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What Happens When People Die?

Thousands of people die every day and step into eternity, but where do they go?

And more personally, where will you go when your time is over? What is the truth of life after death, heaven and hell, eternal judgment, salvation, and damnation? 

There isn’t a bigger issue before you, so take heed of what the Bible says on the matter and consider the following truths.

Some have wrongly taught that the dead sleep until a final Judgment day or that people are simply annihilated after being judged. But soul sleep is a false doctrine, and Annihilation is a false doctrine. Dont be deceived. There is right now already multitudes of people (Billions) burning in a very real Hell and the faithful rejoicing in a very real Heaven.

Confusion on these issues comes on a few points. We must understand that Man is a 3 fold being – spirit, soul and body (1Thes 5,23). When a person dies their body returns to dust, and their soul & spirit go to Heaven or Hell. They are an eternal spirit being, created in the image of God, they will forever exist. 

That is why the penitent thief on the cross was told by Jesus; `this day you will be with me in paradise`, and that’s why Jesus spoke the testimony of the rich man being in torment in Hell (Luke 16,19-31). The rich man sure wasn’t asleep, and that is no parable but a true testimony in which Jesus named real names. Whereas parables don’t use real names and often starts with statements such as `The kingdom of heaven is like…`. Jesus started it with the words “There WAS a certain rich man” and named a real person called Lazarus and the real Abraham.

The Bible says ‘It is appointed once for a man to die and then comes judgment’ (Heb 9,27). Notice is said `then comes`, not `much later comes`. Upon death the sinners’ soul & spirit go immediately to Hell and will be immediately in torment with unquenchable fire, eaten by worms that never die, demons tearing & tormenting them, reaping what has been sown, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth – things Jesus described of the horrors of Hell. Some have recently died and been in Hell for days or weeks, others have been down there for 40 years, 400 years, or thousands of years already in great agony and hopeless woe. Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt 10,28) “And his master was angry and delivered him to the torturers” (Matt 18,34)

All sinners (unsaved people) and disobedient Christians (disobedient, unrepentant, lukewarm or backslidden) will be there in Hell for at least another 1007+ years (time period covering the 7 year Great Tribulation and the 1000 year Millennium, plus whatever time we have left till the rapture) until when they are resurrected back into their body (Daniel 12,2) to stand before the Great White Throne of Judgment. 

God being a just judge, gives them their day in court, opens the books & makes all their sins completely clear and then administers their final judgment of damnation – “Depart from Me, you Cursed, into the Everlasting Fire” (Matt 25,41) and they are cast into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone with the devil and his demons. Here the smoke of their torment continues forever and ever, they have no rest, no hope of change for Billions & Trillions of years unto Eternity, never to end, Woe Woe Woe!!! (Rev 20 & Isaiah 66,22-24).

— Rev 14,10-11 “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

The true people of God (who are under the Lordship of Jesus Christ) who die now go to Heaven, for to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2Cor5, Paul & Jesus at times used the word sleep for death and when the disciples didn’t understand Jesus told them plainly that he had died – its the body that sleeps in the dust but not the soul or spirit. 

The people of God in Heaven are experiencing the fullness of the glory of God and joy unspeakable. The book of Revelation shows us people in heaven long before the final day of judgment (Rev 6,9-11). At this stage they are spirit & soul, however they do not yet have a new resurrected body. This will occur at the 1st Resurrection – the Rapture – they will return from Heaven with Christ – then the bodies of the dead in Christ will rise first to meet the Lord in the air and form a new resurrected body. They and the faithful Christians (the wise virgins, the sheep, the wheat) who are alive and ready , will be raptured and will all receive new resurrected bodies (but the foolish virgins, goats, tares will be left behind to suffer in the Great Tribulation).

The true Christians will then go to the Judgment Seat of Christ to receive good or bad according to what they have done in the body, to receive reward or incur loss according to their works (2Cor 5,9-10 & Rev 22,12). Then they will go to participate in the glorious Wedding Supper of the Lamb, with the judgment seat and wedding supper covering a 7 year period.

7 years later they will return with Jesus riding white horses at the Second Coming of Christ as He comes in power and judgment, defeating the armies of the Beast, and the Antichrist and the false prophet. The saints of God will then play a big role in setting up and serving the Kingdom of God on Earth with Jesus reigning from Jerusalem during the 1000 year Millennial reign of Christ. At the end of the 1000 years, the devil is released from the Abyss and stirs a rebellion which Jesus quickly defeats. This is a final test for those who were born during the 1000 years reign, some rebelled and perished, and others stay faithful.
After this is the Great White Throne Judgment and the resurrection of the damned (as described above, Rev 20). After that the people of God will live with God and He with his people in the New Jerusalem on the New Earth and go back and forth from Heaven also. We will spend eternity in loving and perfect fellowship with God and each other. Every tear will be wiped away, as we abide in His glorious perfection with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

NOW HOW ABOUT YOU? 
ETERNITY IS TOO LONG TO BE WRONG – THERE IS A HEAVEN TO BE WON AND HELL TO SHUN – Make your eternity sure today – you must make Jesus Christ your Lord and Saviour – You must be born again – You must repent and turn away from sin – and make it sure every day by following Him faithfully, holy and obediently.