What happens after death?
Are the dead living in another world? Can the dead see, hear, and know what is going on in this world? When a good man dies, does his soul go immediately to heaven? When a bad man dies, does his soul go immediately to hell? Do the dead go first to a stopping-off place called purgatory? When a amn dies, does he go off to a spirit world where he his able to send mesages to his loved ones? Or could it be that when a man dies, he peacefully sleeps until the resurrection day? Let us see what God, the Author of live, has to say on this subject.
How did man come into being?
"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 soul" (Genesis 2:7).
Note: God did not give Adam a soul, but it says "man became a living soul." The combination of the body that God mad made for Adam made him a living soul. According to this text the living soul was the living Adam.
Acts 27:37 tells us, "And we were in all the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls." Now these souls were not spirits hiding in a living in a little corner somewhere but living people on that ship.
Are there other creatures besides man called "living souls"?
"The sea...became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea" (Revelation 16:3). Today's English Version translates it: "Every living creature in the sea died." This has definite reference to animal life in the sea.
Is it possible for a living soul to die?
"The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4). Here the soul has reference to a living person. "All have sinned" (Romans 3:23). "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
Man became a living soul, or a living person, by a combination of dust and breath of life, but what happens when he dies?
" Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit return unto God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Other Bible translations read "breath" instead of "spirit." It is the breath that returns to God who gave it.
Do other Bible texts indicate that the word spirit in Ecclesiastes 12:7 means that when a man dies, it is the breath of life that returns to God who gave it?
"His breath goeth forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish" (Psalm 146:4). "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." (James 2:26).
The spirit of beath os life by which an lives is only lent to him of God and at death goes back to the Great Author of life. When this spark of life goes back to God and the body returns to dust, the individual no longer exists as a living, loving, conscious, thinking being; however, he does not lose his identity or character - the personality is safe in the hands of God. Man, thouth, is no longer conscious, because the life-giving, life-maintaining union of body and breath has been broken until the resurrection morning, when the reunion will once more make man a living soul.
After the body returns to the dust and the breath returns to God, are the dead able to send messages to the living?
"His breath goeth forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish" (Psalm 146:4). Without thoughts there is no communication. "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing" (Ecclesiastes 9:5). If the dead were sending messages tot he living, they would have to know something.
How does Jesus picture death for us?
" Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep" (John 11:11). The sleep that Jesus is speaking of is death. "Then siad his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken og taking a rest in sleep. Then siad Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead" ( John 11:12-14). When one is sound asleep, he is entirely unconscious of everything that goes on around him, and hours fly by like a split second.
We see then that the Bible is plain: man is totally unconscious after death; he knows nothing; he is not able to communicate with the living, for he is not in existence after death. The question that comes to us is, Who is it that sends messages from the dead to the living?
"For they are spirits of devils, working miracles" (Revelation 16:14). "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves imto apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transforming into an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:13,14). The devil and his angels can transform themselves into beings that look nd speak like any dead person they want to imitate. this they do to make men believe that the dead come back and communicate with the living. Don't be deceived by this miracle working devil; believe what the Bible says - that the dead are dead indeed, totally unconscious.
Where does man go at death? Is it directky to heaven if he has accepted Jesus as his Saviour? Is it to a place of burning if he has rejected Him?
"Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch david, that he is bith dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day" (Acts 2:29). When Davis died, he was buried in a grave. Acts 2:24 reads: " For David is not ascended into the heavens.". David did not go to heaven upon his death. His body returned to the dust, and the breath of life returned to God.
While David was alife, he told us that he expected to go to heaven when he awakened on the resurrection day: "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness" (Psalm 17:15).