The top two fears of human beings (according to Jerry Seinfeld) is #2 Death and #1 … public speaking. To which Jerry says, “This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
All of us think about death.
Some of us try not to, but it’s impossible to not think about what may happen after we die. Because, last I checked, your mortality rate is 100%. Whether you eat hamburgers and never exercise OR whether you eat nuts and berries and work out relentlessly, you WILL die.
So, I don’t think it’s morbid or out of place to think about death. But what does the Bible say about death?
In fact, in the book of Ecclesiates, we are told this is exactly what we should do while we are alive.
“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” Ecclesiastes 7|2
When someone starts to contemplate death, one of the first places they turn is the Bible. Even without reading the Bible, I think most people are pretty aware that the Bible talks about heaven, hell, and the afterlife. But what does the Bible actually say about death?
Is there life after death? Death is not the end
For God’s plan found in Scripture to make any sense, there HAS to be life after death.
God intentionally refuses to fix all the problems of this world. He could easily will away heartache, pain, and all the things that cause death. So if God is good, then His plan must be ultimately fulfilled, not in this life, but in life after death.
In fact, the Bible refers to life after death as “eternal life.” The concept is simple. Is there a way to live and not experience death? And the answer is simply “yes.”
The reason John 3:16 is the most famous verse in the Bible is because it describes how to obtain eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3|16
So there it is.
It is important to know these three things:
- Yes, there is life after death (eternal life).
- God loves you and has provided a way for you to have this eternal life.
- He gave His son so that you can have eternal life.
So how does this work, exactly? Keep reading.
What happens to your soul when you die? We don’t have to fear death
God wants to prepare you so you do not have to fear death … even a little bit. By believing in Him we know that God has conquered death. 1 Corinthians 15 says that Jesus died so that the effects of death will not apply to us. Then he says in verse 54:
“‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’” 1 Corinthians 15|54-55
For someone who has surrendered their life to God by believing in His son, death is not something to be feared because it has already been conquered.
But it still hurts when we lose someone.
Though we can be fully confident of our own belief in Christ, we can’t really know fully if someone else believed. AND, even if they did, we still miss them and mourn them. Jesus was visiting Lazarus after he had died and in the shortest verse in the Bible, it says that “Jesus wept,” John 11|35.
Now here is what’s crazy: Jesus was about to bring Lazarus back from the dead. But he saw the weeping of Lazarus’s family and felt the pain of loss. So in that moment, before he performed his greatest miracle, he wept.
Of course it hurts when we lose someone. The hope we have for ourselves, if we believe, does not take away the pain we will still experience here on earth.
What is heaven like?
I wish we could jump online and view pictures of heaven just like we do when we rent an Airbnb. However, Scripture doesn’t give us a perfect picture of heaven, but we do know what really matters about heaven. Revelation 21 describes it this way:
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’” Revelation 21|3-4
First, and most importantly, God’s dwelling will be among His people. That will be the first time that has happened since Genesis chapter 3. The relationship between God and mankind will be fully restored, because He provided a way through Jesus, and we chose Him through faith in His son.
Therefore His plan has been fully realized. He will remove all pain and death because the old order (the order under which we currently live here on earth) has passed away.
What is hell like?
While we are not told exactly what hell will be like, we can get the general vibe.
“He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” 2 Thessalonians 1|8-9
Hell is for anyone who rejects God’s grace. His grace is Jesus Christ dying to give us a path to eternal life. Those who reject God will be shut out from His presence and face everlasting destruction.
How do I get to heaven?
The only thing we need to do is believe in Jesus.
Now, let me be clear, when you really believe in something it changes everything about you. For instance, IF you believed the place you are sitting right now, as you read this, was above a massive sinkhole, that belief would lead to an action. You would not be sitting where you are sitting right now!
In the same way, belief in Jesus is simple.
It’s a decision you make in your heart, but real belief will lead to action.
Real belief in Jesus Christ will cause you to bring your entire life under the submission and authority of God. In Acts 2|37, people heard the message of Jesus for the first time and asked the question, “Brothers, what should we do?” They had belief and then that faith led them to take action.
“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Acts 2|38
What does the Bible say about death — Conclusion
You can make the decision to believe right now. You don’t need anyone to help you make that decision. You just simply believe. If that belief is real, it will lead you to take action.
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk