The teaching about heaven and hell

In some of its details or even in its fundamental elements, eschatology knew in the history of the Christian thinking some divergent opinions which did nothing else than lead to the more clear affirmation and formulation of the Christian teaching.

The Teaching of the Holy Scripture about heaven and hell

In the Gospel of Saint Matthew (chapter XXV) is given the teaching of the Savior about the Last Judgment.

The characteristic element of this judgment is the division in two of those who are present, division which is motivated by the deeds of each one of them. Some of them will be on the right and to those the Savior will say: `Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. `And to those from the left he will say: `Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.` And he ends: `Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.` (Matthew 25, 46).

About the bliss from heaven, saint Paul the Apostle says conclusively: `

`What no eye has seen,    what no ear has heard and what no human mind has conceived—    the things God has prepared for those who love him` (I Cor. II, 9).

The sinners will suffer in the eternal fire (Matthew 25, 41 ; 9, 43, 45 ; Mark 9, 44, 48 , Luke III, 17 ; 26I, 24), will be taken away from God (Luke 13, 27 ; II Tes. I, 8-9), will be thrown in a place where will be dark, will be weeping and the gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8, 22 ; 25, 30 ; 13, 50, Luke 13, 28), where the fire will not be quenched and their worm will not die  (Mark 9, 44).

Both the rewards and the punishments although they will be eternal, will be given in amounts in accordance with the deeds from the earthly life. (Luke 12, 47-48 ,Matthew 26, 27 ; 22, 11-14 ; Apoc. 16, 6 ,13, 10).

The Holy Scripture presents very explicit texts regarding the condition of the believers after the Last Judgment. In what regards the condition after the particular judgment the parable of the unmerciful rich man of poor Lazarus  (Luke 26, 19-31) show that the rich man went immediately after his death in hell while Lazarus went by Abraham’s side, between these two places being an impassable precipice.

It is clear enough that after the particular judgment the souls go in heaven or hell where they wait the resurrection and the universal judgment.

At the question whether after the particular judgment the situation of those who passed in the afterlife may be changed the Holy Scripture answers by some texts which may be interpreted in the sense of change as it is for instance at Matthew 12, 31-32 and I Peter III, 19-20 ; IV, 6.

The Holy Fathers and the practice of the Church give the best interpretations

to these texts in the meaning that there is a possibility of change due to the prayers of the Church and the liturgical sacrifice.

The Holy Scripture does not make any reference at any possibility of change after the universal judgment. That judgment seals for eternity the fate of those who are judged and there is no more possibility of a change.

Source: crestinortodox.ro