What happens when I die?

Catholic, Purgatory, Evangelical, response,  Intermediate state, Sheol, Hades, Limbo, Purgatory, Soul sleep, Bosom of Abraham, Heaven, Hell, Dante's Purgatorio by Gustave Doré

The three main contenders for “What happens when I die?” is the Evangelical Intermediary State, the Seventh Day Adventist’s Soul Sleep, and the Popish heresy of Purgatory. Image titled Dante’s Purgatorio by Gustave Doré. Click image to enlarge.

Nanny Ogg once declared, “The wages of sin is death, but so is the salary of virtue.” I guess that’s a tongue in cheek concession to the fact that death happens… to all and sundry. Big question is “What happens when I die”; I believe the Bible has one or two things to say.

You will die, will be raised and will face judgment (Hebrews 9:27; John 5:24 – 30). As the resurrection has not yet occurred (1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 18) the natural question is “What will happen to my soul in-between?”

The Old Testament teaches after death one’s soul rests in a state of conscious existence, Sheol (Isaiah 14:9 – 10; Ezekiel 32:17 – 32; Genesis 37:35). The New Testament clarifies, describing two realms separated by a great gulf: a place of comfort, Abraham’s bosom or paradise; and a place of torment, Hades (Luke 16:19 – 31).

It was to this place of comfort that Jesus promised the thief on the cross, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). And to this place of torment that He descended after His death and made proclamation to the spirits held prisoner there (Ephesians 4:9, 1 Peter 3:19).

When Believers fall asleep, a euphemism for death (Luke 8:52; 1 Corinthians 15:6), they look forward to being “present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6 – 9). Unbelievers descend to Hades and are later cast into Hell. As such all men are warned, “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). This gracious offer will soon pass away.

More questions? Speak to Mark.

You can download the original document here.

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