The idea of death can be scary. While there are many unknowns regarding death, we as believers, have nothing to fear. In fact, we Christians can look forward to it with anxious anticipation. In Philippians 1:21-23, Paul declared, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain, I am torn between the two: I desire to depart to be with Christ, which is better by far.”
It was not God’s original purpose for us to die. God made man to live forever on earth. As we learned in Genesis, God placed the first human couple in a delightful paradise. He blessed them with perfect health. God wanted only good for them. Does any loving parent want his children to suffer the pain of old age and death? Of course not. The Bible says, “God created us with the desire to live forever ever, And He has opened the way for that desire to be fulfilled” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). God created us with desire to live forever, and He has opened the way for that desire to be fulfilled.
While we know there are various stages that we will go through when we die, what many wonder about what happens when we die. We can turn to the Bible directly for insight on death and life after. Here are five fascinating things the Bible says about death.
We No Longer Act, Think or Feel
How it feels to die depends a lot on how you die. Some who die due to illness or accidental causes will experience pain. Others, who die of natural causes lose their senses gradually. Palliative care specialist James Hallenbeck explains the process of active dying, which occurs during the final few days from someone who’s dying gradually. During this period, you often lose your senses. Hunger and thirst go first; then you lose the ability to speak, which is followed by the ability to see. Finally, hearing and touch will go. The Bible says, “The living are conscious that they will die, but as far as the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). Therefore, when we die, we cease to exist. The dead can’t act, think, or feel anything.
We Turn to Dust
According to Scripture, we will return as dust. God explained what happens when we die when he spoke to the first man, Adam. Because Adam was disobedient, God said to him, “Dust you are and dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19). Before God created Adam “out of dust from the ground,” Adam did not exist (Genesis 2:17). Likewise, when Adam died, he returned to dust and ceased to exist. The same thing happens to those who die now. Speaking of both humans and animals, the Bible says, “They have all come from me by dust, and they are all returning to the dust” (Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20).
Our Souls Are Taken to Heaven
For believers, the Bible tells us that after death believers, souls are taken to heaven, because their sins are forgiven by receiving Jesus Christ. For believers, death is to be a home away from the body and with the Lord. We also know from Scripture that death is not the end. The Bible often compares death to sleep. Psalm 13:3 says, “Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes or I will sleep in death.” John 11:11-14 says, “After he had said this, he went to tell them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up’ His disciples replied, ‘Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.’ Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead.’” A person who is fast asleep is unaware of what is happening around them. Likewise, the dead are not conscious of anything.
Jesus Will Escort Us to Our New Home
Jesus promised at the moment of our death, He will personally take us by the hand and escort us to our new home in heaven. This is not the job of the angels. He reserves the right for Himself the right to personally accompany us to heaven’s glory. The Bible tells us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would have I told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am. You know the place where I’m going” (John 14:1-4).
We Have the Kingdom of Heaven to Look Forward To
One of the greatest things that we have to look forward to is the Kingdom of Heaven. When we enter, the struggle over sin will finally be over. We all struggle with sin every day. We know that in the kingdom of heaven “nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). This is only possible because of Jesus. We have no fear of being judged for our sin because it was already judged and taken away at the cross by Christ. We will have heavenly bodies, free from sin. We will no longer face the challenges and limitations we face one earth.
God’s Word also provides assurance of life after death. God promises that we will return through a resurrection of the dead. This is how mankind will receive the gift of eternal life. Even though are bodies are temporary, subject to decay and death, God has planned for us much more than just this limited existence.