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!
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?
Some believe that various scriptures support belief in an immortal soul. Let's consider some of these passages and understand what they really say.
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?
What happens to a person when he dies? The Bible compares death to a state of sleep.
The human spirit is critical to our destiny, since God's Holy Spirit joining with it is what makes us God's children.
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?
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?
Any human being thrown into the lake of fire will be destroyed and will not be tormented for eternity.
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.
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: But do they? Let's take a closer look.
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?
The idea that souls go to heaven at death originated in pagan religion, not the Bible.
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?
A biblical event many cite to support belief that the righteous go to heaven when they die involves the prophet Elijah.
Some people believe Genesis 5:24And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
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.
It declares that God took Enoch to heaven. But is that what these verses say?
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?
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 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?
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!