Heaven is the dwelling place of God's throne, where Jesus Christ and His angels also reside. Jesus came to take those who believed in Him up to heaven at the time of the Rapture, where the marriage of the Lamb to His bride took place.
The Bible speaks of "three heavens" that exist: the "first heaven" being the sky, the "second heaven" being the universe, and the "third heaven" being where God dwells and where presumably Paul the apostle was carried off to in one of his visions. In The Indwelling, Tsion Ben-Judah experienced a similar phenomenon of being carried off into the "third heaven", courtesy of the Archangel Michael, to see the events of Revelation chapter 12 unfolding.
When the mark of loyalty system was imposed on prisoners in Ptolemais, Greece, Demetrius Demeter, a gifted evangelist and pastor, warned his fellow prisoners about the consequences of receiving the mark and the reward for having faith in Christ:
- It [to accept Christ and refuse the mark] will cost you your life, friend. You think I don't know this is a hard thing? Ask yourself, do I want to be with God in heaven this very night, or do I want to pledge my loyalty to Satan and never be able to change my mind? Tonight you'll be dead for an instant and then in the presence of God. Or you can live another few years and spend eternity in hell. The choice is yours.
The Left Behind series holds that deceased believers immediately have their souls go to heaven once they die as Demetrius Demeter does seem to speak for the authors' position. Thus there is no soul sleep for the deceased believers, or at least for the martyrs. In contrast, the Christ Clone Trilogy does have soul sleep for deceased martyrs, as the protagonist Decker Hawthorne who was decapitated with a sword by the series' antichrist Christopher Goodman and repented during the last few seconds of his life after he was decapitated, was surprised when he regained consciousness in the presence of his saved family and friends in the Millennial Kingdom. Decker Hawthorne was killed a few months before the Battle of Armageddon. In the gospel of Luke, Jesus told the repentant thief that "today, you will be with Me in paradise". This can be compatible with the doctrine of soul sleep if one does not take Jesus' words literally because the thief can awaken in heaven (or earth after some eschatological resurrection event) and not realize how much time had elapsed.
In other religions
Revelation 7:9 speaks of a Great Multitude whose number cannot be counted (thus they cannot be the 144,000) who have came out of the great tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:15). The Great Multitude stood before the throne of God and before the Lamb. It is usually taken for granted that the Great Multitude are in the presence of God in heaven. The Jehovah's Witnesses believe that only the 144,000 (who are among the Jehovah's Witnesses) go to heaven to reign with Christ as priests, while the rest of the saved Jehovah's Witnesses get to dwell on a restored paradise earth for all eternity. (Most translations of Revelation 7:9, such as the NIV, New American Standard Version and King James Version, say "great multitude", but the Jehovah's Witness theology call those who would dwell on earth "the great crowd".) The Jehovah's Witnesses support this two-tiered system of salvation by citing John 10:16 which speaks of "other sheep" who are understood to not be among the anointed 144,000 Jehovah's Witnesses but nonetheless those who are the saved among the great crowd, while "other sheep" is usually understood by most other Christians to be the Gentiles.