What Happens When a Person Dies?
Copyright © September 2, 2013 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All Rights Reserved.
(All Scripture Verses are from the New International Version of the Holy Bible except where noted.)
What actually happens when a person breathes their last breath and then dies?
Some people believe that a person simply dies and that is the end of the person. In other words, the death of a person is no different than the death of an ant.
Some people believe that a person has an immortal soul and that when the body dies then the immortal soul is released from the body and the soul continues to live.
There are a multitude of different beliefs, both religious and non-religious, about what happens to a person's soul when a person dies.
This article will focus on what the Holy Bible says about each person's immortal soul.
This article will not debate the legal issues or the medical issues about physical death.
Instead this article will be based on the Holy Bible and it will review the concept of death from God's perspective instead of man's perspective.
According to the Holy Bible, at the time of death a person's physical body expires and a person's soul is released from that body.
Genesis 35:18 - And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni: but his father called him Benjamin. (English Standard Version)
When the soul is released then it travels to one of the following three destinations:
The above three destinations are mentioned in the Holy Bible in the following scripture verses:
- A Place of Rest: The soul of a righteous person is escorted by angels to a place of rest.
- A Place of Torment: The soul of an unrighteous person is cast into a place of great torment.
- Heaven: Heaven is the dwelling place of God Almighty and His Holy Angels. The Old Testament says that two men, Enoch and Elijah, did not die and they were both taken to heaven while they were still alive. The New Testament says that the souls of those who have faith in Jesus Christ will go to heaven. On the day of the rapture Jesus will call all of His followers up into heaven to be with Him and we will all be given immortal spiritual bodies just like Jesus. In the last chapter of the Book of Revelation God creates a new heaven and a new earth and then God and Jesus dwell with the righteous forever.
The Place of Rest and the Place of Torment:
Luke 16:19-31 - "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
The Place of Rest:
"The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'
"But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'
"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'
"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'
" 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "
Isaiah 14:9-10 - The grave below is all astir to meet you at your coming; it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you -- all those who were leaders in the world; it makes them rise from their thrones -- all those who were kings over the nations. They will all respond, they will say to you, "You also have become weak, as we are; you have become like us."
The Place of Torment:
First Samuel 28:13-20 - The king said to her, "Don't be afraid. What do you see?"
The woman said, "I see a spirit coming up out of the ground."
"What does he look like?" he asked.
"An old man wearing a robe is coming up," she said.
Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.
Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?"
"I am in great distress," Saul said. "The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has turned away from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do."
Samuel said, "Why do you consult me, now that the LORD has turned away from you and become your enemy? The LORD has done what he predicted through me. The LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors -- to David. Because you did not obey the LORD or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the LORD has done this to you today. The LORD will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines."
Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel's words.
Revelation 20:10 - And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Matthew 25:41 - "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'
Revelation 20:14-15 - The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Genesis 5:21-24 - When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
(Note: Before we continue it should be noted that the Holy Bible does mention several people who were brought back to life after they had died. These people were not resurrected into an immortal body. Instead their souls returned to their mortal bodies. And each of these individuals eventually grew old and they died again. This article will not discuss the temporary resurrection of these individuals. Instead this article will focus on the eternal resurrection of the righteous.)
Hebrews 11:5 - By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.
Second Kings 2:11-21 - As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, "My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!" And Elisha saw him no more.
Deuteronomy 34:5-7 - And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said. He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is. Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.
Jude 1:9 - But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"
Luke 9:28-31 - About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus.
Acts 7:55-60 - But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.
First Thessalonians 5:10 - He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.
Philippians 1:21-24 - For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. … Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
Revelation 6:9-11 - When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.
First Thessalonians 4:16-17 - For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
The Rapture of the Saints
One day Jesus will return in the clouds above the earth and He will raise the bodies of His beloved brothers and sisters to be with Him in the clouds.
The dead earthly bodies of Christians will be raised first and they will be reunited with their immortal souls and they will become immortal living beings. They will receive an immortal body similar to the resurrected body of Jesus Christ.
Then Christians who are still alive will be raised up to meet Jesus in the air, and our earthly human bodies will be instantly changed into immortal bodies that will become one with our immortal souls. When that happens we will become immortal beings with immortal bodies similar to the resurrected body of Jesus Christ.
