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Nine times Jesus talks about eternity

By: vicki raisley

People are obsessed with the future. In books and movies, the future is depicted in interesting ways.  

“The Matrix,” for example, shows a future where a giant artificial intelligence system takes over people’s minds and creates an illusion of a real world. Then there’s “WALL-E.” which shows future humans riding around another planet in hovering machines while being blissfully happy doing nothing. 

The Bible tells us that the future extends beyond earth, but not in the way sci-fi films often depict. God created us to exist forever (Ecclesiastes 3:11). 

When we die and leave this earth, we will spend eternity somewhere. The Bible promises that everyone who asks Jesus into their life will spend eternity in heaven with Him (John 3:16). 

While science fiction imagines all sorts of possibilities for the future, Jesus was much more concerned with helping us understand the reality of eternity. 

Nine Things Jesus Said About Eternity

1. Heaven is real. 

In John 14:1-3, Jesus describes heaven as a real place where He will live with disciples: 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

2. Hell is real. 

Jesus also taught with authority on hell, describing it as a blazing furnace, a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

In Luke 16:19–31, Jesus tells the story of a rich man begging Lazarus to tell the man’s family not to choose hell as he did. In another conversation, Jesus describes the end of the world, saying, “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:40-43). 

3. You can choose where you spend eternity. 

Jesus tells us we get to choose whether or not we’ll spend eternity with Him: “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24). 

Eternal life with Jesus starts the minute we ask Him into our lives. The life we start with Jesus on Earth will continue into eternity. And likewise, if we choose to live without Jesus on Earth, we’ll continue to live without Him in eternity. 

4. Jesus is the only way to eternity in heaven.  

In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

5. Eternity in heaven is an instant gift, not a lifetime achievement award. 

We often think we have to earn eternity in heaven, but Jesus showed us otherwise. While Jesus hung on the cross, He told one of the criminals next to Him, “I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). This man didn’t have a lifetime of good deeds to point back to, and he never got a chance to turn from his life of crime. He simply believed in Jesus, and that was enough. 

When Jesus returned to heaven, His disciples continued to drive this point home, writing, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

6. The church will last forever. 

So much of what we experience on Earth will not last into eternity, but the church will! Jesus told Peter that He would build the church on Peter’s profession of faith “and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). 

7. Living with eternity in mind isn’t always popular.  

Following Jesus is the only way to live eternally in heaven, but it isn’t always easy. What Jesus values and what our culture values are rarely the same. And at times, the Holy Spirit will prompt us to do something vulnerable or to stop doing what everyone else is doing.

That’s why Jesus says the gate that leads to eternal life is narrow. Becoming a Christian is easy, but not everyone will choose the life that comes with following Jesus.  

“Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it,” Jesus said. “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13).

8. You don’t get to change your mind once you step into eternity.   

In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man learns that once in hell, it is too late to change your mind about Jesus. Abraham tells the rich man, “...between us and you a great chasm has been set in place so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us” (Luke 16:26).

9. Jesus invites everyone to spend eternity in heaven with Him.  

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him” (John 3:14-15). 

Heaven isn’t reserved for a select few. It’s open to everyone who will put their trust in Jesus. 

Do you know where you will spend eternity? If you’ve got questions about what it means to be saved, we’d love to help. Reach out to someone on your campus and join us every week for “Eternity.”

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