Posted by: missionventureministries | June 13, 2019


“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice  and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. (John 5:24-29) 

What happens when you die depends on what happens before you die. The Bible categorizes the human race into two categories, the saved and the lost. The saved are those who have trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, while the lost are the ones who haven’t trusted in Him; and what happens to the saved is radically different from what happens to the lost. 

The Bible is abundantly clear on this subject that when the saved person dies, their soul goes directly into the presence of the Lord. This contradicts the teaching called “soul-sleep,” which implies that at death a believer “sleeps” in a kind of suspended animation until the day of the resurrection.  

Jesus told the thief on the cross, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). The repentant thief passed from life into the realm called “paradise.” How could the thief be that very day in paradise as Jesus told him, if his soul went to sleep when he died? The apostle Paul wrote: “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8); therefore, at the moment of death the believer’s soul passes immediately into the presence of Jesus Christ.  

We also need to understand that the Bible uses the term “sleep” to describe death only in the case of true believers, and never for non-Christians as we read in a couple of Old and New Testament examples in 1 Kings 2:10 and John 11:11.  

Paul tells us: “I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). 

So as we see, mankind is composed of body, soul, and spirit, and the three are not the same.  

  • The body is purely physical and will pass on someday but while in this life it is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), for the believer.
  • The soul is the animate life, or the seat of the senses, desires, affections, and appetites; and will live after death in one place or another, meaning heaven or hell.
  • The spirit is that part of us that connects, or refuses to connect, to God. Our spirit relate to His Spirit, either accepting His promptings and conviction, thereby proving that we belong to Him (Romans 8:16) or resisting Him and proving that we do not have spiritual life (Acts 7:51).

Now that we have clarified the composition of man, let us focus on the aspects of physical death, spiritual death and eternal or second death. 

Physical death is “separation” of the immaterial part of a person from the material part of a person.  Ecclesiastes 12:7 tells us that “the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” 

Death is not a cessation of consciousness (e.g. “soul-sleep”). However, the Bible describes physical death for the believer as “those who are asleep” (1 Thessalonians 4:13‑14), referring to the body, not the soul. As an analogy, in physical sleep there is a temporary cessation of physical activity, but not spirit‑soul activity; and the finality for physical death will be a physical resurrection as stated in 1 Corinthians 15:52 for the believer and for  the unbeliever in Revelation 20:11-15. 

Spiritual death on the other hand is separation from God. “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). 

In Genesis 2:17 God warned Adam that, on the day that he disobeyed the commandment, he would surely die. Obviously, Adam did not die physically the day he sinned, but he did die spiritually. Their nature had become contrary to God’s nature, because it had fallen. And because it was fallen, it could no longer share the same level of fellowship that it had before the fall. As a result, all the descendants of Adam are born spiritually dead, because; “the person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Although the “natural man” may not feel spiritually dead, he is; and the remedy for spiritual death is to be made alive by faith in the Messiah (John 5:24; Ephesians 2:5; Colossians 2:13).  

Eternal death or the second death as mentioned in (Revelation 20:14, 21:8) is a separation from God in eternity (Matthew 25:41; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 14:11) and it is permanent. This type of death is a result of not believing in Jesus Christ as one’s Savior (John 3:17-18; John 8:24; Acts 4:12). The place of eternal death or the second death, the place where the unbelievers will be for eternity is the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8). 

To summarize: For the believer in Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that after death believers’ souls are taken to heaven, because their sins have been forgiven by having received Christ as Savior (John 3:16, 18, 36). And at the resurrection of the believers, their physical body is resurrected, glorified, and then reunited with their soul. This reunited and glorified body-soul-spirit will be the possession of believers for eternity in the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21-22). 

Conversely, for those who do not receive Jesus Christ as Savior, death means everlasting punishment. Revelation 20:11-15 describes all the unbelieving dead being resurrected, judged at the Great White Throne, and then being cast into the Lake of Fire.  

Please give this some serious thought, because, physical death is not the end of the road. For the believer, it is the doorway to heaven. For the unbeliever, however, it is the beginning of a passageway into unimaginable suffering. These are all biblical truth, even if you don’t believe them. Therefore, be ready to make your choice while you can, so you won’t be surprised by what happens next. 

If you would like to know about how to be saved click on this link; ABOUT SALVATION and remember that every second that we live is precious; “we have only one life that soon will pass, only what’s done for Christ will last.”



  1. Well done and useful. Thanks1

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