Foundation Topic

What Happens
When We Die?

It’s bound to happen, yet no one talks about it. And rarely are we sure what happens after death. The Bible can give you certainty about your future and hope. The message of the Bible is that God has made a way for “the last enemy”deathto lose its fear and its sting in your life.   

Related Topics
What's on this page?

Life isn't over

The Bible says death is an enemy to be defeated. It's a door into the experience we were created for— eternity. Question is, where will you spend forever?

Theme Verse
JOHN 11:25-26 ESV

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Short Content

What Does the Bible Say About Death?

All of us will face death, one way or another, yet it’s a reality that none of us ever feel comfortable facing.

We avoid the sheer mention of death at all costs. We use euphemisms like, "passed away" or "no longer with us" to soften the blow of this hard reality.

Some try to downplay death by speaking of it as dispassionately as they can. For example, secular scientists treat death as nothing more than an inevitable part of an endless process of evolutionary change.

Others try to make light of death by turning it into a positive experience. They frame death as the one reality that gives meaning and purpose to our otherwise meaningless existence. They reason that a person’s life is only meaningful because of its inevitable end.

But the Bible offers a radically different picture of death, one that is both more terrifying and more hopeful than anything the world has to offer.

The Bible portrays death in two primary ways—as the consequence and judgement for our sin and as a powerful enemy that will one day be defeated.

First, the Bible portrays death as the just consequence and judgment from God for our sin and rebellion against him. We have all sinned against God, our eternal creator and sustainer, and God has declared that the just penalty for our sin against him is death (Romans 6:23).

The Bible teaches us that this death comes in two stages—the first death, which is the death of our current physical bodies, and the second death, which is described as the consigning of both our body and soul to eternal punishment in Hell.

In this light, the biblical view of death is far more terrifying than we can possibly imagine. But there’s hope.

The first death is unavoidable; we all die. But God has made a way for us to escape the second death (hell).

Yes, the wages of our sin is death. But the Bible tells us that “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 ESV). Jesus, God’s Son, voluntarily suffered the wrath of God due to our sin, by becoming a man and suffering a horrible death by crucifixion. In some mysterious way, Jesus endured not only physical death, but the eternal agony of God’s wrath for all those who would put their trust in him. Jesus didn’t stay dead. Having suffered hell on the cross for all who trust him, he rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 ESV). The Bible gives us hope beyond physical death, hope of everlasting life.

Now we come to the second way that the Bible portrays death—as an enemy to be defeated.

For those who trust in Jesus and repent of their sins, the Bible makes it clear that death carries no more fear or dread. That is because death is not only the just consequence of our sin but an enemy that has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Christ.

We who have come to hope in Christ are given the sweet promise and assurance in Scripture that, in Christ, the sting of death is gone, because we no longer need to fear God’s judgment (1 John 4:18; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57). Because Christ has already died for us and been raised to life, so we too will be raised, and we too will receive eternal life with Him (Romans 6:4-5)!

And God has promised that one day he will not only raise us to eternal life but he will remove all the effects of death from the new creation.

Ultimately, the Bible's dual portrayal of death as both the just consequence for our sin and an enemy to be defeated both warns and encourages us.

Death is the grim and just consequence for our sin—that’s a wakeup call. Fear, dread, and grief over death arouse our appropriate discomfort. Death is not good. It’s a judgment for our sin, and a grim reminder that greater judgment awaits us apart from Christ.

Our fear of death is a gracious motivator for us to repent of our sin and turn desperately to Christ—the only one who can free us from the power and penalty of death.

Death also leads us to hope—hope that death is an enemy which will one day be defeated for us in Christ. Death and final judgment will not have the final say in our lives. Jesus will.

When it comes to death, the central question that the Bible lays before you is this: Will you face death on your own or will you face it with your hope in Jesus Christ, who can walk you through death’s door into life everlasting?



What Does the Bible Say About Death?
Genesis 2:16-17 ESV

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”


But the serpent
said to the woman,
“You will not surely die."

