ANSWER: This is a serious question, not a question to be answered on a quiz show! Simply stated, the Bible tells us that after we die we either go to heaven or to hell (more correctly called hades) which is the place reserved for unbelievers until their final judgment. The real question is, what happens next? The answer, given in Hebrews 9:27, is that “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” In a series of prophecies, the last book of the Bible, The Revelation tells us what will happen from now until the end of time. After describing the great last battle on earth (Rev. 20:7-10), the apostle John shows that time ends and eternity begins at the Great White Throne judgment:
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. From His presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, death and hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then death and hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:11-15 ESV).
Jesus said this about the Book of Life: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (Jn. 5:24). The Book of Life is a record of all the people from all time who have believed in God through the Lord Jesus Christ. To them He promised eternal life. All believers thereby avoid the Great White Throne judgment, because they are made righteous in God’s sight.
Everyone who dies will be resurrected (raised from the dead) at the command of the Lord, whom God the Father has authorized to execute the judgment. All the dead will hear His voice. Those who have believed will participate in the resurrection of life, but those who have not believed will be resurrected to the Great White Throne judgment (Jn. 5:24-30).
In Revelation 21:1-4 John tells us what heaven is like: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth … coming down out of heaven from God … And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. 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.’”
So that we can be absolutely clear about so serious an issue, Revelation 21:8 follows with a description of those who, because of their unrepentant lifestyles, end up in the other place: “As for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”
So how can you be sure you are going to heaven? The answer is, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
Answered by David Anderson
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org