Mark 10:30 - And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
The following scriptures explain the rapture event in more detail:
Luke 21:18 - But not a hair of your head will perish.
Philippians 3:20-21 - But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
First John 3:2 - But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
First Thessalonians 4:13-18 - Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
Matthew 24:39-41 - That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
Luke 17:34-35 - I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left."
First Corinthians 15:51-57 - Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed -- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:
"Death has been swallowed up in victory."
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
When Will the Rapture Happen?
There are three major theories on when the rapture will occur in relationship to the seven year tribulation period as described in the book of Revelation. The rapture is when Jesus returns in the clouds and He calls His followers up into the air to be with Him.
In the Holy Bible Jesus Christ tells us exactly when the rapture will occur in the Gospel of Matthew and in the Gospel of Mark:
- Pre-Tribulation Rapture Theory: The rapture will happen before the tribulation begins or very soon after the start of the tribulation.
- Mid-Tribulation Rapture Theory: The rapture will happen shortly after the midpoint of the tribulation period.
- Post-Tribulation Rapture Theory: The rapture will happen at the end or very near the end of the tribulation period.
Matthew 24:15-32 - "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel -- let the reader understand -- then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now -- and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect -- if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.
In the Gospel of Matthew and in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus Christ tells us that the following sequence of events will immediately precede His return in the clouds to rapture His followers:
"So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
"Immediately after the distress of those days
" 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'
"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
Mark 13:14-27 - "When you see 'the abomination that causes desolation' standing where it does not belong -- let the reader understand -- then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now -- and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect -- if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
"But in those days, following that distress,
" 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'
"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
The above description of the rapture is consistent with the mid-tribulation rapture theory. The mid-tribulation theory is also known as the pre-wrath rapture theory. The mid-tribulation rapture is what I personally believe will happen based on the very clear words of our Savior Jesus Christ. (Note: If you have a red letter edition of the Holy Bible then the above scripture verses are printed in red because they are the words of Jesus Christ.)
- The abomination that causes desolation described in the book of Daniel will be standing in the holy place where it does not belong. (The midpoint of the tribulation.)
- The people who live in Judea should immediately flee to the mountains.
- There will be a great persecution of all those who believe in the one true God.
- Immediately after the distress of those days, the sun will be darkened, then moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. (Seal Six in the Book of Revelation.)
- At that time, Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, will appear in the clouds of the sky and He will send His angels to gather His followers from wherever they might be. (The rapture.)
The pre-tribulation rapture theory ignores the very clear teaching of Jesus Christ in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. The pre-tribulation rapture theory is extremely popular among Christians because it is what many Christians want to believe. In addition, many Christians believe the pre-tribulation rapture theory because the Pastor of their church believes it, or because some famous evangelist believes it. However, the pre-tribulation rapture theory does not agree with the very clear teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore I cannot accept the pre-tribulation rapture theory regardless of how many good, sincere, righteous people choose to believe in it.
The post-tribulation rapture theory states that the rapture will happen just before the Battle of Armageddon at the end of the tribulation period. One of the major problems with the post-tribulation rapture theory is that the First Resurrection happens a short time later. If all Christians, both living and dead, are raptured just prior to the Battle of Armageddon, then there will be no Christians available to take part in the first resurrection. Therefore I cannot accept the post-tribulation rapture theory regardless of how many good, sincere, righteous people choose to believe in it.
The First Resurrection
The mid-tribulation rapture theory states that all Christians will be raptured shortly after the midpoint of the tribulation. However, it will still be possible for individuals to become Christians during the second half of the tribulation because the 144,000 who are sealed will be witnessing, and the two witnesses of God will also be witnessing. Angels will also be flying in midair and they will be warning people to not take the mark of the beast and to worship God instead. Therefore people will still have a chance to hear the Gospel message and accept Jesus as Savior and reject the mark of the beast. Unfortunately they will be beheaded for confessing their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior. They will have missed the rapture, but they will be resurrected during the first resurrection to reign with Jesus Christ for 1,000 years.
The mid-tribulation rapture theory is based on the rapture occurring shortly after the middle of the tribulation, and the first resurrection occurring at the end of the tribulation. Therefore the mid-tribulation rapture theory is in agreement with the Holy Bible without the need for any additional explanation about these two events.
