QUESTION: Is Heaven the final destination for a believer in the gospel of Christ?


ANSWER: All who believe in the gospel of Christ during this present church age (from the Day of Pentecost until the Rapture) will go to heaven. There are two passages which teach this clearly. In John 14:2-3 Jesus said, “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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (NKJV). This is also taught by the apostle Paul in 1st Thessalonians 4:14-17, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

After the Rapture, the gospel of Christ will also be proclaimed during the seven-year Tribulation Period (Daniel’s 70th week of Daniel 9:24-27) and those who believe the gospel and are alive when the Lord Jesus returns in power and glory to establish His kingdom on earth will enter into His earthly kingdom. The Lord Jesus taught this in Matthew 25:31:34, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory…all the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And he will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’.” We call this the Millennium Kingdom because it will last 1,000 years (see Revelation 20:1-6). Those who had gone to heaven will reign with Christ OVER the earth in a heavenly city called the New Jerusalem (see Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 20:2, 10-27).

After the Millennial Kingdom ends the eternal state will begin and God will create a “New Heaven” and a “New Earth” as we see in Revelation 21:1, “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” The “New Jerusalem” will be part of the New Heaven, for it will not be destroyed when the first heaven passes away. All believers who had lived there during the 1,000 year kingdom will continue to live there throughout all eternity. We believe that all the believers who entered into Christ’s kingdom on earth (and those who are born and saved during the kingdom age) will be transported from the “first earth” to the “New Earth” where they will live for all eternity. (295.7) (DO)