What Happens After Death?

What happens after death? Let’s talk about this very important question.

It is appointed for men to die once, but after this comes the judgment.

Hebrews 9:27

Are you a Christian? 

 Jesus is the One Way to Heaven. So what happens after death?

If You are in Christ, You’re Going to Heaven.

Jesus came to earth to save us. There is no way to God, or heaven, except through Jesus. The Apostle Paul writes:

While in the body we are absent from the Lord….I prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).

When Believers Die they go Immediately into Jesus’ Presence

Immediately after believers die, they are in Jesus’ presence. Angels may carry us up to heaven:

“It came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s presence (Luke 16:22). 

For Christians, to Die is Better

While the Apostle Paul was alive, he longed to be with Christ. He said that’d be much better. But he also wanted to continue ministering to the Christians coming to faith in Jesus:

“But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart (by dying) and be with Christ, for that is very much better (Philippians 1:23).” 

Judgments and Resurrections

There isn’t one resurrection at the end of the world. There are several different judgments. And God resurrects believers at various times before His last review (called the Great White Throne Judgment). Only unbelievers will appear at that judgment. 

 Jesus is the One Way to Heaven. So what happens after death?

God has a Book of Life

God has a book of life, and everyone who has believed in Jesus’ Name is listed in that metaphorical book.

God has a Book of Works

He also has a book that records peoples’ works. But no matter how well you lived, it won’t be good enough. That’s why Jesus became human and died for our sins. He is our Savior; He purifies believers in Him so they can go to heaven. Believers are good enough–not on their own merits–but because they are in Christ. When we believe, Jesus adds His righteousness to our account and forgives our sins.

How Can I be Good Enough for Heaven?

Jesus had this discussion with the thief on the cross whom they crucified next to Jesus:

One of the criminals who were hanged there…was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” And He (Jesus) said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise (Luke 23:32-43).”

The thief had lived a sinful life. Yet, he became a believer, and Jesus promised he’d be with Jesus that same day (after they both died).


If You’re not a Believer, the Answer is Different.

 Jesus is the One Way to Heaven. So what happens after death if you do not believe in Jesus?

No Admittance to Paradise

“Jesus said… “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me (John 14:6).”

In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells a parable about a rich man and Lazarus. A parable is like a figure of speech, so not all details of the parables are meant literally. However, the features must be true enough to life so that Jesus’ listeners can understand His teaching. Here’s what Jesus said about the rich man’s destination after he dies:

Admittance to Hades

“(Lazarus died and)…the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame (Luke 16:22-24).'” 

In this parable, Jesus said that Hades is a place of torment. In Revelation 20, the Apostle John sees the eternal state of those not found in the book of life.

Only Judgement by Your Works

“Then I saw a great white throne.…And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds….Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).”

These dead are all unbelievers who appear before the Great White Throne for the final judgment. God will judge unbelievers according to how they lived their lives. The unbelievers’ cause is hopeless because no one is good enough to stand before God dressed in their deeds. People can only stand before God if they’ve placed themselves in Jesus Christ by believing in His Name

Not in the Book of Life

When someone believes in Jesus, God signs their name in the Book of Life. But if God never writes their name in His book, they are thrown into the lake of fire. The Bible also calls this condemnation the second death, and there is no escape or recovery. 

Two Options and You Decide!

So, where will you go when you die? There are two options, and you have full control over your destination: 

So What Happens After Death?

  • Those who believe in Jesus’ Name will go to heaven, i.e., into His presence.
  • Those who don’t believe will be tormented and eventually thrown into the lake of fire.

He who believes in Him (Jesus) is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:18

How Can I be Saved?

Please watch the GREAT NEWS FOR YOU Video on this page to find out how you can go to Heaven when you die.


Watch this video!

If this video connected with you in some way, and you’d like to find out more about having a relationship with God and how His forgiveness and grace applies to you, a great place to start is praying the prayer below. The words themselves aren’t magic, but if you earnestly pray them and mean them, God will hear you! He’ll help you in ways you don’t understand, and we’ll help you find support and next steps.

The Prayer

Jesus, I don't know You, and I don't know what Your plan is for me. But thank you for coming to die in my place. I'm sorry for anything I've ever done wrong in my life. I don't understand how You could ever forgive me, but if You really would, I would like to accept your free gift of grace and complete forgiveness. Please come into my life and take control, and help me trust You. In Jesus' name I pray,

Did you pray this prayer?

So Now What?

If you really meant that prayer, the next step is to get you connected with other Christ-followers near you so you can grow, learn and become stronger in your faith.

Click the CONNECT NOW button below to find a group of believers who can help you establish that relationship with God that you’ve only just begun.

God loves you – specifically you! And because He does, you have a bright future! Trust Him to help you find it.

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Connect with Other Believers

Take the next step and get to know others just like you who are looking for real answers. You will find amazing support and community, and answers to questions you may have not even thought to ask!

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