What happens when we die?

Question:

What happens when a person dies and can we be reunited with those who died before us?

Answer:

In spite of the many religions that teach that a person goes straight to heaven or to hell when they die, or that they are reincarnated in another form, this is not the teaching of the Bible.  The Bible teaches that when we die, we enter into a dreamless sleep.  For many this is quite a shock, but the Bible is totally clear on this issue.  The Bible further states that when Jesus has gone to heaven to prepare a place for us, and when He returns to this earth, there will be a resurrection of those who died after giving their lives to God.  Of course, this then means that yes, we can be reunited with our loved ones who die before us, if they were committed Christians.  Let us look at just a few of the Bible passages about this topic:

Ecclesiastes 9: 5 For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten. ? 6 Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun.
10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.

Job 14: 12 So man lies down and does not rise.?Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep.
21 His sons come to honor, and he does not know it; they are brought low, and he does not perceive it.

Psalm 146: 4       His spirit (breath) departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish.

Daniel 12: 1 “At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. ?And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. ?2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, ?Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
13 “But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.”

John 11: 11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” ?12 Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” 13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. ?14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.
15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.” ?16 Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”   ?17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. 19 And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. ?20 Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. 21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” ?23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” ?24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” ?25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

John 14: 1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Acts 2: 29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ?    ‘ The LORD said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand,’

1 Corinthians 15: 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 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. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

1 Thessalonians 4: 13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.? 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

John 5: 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

So there you have it, the good news that if we accept Jesus as our own personal Saviour, we need have no fear of death.  Death is only a complete unconscious state, or sleep, and when we open our eyes again, it will be to see Jesus coming to fetch us to heaven with those who have given themselves to God.  What a glorious event to look forward to!

Ecclesiastes 9:5

For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten.

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