Genesis 3:4 ESV

Everything Is Passing Away

by Octavius Winslow

"We were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow!" (Job 8:9 NIV)

"They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.” (Job 14:2 NIV)

"What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (James 4:14 NIV)

All is shadow here below! The world is a shadow—and is passing away! The creature is a shadow—and the loveliest and the fondest may be the first to die! Health is a shadow—fading, and in a moment gone! Wealth is a shadow—today upon the summit of affluence, tomorrow at its base, plunged into poverty and dependence!

Human friendships and creature affections are but shadows—sweet and pleasant while they last; but, with a worm feeding at the root of all created good, the sheltering gourd soon withers, exposing us to the sun's burning heat by day, and to the frost's cold chill by night!

Oh, yes! "Passing Away!" is indelibly inscribed upon everything here below!

Yet how slow we are to realize the solemn lesson: "What shadows we are—and what shadows we pursue!"

Unconverted reader, what is your life—but a vapor that passes away?

And what are your pursuits, but shadows—unreal, unsatisfying, evanescent?

Your rank, your wealth, your honors, your pleasures, are but phantoms which appear but for a little while, and then are lost in the deeper shadow of the grave, and the still deeper and longer shadow of eternity!

Oh, turn from these dreams and hallucinations, and, as a rational, accountable, immortal being, on your way to judgment—fix your mind upon your solemn, endless future! You are going to die! And, oh, when that dread hour comes, so real and appalling—how then will your past trifling life appear?

See quote source
Article: 5 Min

Facing Death: An Old Preacher You’ve Got to Hear

by C.A. Coates at


Death Comes to All

by Jonathan Edwards

Death serves all alike; as he deals with the poor, so he deals with the rich: is not awed at the appearance of a proud palace, a numerous attendance, or a majestic countenance; pulls a king out of his throne, and summons him before the judgment seat of God, with as few compliments and as little ceremony as he takes the poor man out of his cottage. Death is as rude with emperors as with beggars, and handles one with as much gentleness as the other.

See quote source

They, then, who
are destined to die,
need not be
careful to inquire
what death they
are to die,
but into what place
death will usher them.

Article: 5 Min

There’s Something Worse than Death

by Kevin DeYoung at 9Marks

Messages: 26 Min

Through Adam, Death

by John MacArthur at Grace To You


Two Histories of Death

What does the Bible say about death, and how does that compare to popular opinion? Special thanks to Answers in Genesis, who let us redesign their graphic! Feel free to download it or share it! 

Messages: 46 Min

You Will Live Forever

by David Platt at Radical

James 4:13-14 NIV

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 

Video: 4 Min
by Billy Graham at Above Inspiration
Psalm 90:10 ESV

The years of our life are seventy, 
    or even by reason of strength eighty; 
yet their span is but toil and trouble; 
    they are soon gone, and we fly away. 


So teach us
to number
our days
that we
may get
a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12 ESV
Article: 5 Min

How Can I Learn to Number My Days?

“So teach us to number our days,
that we may present to You
a heart of wisdom.”
(Psalm 90:12 NASB)

by Bill Thrasher, a friend of


Heidelberg Catechism
Questions 42 and 57

We have made a graphic so you can keep a portion of the Heidelberg Catechism on your phone as your background or screensaver!

Messages: 27 Min


by Billy Graham


Our Time Is Short

by Benjamin Watson
No matter how long we live on earth, it’s a brief time. And in most cases the hourglass empties when we least expect it. Satan is very skilled at making us believe we have more time to “get right” with God. It’s one of his greatest deceptions. But this lie couldn’t be further from the truth. We may feel alive one minute, bursting with energy to exercise and work and engage the world around us, yet be oblivious to the fact that our next “rest period” will be at the cemetery next door. Tomorrow is not promised. To think it is is to trust a lie.
See quote source

70’s | 80’s | 90’s

Good to Be Alive

by Jason Gray
Messages: 62 Min

Living With
An Eternal Perspective

by Steve Lawson

Folk | Country Gospel

West Texas Wind

Jeremiah 13:16 NKJV

Give glory to the Lord your God 
Before He causes darkness,
And before your feet stumble 
On the dark mountains, 
And while you are looking for light, 
He turns it into the shadow of death 
And makes it dense darkness. 

