What Happens When You Die?

What Happens When You Die?

Where are the dead, and what are they doing?
Are they aware of the living? Do all people “pass away” to heaven or hell? Will you
see deceased loved ones again? Do human beings have immortal souls? Do you?
Is this life all there is? The question of life after death has perplexed
mankind throughout the ages. Millennia ago, the patriarch Job asked, “If a man die,
shall he live again?” This question remains. Many religions profess to know what happens
at death. Yet they disagree. Why such confusion and mystery about the afterlife? If the Bible
is the Word of God, we must examine what it says, not what men say. Be willing to set
aside cherished traditions and replace them with Scripture. Then be willing to believe
God, not men. The World to Come. The Restored Church of
God presents David C. Pack. Author of 80 books and booklets. Editor-in-chief of The Real
Truth magazine. Read by countless and growing numbers in every nation and territory of the
world. In a violent age full of bad news. Answering life’s greatest questions straight
from the Bible, and announcing the wonderful good news of the World to Come. And now, David
C. Pack. Most professing Christians believe they possess
an immortal soul. They have been taught that people go to either heaven or hell. Ministers,
evangelists and religionists speak of “when we all get to heaven.” They declare these
ideas to be the Bible’s teaching. But are they?
We must not assume. Jesus warned, “In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines
the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition
of men.” Men have their ideas—their own commandments and traditions—invariably based
on Bible assumptions. This broadcast presents God’s view.
Let’s first discuss death and the concept of an ever-burning hell. This idea is inseparable
from the belief that all human beings have immortal souls. Is this what God says? You
will be surprised! Most people do not understand the relationship
between physical bodies and souls. You were probably taught that all human beings are
born with an immortal soul. The common belief is that upon death the souls of unrepentant
sinners go to hell forever. But if the wages of sin is death, how could
the Bible also teach that people are immortal? The book of Genesis states, “And 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.” This verse does not say men have souls, but
rather are souls. Adam became a soul—he was not given one. Then, almost immediately,
God commanded, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: but of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof
you [the person, Adam] shall surely die.” The Hebrew word here also means “destroy.”
Together, these verses plainly reveal that men are souls and souls can die!
The prophet Ezekiel twice recorded: “The soul that sins, it shall die.” Death is
the absence of life—the discontinuance—the cessation—of life. Death is not life in
another place. It is not leaving “this life” for “another life”—the “next life.”
Now consider what Jesus also warned: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are
not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him [God] which is able to destroy both soul
and body in hell.” Everyone knows all bodies eventually die—and that they decompose and
are completely destroyed due to the process of natural corruption. But souls can also
be destroyed! According to this verse, just as much as bodies. This verse introduces the
truth that God destroys souls in hell! Bodies can die and be destroyed in many ways. But
God destroys souls. The prophet Malachi wrote this about the future
final state of the wicked: “For, behold, the day comes, that shall burn as an oven;
and all the proud, yes, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that comes shall
burn them up [not just burn them], says the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither
root nor branch [there is nothing left of them]. But unto you that fear My Name…you
shall go forth, and…you shall tread down the wicked; for they [not merely their bodies]
shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, says the
Lord.” The prophet Obadiah amplifies this with “…and they shall be as though they
had not been.” The dead will be so completely “dead and
gone,” it will be as though they had never existed. Surely, if they were roasting in
hell forever with millions of others, and other millions “in heaven” witnessing
it, this verse could hardly apply. What about the precise moment of death? What
happens? Human minds are differentiated from animal
brains by intelligent thought. Presumably, if the dead are not dead, but are really still
alive, then they must be capable of some kind of thought. They must at least be conscious
of their surroundings. These things said, let’s consider a series of scriptures.
First is Psalm 146: “Put not your trust…in the son of man…his breath goes forth, he
returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” When people die, their
thoughts end immediately—“in that very day.” That is what your Bible says.
This verse is not compatible with the dead either being alive in heaven or consciously
suffering in a place of torment. We could suppose that, if they were enjoying salvation,
they would certainly know they were—have thoughts about it! We could also suppose that
if they were suffering, they would know they were. Could the tormented be unaware they
were in pain? Ask: What would be the point of their suffering,
or of salvation, if they could not know of it?
