The Top 10 Questions on What Happens After We Die
1. What happens after you die?
The Bible teaches that when we die, our bodies cease to function as the “house” for our spirit. Our spirits exit our bodies and continue to live. Where do our spirits go? The Bible clearly teaches every spirit goes to one of two places. If a person trusted Christ for the forgiveness of their sins in this life, their spirits go to heaven. If a person did not trust Christ for the forgiveness of sins, their spirits go to hell. It is not based on your good deeds, but a simple decision of repentance and faith in Christ. The Bible teaches there is no other way. (John 14:1-6)
2. What is heaven like?
We actually don’t know much about heaven from the Bible. When we die, the spirits of those who trusted Christ in this life for the forgiveness of sins, go to be with the Lord. Paul told us in Philippians 1:23 this will be a better experience than what we currently experience on earth. The better question is, “What will it be like for Christians after Jesus returns to earth?” This is the predominant focus of the Bible. The short answer, “It will be much like living on earth now without all the bad stuff – war, illness, hatred, sin and death.”
3. What is hell like?
Hell, also called “Hades” in the New Testament, is described by Jesus in a parable in Luke 16. Jesus tells us it is a place of torment. In Jude 13 the author refers to hell as a place of “blackest darkness.” It is the temporary holding place of the spirit of every person who didn’t receive Christ’s forgiveness in this life, as they await their final sentencing before “The Great White Throne Judgment” (Revelation 20:11) And this we know for sure, God doesn’t send anyone to hell; he merely honors their choice.
4. What is the resurrection of our bodies all about?
The bodily resurrection is the single greatest event yet to come for believers in Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches when Jesus returns to this earth, everyone who trust Christ in this life will receive a new body that is free from sin and imperishable. Jesus was the first to receive this resurrected body. We will spend the rest of eternity in this new body in the presence of God on the new earth. We don’t know the age of our resurrected bodies, but we do know they will be free from disease, sin and defect.
5. What will we do?
During the time between our death and the return of Christ, our spirits will be with the Lord and it will be a good and peaceful experience. After we receive our resurrected bodies and reside on the new earth, we will have plenty of things to keep us busy. The final location for God’s eternal kingdom is not up in the sky, but on a new earth. With our imperishable, physical bodies we will have plenty of work. We will share meals and laughter with the other residents. There will be time to invent, travel and explore. There will be time for hobbies, yes even golf. There will be time for resting, which means we can still have that morning cup of coffee. And of course, there will be time with our God – to worship him and enjoy his presence forever.
6. Are our loved ones in heaven watching over us?
The Bible doesn’t tell us one way or another. But here is what we do know. God is watching over us, day and night. (Psalm 139:1-4) Our loved ones are in a better place. (Philippians 1:23) We will see them again and spend eternity with them. (1 Thessalonians 5:10-11) God gives those of us who trust him everything we need in this life, so we don’t need to disturb our loved ones who have proceeded us. (Philippians 4:19)
7. What about life-after-death and near-death experiences?
There have been numerous people write about their near-death experience and they are fascinating, to say the least. In the New Testament, we read the life-after death story of Lazarus, but he didn’t make any comments on what it was like while his body was dead. (John 11) Stephen had an experience just before he was stoned to death for his faith in Christ. He saw a light (the glory of God) and he saw Jesus standing next to the Father. (Acts 7:55-56) Paul had an experience unrelated to death. He was caught up into the “third heaven” or “paradise” and heard and saw inexpressible things. (2 Corinthians 12:2-4) What were these things he saw? He told us that “no one is permitted to tell” what they saw. The most important life-after-death experience is Jesus Christ. Our belief in his experience is the single greatest factor in determining what we will see and encounter in our life-after-death experience. He assures us that “heaven is for real.”
8. Do we have guardian angels?
The simple answer is “yes.” Jesus said, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10) We don’t have just one but a collection of angels looking out for each believer personally. The writer of Hebrews tells us, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14) When you accepted Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, God assigned a host of angels to minister to you. This explains at least some of those unexplainable events that just couldn’t be coincidental.
9. Is it okay to be cremated?
Genesis 3:19 reads, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19) Over time, the body that is buried returns to dust. Cremation is simply expediting the process. With the rise of our growing knowledge of DNA or our twenty-three unique chromosomes, God doesn’t need our body in tact to recreate us. He has the formula for the unique person he made us to be. The person who chooses cremation today, need not worry any more about the their future resurrection than the martyrs of Christ who were burnt to death for their unshakeable faith need not to worry about their future resurrection. God will keep his promise through Christ. Do what your heart convicts you to do after prayer and respect the decision of others who do the same.
