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I find myself again questioning the idea of heaven in Christian theology. I profess to being a Christian but still fail to see what its stance is on death.

As I see it, Christians believe there will be a Day of Judgement, where everyone will be judged in accordance with their actions on the Earth. The good will be rewarded and the bad will be damned.

Equally, and this is where I get confused, there is a heaven and a hell, where the good are rewarded and the bad are damned.

My problem with this is that there appear to be two stages, a judgement at death (heaven or hell) and a judgement at Judgement Day (a new Jerusalem etc)

This seems to be inconsistent, or at least suggests that there are two judgements. I therefore see several options, none of which i am particularly attached to:

1.) There will be two judgements, one at death and one at Judgement Day, where at death you are taken to heaven or hell but then judged again at Judgement Day
This would imply that God could be wrong and would need to 're-judge' those in heaven on JD (getting bored of typing Judgement Day!) to find those who are truly 'good'

2.) The idea of dying and going to heaven is wrong
There is no heaven at death and all souls atre waiting for JD. This is a concept similar to that in Islam (no comments please!)where the souls of the dead are not in heaven but waiting for JD, and that their wait, though maybe thousands of years, will seem to be very quick

3.) Death leads to going to heaven BUT for everyone as there is no judgement until JD.
This would mean that there is no hell, and therefore Hitler and Gandhi (or one of your villains and one of your heroes) have yet to be judged and are both in heaven, but will receive their punishment or reward later, at JD

4.) Lastly, Their is a purgatory-like state where souls are in limbo
This would mean that they are neither in heaven or hell (i.e worst of both worlds) and have no comforts or problems. Only at JD will the souls be judged and accorded their reward

These are all possibilities, and I offer no solution. I was hoping that i could hear peoples opinions, but only once they have stopped to consider the question. Too often we blurt out our very reasonable preconceptions without opening our minds to alternatives.

One other thing that i ask is that you do not get hung up on any views i have expressed here. I have tried hard to write this so that i do not show emotion and opinion, seeking only to present the question. I only hope you can provide the same courtesy when you come to answer it. Thank you in advance

Lastly, i feel i must set out my beliefs. I belong to the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Anglican Church, a Protestant body with masive variations in belief,between evangelicals and Catholics (not RC's)

I hope that I have presented this question clearly so there can be little misunderstanding. I just feel that Christ promises the Resurrection of the dead and a life to come, and yet that there is a heavenly kingdom already present. Whilst i do not imply that this is a contradiction, i just wish to have an insight into this fundamental point of Christianity and its theology.

My main point really is, with the keys to Gods kingdom, is St Peter currently employed?!
While I am not sure exactly what the answer is that there is a heaven and there is a hell.. And it is not the "good" people who go there ..because if that was the case it would be empty.
Luk 18:19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
It's the cleansing blood of Jesus that has given me the ability to go to heaven.. My belief that Jesus did what He said He would do and that Jesus is who He said HE is..
No matter how many times I or someone else give there thoughts about heaven the important one to listen to is God Himself.. Prayer and staying in the word will give you the answer you need... Not me or anyone else here. While it is great to have wonderful thought provokeing converstation... it is sometimes fruitless.
God Bless,
God Bless you
Dear friend,
I hope what I have in knowledge will be helpful.
Jesus said in the new testiment he was going to prepare a place in heaven for us
scripture :
John 14:1-7
14:1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 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. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going."

5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"

6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
(from The Holy Bible: New International Version.

Matt 18:1-9

18:1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. 6But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

7"Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! 8If your hand or your foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
(from The Holy Bible: New International Version.

when we pass from this world :
scriptures:1 Thess 4:13-18
13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.
(from The Holy Bible: New International Version.

In my openion and this only my openion so please always check and reference the scriptures
when we leave this world we are asleep awaiting the return so i dont agree with the fact of purgatory . the only advise I can offer is to search the scriptures for what you are looking for but more so seek God he will reveal it to you.
Hell does exsist just as much as heaven but I dont think anyone goes directly too heaven or hell until the day of judgement

Rev 6:9-11
9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.
(from The Holy Bible: New International Version.
Rev 20:11-15
11Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
(from The Holy Bible: New International Version.

I hope that these scriptures help. your sister in christ forever
In regards to the Day of Judgement...Eternity is not limited to time and space, a concept that is difficult for us to get our puny minds around.

In regards to heaven and hell...Jesus constantly taught that all those who believed in Him would have eternal life. This is unquestionable! Anyone who hasn't put their complete faith, trust and hope in Jesus stands condemned already...condemned to spiritual death away from the presence of God and everything that is good, i.e. hell.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him. John 3:36

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed from death to life. John 5:24

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condmened already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. John 3:16-18

Many people believe that the 12 Apostles (including St Peter) and the 12 sons of Israel (Jacob) are the 24 elders that worship around the Throne of God, referred to in Revelation chapters 4&5, etc. The concept of St Peter greeting us at the pearly gates (which are actually the gates of the New Jerusalem and NOT heaven) is totally fictitious. (See Revelation 21:10ff, especially verse 21)

I hope some of this helps