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HEAVEN & HELL: Our Culture vs. The Bible

1. What does the Bible say about Hell?

The Bible teaches that Hell is a place of punishment for those who have rejected God and refused to follow His ways. The concept of Hell is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word "Sheol" is often used to refer to the place of the dead, which was thought to be a dark and shadowy underworld where all people went after death, both the righteous and the wicked. However, the concept of a place of punishment for the wicked is also mentioned in the Old Testament, such as in Isaiah 66:24, where it says, "And they shall go forth and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh."

In the New Testament, Jesus often spoke of Hell as a place of punishment for those who reject God. In fact, He uses the same imagery as Isaiah. In Matthew 25:46, Jesus says, "And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." In Mark 9:48, Jesus describes Hell as a place where "the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched."

The Bible teaches that the punishment of Hell is eternal and irreversible. Those who go to Hell will be separated from God forever. No second chances (Hebrews 9:27). However, the Bible also teaches that God is merciful and desires that all people should come to repentance and be saved from the punishment of Hell (II Peter 3:9). This is why Jesus came to earth (John 3:16-17). He does not want us to go to Hell.

2. What does the Bible say about Heaven?

The Bible teaches that Heaven is the dwelling place of God. It will eventually be inhabited by those who have confessed the name of Jesus and been baptized into His blood (Acts 2:38). The concept of Heaven is mentioned throughout the Bible, including in the Old and New Testaments.

In the Old Testament, Heaven is often referred to as the "heavens," and it is described as the dwelling place of God. In Psalm 103:19, it says, "The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all." In Isaiah 66:1, it says, "Thus says the Lord: 'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.'"

In the New Testament, Jesus often spoke of the kingdom of Heaven. He described Heaven as a place of eternal life for those who believe in him. In John 14:2-3, Jesus says, "In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."

The Bible teaches that Heaven is a place of joy, peace, and eternal life. In Revelation 21:4, it says, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." The Bible also teaches that Heaven is a place of worship and praise. Revelation confirms that in Heaven all the saved will be in the presence of God forever. We will experience His glory and love through eternity.

While the Bible provides limited information about the specifics of Heaven, it teaches us that it is a real and glorious place. Those who believe in Jesus Christ, and are obedient in faith, can look forward to spending eternity there in the presence of God.

3. What do people think about Heaven and Hell today?

Beliefs about Heaven and Hell vary widely among different cultures and religions, In many religions circles Heaven is viewed as a paradise or an afterlife reward for those who have lived a good and virtuous life. It is often described as a place of eternal happiness, where people are reunited with loved ones who have passed away. In contrast, Hell is often seen as a place of punishment for those who have led wicked or sinful lives, and is associated with suffering, torment, and eternal damnation.

In some modern societies, particularly in Western countries, there has been a decline in religious belief and a corresponding shift away from traditional views of Heaven and Hell. Many people no longer believe in an afterlife or in the existence of Heaven and Hell as physical places. Others may hold more symbolic or metaphorical beliefs about these concepts.

There was a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll in 2010 that found that 65% of Americans believed that people go to Heaven, Hell or purgatory after death, 7% believed they go to another dimension, 6% believed they are reborn on earth, and 2% believed they become ghosts. Approximately 13% did not believe in any afterlife, and 7% didn't know. That was in 2010.

In 2021 Pew Research presented an updated poll. They found that 73% of Americans believed in Heaven but only 62% believe in Hell. Roughly a quarter of all U.S. adults (26%) say that they do not believe in Heaven or Hell, including 7% who say they do believe in some kind of afterlife and 17% who do not believe in any afterlife at all. Many believed in fate, or karma, but still wrestle with the existence of God.

Nearly every culture has a story or illustration about Heaven and Hell. Why? Because it’s been confirmed, taught and read about for nearly 6000 years. God is real. Heaven and Hell are the only two destinations for humanity. Every culture desires to see justice for the wicked and a reward for the righteous. This is why we look up! Heaven provides hope. Hell provokes fear. We all grapple with the idea of mortality. Death comes to all of us. But there is only one way to Heaven and that’s through Jesus (John 14:6).

Final thoughts… Your eternal life hangs in the balance. What will you choose? You can only go to Heaven or Hell? Time is running out. If we can help you, or pray for you, our baptize you into Christ, please reach out. There is hope! Just trust and obey.

You are loved.

Dr. Ray Reynolds

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