Is our existence on this earth all there is? Many today live as if what happens after death is inconsequential. Popular phrases such as, ‘Success at all costs’ or ‘Live life to the fullest’ capture that attitude. And then there is the downside to thinking about our own mortality. Contemplating what happens after death can be depressing, but it could also be the most important thing to consider…

How Scripture answers "What happens after death?"

Man will die thanks to sin3, and after death will be the judgment1. While we don’t know when Jesus “will appear a second time”1, we do know that until that time our physical bodies will decay2,3 and our spirits will go to Hades4.

Answer built on scripture-blocks below

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Just as man’s appointment is to die and then face judgment, so also Christ has already been offered to bear the sins of many and will appear a second time not to deal with sin but to save those still waiting for His return.

The Hebrews writer is in the midst of his argument about why Jesus and the new covenant are better than the old – here specifically arguing about His superiority as a High Priest.

Scripture-block application to this question

Man will die, after which comes the judgment (Christ’s second coming).

Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
Brothers, I say confidently that our patriarch David has died and was buried, and his tomb is with us until now.

The very first gospel sermon given on the day of Pentecost by Peter. His main message is focused on telling the crowd that the man they had just crucified (Jesus) had risen (vs 23-24) and “God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne” (vs 30). He quotes David’s own prophetic words (vs 25-28) that incorporates a contrast that Peter makes throughout – Jesus’s body did not “see corruption” (vs 27, 31) while David’s body is in the tomb even to “this day,” the implication being that David’s body has seen corruption.

Scripture-block application to this question

Our mortal bodies will decay and “see corruption” (vs 31).

And to Adam he said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, You shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’
God said to Adam that since he had followed after his wife in eating of the tree from which He forbade them to eat, He would curse the ground with thrones and thistles so that he would have to labor in pain to cultivate it for food. Since he came from the ground, he would return to the ground.

In the garden of Eden when God has discovered Adam and Eve’s disobedience.  He pronounces judgment on the Tempter (vs 15) and shares the curses for both man (vss 17-19) and woman as a result of their disobedience and that fact that sin had now entered the world.

Scripture-block application to this question

Man will die and return to dust as part of the curse of sin.

The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
The poor man [Lazarus] died and was taken by angels to Hades and Abraham’s side. Likewise, the rich man died, was buried, and was taken to Hades but in torment, where he could lift his eyes to see Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

During the public ministry of Christ when He is sharing various truths and parables. In this instance, Jesus is sharing information about what happens after death and the contrast between the “rich” that live carefree and selfishly (vs 19) and the “poor” (Lazarus in this case) that must beg in this life (vss 20-21). The other important difference is that the latter listened to “Moses and the prophets” (vs 29), while the former did not.

As a result, the one that in their lifetime received their “good things” (vs 25) – their reward – and suffered after death while Lazarus’ reward was after death.

Hades is where both men went after death. For the rich man, it’s described as a place of “torment” (vs 23) and “anguish” (vs 24) where “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” (vs 26). Meanwhile, Lazarus is being comforted in the bosom of Abraham (vss 22,23).

Scripture-block application to this question

Hades is a waiting place for the dead where those who heeded God’s word are comforted, while those who did not are tormented.

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