Are Heaven and Hell real?

Are Heaven and Hell real? Yes! To describe Hell, the Bible uses terms like the pit, Sheol, place of destruction, where the worm doesn’t die and the fire is not quenched in the Old Testament. (See Psalm 139:8, Isaiah 66:24, Job 33:28, and Daniel 12:2). To describe Heaven, the Old Testament uses terms such as with God in glory, at God’s right hand, a place of joy, in the house of the LORD, and the enjoyment of everlasting life. (See Psalm 16:11, Psalm 73:24, Isaiah 26:19, and Daniel 12:2.)

In the New Testament, Jesus had much to say about both; He spoke more about Hell than He did about Heaven because He didn’t want people to go there. There are more than 160 references to Hell in the New Testament; 70 of those belong to Jesus.

New Testament References to Hell:

  • Hell: Matthew 10:28, 18:9
  • Outer darkness, a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth: Matthew 8:12, 22:13, 25:30
  • Everlasting punishment: Matthew 25:46.

New Testament References to Heaven:

  • Kingdom of God: Mark 10:14, 10:25, 14:25
  • Heaven: Luke 11:2, 18:22, 21:33
  • Paradise: Luke 23:43

Other authors of the New Testament also described Heaven and Hell. Look in 2 Peter 2:4, “…but cast them down into Hell...” The Apostle John wrote about Hell in Revelation 20:14-15, “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Paul wrote a good bit about Heaven. See Philippians 3:20, “For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

In a curious-sounding verse, Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:2, “...such a one was caught up to the third Heaven.” You may be thinking, “I thought there was only one Heaven.” Since we know there are no mistakes in God’s Word, then there must be verses that explain the first two Heavens, and there are. Genesis 1:7-8 speaks of the sky (Heaven #1) and Genesis 1:14-19 speaks of outer space (Heaven #2). The third Heaven is the destination of the Christian and where God resides.