The themes of punishment and judgment are mentioned some 234 times in 264 chapters of the NT. It is interesting that we know more about hell through the teaching of Jesus Christ than any other person or source. It occupied a very important place in the mind of Christ, and he warned those who would listen so that they would avoid that place and the punishment that is there.
Do Heaven and Hell really Exist according to the Bible?
Why is this Issue so Important?
There are religious groups and individuals that believe that neither heaven nor hell exists. For them, everybody goes to the grave, and at this moment their existence ends. To deny the existence of heaven is to deny the possibility of salvation, eternal life, or a place and experience of eternal happiness after death. Heaven represents the reward God gives to those that obey Him, and it even represents God and his promises to us. To deny the existence of hell is to deny that an Almighty God exists, that God is a just Judge, and that He is holy. Hell represents the punishment of God on those that refuse His will. God is a judge that judges men about moral matters. God does not permit sin in His presence; neither does he allow sinners to escape with a “ceasing to exist” (annihilation). God punishes them in a place of extreme punishment called “hell.”
In the concepts of the ancients, there were actually three places called “heaven”.
The first heaven is the air above the earth (this is also “up” for those who live on earth) Mat 24:31; Mark 6:41; 13:27; Luke 4:25; 9:16; 17:24; 29; 18:13; John 6:31-33; 17:1; Acts 1:10-11; (this heaven gives rain Acts 14:17; James 5:18).
The second heaven is where the sun and stars reside Mat 24:29-30; 26:64; Mark 13:25; Luke 21:11, 26.