John 11:25-26 - Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Revelation 7:3-4 - "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
Revelation 11:3 - And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.
Revelation 14:6-13 - Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth -- to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."
A second angel followed and said, "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries."
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name." This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.
Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on."
"Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."
Revelation 20:4-6 - I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
The Second Resurrection
The second resurrection will occur at the end of the 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ.
The second resurrection will include all the dead who were not part of the rapture or the first resurrection. Therefore the second resurrection will include everyone who did not accept Jesus Christ as Savior prior to the first resurrection. It will include Adam and Eve and all those who died since then. It will include Abraham (also known as Abram) and the beggar Lazarus. It will include those who never heard the Gospel message about Jesus Christ. It will include those who rejected the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. It will include those who will be born during the 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ here on the earth. It will include righteous people and unrighteous people.
Genesis 15:6 - Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Job 19:25-27 - I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes -- I, and not another.
First Corinthians 15:35-50 - But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?" How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being" ; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
Hebrews 9:27-28 - Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Acts 24:14-15 - However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.
Revelation 20:11-15 - Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Matthew 25:31-46 - "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Luke 14:12-14 - Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
Revelation 3:4-5 - They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.
John 14:2-3 - In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
Revelation 21:1-5 - Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
The Righteous and the Unrighteous
Some people believe that if there is a heaven then God will allow them to enter because they are basically a good person. In other words, these people believe they are righteous in the eyes of God. This has always puzzled me because these people usually have one or more of the following character traits:
There is a big difference between being righteous in your own eyes, and being righteous in the eyes of God. Jesus said the self-righteous would be cast into the lake of eternal fire.
- They make fun of Christians and they laugh at Christians for trying to live an honorable life, especially when a Christian makes a mistake.
- They ignore the teachings of the Holy Bible because they think they have found one or more scriptures in the Holy Bible that they can interpret in a specific way and thereby discredit the entire Holy Bible.
- They live by their own rules any way they want to live. This may include lying, cheating, or stealing when they think it is appropriate.
- They do not honor one day of the week as a holy day of rest, and they absolutely do not want to spend time with people who go to church on a regular basis.
- They frequently use the name of God and the name of Jesus in exclamations of surprise, and sometimes in phrases that include profanity.
- They believe they are good people because they are good to the other members of their own family, or they occasionally do a good deed, or they occasionally give money to charity. Therefore, if there is a God, then they must appear to be "righteous" in His eyes.
Luke 18:9-14 - Jesus told this parable: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men -- robbers, evildoers, adulterers -- or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'
"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Matthew 7:21-23 - "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' "
Matthew 12:36-37 - "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."
Matthew 23:27-28 - "You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."
Matthew 13:47-50 - "Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
I realize the above interpretation of scriptures may be offensive to some Christians.
But God is merciful and He will judge people the way He decides to judge them.
The following scripture verses explain how a person can accept Jesus as Savior and be granted the gift of eternal life in heaven:
- If a person never heard the Gospel message then that person will be judged by God as either righteous or unrighteous. (First Timothy 4:10 - "we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.")
- However, those individuals who did hear the Gospel message and who did not ask God to forgive all their sins while they were alive here on this earth, will not receive a second chance to have their sins forgiven when they are standing before God in judgment.
- On the other hand, everyone who does accept Jesus Christ as Savior while they are here on this earth will not face judgment, and all their sins will be forgiven, and they will be granted access into the new heaven and the new earth regardless of the number of their sins or the magnitude of those sins.
Isaiah 1:18 - "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."
At this time there is nothing more that I wish to add to the above information that I have shared with you. Now it is your turn to search the Holy Bible to determine whether or not I have interpreted the Holy Scriptures in a manner that is consistent with the entire Holy Bible beginning with the Book of Genesis and continuing through to the end of the Book of Revelation.
First Corinthians 15:3-7 - For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,
Acts 16:31 - "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved -- you and your household."
Romans 10:13 - "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
John 5:24-29 - "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."
Romans 10:9-10 - if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
John 10:27-30 - "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
First Peter 1:3-5,8-9 - Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade -- kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. … Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Romans 8:38-39 - For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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