The Afterlife of King Hezekiah: Did He Ascend to Heaven?

Guiding readers on a journey through ancient scriptures, Roman Catholic Church interpretations, and historical documentation, this article aims to provide understanding of Hezekiah's fate in the afterlife.

Last Updated:
April 18, 2024
8 Minutes

Table of Contents

Who was King Hezekiah in the Bible?

King Hezekiah, as Scriptures reveal, was a devout leader, deeply committed to the cause of ushering his people towards faith and piety. The 13th successor of David, he bore the immense responsibility of ruling over Judah from 715 to 686 BC, leaving an indelible mark on the kingdom with his actions and leadership. 

We often wonder, what was so special about Hezekiah's reign? It was a time of spiritual revival and reform. Guided by his commitment to the Lord, Hezekiah ushered in significant religious reforms, reinvigorated worship practices, reinstated the Levitical priesthood, and reestablished the holy celebration of the Passover. These actions were not simply regulations - they were actions of a heart bent on serving God. 

Under Hezekiah's leadership, worshippers returned to the temple which was previously marred by the presence of idols and pagan symbols. Hezekiah's reign was transformative, directing the people's focus back to the worship of the Lord. But, it was not without struggles for Hezekiah, as he faced external threats from the Assyrians, yet emerged victorious, as illustrated in the stories of his life found in the books of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. 

His life unfolded as a exemplar of faith and God's providence, showing us that trusting in the Lord is the pathway to divine breakthroughs. Thinking about it, aren't we on a similar journey too? Trying to follow in the footsteps of figures like King Hezekiah, as we pursue a close relationship with God

Indeed, Hezekiah's story is not just a tale of an ancient king, but a guide on our spiritual journey, provoking thoughts and inspiring a meaningful exploration of our own faith and actions. 

To summarize: 

  • King Hezekiah, the 13th successor of David, ruled Judah from 715 to 686 BC.
  • Hezekiah's reign is characterized by significant spiritual and religious reforms, reinstating the worship of the Lord and discarding paganism.
  • Despite facing threats from external enemies, Hezekiah's faith in the Lord led his kingdom to victory.
  • Hezekiah's life is a narration of dedication and rigorous faith, an inspiration for our personal spiritual journey.

What is known about King Hezekiah's death?

Hezekiah's enduring spirit and his unwavering faith in God were evident throughout his life, all the way to his deathbed. As recounted in the Book of Kings (2 Kings 20), Hezekiah fell gravely ill and was at the brink of death. The resonating words from the prophet Isaiah struck dreadful fear into Hezekiah's heart, instructing him to set his house in order as his demise was near. Confronted by the specter of death, Hezekiah did not falter but turned his face to the wall and earnestly prayed to God. 

In an unforgettable demonstration of divine mercy, God heard Hezekiah's prayer and witnessed his tears. Inspired by his remarkable faith, God healed Hezekiah and added fifteen more years to his life. This dramatic turn of events serves as a testament to Hezekiah's extraordinary relationship with God and his relentless faith that transcended the fear of death itself. 

Years later, having passed both the testing times of adversity and prosperity, Hezekiah inevitably met his end. The details of his death remain a mystery. We know from historical records that he died after a reign of 29 years, around 686 BC. His life serves as a stirring reminder of how an unwavering devotion to God can yield miraculous results, even when faced with the darkest of times. 

To summarize: 

  • Hezekiah fell gravely ill and was instructed by Isaiah to prepare for his imminent death, as mentioned in 2 Kings 20.
  • In response, Hezekiah prayed earnestly to God who, moved by his faith, healed him and extended his life by fifteen years.
  • Hezekiah eventually died around 686 BC after reigning for 29 years. The specific circumstances of his death are not detailed in biblical or historical resources.

Does the Bible say that Hezekiah went to heaven?

Did Hezekiah ascend to the heavenly realm upon his passing? This question still reverberates through the corridors of theological discussion, for like many ancient figures of the Bible, the specifics of Hezekiah's afterlife are not given in explicit detail. However, the scriptures provide hints that can guide us in forming a discerning picture. 

Think about Hezekiah's deep, personal relationship with God. Remember how, in moments of calamity or illness, Hezekiah fervently sought divine intervention and was duly rewarded? How God, seeing Hezekiah's genuine contrition, granted him an extra 15 years of life (2 Kings 20)? These moments underscore Hezekiah's humble spirit and unwavering faith. 

In the Old Testament, the concept of afterlife was not explicitly described like the New Testament conception of heaven and hell. Instead, focus was placed on Sheol, a place where both the righteous and wicked went after death. It was a place of silence, darkness, and oblivion. Yet, who can forget the glorious promise made in the Psalms - that God would ransom his chosen from the power of Sheol (Psalm 49:15)? 

Drawing from these insights, we, the community of believers, can surmise that Hezekiah did not go unnoticed in death. Like David, whose promise of eternal life with God was steeped in faith and trust, so too did Hezekiah trust in the Living God. So, while the Bible does not explicitly state Hezekiah's afterlife destiny, his life of faithful devotion makes a compelling case for his heavenly reception. 

