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  • Writer's pictureSusan

What Happens When We Die?

Traditionally, most Christians believe that when we die we go to Heaven or Hell depending on whether or not we've been good or not. Is this biblical? The bible has a lot to say about death, but it might not be what you think it is. For starters, there are two types of death. There is the death we experience at the end of our lifetime. It may be tragic and sudden or it may be welcomed at the end of a long and happy life. The bible describes this death as a sleep. The second type of death is a final death - an eternal separation from God based on our own choices.


The first death is an illustration of the second death to come. We feel that awful separation from our loved ones and mourn their loss. It is supposed to wake us up to the reality of eternal separation. Jesus often refers to it as a sleep. To Him, it is a temporary condition, but it gets the point across. When He prevents people from continuing to perpetuate sin, He sometimes puts them to sleep, but it will ultimately be their own choices that will result in their final death.


The second death is that final separation from God. It is the culmination of our choices to either be selfless or selfish. God as the life-giver, is a gentleman. He will never use force or take away our freedom to choose. If we choose to walk away from Him, He will honor that choice. However, the natural consequence is that we die and cannot stand in His presence. Not because He does not love us, but because we choose to hang onto sin and choose not to have anything to do with him.




Why is it important to understand death?

It is vitally important to know whether or not the dead can contact us. The Bible indicates that we are not to talk to those claiming to be our dearly departed because Even Satan can impersonate an angel of light, how easy do you think it is to impersonate a dead person? The Bible says that the dead know not anything. If we believe God's word then these spirits or ghosts claiming to be our loved ones must be lying. If a fallen angel observed your loved one and knows those things done in secret, how easy would it be to bring those tidbits of information out to make you believe they are who they say they are.


The dead know nothing, they have no part in our lives, they are not being tormented in Hell and they are not strumming harps up in Heaven. They are simply sleeping in the grave awaiting resurrection at Jesus' coming.


If we are confused about death and believe that our souls are immortal, Satan has a prime opportunity to deceive us. We are likely to trust spirits who appear to us as friends and relatives. Many people today consult with "familiar spirits" in the form of people they looked up to. These spirits guide them in their lives and careers, helping them to become successful and rich. But in the end, they become enslaved and find it impossible to break free from them.


God loves us and desires freedom. Satan wishes to enslave us. Even though we may ask for the Holy Spirit to live within us, God never forces us do anything against our will. He merely warns us of the danger. Satan, on the other hand, will use deception to trick us into allowing him into our hearts and then doesn't let go. Our protection is an understanding of Gods Word! There are several verses in the Bible that tell us not to consult mediums, necromancers or those who consult the dead. As Christians, we should have nothing to do with demons, no matter who they may pretend to be.




Bible Verses Concerning Death

Let's explore all of the instances in the Bible that death is used. As you read them, try to determine which death is being referred to. Most of these verses actually pertain to the second death.

  • Numbers 23:10 - “Who can count the dust of Jacob, Or number one-fourth of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, And let my end be like his!” (NKJ)

  • Psalm 6:5 - For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks? (NKJ)

  • Psalm 13:3 - Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, (NKJ)

  • Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (NASB)

  • Psalm 56:13 - For You have delivered my soul from death. Have You not kept my feet from falling, That I may walk before God In the light of the living? (NKJ)

  • Psalm 89:48 What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave? Selah (NKJ)

  • Proverbs 2:16-20 "To deliver you from the immoral woman, From the seductress who flatters with her words, Who forsakes the companion of her youth, And forgets the covenant of her God. For her house leads down to death, and her paths to the dead; None who go to her return, Nor do they regain the paths of life—So you may walk in the way of goodness, And keep to the paths of righteousness."

  • Proverbs 8:36 “But one who sins against me injures himself; All those who hate me love death.”

  • Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

  • Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the disgrace of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken.

  • Ezekial 18:32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live!”

  • Hosea 13:14 “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes.” (pity for death)

  • Amos 5:8 He made the Pleiades and Orion; He turns the shadow of death into morning And makes the day dark as night; He calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the face of the earth; The LORD is His name.

  • Matthew 16:28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (This could not have referred to the first death because every person there died the first death. But there were people there who would experience the second death, but only after they see Jesus coming in His kingdom at the end.)

  • John 5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. (This refers to the second death after Jesus comes again, we mortals then become immortal)

  • John 8:51 Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” (Again, this refers to the second death, the final separation from God.)

  • John 11:13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.

  • Romans 5:12-14 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

  • Romans 5:21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Romans 6:9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.

  • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • Romans 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.

  • 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 But thanks be to God, who always leads us triumphantly as captives in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the sweet aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one, we are an odor of death and demise; to the other, a fragrance that brings life. And who is qualified for such a task?

  • 2 Corinthians 4:12 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. (NIV)

  • 2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

  • Philippians 2:8 and in fashion having been found as a man, he humbled himself, having become obedient unto death -- death even of a cross,

  • Hebrews 2:9 and him who was made some little less than messengers we see -- Jesus -- because of the suffering of the death, with glory and honour having been crowned, that by the grace of God for every one he might taste of death.

  • Hebrews 2:14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,

  • Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

  • James 1:15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

  • 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,

  • 1 John 5:16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.

  • Revelation 2:10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

  • Revelation 20:1-15 ESV Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. ...

  • Revelation 21:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

  • Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

  • 1 Corinthians 15

"The Risen Christ, Our Hope Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

The Last Enemy Destroyed But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

Effects of Denying the Resurrection Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead? And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

A Glorious Body But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.

All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.

There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.

So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam (Jesus) became a life-giving spirit.

However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

Our Final Victory Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”


The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."



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