Death what happens when we die? by John C. Ferreira Time and time again I hear people make comments about those who have died such as, "He is in a much better place." or "She is with the Lord in heaven." but is this what we find in the clear teachings of the bible? Death is always a sad time in people's lives. Sometimes, at the expense of truth, we say things that help to make a grieving person feel better. Jesus had to deal with the same issue when His friend Lazarus died. What was Jesus' response to Larzurus' family and friends? John 11:11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, "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. John 11:21 Then Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.'' Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." When we die we are asleep in the grave. We don't go anywhere we don't think nor do we suffer. For some people this very well may be a better place from what they are presently suffering but it sure isn't the best. As we hear teachers of God's word we should never just take what they say without first comparing it with Scripture. People who don't do this begin believing things that are unscriptural. We must be like the group of Jews from a place called Beroea. Acts 17:11 But the Jews of Beroea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and gladly listened to the message. They searched the Scriptures day by day to check up on Paul and Silas' statements to see if they were really so. Lets compare the modern day belief of what happens when we die with what the bible says. Though there are many verses that clearly cover this topic we will only be using a few. So what happens when we die? Todays belief teaches that we go right to heaven or hell when we die. Is this what the bible teaches? Daniel 12:2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Here the bible says that we are asleep until we awake, the question is, when do we awake? 1 Corinthians 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. The bible says that at the last trump the dead who belong to Jesus will be raised and put on incorruption and immortality. 1 Corinthians 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. Before we get immortality the bible says that the dead are asleep in the grave awaiting this resurrection and we who are alive wait to be changed. But aren't some in hell burning and others in heaven before the resurrection? What does the bible say? Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 For the living at least know that they will die! But the dead know nothing ; they don't even have their memories. Whatever they did in their lifetime, loving, hating, envying--is long gone, and they have no part in anything here on earth any more. This is a pretty clear answer to what happens to all who have died. The dead know nothing nor do they feel anything they stay right where they are until their resurrection. Didn't Paul say, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."? This is true, Paul did say this but not as a teaching of what happens when we die but rather as an expression of his desire to be with the Lord. We get Paul's whole thought by reading the first part of his statement. 2 Corinthians 5:5 This is what God has prepared for us and, as a guarantee, he has given us his Holy Spirit. Now we look forward with confidence to our heavenly bodies, realizing that every moment we spend in these earthly bodies is time spent away from our eternal home with Jesus. We know these things are true by believing, not by seeing. But we are cheerful; we would rather leave our bodies, and be at home with the Lord. So when do we leave our bodies? Paul just stated that he would rather be absent from his body and be with the Lord. This same Paul tells us when this will happen. 1 Thess.4:16-17 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: 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. The dead in Christ rise first then those who are still alive will be changed and taken shortly after those who were dead in their graves. Didn't Jesus tell the thief on the cross that today he would be in paradise with Him? With the translator's misuse of a comma it seems to say this but with a short glance we can understand that Jesus did not say He would be in paradise today but rather Jesus said, "Today I'm telling you, you will be in paradise." (Luke 23:43) We can verify this by reading how Jesus was in the grave for three days (Acts 10:40) and then He preached for forty days (Acts 1:3). Here we have at least 43 days and still Jesus is not in paradise with the thief. There will be a time when He will be but not until the resurrection of those who belong to Him (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). According to Scripture we stay in the grave until Jesus' second coming where we will be raised, this is the hope and joy of all who love His coming. 2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.