What Happens When We Die?



Noticing what the author wrote



The author’s intended meaning (AIM) in the context



Using the author’s intention today



Now it came about that the poor man died and he was carried away by the angels ( Luke 16:22)

Who is involved?

What is happening?

Where is it taking place?

Why is it included?

How is it carried out?

Anything repeated, contrasted, compared?

Any commands, principles?

Any solutions, directions?

Categorize Observations:

Summarize categories:

Subject (What is author talking about?

Predicate (What is author saying about what he is talking about?



For believers, at the point of death, they see angels who escort them to the heavenlies. So angels are given the assigned responsibility from God of escorting us to heaven.

This would seem to be something that angels have done and continue to do as long as believers die.


APP—We can expect to have an angel/s ready to meet us and take us to heaven when we die. So not only is our place in heaven being prepared but so is our entrance into it.

Now there was a certain rich man…also died and was buried. And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment…he cried out and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me…dip the tip of your finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame…I beg you, that you send him to my father’s house—for I have four brothers—that he may warn them lest they also come to this place of torment  ( Luke 16:19-31)


So when the unbeliever dies, he or she is conscious in a place of torment called Hades. There is no evidence that anyone works their way out of this place. This is not hell but the place where all unbelievers are until their final judgment at the end of the world called the Great White Throne judgment Rev 20:11-15. Here they will be judged according to their deeds and cast into the Lake of Fire. Unbelievers are conscious of life back on earth even desiring that loved one avoid this place.


There is life after death for the unbeliever and that life will forever be characterized by judgment seen in torment, physical pain, thirst, regret, fear, accountability and separation from God.


APP—When an unbeliever jokes about death we should warn them about the torment and judgment that they will experienced forever after death.

In my father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you (John 14:2) But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better (Philippians 1:23) …they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:16)


So there is a departure from this life to go to a better place. Believers have this to look forward to. Believers will be with other believers who have died before them. We will live in a real place, with real people, with real living to be enjoyed. This will include places to live and a life to live which will be much better than anything we have known this side of the grave. This place is described with dwelling places, like a country and a city. It seems to be a place where nations, regions, and localities will also exist similar to those governmental and political distinctions we have now but under a different order—one that has eternal and heavenly priorities in it.


Life on the other side of the grave is to be preferred since it is a place God is preparing for us to live in and enjoy forever. God has taken care of everything.


APP—Our hope is on the other side of the grave so that is what we should focus on and prioritize in all of our decision-making while we live on this side. For instance, I love my enemies instead of seeking revenge.


…flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God…for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed and this moral must put on immortality   (1 Corinthians 15:50-55) For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens  (2 Corinthians 5:1)


Death is necessary for us to enter the kingdom of God since we cannot enter in our current bodies. We must leave these mortal bodies behind—that is bodies susceptible to death, disease and destruction due to sin—and be changed into new one. We will receive this new body at the rapture and it will be an eternal immortal body, though not flesh and blood. This new body will not sexually reproduce, but will be able to eat, pass through physical structures, without physical defect. It will be similar to the body we have now though different in quality and nature.


So death will shed us of our current body and resurrection will provide us with a new eternal one. We will not be disembodied spirits, ghosts, or angels. We will have a bodily form.


APP—We should take care of our bodies and use them, as we do anything else, to bring glory to God but not pamper our bodies by trying to make ourselves look younger, or attractive since these bodies are temporary and destined to deteriorate and die.

To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord   (2 Corinthians 5:8)


The moment we leave this body at death, we will go to be immediately with Jesus. There is no purgatory, or unconscious condition we will be in or face right after we die. So death is not light at the end of a tunnel. Death is when the soul departs from the body.


This was not the case for Old testament believers who went to Abraham’s bosom after death and until Christ died. Today, for our church age, whenever a believer dies he or she is with the Lord.


APP—Whenever and wherever we breathe our last breath here, our next breath will be heaven with the Lord, good angels, and all believers preceding us there.


Each man’s (God’s fellow worker’s) work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved yet as through fire   (1 Corinthians 3:13-15)


Believer’s receive or lose rewards at the judgment seat of Christ. After death all believers appear before Christ in judgment, not for sin (Hebrews 10:17), since Christ paid for that on the cross, but for an evaluation of their behavior on earth. These rewards will determine our service before God for eternity. This is a sobering thought and one that should motivate us to prepare ourselves everyday by living a holy and righteous life.


The intention here is for us to take seriously our devotion and commitment to take up our cross daily because we will be judged by Christ for this and it makes a tangible difference in how we will serve and participate in God’s program for eternity.


APP—Live for the profit I will gain on the other side of the grave. That will mean changing my attitudes, rearranging my priorities, evaluating my ambitions and repenting when they conflict with God’s expectations revealed to me in His Word.


Summarize your applications