HEAVEN: Questions and Answers

  • What is heaven like according to the Bible?

BEST ANSWER:  Actually, it doesn’t give us much detail. It is described as a PLACE OF REST (Revelation 14:13). It is described as a BETTER EXISTENCE than on earth in the flesh (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23). It is described as DIFFERENT FROM EARTH (Ecclesiastes 5:2; Matthew 5:11-12; 16:19; Luke 15:7; John 3:13; 6:38; Philippians 2:10; Colossians 1:20; Revelation 10:1; etc.). And it is described as the HOPE OF THE BELIEVER (Matthew 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:19; Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:5; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:19-20).

  • In what body do we go into heaven?

BEST ANSWER: We get a new body, which Paul calls a “spiritual body” four times in 1 Corinthians 15:35-50. Daniel 12:2-3 and Philippians 3:20-21 teach that the resurrection body is glorified, thus different from one’s earthly body. Our old flesh and bone body decays in the ground. Our earthly “tent” is destroyed, but we have a new existence in heaven (1 Corinthians 15:50; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Philippians 1:22-23). In 1 Peter 1:4, Peter teaches that the afterlife body is a different one, suitable for heaven. Jesus said that we will be like angels in heaven (Matthew 22:30). We also remember the vision of Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17), which helps us conclude that we will have a recognizable body in the resurrection, even though not the same one we had that perishes and returns to dust.

  • When do we go to heaven?

BEST ANSWER: One important clue is Hebrews 9:27 which says, “Once to die, then judgment.” That suggests that people go to their eternal destiny at death. While some people think that the body and soul are united at the end of time, this idea is difficult to support from Scripture.

  • What is hades?

BEST ANSWER: Hades (or “sheol” in the Old Testament) was the temporary abode of the dead (Genesis 37:35; 42:38; Job 14:13; Psalm 16:10; 49:15; 89:48; Isaiah 14:19; Ezekiel 31:15-17; Hosea 13:14; Acts 2:27). Hades is not the same as hell. Jesus opened the gates of hades (Matthew 16:18; Revelation 14:13). Sheol/hades was emptied and abolished at the close of the Old Covenant order at God’s final judgment on Israel in AD 70 (Revelation 20:13-14). Jesus opened the door to heaven for all believers (Revelation 3:8; 4:1). Remember, Revelation is about events that “must shortly take place” (Revelation 1:1, 3; 22:6, 10). There was no theological or biblical reason to keep hades open after the New Covenant order was brought to its fullest expression.

Hades is apparently what is described in such passages as Luke 16:19-31 (The Rich Man and Lazarus), Luke 23:43 (Jesus’ promising to be in Paradise with the thief on the cross), Acts 2:31 (Jesus was not abandoned to hades), Ephesians 4:8-10 (Jesus descended into the lower regions), and 1 Peter 3:18-20 (Jesus preached to those in “prison.”)

SUMMARY: Jesus promised that believers will have eternal life. Christians have always understood heaven to be the “place” where believers will abide with God in a status better than we have here on earth (John 14:3). Let’s put “place” in quotation marks because God resides outside of time and space, but using the term “place” may be more correct than incorrect.

For further study on heaven, see these Bible verses:

Nehemiah 9:6; Job 19:26; Psalm 23:6; 33:13-14; 89:5; 103:4; Daniel 12:1-2; Matthew 5:8; 6:9, 19-20; 8:11; 18:10; Mark 12:25; 16:19; Luke 2:15; 6:23; John 1:32; 3:13-16;  11:24-26; 14:1-6; 17:24; Romans 6:5-8; 8:11; 1 Corinthians 2:9; 13:12; 15:12-20, 35-54; 2 Corinthians 4:14-18; 12:1-4; Ephesians 1:20; 4:10; Philippians 1:19-23; 3:10-14, 20-21; Colossians 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-16; 5:8-11; 2 Timothy 4:18; Titus 3:7; Hebrews 8:1; 9:24; 11:13-16, 35; 1 Peter 1:3-9; Revelation 2:10; 3:21; 11:12; 14:1-13; 19:1-9; 22:8-9

See also my articles on “The General Resurrection of the Dead”:


And “The Soul and the Afterlife”:

The Soul and the Afterlife

And Salvation to Heaven after AD 70:


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply