This is a very important question. As should be the case, we should be interested to search and reason on the scriptures to find the right answer. The biblical answer may not be in line with the usual answers circulating in the world.
First of all, we ask: what does the Bible say about the creation of the earth and of mankind? Genesis 1:26-31; 2:15-17; 3:22-24; Psalms 115:16; Ecclesiastes 1:4; Isaiah 45:18 when reasoned upon, lead us to know that God created the earth as an everlasting home or habitation for mankind.
Adam was created to live for ever but under the guidance of God. Man was not meant to direct his steps (Jeremiah 10:23). As we know, death entered the world through Adam, Romans 5:12.
God, in his love and mercy, did not abandon his purpose to fill the earth with mankind. Right there in Eden, a prophecy regarding this was uttered, in Genesis 3:15. Jesus Christ proved to be the promised seed of the woman that will be the deliverer of obedient mankind from slavery or bondage to sin and death. Also, Jesus is the seed of Abraham through whom God will bless all the earth, I.e, through whom the curse placed upon man in Genesis 3:17-19 will be reversed.
That the Bible still held out the promise of everlasting life for righteous mankind on the earth can be seen from Proverbs 2:21, 22 Psalms 37:9-11, 22, 27, 29, 34 Matthew 5:5 etc.
However, this promise of everlasting life on earth will be brought about through the instrumentality of what the Bible calls God’s Kingdom. A serious study of the Bible reveals that God’s Kingdom is the government that God purposes to set up in heaven, under Jesus as the Head. That Government will crush and put an end to all human kingdoms, and rule the earth for ever. It will be a world government, and the Bible tells us what benefits will accrue to those humans who qualify to live under that ruler ship. Please read Daniel 2:44; 7:13, 14 Isaiah 9:6, 7 psalms 46:8,9; Revelation 21:1-4; John 3:16; 17:3.
But What is the need for this arrangement for the kingdom?
When Adam and Eve chose to obey Satan, rejecting God’s commandment, what they did was akin to rejecting ruler ship by God, and voluntarily putting man under ruler ship by Satan. In other words, humans have been under Satan’s kingdom or government. No wonder the world is so wicked and unfit for healthy living! Surely, rule by man over man, especially under the overall control of Satan, has brought untold hardship to mankind. The good news is that Satan’ world ( note: not the earth, but Satan’s ruler ship) is overdue for destruction and God has promised to put an end to it by means of his own kingdom, which will usher in an era of peace, justice, righteousness, eternal life and happiness . It is by means of the kingdom under Jesus Christ that God’s promise to Abraham will be fulfilled.
Now, this is where the hope of going to heaven comes in. God, in his wisdom and love, has purposed that Jesus Christ will not rule alone as King or ruler of God’s kingdom. Bible understanding under the guidance of holy spirit has revealed that the Seed of the woman as well as seed of Abraham is composite; that is, are made up of principal (primary) and subsidiary (secondary) components. Comparing Genesis 3:15 with Romans 16:20 and Revelation 12:13-17 on the one hand, and Genesis 22:18 with Galatians 3, 16, 26-29 show that Jesus is the Primary seed of the woman as well as the primary seed of Abraham; however, there exists a secondary part of the seed these are referred to in Galatians chapter 3:26-29 as : SONS OF GOD; THOSE BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST; ABRAHAM’ S SEED; HEIRS ACCORDING TO THE PROMISE
“For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female – for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise.”
That Jesus will have corulers with him in the rulership of God’s kingdom is seen from Daniel 7:18, 21, 22 and from Jesus’ words in Luke 12:32. Those that Daniel refer to as “saints of God” are the same people as “the little flock” to whom ” it has pleased (God) to give (them) the kingdom)”. comparison of Luke 12:32 with John 14:1-4 reveal that these are the ones that Jesus was going to prepare a place (in heaven) for, and he will come and take them to be with him.
Apostle Paul was inspired to write as follows regarding these” saints of God” or ” little flock” in 1 Corinthians 6:1-4: “When any of you has a legal dispute with another, does he dare go to court before the unrighteous rather than before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you not competent to settle trivial suits? Do you not know that we will judge angels? Why not ordinary matters! So if you have ordinary lawsuits, do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the church?
People have different ideas about heaven. Many have no understanding of God at all, but still like to think of heaven as the “better place” where we all go when we die. Ideas about heaven are often no more than vague hopes, on par with “maybe I’ll win the lottery some day.” Most people don’t give heaven much thought until they attend a funeral or a loved one dies. It is popular to refer to heaven as the place where “the good people go.” And of course, everyone they know and love is included in the category of “good people.”
But the Bible has a lot to say about life after death, and it contradicts popular opinion. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Then in verse 36, Jesus goes on to say, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment.” According to these verses, everyone dies, but not everyone goes to heaven (Matthew 25:46; Romans 6:23; Luke 12:5; Mark 9:43).
God is holy and perfect. Heaven, His dwelling place, is holy and perfect, too (Psalm 68:5; Nehemiah 1:5; Revelation 11:19). According to Romans 3:10, “there is none righteous, no not one.” No human being is holy and perfect enough for heaven. The people we call “good” are not good at all compared to the sinless perfection of God. If God allowed sinful humans to enter the perfection of heaven, it would no longer be perfect. What standard should be used to determine who is “good enough?” God’s standard is the only one that counts, and He has already ruled. Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.” And the payment for that sin is eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23).
Sin has to be punished, or God is not just (2 Thessalonians 1:6). The judgment we face at death is simply God bringing our accounts up to date and passing sentence on our crimes against Him. We have no way to make our wrongs right. Our good does not outweigh our bad. One sin ruins perfection, just as one drop of arsenic in a glass of water poisons the whole glass.
So God became man and took our punishment upon Himself. Jesus was God in the flesh. He lived a sinless life of obedience to His Father (Hebrews 4:15). He had no sin, yet at the cross He took our sin and made it His own. Once He paid the price for our sin, we could be declared holy and perfect (2 Corinthians 5:21). When we confess our sin to Him and ask His forgiveness, He stamps “Paid in Full” over our life of selfishness, lust, and greed (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 1 Peter 3:18).
When we stand before God one day, we cannot beg entrance to heaven based on our own merit. We have none to offer. Compared to God’s standard of holiness, not one of us is good enough. But Jesus is, and it is by His merit we can enter heaven. First Corinthians 6:9-11 says, “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” The sacrifice of Jesus covers it all.
The people who go to heaven are all alike in one way: they are sinners who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9). They have recognized their need for a Savior and humbly accepted God’s offer of forgiveness. They have repented of their old ways of living and set their course to follow Christ (Mark 8:34; John 15:14). They have not attempted to earn God’s forgiveness but have served him gladly from grateful hearts (Psalm 100:2). The kind of faith that saves a soul is one that transforms a life (James 2:26; 1 John 3:9-10) and rests fully on the grace of God.
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”
They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?” He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”
Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.