Death (actually life) in hell would have to be as though they were in a coma—completely
unaware of what is going on around them—while their sensory nervous system is feeling the
excruciating pain of burning. How would this work?
Use the following analogy. Before someone undergoes major surgery, he is anesthetized—rendered
unconscious—so he will not feel pain. Medical doctors understand this—why don’t theologians
and religionists? Why do they deny plain Bible statements?
Some willingly ignore the message of Scripture. They allege that only “mortal” thoughts
perish—whatever these are—in the sense that the dead leave this earthly realm and
experience some mysterious, new kind of “thought.” Of course, this is ridiculous, and the Bible
does not say it. But they have to invent something to justify other ideas incompatible with the
Bible. Let’s consider an even more direct verse:
“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything…” The honest
reader can’t misunderstand this passage! Now this: “For that which befalls the sons
of men befalls beasts; even one thing befalls them: as the one dies, so dies the other;
yes, they have all one breath; so that a man has no preeminence above a beast…All go
unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” Again, so says your
Bible. Psalm 6 further explains that the dead do
not experience conscious memory: “For in death there is no remembrance of You: in the
grave who shall give You [God] thanks?” Could anyone seriously suggest that the dead,
suffering in hell, could experience the normal range of human memories, but be unaware of
God—not be able to “remember” Him? Would God put people in “hell” and then leave
them there to suffer, forever wondering how it was that they got there—who it was that
put them there—because they have no “remembrance” of anything related to God? As the apostle
Paul once said, I speak as a fool. Applying the same logic to the saved is even
more ridiculous. Could people supposedly be “rolling around heaven all day and riding
clouds”—enjoying salvation!—and be unaware they were in the presence of God or of even
Who He was? No! When people die, they are DEAD!
So far we have not explained everything about life after death, but we know that further
life does not immediately occur at death! We have established that when a person dies,
he is dead! But then what happens? Remember to always let the Bible interpret
the Bible. Keeping its truths simple allows the hollow ideas of men to fall like a house
of cards. Here is why the dead do not remember God.
Jesus said, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which ALL that are
in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto
the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation
[or judgment].” Jesus understood that the disciples would
find this astonishing—that most people would marvel at the thought that everyone who has
ever lived is now “in the grave,” awaiting a resurrection! You should not marvel at Jesus’
words. Accept them! He said “all” are in the grave, not “some.”
There are no conscious thoughts and no remembrance of God after death because everyone who has
ever died is awaiting one of the resurrections Jesus referenced. All people will be resurrected,
either to eternal life or to judgment. This is what your Bible says.
No wonder King David said, “I will behold Your face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied,
when I awake, with Your likeness [God’s likeness].” He understood the resurrection
was an awakening back to life. The prophet Daniel referenced this awakening to salvation
and eternal life, but also referred to another separate resurrection, not to be sought.
Job looked forward to being resurrected. Notice the verses surrounding his “live again”
question: “O that You [God] would hide me in the grave, that You would keep me secret,
until Your wrath be past [the coming Day of the Lord, or of God’s Wrath], that You would
appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? [was his question.
The answer?] All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. You
shall call [Jesus spoke of hearing God’s voice], and I will answer You.”
Job did not ask that God would only hide his body in the grave, but asked, “hide me…keep
me…appoint me…remember me.” Job also recognized that God would keep him secret.
Ask how this fits with being in heaven or hell. If this were the case, God would be
pretty poor at keeping secrets and the rest of the verse would make no sense.
Look at Job’s question—“if a man die, shall he live again?” If Job was going to
remain alive after death, how could he live again? Job knew he would be “waiting…in
the grave” for his resurrection at an “appointed time,” when he would be “changed.”
But what does change mean? Paul explained the “change” awaiting all
true Christians. Let’s read: “Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep,
but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump…the
dead shall be raised…and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then [not yet] shall
be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory.” It is
certainly an almost complete mystery to most that there is coming an awakening—and change—from
physical to spirit at the resurrection. Now ask: How can one go from “mortal”
to “immortal” if he already has an immortal soul? This idea is also a mystery—but, unlike
the mysteries of God, it is one devised by men that cannot be understood or solved, because
it makes no sense. Do you see the silly logic of men when they
ignore plain scriptures? Just as Job knew he would be “changed,”
and David knew he would “awake,” Paul knew Christians will be changed—will awaken
from “sleep”—once the resurrection has come.
