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Heaven and Hell

The Bible makes clear pronouncements on both heaven and hell as distinct places.

Heaven

There are three heavens. The Bible refers to the following three heavens: 1. The atmosphere around the earth, which is the habitation of the birds of heaven (Jer. 4:25; Ezek. 38:20; Hos. 2:18; Matt. 6:26, 13:32). 2. The starry heaven (Ps. 8:3; Ezek. 32:7; Matt. 24:29; Rev. 8:10). 3. The third heaven, which is the highest heaven where God is (Luke 2:14; 2 Cor. 12:2-4; Eph. 4:10).

It is the dwelling-place of the Triune God: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. (Deut. 26:15; Eccl. 5:2; Matt. 5:16; Luke 24:51; Acts 7:55-56; Eph. 6:9; Col. 4:1; 1 Thess. 1:10, 4:16; 2 Thess. 1:7; Heb. 8:1; 1 Pet. 1:12; 1 John 5:7).

It is also the dwelling-pace of angels. (Matt. 22:30; Luke 2:15; 22:43).

The kingdom of heaven. This kingdom rules over the entire universe, and is controlled from the throne of God, which is in heaven (Ps. 103:19; Acts 7:49). The Lord Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 1 Pet. 3:22).

Blessings and judgement come from heaven. God provides spiritual food for His children from heaven in the form of His Son and His Word (John 6:31-35; Luke 4:4). Christians who contravene the divine principles of the Word, are sinning against heaven (Luke 15:18,21). Judgements are also poured out from heaven upon the wicked (Luke 17:29; Rom. 1:18).

Christians have a heavenly destination. Our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20) because our names are also written up there (Luke 10:20). The Lord Jesus is preparing an eternal home for us in the heavenly city, the new Jerusalem, which is in the house of His Father (John 14:2-3; Rev. 3:12; 21:1-2). That is part of our heavenly inheritance (1 Pet. 1:4) of which the beauty is indescribable (1 Cor. 2:9).

Heavenly treasures. Those who suffered tribulation on earth for the sake of Christ will be rewarded in heaven (Luke 6:22-23). They are encouraged to also use other means to ensure that they lay up treasures in heaven by supporting the work of the Lord financially and to do things that have value for eternity (Luke 12:21,33; 18:22; 2 Cor. 8:9; 9:6-7).

Joy in heaven. There is joy in heaven for every person who is saved and thus becomes a member of this divine kingdom (Luke 15:7). The saints will be full of joy when they receive their glorified resurrection bodies, which will elevate them far above the limitations of their earthly existence (2 Cor. 5:1-2; Phil. 3:21).

Hell

The Lord Jesus said more about hell than any other preacher in biblical times. His warnings against the terrible consequences of sin were the plainest and sharpest in all the Bible. Consider the following statements of the Lord Jesus about hell: Matt. 5:22; 10:28; 13:40-42,49-50; 23:33; 25:41,46; Mark 9:43-49; Luke 16:19-31.

Jesus referred to hell as a place where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched (Mark. 9:48). We are also informed that hell is an eternal lake of fire burning with brimstone (Rev. 14:10-11; 19:20). The rich man in hell knew that he was not simply in some spiritual state, and he wanted his brothers warned “lest they also come in this place of torment.” Hell is a literal “place of torment” where the wicked are punished (Luke 16:22-28). During the second resurrection, the unsaved dead will be resurrected from their graves, appear before God as condemned people, and will then be judged and cast into the lake of fire forever (Dan. 12:2; Rev. 20:11-15). The unsaved will be resurrected just as sure as the saved will be resurrected (John 5:28-29).

The Lord Jesus referred to physical bodies in hell when He said that sinners will be cast into the everlasting hell fire (Matt. 18:8-9). We must fear God because He can condemn people to hell (Matt. 10:28). The devil has deceived people who do not know God’s Word into believing that hell is some indefinite, ghostly place where there might be discomfort but no conscious suffering or physical torment. In this way, all fear for the judgements of God are removed from people’s minds. May God help us to see that the most severe tortures await the doomed and damned souls who have rejected Christ and will go to hell.

The terms used in the Bible about hell and about the condemnation of the lost people are not words of temporary meaning. They are words that indicate an eternity of suffering and shame (Dan. 12:2; Mark 3:29; Rev. 14:10-11). How profoundly moved a Christian ought to be when he thinks of hell and the millions who go there! It is little wonder that modern Christians move away from the burden and passion for the salvation of sinners. They have forgotten the Bible’s teaching on hell. The preachers have explained away the torments of the damned! What a compelling motive we have for prayer, for preaching, for soul winning when we learn that every human being who leaves this world without a definite change in heart immediately lifts his eyes in the place of the doomed, underway to the eternal lake of fire.

