Truths about Heaven and Hell
There are many internet links out there that have good information on this subject. Detailed information, extrapolated from various parts of the Bible. But again here, I provide my own perspective.
God revealed to us some information about Heaven and hell. Apparently, there are various levels in both. There were verses that talked about “rewards in Heaven”. And other verses about good-hearted people who “shall see God”. And there were verses about the “lake of fire” and place of torment. And other verses about those with lesser punishment. I treat this as more information about God and His place. For knowledge of God and the things related to Him, is spiritual maturity. It is something desired by God as evident in Jesus' parables.
This Bible reference describes heaven as an amazing place that cannot be conceived by people:
1 Corinthians 2:9
However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” - the things God has prepared for those who love him.
One place we can have a peek at heaven is the Bible's description of Jesus after resurrection. The Bible says Jesus rose from the dead in the flesh. Some time later, He appeared in the middle of a room where His disciples were gathered. He asked them to touch Him and feel His flesh. Then asked them for food. They gave Him a piece of fish, and He ate it in their presence. This tells us He had a physical body, not just a ghost. But the appearing and disappearing from places, in the flesh, gives us a view into an awesome side of Jesus after resurrection!
The Bible says Jesus is the "first-fruit"; He is the first to rise from the dead. We can look at Jesus' activities on earth after resurrection as a reference point for us, which shows us what we may expect when we rise from the dead at the end of this age. But note, Jesus possessed all the heavenly rewards any human can possibly achieve; a fully loaded version of the heavenly rewards, if you will. So we may not necessarily have the same awesome powers we saw from Him after His resurrection. Those who will achieve the higher level of rewards in heaven would be people like Moses, Elijah, Mary the mother of Jesus, the disciples of Jesus (excluding Judas), to name a few.
Scripture describing a glimpse of heaven:
1 Corinthians 2:9
But as it is written, what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived - God has prepared these things for those who love him.
Revelation 21:1 & 3-4
1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Notes: In the next age, the Bible says the "new earth" will be integrated in God's realm. And God Himself will walk among us.
11Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you.
Jesus said: “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.
Notes: The above 2 references give us evidence that there are "rewards" in heaven. Also can be viewed as levels in heaven.
Jesus said: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
Notes: We can't be sure if this is also pointing to levels in heaven. Because the reference above (Rev 21:3) says God Himself will live with people in the new earth. Meaning all who are "worthy of the next age" will be there, and God is living with them.
22 Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels, a festive gathering, 23 to the assembly of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to a Judge, who is God of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect
Notes: Paul provides this description of heaven here. "people made perfect" are those who are true Christian believers who's sins have been forgiven through the bread of life (the body of Jesus) that God gives to people who genuinely ask Him, ie, in the Lord's Prayer.
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”
34Jesus answered, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35But those who are considered worthy to share in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage. 36In fact, they can no longer die, because they are like the angels. And since they are sons of the resurrection, they are sons of God.
Notes: This scripture is loaded with info. 1st observation, "those who are worthy" will make it there. Jesus has many other parables about the "worthy" ones - those who's sins have truly been forgiven. The 2nd observation, people in heaven will be individuals like angels; not couples, no marriage. They will live forever, and be called children of God.
[Jesus said:] 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Notes: What is the "narrow gate that leads to life"? It means only a small percentage of the population will make it into heaven. "And only a few will find the narrow gate". I'm trying to think, which denomination is the one. Because they can't all be correct with their interpretations, and definitely can't all fit in this narrow gate that only a few will find! None of the denominations in my opinion; It'll be the few individuals who truly sought God, and found Him. But God wished the wide gate would have been the one that led to heaven. Unfortunately, He saw only the narrow gate did! And I know He is very sad about it.
As they were saying these things, he himself stood in their midst. He said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. “Why are you troubled?” he asked them. “And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself! Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” Having said this, he showed them his hands and feet. But while they still were amazed and in disbelief because of their joy, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” So they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. He told them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
“In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations”.
“They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever”.
Scripture describing some details about hell:
23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
Notes: Another name for hell, "hades". A "place of torment", and people are in "agony in the fire" there.
Jesus said: 47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."
Notes: This parable describes levels in hell. Some people will be in a worse place than others.
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Notes: What is the "wide gate that leads to destruction"? It means most people on earth are going to hell. And notice the term "destruction" referring to hell.
Jesus said [to the Pharisees], “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
Notes: When Jesus, God Himself, tells someone "your sins remain", it means they are hell-bound. Only those who's sins are forgiven are "worthy of life in the next age".
The Rich Man and the Poor Man (Lazarus)
19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ 27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
Notes: "they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead." I see comments on the internet from Athiests. They'd say things like, "if someone performs a miracle like restore a leg that was lost in the war, then I'll believe". But according to this parable, even if they do see that miracle, they'll likely come up with another condition before they believe. I guess the reason they chose to be Athiest in the first place tells a lot about them; likely with ears that can't hear and eyes that can't see. Which means God foresaw them.
Jesus says: "They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
"Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'"
"And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name."
"But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling seizes the ungodly: "Who among us can dwell with a consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with ever-burning flames?”
Other Bible References:
God's dwelling place (Psalms 33:13).
[God] who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see (1 Timothy 6:16).
Where Christ is today (Acts 1:11).
Where true Christian believers go when they die (Philippians 1:21-23).
The Father's house (John 14:2).
A city designed and built by God (Hebrews 11:10).
A better country (Hebrews 11:16).
Paradise (Luke 23:43).