What happens to the Christian when we die?
Over the last two years, I’ve had a season where my grandmother, my Mom and my Dad have recently passed away, so I’ve unfortunately had to think about death more than I’ve wanted to. In doing some study about death, especially for the believer, I continue to understand more and more what Paul was thinking when he wrote to the Philippians that ‘For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ Paul goes on in chapter 1 by stating that, when choosing between living and continuing his ministry and going home to Christ, ‘My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.’ Here’s a little of what I’m learning about what happens to us as believers when we die:
- Angels usher your soul to Heaven
It’s hard for those of us still alive to think about what it will be like when we close our eyes one last time, not to able to open them ever again as we pass away. In Luke 16, we get an idea of what happens at that very moment. Jesus is telling a story about two men: one rich and one poor. The poor man, who he names Lazarus, dies ‘and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side.’ It’s notable to notice what happens to Lazarus… he was not alone in his death. At that very moment, God sent His angels to come and user him into Heaven.
2. You Immediately enter Christ’s presence
As angels are ushering you immediately into Heaven, the believer then will be taken into the presence of Christ. I think this is something that is hard for us to imagine, but clearly both through Jesus’ admonition to the thief on the cross, ‘“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise,” to Paul’s repeated conviction that he was going to be with Christ upon His death, both in Philippians 1, ‘But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake,’ to his writing to the Corinthians that he would ‘prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.’
3. You are conscious, in command of your thinking, feeling speech, and memories
This has been the most interesting part of this study, especially a particular passage in Luke 16. Jesus continues his story about the poor man (Lazarus) and a rich man, the rich man is begging for some relief from the heat of hell and has a conversation with Abraham, who is in heaven, asking him if he would warn his brothers about hell and implore them about Jesus. It seems clear that we’re going to be able to remember relatives, make reasonable thoughts and feel emotion! We also see Jesus talking with the Sadducees and tells them that God is the ‘God of the dead, but of the living.’
4. You are aware to some degree of activities and events on earth (Revelation 6:9-10)
Isn’t that interesting? While the Bible doesn’t tell us everything about Heaven, we see in the book of Hebrews this picture of life as a grand arena, with those who have gone before us (the great cloud of witnesses) cheering us on in our daily spiritual struggles. In the 6th chapter of the book of Revelation, Jesus is opening each of the seven seal and as the fifth seal is opened, in verse 9 John states ‘I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Clearly, these people knew who had killed them and that they had not yet found justice for killing the martyrs.
5. Finally, I’ve saved the best for last! We will participate in magnificent worship in Heaven
This one could be (and probably will be!) it’s own blog post at some point, but imagine the most thrilling worship, with multitudes of God’s people, from every nation, tribe, people and language, all gathered together, singing praise to God for His greatness, grace, power, wisdom and mighty work of redemption. How wonderful that will be!
For the believer in Jesus, we have a lot to look forward to! And if you’ve never accepted Jesus and received Him in your life, you can do that today! Please reach out and as a primer, this video gives you a great place to start!
 Luke 23:43
 2 Corinthians 5:8
 Matthew 22:32
 Hebrews 12:1
 Revelation 5:13-14