Death is God’s just consequence for sin. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Because of sin, everyone has deserved death – eternal separation from God in hell.
Jesus, holy and sinless, is the only One who can pay the penalty for our sins.
In the Old Testament, those who had faith in God and in the coming Messiah were not able to enter heaven after death because the atoning blood of Jesus Christ had not yet been shed (Hebrews 10:11-12). Sheol/Hades is the term given to the place where the souls of both believers and unbelievers would go; it was separated into two parts with an impassable gulf between them: (1) “paradise” (or,“Abraham’s bosom”) and (2) “torments”.
Lazarus went to paradise because he believed God’s Word (faith)—he did not go to paradise because he was poor. The rich man went to torments, not because he was rich, but because he died in his sins—he had faith in his wealth but not in God’s Word (unbelief).
In this dispensation of Grace (Church Age), there is no impassable gulf between our sin nature and grace, we may pass from sin to God only by faith in His Messiah.
Jesus spoke a great deal about heaven and hell; that both are real, literal places. The Bible is clear that every person who has ever lived will spend eternity in either heaven or hell.
Our lives on earth are very brief, for we are “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14). And when we die, the transition to our eternal state takes place immediately.
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