Article: 15 Min

What Is The Scriptural Understanding of Death?

by Andy McIntosh at Answers in Genesis

Messages: 25 Min

On Death and Dying

by Alistair Begg

Ezekiel 18:23; 32 ESV

Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?... For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.” 

How Do I Deal with the Fear of Death?

the wages
of sin
is death,
but the
gift of God
is eternal life
Christ Jesus
our Lord.

Romans 6:23 NIV

Praise & Worship

Christ Our Hope in Life and Death

by Keith & Kristyn Getty and Matt Papa
2 Timothy 1:9-10 NLT

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. 

Article: 15 Min

Facing Death with Hope:
Living for What Lasts

by David Powlison at CCEF

Hebrews 2:14-15 NIV 

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 

Messages: 35 Min

Facing Death Without Fear

by Jeff Struecker at Cedarville University

70’s | 80’s | 90’s

What Now

by Steven Curtis Chapman

70’s | 80’s | 90’s

Last Day on Earth

by Steven Curtis Chapman
John 5:24 NKJV 

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. 

Revelation 1:17-18 ESV

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 

Psalm 23:4 KJV

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 

Article: 10 Min

Lord, Free Me from the Fear of Death

by Jon Bloom at Desiring God


But I trust
in you, O Lord;
I say,
“You are my God.” 
My times
are in your hand

Psalm 31:14-15a ESV
Article: 10 Min

The Intermediate State

So what happens when Christians die? 

by Kim Riddlebarger at Tabletalk

Psalm 33:18-19 ESV

Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.  

Video: 5 Min
by Ligon Duncan and HB Charles at The Gospel Coalition

Praise & Worship


by The Worship Initiative feat. Aaron Williams & Dwell Songs
What Is the Christian’s Hope in Death?

If in Christ
we have hope
in this life only,
we are of all people
most to be pitied.

1 Corinthians 15:19 ESV

Chill & Relaxing

What Do I Know

by Sara Groves
Romans 14:7-9 NIV

For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 


Poor Wayfaring Stranger



We Are the Lord’s (Romans 14:8-9)

by Sing Scripture

in the
of the Lord
is the death
of his faithful servants.

Psalm 116:15 NIV
Philippians 1:20-21 NIV

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 


Life and death look to us
like two evils of which
we know not which is the less.
As for the Apostle,
they look to him
like two immense blessings
of which
he knows not
which is the better.

Adolphe Monod

Jesus Lives,
and So Shall I

Here's a graphic so you can keep the precious hymn "Jesus Lives and So Shall I" on your phone as your background or screensaver!

Video: 2 Min
by John MacArthur at Crossway


If I Die Tonight

by Lecrae feat. Novel
1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 NIV

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 


What Is Your
Only Comfort 
in Life and Death?

Here's a graphic so you can keep the wonderful answer to this pressing question on your phone as your background or screensaver! The answer comes from the Heidelberg Catechism.


the last enemy
to be destroyed
is death.

1 Corinthians 15:26 NLT


It Is Not Death to Die 

by Sovereign Grace Music

We spend our years
with sighing;
it is a valley of tears;
but death is the funeral
of all our sorrows.

Thomas Adams

Folk | Country Gospel

Day by Day

by Andrew Peterson
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 


What Comfort Does a Christian Have in Death?

by Thomas Brooks

A Christian knows that death shall be the funeral of all his sins, his sorrows, his afflictions, his temptations, his vexations, his oppressions, his persecutions. He knows that death shall be the resurrection of all his hopes, his joys, his delights, his comforts, his contentments. 

See quote source

70’s | 80’s | 90’s

A Little More Time to Love

by Steven Curtis Chapman

70’s | 80’s | 90’s


by Rich Mullins 

Dying is the last,
but the least matter
that a Christian 
be anxious about.

Praise & Worship

Song In The Night

by Shane & Shane


When I’m Gone REMIX

by Roy Tosh feat. GIDI

Death Be Not Proud

Here's a graphic so you can keep the poem "Death Be Not Proud," by John Donne on your phone as your background or screensaver!

Isaiah 25:6-9 ESV

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.  It will be said on that day,  “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”