Many Christians believe in one heaven, a place where the dead go to be with God; however, the Bible does not teach this sort of ideology. In fact, the Bible teaches us that there is not one heaven, but three heavens and it tells us that when we die we do not go directly to the Kingdom of God, thus our destination is far different than you have been told.
In this article we will take a comprehensive look at the Holy Bible and discover where we go when we die, the probable locations of Death and Hell, and how we may spend our time while in those places. If you are a firm believer in instant justification or hell on earth then this article was written especially for you and it will challenge your erroneous beliefs and force you to understand death the way the Holy Bible has always intended.
God is not a god of false hopes, for He is a God of Truth and it would be a sin for us to know the truth and to conceal it for ourselves. This article is not meant to destroy your hope in an everlasting afterlife, but instead is meant to confirm it with all honesty. Christians do not need to believe in the fiction that is handed down from the pulpit in order to have faith. On the contrary, we need truth, for the truth shall set us free and ignite our faith.
Fear not, while the falsities of corrupt doctrine subside, hope remains in our Lord of Salvation, Jesus Christ where all hope remains forevermore and can never be corrupted. So, carry on with faith and let us discover the truth together, as it was meant to be.
Our Three Heavens
If one studies the Holy Bible very carefully and applies a bit of logic, then one will come to the conclusion that there are indeed three heavens. In order to fully understand this concept it is not enough to reference only the King James Version, instead one must also cross-check the actual manuscripts in order to fully appreciate the nuance of God’s word.
Here in the image above we see a representation of our three heavenly realms, as described by the Holy Bible. Before we go into proving the accuracy of our representation, let us first provide to you a quick synopsis of what it is you are currently viewing:
At the center of our diagram we have earth and surrounding earth is our atmosphere, this is where all non-rebuked human souls reside after death, and this is called the First Heaven. The next layer is our universe and this is where we believe that Hell resides and where the rebuked go after death, and this is called the Second Heaven. And, finally, the third layer, which is completely outside and unaffected by the layers before it is where our God, His angels, and our Lord, Jesus Christ currently reside in what is biblically known as the Kingdom of God, but will be often referred to here in this article as the Third Heaven.
Starting in the book of Genesis chapter 1, verse 6, it reads:
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
The keyword here is “firmament”. When cross-checking the written Torah we find that Moses used the transliterated word rqio which is a Hebrew word meaning, “atmosphere”.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
Here we read in Genesis chapter 1, verse 8 where God had established the First Heaven which is our atmosphere by dividing the water below from the water above.
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
Next, we find in Genesis chapter 1, verse 14 where God establishes the Second Heaven which is our Universe by dividing the day from the night. The key phrase here is “firmament of the heaven”, which when cross-checked using the written Torah we find that Moses used the transliterated word b·rqio which is a Hebrew word meaning, “in·atmosphere-of”.
Therefore, we learn that God divided the waters and we gained an atmosphere, then God divided the atmosphere and we gained a universe, thus a Second Heaven.
We believe very strongly based on biblical evidence that Hell is located in the Second Heaven although it is never specifically stated to exist within our universe. However, once we pulled every reference to Hell from the Holy Bible using the King James Version and cross-checked each word using the written Torah we were amazed to find the following:
The word Hell is used 30 times throughout the Old testament in Deuteronomy, 2 Samuel, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Jonah, and Habakkuk in the following ways:
So, we discovered that wherever the King James Version used the word Hell in the OT, the actual Hebrew word was some variation of a word that means “unseen”.
Furthermore, throughout the New Testament the word Hell was used a total of 22 times in Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, James, 2 Peter, and Revelation in the following ways:
So, we see that the New Testament writers did use a word equivalent to the Hebrew word shaul (i.e. hadou, hadE, hadEs) to describe Hell as a place unseen; however a new and quite interesting word has been found hiding beneath the word Hell (i.e. GEHENNA).
How treacherous a rebellion, the blood of innocents slain in the name of false gods just south of the ancient city of David. In the drawing above you see men playing trumpets and banging upon drums, this was done to drown out the horrific screams of the children that were burnt to death as a sacrifice to molech. Is it any wonder why God cursed this valley?
What is significant about the word GEHENNA is that wherever this word is used in the New Testament a description of casting something into fire is sure to follow; however, wherever a variation of the word HADES is used, a description of one being brought low, trapped, and forsaken is to follow, which means that these two “Hells” are not the same place.
Clearly, the King James Version, as great as it is in most cases, is using the word HELL quite loosely. Still not convinced? Then, take a look at Mark 9:43, it states:
43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Notice the usage of the word HELL in the above verse. Beneath this word is hiding the Greek transliterated word “geennan”, which we have already explained is translated to the English word GEHENNA. Now notice the underlined phrase “fire that never shall be quenched” and please turn your attention to Revelation 20:13-14, which states the following:
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Notice the word HELL in both verse 13 and 14. Beneath both of these Hells are hiding the word HADES and notice how this passage explains that HADES will be emptied and then cast into the lake of fire. So, here we have HADES (an unseen place where forsaken souls are taken and trapped) being emptied out and cast into an everlasting fire (Rev. 20:10).
