Throughout the centuries men and women have asked, What happens to people when they die? What is beyond the grave? Can the dead communicate with the living?
Spiritualism is growing by leaps and bounds. Multitudes are attempting to find meaningful answers to the mystery of death: Even some churchmen have attempted contacts with those who have died. Yet, with all the scientific research, we are still unable to answer the question of what happens to a person at death.
The answer to the mystery of death is found only within the Holy Scriptures. Scripture is a reliable guide:
1. The question of death is closely tied to creation. How were we created? Genesis 2:7.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."
The Bible does not teach that God placed a soul in us at creation: It specifically states that God formed man (body) out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into him the breath of life, and man became a living soul (person or being).
To state it in equation form, body + breath = living soul.
2. Is the soul mortal or immortal? Ezekiel 18:4.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die."
"Mortal" means subject to death: "Immortal" means not subject to death, imperishable.
3: Who only has immortality? 1 Timothy 6:15, 16
MY BIBLE SAYS: ". . .who is the blessed and only Potentate, King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen."
4. If only God has immortality and man receives it at the second coming, what happens to a man at death? John 11:11-14:
MY BIBLE SAYS: "These things He said, . . . 'Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.' Then His disciples said, 'Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.' However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead.' "
5: How does Solomon describe what happens at death? Ecclesiastes 12:7
MY BIBLE SAYS: "Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it."
6. Are human beings conscious at death? Ecclesiastes 9:5,6
MY BIBLE SAYS: "For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; . . ."
7: What about the thought processes, do they continue after death? Psalm 146:4
MY BIBLE SAYS: "His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish."
8: What is the spirit that returns to God? James 2:26
MY BIBLE SAYS: "For as the body without the spirit (breath) is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
The spirit and the breath are the same throughout Scripture. That which returns to God is the lifegiving power. It is not a functioning, conscious entity. It was not conscious when it entered man, and it is not conscious when it leaves.
9. Can the dead worship God? Psalm 115:17; 6:5.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "The dead do not praise the Lord, nor any who go down into silence."
"For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks?"
10. When will the dead meet their Lord? 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."
11. Who has the keys to the grave? Revelation 1:18.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death."
12. Since Jesus has immortality and will grant it to us at His second advent, how can we be sure to receive it? 1 John 5:11, 12.
MY BIBLE SAYS: "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life."
Death is a peaceful sleep until the return of Jesus. There is no consciousness of the passage of time in the grave. For the righteous the next event after death is redemption. Death for the believer is no more to be feared than a rest in the arms of a loving Saviour.
MY DECISION: Placing my full confidence in Jesus, I trust Him to raise me in the first resurrection if I die before He returns.