heaven or hell at death, what's the point? Could it be that popular beliefs don't agree with the Bible?

Your Awesome Future

A careful study of the Scriptures reveals major problems with popular beliefs about life after death. Sadly, these misguided ideas have masked the truth about the incredible future God has planned for us!

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Specifications

  • Publisher: United Church of God, An International Association
  • Paperback: 33 pages
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