So, what does Mark 9:43 describe GEHENNA as? A “fire that never shall be quenched”. And, what does Revelation 20:14 tell us about HADES? That all souls within will be “delivered up” and that HADES will be “cast into the lake of fire”. Therefore, GEHENNA and HADES cannot be the same place and in all likelihood GEHENNA is simply another word describing the LAKE OF FIRE! Therefore, we may now ignore any reference to GEHENNA and begin piecing together a description of the one true HELL as described in both the OT and NT.
Describing SHEOL, HADES, HELL
In 17 books of the Holy Bible, a sad place unseen where the wicked are sent after death is described in minor detail; however, if one gathers each reference and differentiates between GEHENNA (i.e. NT) and HADES (i.e. NT), then compares HADES to SHEOL (i.e. OT), then one discovers a much fuller description of HELL as is outlined below:
|Deep Abyss, Deep||Deuteronomy 32:22, Job 11:8, Psalm 86:13, Proverbs 9:18|
|To be bound by, trapped by||2 Samuel 22:6, Psalm 18:5, Psalm 116:3, Jonah 2:2, 2 Peter 2:4|
|Place for wicked souls||Psalm 9:17, Proverbs 23:14, Proverbs 57:9, Ezekiel 31:16, 2 Peter 2:4|
|Souls here are forsaken by God||Psalm 16:10, Proverbs 15:11, Acts 2:27, Acts 2:31|
|A place of torment and sorrow||Psalm 116:3, Ezekiel 31:16, Jonah 2:2|
|Descended to after death, to be brought low||Psalm 55:15, Proverbs 5:5, Proverbs 7:27, Proverbs 15:24, Isaiah 14:9, Isaiah 14:15, Ezekiel 31:17, Ezekiel 32:21, Ezekiel 32:27, Matthew 11:23, Luke 10:15|
|A place of punishment||Proverbs 15:11|
|A place never full, never satisfied||Proverbs 27:20|
|Widening, unlimited bounds||Isaiah 5:14, Habakkuk 2:5|
|A place of darkness||2 Peter 2:4|
|Has a gate||Matthew 16:18|
|Jesus Christ has the keys!!||Revelation 1:18|
|Temporary holding place, souls released for judgment||2 Peter 2:4, Revelation 20:13|
Note that we are rejecting Luke 16:23-26 for three main reasons:
1. It reads more like a conflated description of HADES and GEHENNA.
2. It contradicts the disciple Peter who said Hell was a place of darkness.
3. Luke was not a witness of Jesus’ teachings and considering that John 5:39-47 does not make any mention of a story concerning Hell whatsoever, we are suspicious of where Luke might have gotten this story. Did he make it up himself or is he just confused?
Furthermore, in 2 Peter 2:4 the word hiding behind HELL is the transliterated word tartarOsas which means “thrusting-into-Tartus-them”. Interestingly, TARTUS is the Greek equivalent of Hell, which begs the question, “Why did a Jewish man refer to SHEOL as TARTUS?” This verse is also suspect, but because the description of HELL does not contradict the OT description of SHEOL/HADES in any way we have decided to reference it above. However, we will not rely on it as a reference in order to establish the location of Hell, in fact we will not reference the New Testament descriptions at all, thus we will rely solely on the Old Testament.
Location of Hell
For many decades Christians have been taught that Hell exists beneath the earth’s surface, but does it really? As a student of the Holy Bible, it is natural to doubt this hypothesis based on the description of Hell. For, if Hell did indeed exist beneath the earth’s surface then this would logically contradict the Holy Bible; therefore, this hypothesis cannot be true.
For instance, we know that Hell cannot exist within the Kingdom of God, which is the Third Heaven; therefore, let’s compare the description of Hell to both the First and Second Heavens and see which heaven makes more sense as Hell’s most probable location based solely upon the description of Hell as provided to us by the Old Testament:
|Description||Is Probable, First Heaven (Beneath Earth’s Surface)||Is Probable, Second Heaven (Universe)|
|Deep Abyss, Deep||✔||✔|
|To be bound by, trapped by||✔||✔|
|Place for wicked souls||✔||✔|
|Souls here are forsaken by God||✔||✔|
|A place of torment and sorrow||✔||✔|
|Descended to after death, to be brought low||✔||✔|
|A place of punishment||✔||✔|
|A place never full, never satisfied||X||✔|
|Widening, unlimited bounds||X||✔|
As one can easily determine, the descriptions provided by Isaiah, Proverbs, and Habakkuk completely destroy any possibility that Hell could ever exist beneath the earth’s surface simply because the earth itself is not infinite in size; however, the universe is.
Case closed; however, let us go a bit further and take a look at a few supporting verses from both the New and Old Testament just to eliminate any possible residual doubt:
6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. 7 And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
Here we see in Job 1:6-7 a conversation between God and Satan where Satan is asked the question, “Where did you come from?” If you cross-check this verse, what is actually said in transliterated form is, “m·shut b·artz u·m·ethelk b·e” which means, “from·to-go-to-and-fro-of in·the·earth and·from·to-walk-of in·her”, so in other words Satan tells God that he travels from some place to earth and then walks upon the surface which, of course suggests that he does not abode upon or beneath earth, but rather travels to it.
