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Where Do We Go When We Die?

posted Jul 7, 2012, 11:10 PM by hbchurch org


"Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it."

Ecclesiastes 12:7


     The death of a person inevitably raises questions in the mind of the people left behind. One oft asked question is, “Where do we go when we die?” This question is not about the body, but the soul. The remains of the body stay on the earth, but the residing place of the soul / spirit is, according to Ecclesiastes 12, in God’s hands. He alone has control over the eternal dwelling place of the person that is the real “me”.

     Elaborate diagrams have been drawn by men depicting their understanding of the places mentioned in the Bible that reference our after-life. At first glance the possibilities appear clear, but when we read the various texts we run into other questions.

     The apparent contradictions may be related to the use of figurative language. Others are likely due to the challenge of trying to describe a spiritual domain with words that are most often used to describe tangible things or experiences. For example, when Lazarus is said to be in Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:23) this is obviously figurative terminology. One person could not literally hold all the departed righteous souls on his breast.

     In another place (Luke 23:43), we read where Jesus told the thief that he would be with Him in paradise. Latter, we read that Jesus is said to have entered into God’s presence when He left the earth and entered heaven (Heb. 9:24). Now we have to try to explain the difference (if there is one) between Abraham’s bosom, heaven, and paradise.

     Rather than trying to define the unseen realm of eternity by drawing complex diagrams, perhaps we should stick with some simple truths and leave all the speculation and knotty, unanswered questions in the realm of those “secret things” that “belong to the Lord our God” (Deut. 29:29).

Here is what we can know for sure:

· There is a place of torment that is undesireable. Luke 16:23, 27-28

· There is a desireable option to torment where the Lord awaits  His followers. Phil. 1:21

· Unrighteous people along with the devil and his angels will be punished in a place called “hell”. 2 Pet. 2:4, 9

· Men who refuse to obey the gospel will be eternally separated from God. 2 Thes. 1:7-9

· God does not want anyone to perish (eternally). 2 Pet. 3:9

· Eternal life (as opposed to eternal death [separation]) is in Jesus Christ. Rom. 6:23; John 14:6

· Obeying Jesus results in salvation for our soul. Hebrews 5:9

   More scriptures could be cited, but why? What more does one need to know in order to make the better choice? Isn’t the option of a reward vs. punishment enough information? This is definitely a “no-brainer”.   

Ken Dart