Those who are asleep will awaken from death. The World to Come will continue. In addition
to the literature ordered with this program, you will receive a free one-year subscription
to The Real Truth! This magazine answers the question, why so much bad news in today’s
headlines? It explains the root causes behind the bad effects and points to the good news
of the only possible solution—the soon-coming kingdom of God! Your subscription is free
with any literature order. Next ask: How can people be resurrected if
they are already alive as immortal souls? Only the dead, like Christ from the tomb,
need to be resurrected. That’s the purpose of a resurrection. Do not be fooled by deceivers
claiming, “The resurrection only applies to the body, since the soul remains alive”!
We read numerous scriptures disproving this fallacy.
Upon just the most basic examination, the ideas of intelligent men are often exposed
as outright foolishness. Ministers adopted the popular concept of hell as a means of
scaring people into following their false teachings. The true God would never roast
people for all eternity—not allowing them to burn up, to mercifully end their suffering.
Only a monster would do this! Billions have lived and died without knowing
even the name of Jesus Christ, without having had an opportunity for salvation. If, upon
death, the unsaved go to hell, then over half the people who have ever lived are there!
Since no human has ever returned from the dead to offer a firsthand report—forget
the ludicrous testimonies of those who claim or think they were dead—we must either choose
to believe the ideas of men or search the scriptures for what God reveals. This booklet,
Is There Life After Death?, explains much more about when the saints are resurrected,
but includes the truth about when all others are scheduled to be brought back to life.
It explains Christ’s and Daniel’s statements about two more resurrections—one to judgment,
and another involving “shame and contempt”—while also answering other questions on your mind.
Your human existence is literally a matter of life or death. Jesus said, “I am come
that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Yet, Paul wrote,
“all have sinned” and “the wages of sin is death.”
Man is not naturally headed toward eternal life, but rather toward death! Human beings
only live about 70 to 80 years (and in some countries much less). A few manage to live
longer, but eventually all die (read Hebrews 9 and verse 27). Yet this was never God’s
intention. His supreme purpose is for all people to have eternal life. (Read II Peter
3 and verse 9 and I Timothy 2 and verse 4.) God desires that everyone ultimately receive
His Holy Spirit, that it eventually enters all minds. Paul wrote: “The Spirit itself
bears witness with our spirit [the spirit in man], that we are the children of God:
and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…that we may
be also glorified together.” Two spirits are described here. God’s Spirit works “with”
the human spirit (not an immortal soul) to bring people to salvation as “joint-heirs
with Christ.” Romans states: “Concerning His Son Jesus
Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared
to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection
from the dead.” Most know Jesus was the Son of God, but He
was only “declared to be” God’s Son, in the fullest sense, “by the resurrection
from the dead.” Of course, He was already the begotten Son of God prior to His death
and Resurrection. This scripture shows Jesus was first physically born—descending from
David “according to the flesh”—and later spiritually born a Son of God “according
to the Spirit…[again] by the resurrection of the dead.”
Notice this: “For whom He [God] did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to
the image of His Son, that He [Christ] might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Christ is merely the first “born again” Son of God. The “many brethren” referenced
here (all with God’s Spirit over the last 6,000 years) will join Him at His Return.
This astonishing understanding is known to only the few called today (read John 6 verses
44 and 65). Now for an amazing series of verses. First,
Paul quotes David in the Psalms when he asked the question: “What is man, that you are
mindful of him?” Since God is eternal, and sits over the entire universe and has all
power under His control, no wonder David asked this question.
The astounding answer appears next: “You made him a little lower than the angels; You
crowned him with glory and honor, and did set him over the works of Your Hands.” God
intends to share rulership of His entire Creation with His Sons. Again, Christ is merely the
first of many. Consider. The birth of a firstborn son does
not preclude additional sons (or daughters) entering a family. I have two sons, and am
a firstborn son myself, with a younger brother. My father was second born, with an older brother.
