This is one of the biggest questions of humanity. Where do you go when you die? If it were left up to us to figure that out, we never would … until we die. Thankfully, God tells us exactly what happens, in His Word, the Bible.
When a person dies, if they were born-again (John 3:3), their soul will go directly to Heaven to be with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8, Luke 23:43, Philippians 1:23). This is because they repented of their sin (turned away from…truly regretted in their heart) and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ. Which means their sin was forgiven because the Lord Jesus Christ received the wages of eternal death that they deserved (John 3:18, 36; Mark 1:15).
When the Lord Jesus Christ returns, the bodies of those believers, which were “sleeping,” will be raised and changed/glorified (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, 1 Corinthians 15:50-54). Our body will be reunited with our soul/spirit as we enter into the new heavens and new earth.
A person who dies without ever being born-again, goes to Hades, a place of torment, until the final judgment where they will be judged for their sin. In Luke 16:22-23 we read of a rich man who was sent to “hell” where he was tormented, but not consoled. In Revelation 20:13-15 we learn that this is a temporary “holding place” where unbelievers go until the final judgment. After this judgment all unbelievers will be sent to “the lake of fire” which is everlasting hell.
The eternal fate of everyone is sealed, unchangeable, once a person dies and their soul is separated from their body. On the future day of judgment, we will all either be sentenced to eternal life through the Blood of Jesus Christ or to eternal death, away from God, in hell. But we will all know what our own future judgment will be, the moment we die.
Where a person goes when they die is entirely dependent upon whether they trusted in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation or not. We are without excuse. We see God’s Creation all around us (Romans 1:20) … we are God’s Creation. We know we sin. We do things that we know we should not do. That conscience that we all have exists because we were created in His image (Genesis 1:27).
John 3:18 – He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
To believe in Jesus Christ is not just believing that he lived and died for sin. Satan even believes that. It is to agree with him that everything that He says is bad, really is bad. And everything he says is good, really is good. And it is to completely trust in Him as Lord and Savior. The sign of a believer is repentance of sin … change.
A person can be born-again in the last seconds of their life, conscious or not. God is sovereign, omnipotent and omniscient. He is over all, all-powerful and all knowing. If the soul has not left the body, that person can be saved. And He is not bound by time, as we are (2 Peter 3:8). So pray for those on their death bed. But don’t wait until you are on your death bed! Take God at His Word today and be saved!