Series 1 - The Bible and You: Practical Answers—Real Hope
Hi, friends! Welcome to this Bible study lesson on "What Happens
After Death?" This subject has been a passion of mine since my little
brother died when I was 12. Let me share with you the comfort I have found
in the Bible on this deeply personal but universally important subject.
And remember, we would love to hear from you and serve you in any way
Lesson 3: What Happens After Death?
Is there life after death? If so, how is that possible? And what
will it be like? Will it last forever?
Don, a Christian in Washington, tells this story:
"When I was 12 years old, my lovable little brother, Roddy, who
was 3½, suddenly died. This was absolutely devastating to me, my parents
and my other brother. My world was turned upside down with grief. That
was over 50 years ago, and I still get choked up when I talk about my
brother and what happened.
"The tragedy worked for good in that it made me begin to think
seriously about life. If there was a way to see Roddy again, I longed
to discover that way. However, I remained in the dark spiritually until
many years later when God began to open my eyes to understand the Bible.
What a thrilling ongoing education it has been ever since! And each
time I have lost another loved one, it has further increased my determination
to be there for the great 'family reunion' in the next life!"
Share Your Story
What Does the Bible Say About Life After Death?
Is this life all there is? Is there nothing afterwards? Do we just cease
to exist? If that were the case, such hopelessness would be terribly depressing.
The patriarch Job asked, "If a man dies, shall he live again?" (Job 14:14).
The good news—the fabulous news—is YES, he will!
Let's now see what the Bible has to say about the hope for life after
death through a "resurrection," which means "rising again" from the dead.
What is the one greatest hope promised in the Bible?
...in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before
This reference (and many other scriptures) shows that the magnificent
hope for mankind is eternal life! This is what "God, who cannot
lie, promised before time began." Hope is not merely a "wish"—hope is
a desire that is fully expected because of solid evidence.
What was God's purpose in sacrificing His Son Jesus Christ?
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting
life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world through Him might be saved."
God's ultimate sacrifice demonstrates the greatest love that could be
imagined. Although everyone dies, God does not want anyone to "perish"
forever. He wants everyone to have "everlasting life"!
Is God offering immortality to mortal human beings?
1 Corinthians 15:50-54
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom
of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet
will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall
be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this
mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on
incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be
brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed
up in victory."
This entire chapter—often called the "resurrection chapter"—gives us
considerable understanding of a future resurrection. We are all mortal—physically,
we all will die. So far, only God has immortality (see 1 Timothy 6:16).
But God is offering immortality to all mankind!
What was the stunning event that led the disciples to unshakeable
1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according
to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through
the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...
The empty tomb—the resurrection of Christ—was the proof to Jesus' disciples
that God can raise the dead to spirit life! It gave the disciples powerful
motivation to preach this good news (see Acts 4:2, 20, 33; 8:4). Plus
it led them to truly understand Jesus' promises that God was offering
eternal life to all mankind (John 10:28).
All people have sorrows, but what is the worst kind of sorrow?
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have
fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we
believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with
Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of
the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord
will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself
will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel,
and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them
in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always
be with the Lord.
It is the sorrow of people who have no hope for the future.
The Bible compares death to sleep (see what Christ said in John
11:11-14),and sleep is only temporary! The Bible says "the dead know nothing"
(Ecclesiastes 9:5), so like sleep, death is a state of unconsciousness.
God will awaken us in a resurrection from the dead.
The resurrections will begin with the second coming of Christ! This hope
gives us our greatest "comfort" (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
When resurrected to eternal life, what will we be like?
1 John 3:1-3
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should
be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because
it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has
not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is
revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone
who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Just as children of humans are also human and enter the family of the
parents, "children of God" become part of the glorious family of God.
"We shall be like Him" (1 John 3:2)! There will be more about God's gift
of eternal life in future lessons.
Carefully read all of 1 Corinthians 15, "the resurrection chapter." Think
deeply about what you read and think big! Think of all eternity stretching
out before you! And after we have lived for millions of years and look
back on this human life, think of how short it will seem! Read Romans
8:18 and 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 to see how we will view the suffering of
this life. We will see what a very small sacrifice it was to prepare for
the paradise of eternal life!
Next Lesson: Why Does God Allow People to Suffer?
Questions about this lesson? Feedback about
There Life After Death?
Resurrection of the Dead: What Does the Bible Really Teach?
God Forget the Dead?
in Dealing With Grief