To summarize: 

  • Hezekiah had a close relationship with God and often prayed to Him in times of distress.
  • Hezekiah was granted an extra 15 years of life on earth after earnest prayer, reflecting his favored stance with God.
  • The Old Testament does not declare explicit afterlife destinations, but Psalms 49:15 promises God's ransom of his chosen from Sheol.
  • While the Bible does not confirm Hezekiah's afterlife, his faith and devotion suggest a positive outcome.

What is the Catholic Church's stance on Hezekiah and his afterlife?

If we were to turn our gaze towards the Catholic Church's perspective, we would find a profound appreciation for the righteous life of Hezekiah, yet an understanding that Catholic doctrine does not explicitly reference the afterlife of individual Old Testament figures, including King Hezekiah. This understanding aligns with their broader interpretations of biblical texts, where the specifics of heaven, purgatory, and hell, as we discern them today, began to evolve more distinctly in the New Testament era. 

From the vantage point of Catholic theology, King Hezekiah's devout faith and righteous actions manifest signs of a man embracing what the Church understands as "prevenient grace"—the grace of God actively working in a person's life before they come to conscious faith. Engaging God with a contrite heart as Hezekiah did - praying and reasoning with Him during his illness, are seen as essential qualities of a soul seeking intimacy with the Divine. 

While the Church does not conclusively announce that Hezekiah entered what we now conceptualize as ‘heaven,’ there's a powerful sense that his profound relationship with God, his virtuous deeds, and the reforms he instituted would have found favor in the eyes of the Lord. In the end, it is God, in His omniscient wisdom and boundless mercy, who discerns the final destination of each soul. 

To summarize: 

  • The Catholic Church appreciates King Hezekiah's righteousness but doesn't explicitly state his afterlife destination.
  • Catholic doctrine tends to explore specifics of heaven, purgatory, and hell in the context of New Testament teachings.
  • Hezekiah's life demonstrates signs of what the Church calls 'prevenient grace', paving the way for a deeper relationship with God.
  • God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, is understood to be the ultimate arbiter of a soul's final destination.

Are there any biblical references to King Hezekiah's afterlife?

We must delve into the source text itself, the Bible, to explore the topic of King Hezekiah's afterlife. Combing through the scriptures, we encounter a vast silence on this subject; there is no direct biblical reference to Hezekiah's afterlife in the books where his life and deeds are portrayed. These books - 2 Kings 16:20-20:21, 2 Chronicles 28:27-32:33, and Isaiah 36:1-39:8 - detail Hezekiah's life, his inner spiritual journey, his actions as king, and his death, but they do not explicitly depict him ascending to heaven. 

Although our search for a distinct depiction of Hezekiah in heaven might end in vain, we are led to another thought-provoking contemplation: What does the lack of this depiction suggest? Could it be a broader indication of how the afterlife is conceptualized and communicated in the Old Testament? We're drawn into a wider conversation about the metaphysical understanding of the Old Testament when we consider this ambiguity. 

Does it mean that Hezekiah did not go to heaven? Or does it simply underscore the discrete and restrained manner in which the Old Testament speaks of life beyond death? Perhaps it is not our place to decipher these divine mysteries but rather to meditate on the faith, devotion, and righteousness that defined Hezekiah's earthly life. 

To summarize: 

  • The Bible does not provide a direct reference to Hezekiah's afterlife, particularly in the books where his life and deeds are chronicled.
  • The silence on Hezekiah's afterlife might reflect a general reticence in the Old Testament concerning the specifics of life after death.
  • The absence of information does not inherently imply that Hezekiah did not ascend to heaven; rather, it reiterates the enigmatic nature of divine mysteries.
  • In lieu of any definitive statement on Hezekiah's afterlife, the focus should remain on the faith, courage, and righteousness that marked his earthly life.

Are there any historical records about King Hezekiah's death?

There's an undeniable sense of mystery surrounding the death of King Hezekiah. Despite the numerous biblical references, historical records of Hezekiah's death are scarce, which is not surprising considering the time he lived in. 

Most of what we know about King Hezekiah comes from the Sacred Scriptures. According to the Bible, Hezekiah became critically ill and was close to death. Yet, with earnest prayer and the intervention of the prophet Isaiah, he had his life extended by fifteen years (2 Kings 20). Interestingly, the Scriptures state that upon recovery, Hezekiah did not respond to the kindness shown to him (2 Chronicles 32:25). However, after some introspection, he humbled himself and regained favor in the eyes of the Lord. 

While the Bible provides us with incredible richness and depth of insight into Hezekiah's reign, his church reforms, and his relationship with God, it remains silent on the specific details of his passing. This lack of explicit mention may indicate that his death may have been a peaceful one, considering his close walk with God and the God-centric reforms he ignited during his lifetime. However, exact details of Hezekiah's death - whether he had any last words or any special happenings surrounding his passing - are hidden in the fog of antiquity. 

