Dead - What Happens When You Die? Do you continue to live somewhere, maybe as a free floating spirit? Do you go to heaven? Do
you go to hell?
There are 2 basic theories about what happens when a person dies. You are either asleep in death or you are not asleep and a person's spirit is set free from the body, which, depending on one's beliefs, may go to various places such as a heaven or hell, or maybe something in between. But, what does God, who is the ultimate authority about such things, have to say about this condition of death? The only way to know is to read the Bible and determine what he says about it.
Below, the author has attempted to find and list every verse in the bible reasonably relating to death or a person's condition in death. Some verses have been omitted because they had little relevance to this study. Study it carefully as this is not an easy subject.
A couple of definitions of words used in the bible related to death:
Hell - This word originally was a reference to the place of the dead generally, but now has come to mean almost exclusively the place of punishment of those who are lost and not saved. Sheol - The place of the dead in the Old Testament (Hebrew). Hades - The place of the dead in the New Testament (Greek). Gehenna - The place of final punishment for the wicked. If, after reading over the verses below, you would like to study this subject more in depth, click here.
There is a hypothesis that some have put forward that the sinners stay asleep in the grave until the second resurrection, at which time they will be punished in hell until they die again, while the good go to heaven upon death. Consider this hypothesis in the light of this Bible verse below written in the New Testament after the death of Jesus. Does this idea still hold in your mind after reading the verse below?
Here is the Bible verse: Act 2:34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
Now, David was a good person, for did not God say that David was a person after his own heart? (1Sa 13:14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.) So, if anyone was going to go to heaven at the moment of death, it would have been him. Right? So why, if the good go to heaven at death, does this verse say that David has not ascended to heaven hundreds of years after his death and even after the death of Jesus? Something to think about.
Genesis 2:7 - And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (the author includes this because this is the reverse of death - the creation of a life that did not exist before)
Genesis 2:17 - but you shall not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. (this is the first reference in the bible to death, though only a warning of what would happen in this verse)
Genesis 3:3 - But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
Genesis 3:4 - And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
Genesis 3:19 - In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are, and to dust you shall return
Genesis 6:17 - And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.
Deuteronomy 5:25 - Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die.
1 Kings 17:21 - And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again.
Job 14:12 - So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.
Job 14:13 - O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!
Job 14:14 - If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
Job 14:15 - Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.
Psa 6:5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
Psa 13:3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
Psa 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Psa 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
Psa 22:29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.
Psa 30:3 O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Psa 33:19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
Psa 49:14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.
Psa 49:15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
Psa 55:15 Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.
Psa 63:9 But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
Psa 78:50 He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence;
Psa 86:13 For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
Psa 89:48 What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.
Psa 104:29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.
Psa 115:17 The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.
Pro 6:32 But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
Ecc 3:21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
Ecc 8:8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.
Ecc 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Ecc 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
Isa 22:14 And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
Isa 38:18 For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.
Isa 66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.
Eze 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Eze 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
Eze 18:27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
Eze 18:28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
Eze 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.
Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Mat 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Parable about Lazarus, Abraham, and the rich man
Luk 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
Luk 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
Luk 16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
Luk 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
Luk 16:23 And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luk 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
Luk 16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
Luk 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Luk 16:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
Luk 16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Luk 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
Luk 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
Luk 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
Joh 5:25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
The story of the resurrection of Lazarus (NOT a parable of Jesus but an actual event):
Joh 11:1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
Joh 11:2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
Joh 11:3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
Joh 11:4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
Joh 11:5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
Joh 11:6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
Joh 11:7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judea again.
Joh 11:8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?
Joh 11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
Joh 11:10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
Joh 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
Joh 11:12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
Joh 11:13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
Joh 11:14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
Joh 11:15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.
Act 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there
shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
Rom 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Rom 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1Co 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
1Co 15:51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1Co 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1Co 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1Co 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
1Co 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Phi 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Phi 1:22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
Phi 1:23 For I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
Phi 1:24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
1Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1Th 4:16 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:
1Th 4:17 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.
1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
2Ti 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
2Pe 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
1Pe 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
1Pe 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
1Pe 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
Jude 1:7 - Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
Rev 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Rev 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
Rev 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
Rev 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
Rev 6:11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
Revelation 14:9 - And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
Revelation 14:10 - The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
Revelation 14:11 - And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Revelation 14:12 - Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Revelation 20:9 - And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
Revelation 20:10 - And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever
Revelation 20:11 - And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Revelation 20:12 - And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Revelation 20:13 - And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Revelation 20:14 - And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Revelation 20:15 - And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.