What happens after death?
When we think of our mortality, the most difficult part is often not thinking of death itself, but of what happens after death.
We are deluged with opinions on the subject. Some say we will be immediately plunged into heaven or hell. Some say we will be reincarnated. Others say death is the end of all existence.
Even Christians - who agree that God will ultimately judge each person, sending the good to heaven and the bad to hell - may disagree over when that judgment will occur.
There are two basic views on what happens to a person when he or see dies. The first view is a kind of sleep or unconsciousness - one that may last thousands of years, ending on Judgment Day. Daniel 12:12 says, "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt."
Other scholars believe that a person goes immediately to heaven or hell. In Luke 23:43, Jesus tells the repentant thief on the cross: "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." Philippians 1:23 says, "I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far." Believers who die advance to heaven, but simply do not receive their resurrection bodies until their bodies are resurrected. Then they will be sent to the New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21:1)! Those who reject Christ will experience punishment (Luke 16:22-23) and later be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelations 20:11-15)
No matter what view you select, heaven and hell are the final, eternal destinations of all human beings. Your destination is determined by whether you are trusting Jesus Christ along for the salvation of your sins!
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