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Can We Really Know There Is a Heaven?

Can We Really Know There Is a Heaven?

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. — Hebrews 9:27–28


“Good people go to Heaven. Bad people go to hell.”

This is the theology one of my friends grew up with. “It never really bothered me,” he told me, “until they added the tagline, ‘By the way, you’re a bad person.’ With that information as a backdrop, you can see why Heaven was always a frustrating and confusing topic for me.

“I used to dream about Heaven every night,” he continued. “Part of that was because my mother used to scold me for the way I was lying in bed. I would have my head on a pillow with another pillow over my head to block out any sights or sounds. ‘Oh no, no, no!’ she would warn dramatically. ‘If you sleep like that, you could suffocate and die overnight!’

“So, of course, I would dream that I would die and immediately go stand before the Lord in front of the Pearly Gates. God would say hello and then explain how it all works.

“‘We’ve got a giant scale up here,’ he would tell me, pointing to one of those old-fashioned scales, complete with two platters. ‘Some angels are going to put all your good works on one side and all your bad works on the other side. It’s very simple, really. If your good works outweigh your bad works, you’re in. But if your bad works outweigh your good works... well, the elevator is that way.’ I wasn’t real hopeful about how this was going to play out.

“‘Bring in the good works,’ I would hear the Lord announce. A rather anemic-looking angel soon appeared to bring my good works to the scale. I swallowed hard as I realized the good works had barely caused the scale to move.

“‘Now bring in the bad works,’ God said. His command was followed by the appearance of an angel who looked like a professional weightlifter, exclaiming at full voice, ‘Okay, back ’er up, fellows!’ as a tractor trailer began to unload tons of bad works. God pointed to the elevator. And that ended my glimpse of Heaven.”

What’s your story? What were your earliest ideas of Heaven? Or perhaps you were brought up to believe there was no Heaven, because there was no afterlife. Once your days were over on this earth, you simply ceased to exist — or you came back as an armadillo or a golden retriever. We’ve all grown up with a variety of beliefs when it comes to Heaven and hell.


Pair up with another group member, preferably someone you don’t know that well, and briefly talk about the following questions:

  • Do you remember the first time you really thought about Heaven and an afterlife? What were your beliefs at that time?
  • What are your current beliefs about Heaven and an afterlife? How has your thinking changed over the years?


Play the video segment for session one. As you watch, use the following outline to record any thoughts or concepts that stand out to you.

It’s human nature for those who don’t believe in God or an afterlife to want to be remembered by what they achieved while on this earth.

One of the most famous examples is the story of Herostratus, who in 356 BC burned down the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus. He stated the reason was because he wanted to be famous.

The bottom line is that if you don’t have faith in God, you will likely find yourself with a desperate desire to cling to life in some way.

Another way that people try to achieve immortality without God is to figure out how to live longer in order to cheat death.

The answer to our dilemma can only be found in the Bible. In Hebrews 2:15, we find that Jesus came to rescue those who are “held in slavery by their fear of death.”

Jesus uses the imagery of a home to convey the love, security, and comfort of the world where we will live after this one — what the Bible calls the new heavens and the new earth.

In Hebrews 10:23 we read,

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

  • God is ready, willing, and able to fulfill His promises to us.

God doesn’t want us living in a state of anxiety over what will happen to us at the end of our lives. We can be confident about what will come next — and that it is going to be good.


Once the video has concluded, it’s time to break up into small groups for a time of discussion. Ideally, the group should be no less than four people and no more than six. Don’t be shy — grab your chair and circle up! Find someone in your group that will become your partner over the next few weeks. If you’re married and your spouse is in the group, you have the option of choosing him or her or you may opt for someone completely different. If not your spouse, it’s best to for women to choose another woman and men to choose another man. Get your new partner’s cell phone number and email — you two are going to be connecting during the week!

  1. How old were you when you first came face to face with your mortality? What prompted you to wonder about what happens when your heart stops beating?
  2. What are some of the events in your life (such as the death of a loved one) that have caused you to wonder about the afterlife? What questions did you have?
  3. What are some of the ways that you have seen people try to leave a “mark” on this world so they will not be forgotten after they die?
  4. What are some of the fears that you have heard people expresses about death?
  5. Read aloud John 3:16, John 5:24, Romans 6:23, and Galatians 6:8. What do these verses say about the hope we can have that there is life after death?
  6. Share with the group one or two questions you are hoping to be answered by your participation in this group. What did you find helpful as you watched the first video?


Briefly review the outline for the session one teaching and any notes you took. In the space below, write down your most significant takeaway from this session.


Conclude your group discussion time with a few minutes for prayer. Nothing will bring your group together quicker than knowing you have brothers and sisters who care enough about the issues you raise to bring them before the Lord for His answers and

Your Turn

Come share your thoughts on The Case for Heaven! We want to hear from you.