What happens after you die
Did you ever wonder what becomes of you, after you die? This has been the topic discussed ever since man has existed. There are many different view points based on hundreds of different religions world wide. Many believe that there is no heaven or hell, or that there is an after life at all, and once you die, that is the end to it period.
Others believe that there is a halfway to heaven which is purgatory. “The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a "purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven," which is experienced by those "who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified" (CCC 1030). It notes that "this final purification of the elect . . . is entirely different from the punishment of the damned" (CCC 1031).”
Again we turn to the Bible for our answers. There are many places in the Bible where it speaks about the afterlife, and it gives, although not a very vivid explanation, a look inside that spiritual realm.
Let’s start by reading in the Luke 16:19-26:
Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: (20) And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, (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. (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; (23) And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. (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. (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. (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.
This is a very interesting story. I highly recommend that you read this story in it's entirety and dwell on its meaning. However, at this time we are only going to point out the description on what it’s like in the hereafter.
Let’s start with Luke 16:22 “beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom” Abraham’s bosom is sometimes referred to as paradise, a phrase well known to the Jews, so when a saved person dies he or she is then sent to paradise. Even when Jesus died he was sent to paradise. If you read in Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise, this plainly states that Jesus went to paradise after his body died on the cross.
Likewise the rich man also died, and was buried Here we find that the rich man was buried in the normal tradition as anyone today. However his spirit or soul was already in Hell. According to the scriptures here, when an unsaved person dies their soul immediately goes to Hell.
Continuing to Luke 16:23 And in hell he (the rich man) lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off. This tells us that Hell and paradise are located next to each other. They are separated by a large expanse or gulf of some kind. However it is not so far apart that one can not see the other side and to recognize someone over there. It is believed by some that hell (the temporary holding place of the unsaved) and paradise (the temporary holding place for the saved) to be “under the Earth” or inside the Earth” This point has some merit to it we read in Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
In Luke 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. This verse tell us that those who are in hell have the ability to recognize people which they have met at sometime while they were still "alive". They also are able to speak and to reason, however they are in constant torment by a flame of fire.
Luke 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. This makes it plain and clear that once you are in hell that there is no second chance to serve God. The Bible never speaks of a purgatory or a half-way house, it's either one or the other.
Finishing up with Luke 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. There is also no way to cross the gap to go to the other side due to the fact that there is a great gulf which is impassable, and blocks any attempt to cross.
Take notice that in Revelation it mentions that death and hell are cast into the lake of fire, Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
After the resurrection
As mentioned before, when Jesus died his spirit went to paradise, after three days Jesus was resurrected (brought out of paradise) and walked the earth showing himself to his disciples and many others in and around Jerusalem.
After Jesus was resurrected he also freed the saints (those who were already dead in Christ) as stated in Matthew 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, (53) And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Jesus and the saints were seen by hundreds if not thousands of people.
The saints were not permitted to enter into heaven because Jesus had not yet died for their sins on the cross. After the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the saints were freed from paradise and were allowed into heaven after Jesus had ascended. It had to be this way because Jesus is the first begotten of the dead as we read in Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
After the resurrection of Jesus Christ, all the saints (true born again Christians) are immediately in the presence of God 2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Our physical body
Our physical body really plays no part in our salvation. it is more or less a vessel which incases our spirit while we are alive. We are told that we should not worry what happens to our physical body, as referenced here in Luke 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
When the body ceases to live, we find that our body will return back to the dust of the earth. We also read that once the body is dead that the body itself no longer has any conscious memory. Reading in Ecclesiastes 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. (6) 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.
Again these is another reference in Psalms 146:3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. (4) His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
Lake of Fire
Eternity with GOD
Eternity without GOD
** Note all references are taken from the King James Version.