What happens when we die?

What happens when we die? We stop breathing. Anyone who has sat with a very ill person and listened to his/her laboured breathing knows when that person is at peace. Breathing has stopped. He has breathed his last.

The Bible also describes this for us:

"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth ... Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or ever the golden ball be broken... then shall the dust return to the earth as it was and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." (Ecclesiastes 12:1,6,7)
"Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man... his breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish."(Psalm 146:3-5)
"If he [God] set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust." (Job 34:14,15)

It is exactly the opposite of what happens at birth:

"Thou [God] hidest thy face, they are troubled; thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou reneweth the face of the earth."(Psalm 104:29,30)
"The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."(Genesis 2:7)

So when God takes our breath all consciousness ceases.

"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten... neither have they any more a portion for ever in anything that is done under the sun... Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, wither thou goest." (Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10)

Indeed life is very precious as outlined by Bible characters, for example Hezekiah, who had his life extended, and David who was a man after God's own heart.

"For the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day."(Isaiah 38:18,19)

"For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?"(Psalm 6:5)

"Oh spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more."(Psalm 39:13)

"The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down unto silence. But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and for ever more."
(Psalm 115:17,18)

Again we ask the question 'What happens when we die?' and add what we have discovered:

  1. We stop breathing.
  2. Our breath returns to God who gave it.
  3. We lose consciousness.
  4. We decompose into dust from which we were made.

Another point: the Bible also describes death as a sleep. "We shall not all sleep..." (1Corinthians 15:51); "Why died I not from the womb... for now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest." (Job 3:11,13).

In John 11:11-14 we read about Lazarus who had died. Jesus said:

"Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death... Jesus said unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead."

The hope which Martha held about her brother was confirmed by Jesus:

"Thy brother shall rise again. Martha said unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." (John 11:22,23)

And therein lies great hope - the resurrection of the dead:

Death need not be the end. There is hope in the resurrection.  If you would like to know more about the hope that the Bible can give, then please apply for our free Learn to Read the Bible Effectively Course.

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