Unbelievers often say that they, weak and sinful men, would not send their children to a place like hell, and that if God loves His children He would not condemn them to go to hell. But the unsaved sinners are not children of God. No person is a child of God until he is born again. The unsaved are the children of wrath. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You are of your father the devil” (John 8:44). God’s children never go to hell, but the children of the devil do. How foolish to charge God with wrongdoing because people go to hell. Hell is the result of people’s sins. People go to hell because they ought to, not because God hates them. Sin is a hateful subject to those who do not like the Biblical teaching about hell, but sin is the cause of hell (Rom. 6:23; Ezek. 18:4).

The Lord Jesus said that a person’s soul is worth more than all the treasures of the world (Mark 8:36-37). Sinners have lost everything if they have lost their souls. Unfortunately, most of the people on earth are on their way to this gruesome destination (Matt. 7:13-14). The false prophets and others who only have a form of godliness will be very surprised to open their eyes in this place of torture (Matt. 7:21-23).

The unsaved are always wicked but regard one another as very good and virtuous people. But the Bible very clearly describes the depraved condition of the human heart (Isa. 53:6; Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:20-23; Rom. 3:10,23). The rich man deserved to go to hell. He was a sinner. Outwardly he may have been moral, upright, intelligent and loveable. However, in his heart, where God alone could see, he was a deliberate, malicious, wilful, continual, unrepentant sinner against God. Remember that those were refined, educated, cultured, religious, praying men who condemned Christ to be crucified. They were wolves in sheep’s clothing. What Jesus said about them describes the heart of the best moral man who has not trusted Christ (Matt. 23:13,27-28).

Those who have not had a change of heart may appear to us moral or clean or good, but they are only so outwardly. God, who knows the hearts of men, knows of the unsaved hearts of people. It was for this reason that the Lord Jesus said to Nicodemus, one of the unsaved religious leaders of Israel, that he must be born again (John. 3:3). Jesus gave a very clear explanation why sinners must turn and believe in Him if they wish to avert eternal condemnation (John 3:19-20). The best proof of any man’s wicked heart is the fact that he has not turned to Christ. The only honest reason any man could ever give for not coming to Jesus is that he loves sin and will not come to Christ, the Light, lest his sin should be reproved. People without God may be cultured, may be pleasant, may be courteous and refined, but they certainly are not good. They are bad by choice.

The lost person’s heart is deliberately wicked, wicked enough to hate Christ, the Light of the world. Men reject Christ purposely, loving sin. Without being converted such wicked sinners must go to hell. The Lord Jesus said that it is a futile effort to love God and the world, as no one can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). The man who does not hold to Christ despises Him.

The rich man did not go to hell because he led a bad life outwardly. The Bible does not say that he committed adultery, or murder, that he gambled, or drank, or swore. His trouble was inside. Like unsaved men, women, and children everywhere, he had a wicked heart. In his secret heart, he was against God. People who are outwardly moral and upright go to hell by the thousands. Be sure to remember, too, that the rich man did not go to hell because he was rich. Hell has more poor people than rich people, we may be sure. He knew that he was in hell because he was unsaved (Luke 16:30). God does not want that any sinner will be lost (John 3:17; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:3-4; Ezek. 33:11; John 3:16). Repent to the Lord Jesus today and make sure that you will escape the torments of hell. (Many of the statements in this section were derived from the booklet: Hell – what the Bible says about it, by Dr. John Rice).

Personal commitment

My consciousness of the eternal heavenly bliss that awaits the saved, as well as the everlasting punishment of the unsaved, has been strengthened. The narrow way leads to heaven while the broad way inevitably leads to the lake of fire. I commit myself anew to the Great Commission to proclaim the message of Christ’s saving grace to lost humanity so that more people may come over from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. So many people only have a form of godliness as their lives have been built on false foundations. They must also seriously heed the warning to Nicodemus that no person will see the kingdom of God unless he is born again (John 3:3). If we do not warn the wicked to turn from their ways they will be lost, but the Lord will require their blood at our hands (Ezek. 33:7-9). Let us proclaim the Word of the Lord in such a way that people will realise what awaits them in eternity. It is unthinkable why sinners would prefer to spend eternity in the lake of fire while the saving grace of the Lord Jesus is offered to all of us.