We, as seekers of truth, must remember that though the written history and documents may lack specific details, God in His divine wisdom knows all. And that, my dear reader, includes the final destiny of King Hezekiah. In our pursuit of understanding, let us honor this God-centered King who sought favor in the sight of the Lord and led his people towards righteousness. 

To summarize: 

  • Historical records about Hezekiah's death are scarce, with the Bible being the primary source of information.
  • Hezekiah's life, according to the Bible, was extended by a lifespan of fifteen years after a critical illness, due to his prayer and the intercession of Prophet Isaiah (2 Kings 20).
  • Scripture does not explicitly detail the circumstances of King Hezekiah's death.
  • Given Hezekiah's strong relationship with God, it is speculated that his death may have been a peaceful one.

Does the concept of heaven and hell exist in the Old Testament where King Hezekiah's story is told?

The concepts of heaven and hell, as understood in much of modern Christian theology, are not explicitly formulated in the Old Testament, where King Hezekiah's narrative is told. That being said, the Old Testament does contain certain notions of life after death and the final judgment. 

Most specifically, the Old Testament refers to a place called 'Sheol', often translated as 'the grave' or 'the world of the dead'. Sheol, often depicted as a dark, quiet place deep within the earth (Psalm 88:3-6), was the final resting place for everyone, regardless of moral or spiritual standing (Ecclesiastes 9:10). It's worth noting, Sheol is not presented as a place of punishment, but rather a realm of oblivion where the dead 'sleep'. 

Moreover, the Old Testament presents God as a righteous Judge who will ultimately vindicate the righteous and punish the wicked- a concept hinting towards a sort of eschatological justice system (Psalm 98:9), even if it doesn’t neatly map onto contemporary notions of heaven and hell. 

The revelations given throughout the New Testament, particularly in the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul, provide a more detailed understanding of heaven and hell as places of final reward and punishment. This later developed understanding does not negate the relevance of Old Testament theology, but rather deepens and complements it. 

To summarize: 

  • The Old Testament, which encompasses King Hezekiah's story, does not explicitly present the concepts of heaven and hell as understood in modern Christian theology.
  • Instead, it mentions 'Sheol', a realm of oblivion where all the dead were believed to rest, irrespective of their moral or spiritual standing during life.
  • The Old Testament also introduces the God-as-Judge motif, suggesting an aligned concept of divine justice.
  • The specific concepts of heaven and hell, as places of eternal reward or eternal punishment, are more explicitly developed in the New Testament.

Did Hezekiah turn his back on God?

We must contemplate, did Hezekiah stray from his devout course? While it is true that Hezekiah, the King of Judah, was blessed by God as a righteous man and a committed leader, his path was not without a few missteps. A definitive moment highlighted in the Bible, specifically in 2 Chronicles 32:25, reveals that Hezekiah's heart became proud, and he failed to adequately respond to the kindness that God showered upon him. This suggests a lapse in Hezekiah's spiritual and moral conduct. 

The Lord had blessed Hezekiah with riches and honor, but the King, overcome with pride, imprudently chose to flaunt his possession to the Babylonians, a choice that later prompted divine wrath. Hezekiah's sinful pride was, regretfully, his downfall. Conversely, Hezekiah did show remorse and repented his actions, demonstrating his enduring love and dedication for God, but his earlier act of pride left a lasting imprint. 

Even as we cast our gaze upon Hezekiah's transgressions, we cannot discard the fact that throughout his life, Hezekiah consistently turned to God in difficult times. Hezekiah committed himself to praying for God's glory above all. These actions are testament to the strong relationship he maintained with God, despite his human frailties. Reflect on this, did King Hezekiah's relationship with God falter completely, or merely reflect the ups and downs we, as humans, undergo in our spiritual journey? 

To summarize: 

  • Hezekiah exhibited pride and failed to respond to the kindness God had shown him, as cited in 2 Chronicles 32:25.
  • Despite his sinful pride, Hezekiah demonstrated repentance, reminding us of his enduring commitment to God.
  • His life was characterized by a strong relationship with God, a relationship that persisted despite his human frailties.
  • The narrative of Hezekiah serves to remind us that spiritual journeys, while intended to reach divine perfection, are inevitably marked by human imperfections.

Facts & Stats

Hezekiah is one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew

Hezekiah is credited with initiating religious reforms, including the centralization of worship in Jerusalem and the elimination of pagan worship

Hezekiah's prayer for healing is recorded in Isaiah 38:2-3

The Bible does not explicitly state what happened to Hezekiah after his death

The concept of heaven as understood in modern Christianity does not appear explicitly in Old Testament texts

King Hezekiah ruled Judah for 29 years


Isaiah 38:1

Isaiah 38:2-3

Frequently asked questions

Leave a comment
Christian Pure Team
Written By:
Christian Pure Team
Find Out More
Christian Pure Merch

Explore our Products

Handcrafted christian products to bless your home.

Back to top

Related Articles

Instagram @type_writer

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.