ANSWERS TO LIFE’S QUESTIONS
A Bible correspondence course
Lesson #3 Where Am I Headed?
Simply stated, “You are headed for an eternity in one of two places.”
Because we are heirs of Adam, our physical body will eventually die, BUT our soul and spirit will enter a new phase of life that the Bible refers to as eternity. Thousands of people make that transition every day.
According to the Bible, every human being will spend eternity in one of two places: with God, or apart from God in the Lake of Fire.
As we will see in Lesson Five, God has given us the opportunity to choose which place will be our eternal destiny.
Since we are headed to one of these two places, let’s see what they are like; so we will know which option is the best for us.
Let’s start with an eternity with God.
Most people think of this option as Heaven. Actually, the Bible doesn’t tell us much about where we will be and what we will do if we spend eternity with God.
Jesus told a story about two men, a rich man, who Jesus did not name, and a poor man named Lazarus.
Read the story in Luke 16:19-31.
After his death the rich man ended up in ________________________ and Lazarus ended up in __________________________________ . This should not be mistaken for Heaven.
As we will see from other passages in the Bible, these were temporary dwelling places for people who died, often referred to as “the grave.”
Since Jesus died, was resurrected, and went back to Heaven, things seem to have changed a bit. While the wicked still go to Hell, II Corinthians 5:8 tells us that the righteous now go directly to be with Jesus Christ in Heaven. “...absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
But that is not the end of the story.
Before Jesus left earth to return to Heaven, He told his disciples, “2 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. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).
The Bible does not tell us much more about the place that Jesus promised to prepare, but we read in the book of Revelation a passage which seems to connect with what Jesus told His disciples.
An angel shows the future to the Apostle John. The angel took him to the top of a mountain and “...shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.”
You can read the description of that city in Revelation 21:9–22:6.
- The city made of pure gold (Revelation 21:18).
- The city of eternal day, because the glory of God fills the city with light. (Revelation 21:23).
- The city also contains the throne of God, the river of the water of life, and the Tree of Life. It is a city without a curse. Death and disease and sin have no place in it (Revelation 22:1-5).
Apparently, the New Jerusalem, as described in this passage, will be the eternal dwelling place of God and His children. “And they shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:5b).
Those who are now in Heaven and those who go to Heaven before God creates a new Heaven and a new earth will take up residence with God in the New Jerusalem.
Whether or not the New Jerusalem described in the book of Revelation is the eternal residence of the righteous, the Bible assures us that they will "...ever be with the Lord" (I Thessalonians 4:17).
Although the Bible tells us where the righteous will be for eternity, Scriptures do not reveal everything that they will be doing in eternity. It is one of those things that God has chosen not to reveal to us.
Now, let’s consider the alternative to an eternity with God—an eternity without God in the Lake of Fire.
In the Bible Jesus actually says more about Hell than He does about Heaven. From Him we learn most of what we know about Hell.
The Bible teaches that those who do not spend their eternity with God are headed for eternal punishment.
That punishment begins with physical death upon which the soul of the person is transferred to a place called Hell, the same place that the rich man found himself in Jesus’ story about Lazarus.
Reread Luke 16:19-31 and notice some things about Hell...
"in hell he (the rich man) lift up his eyes in ___________________"
"I am tormented in this ____________________"
"they which would pass from hence to you _________________."
"If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the ____________________."
Obviously, Hell is a very unpleasant place.
While the rich man describes it as torment, Jesus, referring to Hell, described it as a place of “outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12).
As the rich man’s situation illustrates, once in Hell there is no escape, but the Bible also shows us that Hell is a place that can be avoided.
According to the account, there is information in the Bible that can help a person avoid Hell.
Hell, however, seems to be a temporary holding place prior to a final destination.
Revelation 20:14, speaking of a future time, says, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”
Revelation 20:10 gives us a little more insight into the Lake of Fire. “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Those who do not spend eternity with God have the same destiny as Satan.
That brings us to one of the most solemn facts in the Bible. Each of us is headed for a personal accounting before God that will confirm our destiny.
Read Romans 14:12: “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to __________.”
As we learned in Lesson Two, we have nothing to offer God; nothing to impress Him; nothing to erase the sin nature that we inherited from Adam; and nothing to pay for our own sin.
None of us is smart enough, wealthy enough, strong enough, or popular enough to take care of our sin problem.
God, who is a righteous judge, is obligated to send us out of His presence.
By default, every one of us is bound for an eternity separated from God in torment.
At this point things may seem pretty bleak, but do not despair. There is Someone who can help us. We will learn about that Person in Lesson Four.
You may want to review this lesson before completing the QUIZ SECTION below.