The Afterlife

Most Christians know that when people die, they either go to heaven or hell. Not all realize, however, that heaven is not the final habitation of the righteous, and that Hades the final habitation of the unrighteous.

When followers of Jesus Christ die, their spirits/souls immediately go to heaven where God lives (see 2 Cor. 5:6-8; Phil. 1:21-23; 1 Thes. 4:14). Sometime in the future, however, God will create a new heaven and earth, and the New Jerusalem will come down from heaven to earth (see 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1-2). There the righteous will live forever.

When the unrighteous die, they immediately go to Hades, but Hades is only a place where they will temporarily wait for their bodies to be resurrected. When that day arrives, they will stand before God’s judgment seat and then be cast into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, referred to as Gehenna in the Bible. All of this we will consider in much more detail from Scripture.