What happens right after death according to the Bible?
After Death; Judgment
What happens after someone dies? To know for certain, we need to see what the Bible says about that in order to can gain the most accurate information possible. One verse that tells us what happens after death is that there is a judgment that comes. The author of Hebrews wrote “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Heb 9:27). It doesn’t say how long after death that judgment comes but we only know it does come. It is only a matter of time. The amount of time is not as important that judgment follows. After that judgment, for all who have rejected Jesus Christ, or at Christ’s appearing, Today, unrepentant sinners “are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Rom 2:6) which is “for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Rev 21:8).
Great White Throne Judgment
The Apostle John speaks of the end time judgment of the unsaved in Revelation 20:12-15 where he writes “I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” This is similar to what Daniel the Prophet wrote in Daniel 12:2-3 where he prophesied about the judgment that comes at the end of this age: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” This clearly shows that the majority of mankind will reject faith in Christ just as Jesus said that many will come in His name but these same many will be sent away to an eternal judgment (Matt 7:21-23).
When the thief on the cross repented in his 11th hour by believing in Jesus, “Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in Paradise’” (Luke 23:43) so apparently there is no waiting period for the believer in Christ because that same day that Jesus died was the very same day that Jesus promised that the thief on the cross would be with Him. Is this the place where the saved go to before the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven (Rev 21:1-5)? Is it “Paradise” restored, much like the Garden of Eden was at one time? The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus seems to point to the same conclusion as we read in Luke 16 where the rich man, being “in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame” (Luke 16:23-24). The rich man could see that Lazarus was at Abraham’s side (Luke 16:22), which to the Jews, was considered Paradise. If Abraham was there, that was paradise to them, but when the rich man wanted to go there, Abraham said there is “between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us” (Luke 16:26).
Absent from the Body
I believe it is just as Paul writes that “we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2nd Cor 5:8) and for certain, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2nd Cor 5:10). That’s what drove Paul so hard to witness to the lost, “knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others” (2nd Cor 5:11a) “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2nd Cor 5:20). Paul understood the desire to be with the Lord in writing, “For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (2nd Cor 5:4-5).
Second Corinthians 6:2 presents every one of us with a choice. It says that right “now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2nd Cor 6:2b). Procrastinating could be something that you will live to regret for all time. To me, heaven is anywhere that Jesus is. Heaven is a place, yes, but it’s much more than that! Heaven is being in the presence of Jesus Christ and that’s as good as it gets.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.