What happens after one dies?
That’s a question a attracts varied opinions from people, even some Christians. But the Bible is clear as to what happens to anyone who dies.
One clear insight into this is a story told by Jesus in Luke chapter 16: 22,23 – “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”
In case you’re wondering if this was a parable, in verses 19 and 20, He said: There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
A certain rich man… A certain beggar named Lazarus. So these were real people.
Back verses 22 and 23, the beggar died… The rich man died. This reminds us again of the appointment everyone has with death. Rich or poor, young or old, educated or illiterate. Once death comes knocking, you wave goodbye to life here on earth. (Those who won’t experience death are believers who will be on earth when the rapture takes place. They’ll be “caught up” in the clouds to meet with Jesus.)
For the beggar man, who knows what happened to his body – it probably stank till the government shovelled it up and buried it in a common place. The rich man? Of course, an exquisite burial was conducted for him – with lots of eating and drinking.
But what happened to their body didn’t matter to any of them? Immediately, their soul/spirit walked away from the body, it was ushered into another realm. They could feel, see, recognize people, talk, remember; just like when they were on earth.
The rich man was tormented in hell, he felt the scorching heat, he wept, he thirsted, looked up, recognized Lazarus who was in Abraham’s bosom, and cried out for at least, a drop of water. You can read further down that text to see the reply Abraham gave.
So what are the after-death destinations?
Heaven and hell.
In Ecclesiastes 12: 7, the bible says: Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
The spirit returns, and is either ushered in to dwell with God in heaven, or away from Him, in hell.
When Jesus hung on the cross, you remember what He told one of those thieves who said “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23: 43)
That thief, having accepted the Lordship of Jesus, will join Him in the abode of His Father, that same day – once death separates his spirit/soul from his body.
Make Your Choice
What determines where each person goes is the life he/she lives while on earth. Anyone who accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, turns away from a life of sin, and lives a continual holy life will dwell with Christ in Heaven But for those who reject the gospel and choose to live life on their terms and based on what the world thinks and how the flesh directs will, pitifully, be ushered into hell.
John Knox, that man of great prayers said these powerful words before he died: Live in Christ, die in Christ, and the flesh need not fear death.