When people die where do they go?

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The dead sleep

The Bible teaches that when people, they sleep in their graves till the Resurrection Day (Psalm 13:3; Daniel 12:2; Acts 7:60; Job 14:12; 1 Corinthians 15:18). Jesus Himself called death a sleep (John 11:11-13). There is no consciousness of time in death (2 Corinthians 5:6-8), so for the believer the next conscious thought from death is his awareness of his glorified body at Christ’s coming.

Death

Concerning what happens at death, the Bible tells us, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

Body (dust) – breath (spirit) = death (no soul)

So, what is the “spirit” that returns to God at death? The spirit that returns to God at death is the breath of life (James 2:26 and Job 27:3). Nowhere in all of God’s book does the “spirit” have any life, wisdom, or feeling after a person dies. The spirit is the “breath of life” and nothing more.

Life

When God first created man, the 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 soul” (Genesis 2:7). When God breathed the breath of life into the dust man became a living soul. This breath of life is also called a spirit. The spirit and breath of life are the same thing and are often used interchangeably in the Bible.

Body (dust) + breath (spirit) = life (soul)

Genesis 2:7 tells us that man is a soul and according to God’s Word, souls do die (Ezekiel 18:20). Man is mortal (Job 4:17). Only God is immortal (1 Timothy 6:15, 16). Therefore, the concept of an undying, immortal soul goes against the Bible.

Rewards at the second coming

The Bible teaches that people don’t go to heaven or hell when they die. Rewards and punishments are given only at the second coming of Christ, not at death. Jesus says, “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12).

In fact, the Bible mentions that David the prophet is not in heaven yet: “David … is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day.” “For David is not ascended into the heavens” (Acts 2:29, 34).

A state of unconsciousness

In death, humans are totally unconscious with no activity or knowledge of any kind, “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. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.” “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10). And David wrote, “The dead praise not the Lord” (Psalms 115:17).

To summarize, the dead will sleep until the great day of the Lord at the end of the world. For “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, … and the dead in Christ shall rise … and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). And “We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, … and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. … For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). There would be no purpose in a resurrection if people were already in heaven after their death.

Fore more on what the Bible states about death: https://bibleask.org/bible-answers/112-the-intermediate-state/

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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