Top 20 Most Frequently Asked Bible Questions:
What Happens After Death?
Did you know the fear of death is a real phobia for more than 20% of people?
I love what Billy Graham said about the mystery of heaven, “Just as there is a mystery to hell, so there is a mystery to heaven. Yet I believe the Bible teaches that heaven is a literal place. Is it one of the stars? I don’t know, I can’t even speculate. The Bible doesn’t inform us. I believe that out there in space where there are one thousand million galaxies, each a hundred thousand light years or more in diameter, God can find someplace to put us in heaven. I’m not worried about where it is. I know it will be where Jesus is.”
I know it will be where Jesus is.
While we can debate exactly what happens after death, one thing believers know for sure is we will be where Jesus is.
Let’s consider what the Bible teaches about what happens after death.
Some Spend Eternity in the Presence of the Lord
The Bible is clear that those who put their faith in Jesus receive forgiveness for their sins and will have eternal life.
According to John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Not only will believers have eternal life, but they will spend eternity in the presence of Jesus.
For believers, this means death is not the end – it is the start of something beautiful and more than we can wrap our human minds around.
Jesus told the thief on the cross next to him who believed, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
In other words, when the thief died on the cross, he entered eternal paradise and into the presence of Jesus.
Some Will Be Separated from Him for Eternity
However, those who have not put their trust in Jesus Christ will have to account for every sin they’ve ever committed. Their sin will separate them from God for eternity.
Even without considering the images the Bible gives of Hell, these people have every reason to fear death.
As Ray Pritchard explains, “For the unbeliever, death begins an experience of unending conscious punishment.”
The contrast between an eternity spent in the presence of Jesus and one of punishment is heartbreaking.
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” – Matthew 25:46
What We All Deserve
Because there’s no one righteous (without sin), no one deserves the presence of the Lord.
As Sarah Freyermuth explains for CRU, “A holy God in a holy heaven cannot allow us, in our sinful state, to enter His presence. Thus, left to our own devices, we are prohibited from going to heaven when we die. Although most people assume they will go to heaven, the default is actually hell.”
It is only through Christ’s death on the cross that we can enter His presence when we die.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23
Get Some Answers
If you are at the start of your journey following Jesus or have more questions about what happens after death, we’d love for you to join one of our Starting Point Groups.
Starting Point is an 8-week, conversational small group open to anyone with questions – non-believers and believers, alike.
No question is off-limits – even the tricky ones like what happens to your physical body after death and during the resurrection.
If you are curious about what separates those who spend eternity in the presence of the Lord and those who do not, see How to Get to Know God Personally to learn more.