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
Here we see in Isaiah 14:12-13 where Isaiah is marveling at the fall of Lucifer, wondering how one could be made so high, yet fall so low. Moreover, we see that Satan says, “I will ASCEND into heaven”, and “I will exalt my throne ABOVE the stars of God:” All of which, of course suggests that Satan currently resides somewhere BELOW the Kingdom of God.
Therefore, if Satan is in Hell (2 Peter 2:4) and if Hell is not in the Kingdom of God nor above it, and if Hell is not on earth nor beneath it’s surface, then that would leave only one logical place for it to exist, and that place is the Second Heaven (i.e. UNIVERSE).
Kingdom of God
The Holy Bible does not explain when or how God created His kingdom or what we refer to here in this article as the Third Heaven, but considering the pattern one might suggest that He divided the universe; however that is purely speculative; although logically sound, we cannot show any biblical evidence supporting that theory at this time.
However, we can tell you that God is sovereign (Isaiah 55:9), is left unaffected by our time (Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8), abodes in a place where no man can follow (John 13:36), and that this place is above both earth and Hell (Isaiah 14:12-13, Job 1:6-7); therefore, the only logical place left for the Kingdom of God to possibly exist is within the Third Heaven.
What Happens When We Die?
Many Christians believe that when they die their soul goes directly to the Kingdom of God, but this is false doctrine, corrupt in its logic for how could we abide amongst God if we are not first judged and made clean by the blood of Jesus Christ? How could one be judged before the time of judgment? Clearly, we have missed the following verse:
13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
Here we see in John chapter 3, verse 13 where it says that “no man hath ascended up to heaven”, except Jesus! Which heaven is John speaking of: he is of course speaking of the Kingdom of God, for the Lord now sits at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19).
Therefore, no man, not even Enoch, not even Abraham, nor even Moses are currently in the Kingdom of God, for they were born upon the earth and no man, unless he came from heaven will ascend to heaven (i.e. Third Heaven, Kingdom of God) after death!
So, the question is, “Where do we go when we die?” Fortunately, the answer to this very profound question can be found in Revelation 20:13, which states the following:
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Therefore, we find that after death human souls can go to one of three places: 1) The Sea, 2) Death, or 3) Hell. Recall that in Genesis 1:8 we read that God divided the waters from the waters, so on earth there is the First Heaven, divided into three sections.
The top section is our atmosphere and this is where human souls reside in a state of slumber while awaiting judgment. The middle section is land and this is where life is created and dies. The lower section is the sea and this is where life is created and dies, but also where human souls may reside in a state of slumber while awaiting judgment.
When the human soul dies and is not rebuked by God it is placed into a state of slumber here on earth. When the human soul dies and is rebuked by God it is placed into a temporary holding cell of sorts somewhere in the unseen universe. The torment and sorrows they live with are the knowing of being forsaken by God -the consciousness, the darkness they find themselves in, being trapped in a constant, lonely state of uncertainty.
Throughout the Holy Bible sleep is constantly attributed to death wherever it is found that the dead are not forsaken. We find these in Psalms, Deuteronomy, 1 Kings, Daniel, Ephesians, 1 Samuel, John, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Samuel, Job, and Acts. For instance:
11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
Although there are more than a dozen, we find here in John 11:11-14 the most plainly put example one could possibly find in support of sleep after death that is given to us by the Son of God, Jesus Christ. If you will not believe us, then surely you will believe Him.
If we are not asleep, then why does Ephesians 5:14 state the following:
14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
If we are not asleep, then why does 1 Thessalonians 4:14 state the following:
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
If we are not asleep, then why is that when Samuel was conjured up by the Witch of Endor by request of King Saul did the spirit of Samuel state the following:
15 And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.
Surely, in 1 Samuel 28:15 the spirit of Samuel was not confused of his current state, assuming that he was asleep although awake and with God in His Kingdom. Surely, Jesus was not being facetious when He told His disciples that Lazarus was asleep. Surely, Paul was not fabricating a story just to convince the heathen of the power of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, who is the one confused about death? Could it be Jesus, Samuel, Paul, Moses, Job, Daniel, and Solomon? Or, could it be your preacher, pastor, minister, and yourself? Who here is greater than God? Who here has authority to revise the word of God?
In summation, although our loved ones are not in the Kingdom of God, take comfort knowing that they are asleep in Jesus and that they will soon be awakened to everlasting life in God’s kingdom on earth! It is not your loved ones that look down upon you to watch over and protect you, it is Jesus Christ that blesses you and the will of His father to give to you what you need, when you need it. Why pray to the Saints for blessings when it is not theirs to give? Why assume that ALL good does not come directly from God alone?
Be comforted knowing that those who die in Christ are at rest and not awake in constant torment and sorrow. Pray for those in Hell, for they died not knowing the Lord that would save them from the agony they face day and night. Pray for the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ so that those who are alive and those who are dead will no longer have to suffer the pain of separation from our creator who loves us all very, very much.