Death: What does the Bible tell us about it?
The Bible discusses numerous kinds of death. This study will be primarily to do with physical death. What exactly happens to a person when they die? What does the Bible tell us about that? First, physical death for a person is the separation of the soul from the body. The soul of the person never dies, just their body. For someone who has accepted Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the sole basis for their salvation, their soul goes to Heaven to be with the Lord, their Savior.
2 Corinthians 5:8
8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. [Emphasis added]
You just need to realize that personal works, church membership, and things like that count for nothing in the attainment of salvation. It is of extreme importance for everyone to settle this matter by accepting Christ as their only Savior before they die.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. [Emphasis added]
Salvation and entrance into Heaven where our Lord is residing cannot be earned. It truly is a gift.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. [Emphasis added]
Salvation is absolutely free to us. Christ did all the work through His death, burial, and resurrection to provide that. The only thing we contributed to our salvation was the sin that made it necessary.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 For he [God the Father] hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]
For the person who has not accepted that work of His, death is entirely different. That person dies and ends up suffering in a new body forever in the place called hell. Our Lord informs us that a type of resurrection occurs for both believers and unbelievers, not just believers.
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. [Emphasis added]
The doing of “good” is to do with doing things God’s way in salvation. As one reads through the Bible, it is seen that the specifics of what God has required has changed from time to time. But in all of it there’s always been the demand for the expression of one’s personal faith for the salvation God offered. Today, faith must be expressed regarding the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [Emphasis added]
It is faith alone in this which Jesus Christ did for you that will prepare you for a wonderful life in this place the Bible speaks of as Heaven.
In physical death the chemical makeup of the human body decomposes. We see an example of that in the death of a man called Lazarus.
39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. [Emphasis added]
But no matter what happens to the body, a believer will later receive a new and perfect body in which he will live forever. Here we have the words of our Lord to Martha and family members after the death of this man Lazarus.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? [Emphasis added]
That’s a question we all need to answer in the affirmative. For those who are saved, they will get to reside in a new resurrection body forever.
21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. [Emphasis added]
This assures us that we’ll get to have all the wonderful features Christ was given in His resurrection body. Many of the features of this body are listed in another article on this website called— Resurrection: What will your resurrection body be like?
1 Peter 1:3-5
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [Emphasis added]
The permanency of our salvation is made clear. There’s nothing that could ever cause us to lose it.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Emphasis added]
Salvation is truly ours forever. The unification of our soul and spirit with this new body will occur at what we often speak of as the Rapture.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. [Emphasis added]
These words should always be of great comfort to us as His people. For us as believers, the physical death and separation of any fellow believer is not permanent. It is only a temporary separation. When people don’t know or believe these things, the death of a love one can be a traumatic experience. This should create in all of us a sense of urgency to present the gospel [the good news] about the salvation God offers through Christ to everyone. Without it people have no hope of ever seeing their loved ones again. Death will mean a permanent separation.