Paul explains that God plans to give great power and authority to His many Sons: “You
have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection
under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things
put under him.” This has not yet happened, but soon will—at Christ’s Return.
Now this: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering
of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death
for every man. For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things,
in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through
sufferings.” This reveals the staggering potential planned for all Christians. The
begotten child of God has been called to “glory”—and to be one of many sons. Jesus’ suffering
and sacrifice allowed Him to be the “Captain of their salvation”—and potentially yours.
What an incredible future for those whom Jesus calls brethren: “For both He that sanctifies
and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He [Christ] is not ashamed
to call them brethren.” This verse also reveals that Christians are
“sanctified” (which means set apart from the world). How? Jesus asked God to “sanctify
them [begotten Christians] through Your truth: Your word is truth.”
The cherished traditions and fables of men, about life after death or anything else, are
worthless. A Christian is sanctified by the truth—what his Bible actually teaches!
If Christ is not ashamed to call human beings brethren, then God’s begotten sons must
not be ashamed to defend the very truth that sanctifies them. True Christians “grow up”
unto Christ, holding only to the true teachings of God—all of them—taught by the Church
Jesus built. They must qualify to stand beside Christ over “all things.”
But will He rule Earth by Himself—or will others be with Him? If men’s governments
require the efforts of many people assisting the top leader, could God’s world-ruling
governmental structure be different? Let’s answer.
Daniel spoke of Christ coming in the “clouds of heaven.” Just before His Return, God
officially grants Him the authority to rule the world. Notice: “And there was given
Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should
serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His
kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Again we ask: Will Christ rule alone, or will
others join Him? Exactly how does God intend to manage all the peoples and nations on Earth?
More verses in Daniel 7 are critical to understand. Notice: “But the saints of the Most High
shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.”
The ultimate calling of true Christians is to join Christ to share rulership in the kingdom
of God forever. Truly, Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. These can be you or anyone
else willing to accept God’s terms for entry into His kingdom.
Daniel sheds more light on what happens when the saints rule with Christ. Their first responsibility
is to replace what Daniel calls the “fourth beast”—which rules with the assistance
of a “little horn,” as it’s described. My thorough booklet about the Beast of Revelation
covers this in detail. Next, “I beheld, and the same [little] horn
made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of Days [Jesus Christ]
came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the
saints possessed the kingdom.” Finally, here is the marvelous potential lying
ahead for the true saints of God: “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of
the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the
Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and
obey Him.” What could be plainer? This explains Jesus’
promise that, “He that overcomes, and keeps My works unto the end, to him [not to anybody
else, to him] will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron,”
and then adding a few verses later, “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with
Me in My throne…” The phrase “In My throne” is used because
Christ knew that His throne, unlike the Father’s in heaven, will be on Earth. Read all these
other verses. They are almost entirely ignored in the churches of the world.
It is the Christian’s responsibility, I repeat, to qualify to be part of God’s coming
kingdom. Now, will you? There is so much more to understand, but this
is all we have time for. Again, the booklet Is There Life After Death?
goes further. It answers many questions. But we have a great many other booklets—and
even whole books—that you can read just on the truth of what is salvation. And they
are all free. The truths they contain are not what anybody else is teaching you regarding
plain scriptures in your Bible about the afterlife. Notice these titles—Why Do You Exist?—Do
the Saved Go to Heaven?—and How Religion Deceives You About Your Incredible Future.
These, and others, all relate to one last crucial booklet—Which Is the True Gospel?
The world’s churches do not teach even the most basic doctrines of God, again, preferring
cherished popular traditions and oft-repeated assumptions in their place. Can you really
afford to assume when it comes to your salvation? Should you not know with certainty everything
God reveals about life after death?—how you might spend all eternity!
Until next time, this is David C. Pack saying, “Goodbye, friends.”
This program was made available by Restored Church of God members and donors from around
the globe. Explore our vast library of literature and other World to Come programs, which are
all made available free of charge. To order literature featured in this program, call
toll-free 1-855-828-4646. That number again: 1-855-828-4646.

3 Replies to “What Happens When You Die?”

  1. The same way Jesus transformed into a heavenly body on his resurrection day is the same way we shall be transformed from the grave on the last day

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