Questions

1.    To how many heavens does the Bible refer?

2.    Who are the people who can be sure that they have a home in heaven?

3.    What kind of punishment will sinners suffer in hell, and for how long will it last?

4.    Why will a loving God condemn people to hell?

5.    How can people be kept from hell?

Prof. Johan Malan

Group or Individual Bible Study Guides
Studies available in English & Afrikaans.
Joshua

An Old Testament Type of Jesus

Joshua played an important role in Israel after they had been delivered from Egypt, thereby preparing him for his future role as leader when they crossed the Jordan to take possession of the Promised Land. His conquests in Canaan rendered proof that he was a special instrument in the hand of the Lord. Joshua was an Old Testament type of Jesus, who was sent by the Father to accomplish a much greater purpose, i.e. to deliver people all over the world from the bondage of sin.

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Josua

’n Ou-Testamentiese Tipe van Jesus

Josua het ’n belangrike rol in Israel se geskiedenis gespeel nadat hulle uit Egipte bevry is, en dit het hom voorberei om as leier op te tree toe hulle deur die Jordaan getrek het om die Beloofde Land in besit te neem. Sy oorwinningstogte in Kanaän het van hom ’n beson­dere instrument in die hand van die Here gemaak. Josua was ’n Ou-Testamentiese tipe van Jesus wat deur die Vader gestuur is vir ’n veel groter doel, naamlik om mense oral in die wêreld uit die slawerny van sonde te bevry.

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Holiness is a characteristic that is often talked about but hardly understood as to how it can be obtained. Too often holiness is considered an attribute of God that is not attainable to man. Holiness is considered something impossible.
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2. The Holiness of God

3. Putting Sin to Death, Pursuing Holiness

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13 Studies in Christelike Heiligheid

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Die waarde van die Bybel / Om die Bybel te verstaan / Bybelse Uitdrukkings.

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English & Afrikaans FREE printable studies.

8 Week study program

This can be used as a weekly study for new believers. These studies will help with assurance of salvation and will grow their Bible knowledge. These are the very basics of the Christian faith and will ensure a firm foundation. Give this to a young believer and go through all the answers with the person each week. Make sure they memorized the scriptures each week. Use the study's questions to lead conversations on subjects that the person do not yet understand.

/Study%201
WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?
/Study%203
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GOD
/Study%204
IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD
/Study%206
WITNESSING FOR GOD
/Study%207
FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD
/Study%208
TO BE ONE IN CHRIST
/Study%201%20ot%208
All 8 studies in one
/Answer%20sheet
Study 1 ot 8

8 Weke studie program

Gebruik die kort studies om weekliks deur te gaan met 'n nuwe Christen. Dit sal hulle sekerheid gee en hulle Bybel kennis verbreed sodat hulle op 'n vaste fondasie kan bou. Gee dit weekliks vir die persoon en gaan dit dan saam met hulle deur elke week nadat hulle dit ingevul het. Toets hul teks memorisering Gebruik die vrae in die studies as leiding tot nodige gesprekke daar waar die persoon dalk dinge nie verstaan nie.

/Studie%201
WAT HET MET MY GEBEUR?
/Studie%202
‘N WANDELING MET GOD
/Studie%203
OM VAN GOD TE LEER
/Studie%204
IN GESPREK MET GOD
/Studie%206
OM VIR GOD TE GETUIG
/Studie%207
GEVUL MET GOD SE GEES
/Studie%208
OM EEN TE WEES IN CHRISTUS
/Studie%201%20ot%208
Al 8 studies in een
/Antwoordblad
Studie 1 ot 8

Profitable Bible Study

There are many profitable methods of Bible Study. There is something, however, in Bible study more important than the best methods, that is, the fundamental conditions of profitable study. He who meets these conditions will get more out of the Bible, while pursuing the poorest method, than will he who does not meet them, while pursuing the best method. Many a one who is eagerly asking, "What method shall I pursue in my Bible study?" needs something that goes far deeper than a new and better method. 1. The first of the fundamental conditions of the most profitable Bible study is that the student must be born again.
Precept Ministries International

Precept Ministries International

PRECEPT MINISTRIES SOUTH AFRICA SERVES THE CHURCH BY HELPING TO ESTABLISH PEOPLE IN GOD'S WORD, USING INDUCTIVE BIBLE STUDY.

The ministry’s goal is to equip and encourage people to live as exemplary followers of Jesus Christ, studying the Bible inductively, viewing the world Biblically, making disciples intentionally and serving the church faithfully in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Through workshops, conferences and Bible classes the ministry provides training in Inductive Bible Study skills, which includes leading dynamic small group discussions. Inductive Bible study materials are available in nearly 70 languages. Hundreds of thousands of men, women, teens and children in close to 150 countries discover Truth for themselves using the Inductive Bible Study Method through the work of Precept Ministries.

www.precept.org.za

Precept Ministries - Lightning Studies

FREE downloadable Lightning Study topics offer a “print friendly” option for you to have a practical example of how Inductive Bible Study works during your personal devotion times or even with your small group.

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