10. Will there be rewards given out?
The Bible is clear about this question. Yes, believers will receive rewards that will be given out at the beginning of life on the new earth. Believers will be judged in the end but not in the same way that unbelievers will be judged before the Great White Throne. (Romans 14:10) This judgment will not be to determine our salvation or entrance through the pearly gates but instead will determine the rewards we will receive for how we lived our lives during our time on this earth. (2 Corinthians 5:10) We will be judged for the content of our work, the words we speak and the motives of our heart. Everyone will not receive the same in the afterlife. So, as you build up your divine 401(k) account, remember Jesus’s advice – “…store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20)
Popular pastor Randy Frazee answers perennial questions about life after death with an accessible exploration of what the Bible has to say on the subject.
In both Christian and pop culture, there is a certain fascination with the afterlife. What happens after you die? What happens if you die with Christ or without Christ? What happens when Jesus returns if you have or haven’t accepted Christ? What exactly comes next?
Randy Frazee, popular pastor of Oak Hills Church and general editor of the wildly successful Believe and The Story programs, answers these questions and more. Born out of a deeply personal search for truth after the death of his mother, What Happens After You Die is a straightforward exploration of what the Bible says about life after death. From heaven and hell to the Lake of Fire and the actual presence of God, Frazee uncovers what is simply cultural tradition and what is truly biblical. He shows readers not only the death Jesus came to save us from but the life he came to save us for.
Based on a teaching series that has had more online views than any other series Frazee has done to date, What Happens After You Die is a guide to the perennial questions about life and death, what comes next, and how we should live until then.
About the Author
Randy Frazee is the senior minister at Oak Hills Church, one of the largest churches in America, leading alongside author and pastor Max Lucado. A leader and innovator in spiritual formation and biblical community, Randy is the architect of The Story church engagement campaign. He is also the author of The Heart of the Story, The Connecting Church 2.0, and The Christian Life Profile Assessment. He and his wife, Rozanne, live in San Antonio, Texas. Find out more about Randy at RandyFrazee.com.
“What Happens After You Die addresses what is arguably life’s most important question. This book is clear, warm, personal, transparent and God-honoring. Randy Frazee writes like he’s the reader’s friend, taking us on a journey of discovery. I encourage you to walk with him.”
—Randy Alcorn, New York Times bestselling author of Heaven and Happiness
“Practical. Encouraging. Highly readable. Informative. These are the words I use to describe the book you are holding. My good friend and coworker, Randy Frazee, has succeeded in clarifying a daunting topic. His teaching is simple, without being simplistic. He instructs without condescending. He answers difficult questions without skirting the issues. This is a go-to book for all of us who want to know more about the next version of life. Way to go, Randy.”
—Max Lucado, pastor and New York Times bestselling author
“This is an amazing book! So much more to think about now. Where you’ve been, where you are, and ultimately where we all as Christians want to end up. I’ve never heard the transition from this life to heaven explained so well. You have to read this book.”
—George Strait, country singer and songwriter
“The first time I heard the story that drives the content of this book, tears streamed down my face. My good friend Randy Frazee and I share a mutual passion for what comes next after this life that flows from our deep loss, and I’m so thankful he’s sharing the profound truths about real hope that he’s learned on his journey with us through this powerful book.”
—Steven Curtis Chapman, Grammy Award–winning singer and songwriter
“An honest, challenging, aimed effort to allow the teaching of Jesus to divinely collide with the greatest mysteries of life. There are certain questions that are asked time and time again and can only be answered by the God who operates outside of time.”
—Dr. Ed Newton, lead pastor, Community Bible Church, San Antonio, Texas
“We’ve all wrestled with the concept of what it is going to be like after we die and beyond. Although we’ll never fully grasp the wonders until we get there, Randy paints a beautiful picture from the scriptures. I’ve known Randy for a while now and his heart truly is one to bring encouragement to the body of believers. So be encouraged!”
—Jeremy Camp, five-time Dove Award–winning singer and songwriter
“This is a learned, lambent, superbly crafted, grippingly absorbing treatment of the end times. A belter of a book that calls across the generations. Save an evening to read it, and you’ll savor it for a lifetime.”
—Dr. Leonard Sweet, professor and bestselling author, Absecon, New Jersey
“This book is a super practical, biblical guide that I would feel comfortable giving to anyone I know—believer or non. It’s chock full of scripture, and I can’t wait to use it as a tool to teach my children about the deep truths of heaven. Randy is truly a man of God, and I’m grateful to call him a friend!”
—Francesca Battistelli, Grammy Award–winning artist
“Usually prior to endorsing a book, I skim through it. That was impossible with What Happens After You Die. You’ll want to devour every word and scripture in this book. Prepare to be taught, encouraged, and challenged from God’s Word and Randy’s heart.”
—Dave Stone, senior pastor, Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Kentucky
“The idea that all we will do is cast our crowns and cry “Holy, Holy, Holy” for the rest of eternity causes a sense of dread and boredom for most men I know. This is all we’ll do in heaven? Randy Frazee gives so much more insight into the adventure God has in store for us for all eternity!”
—Todd Smith, lead singer of Selah, the multi-platinum and Dove Award–winning group
“We all have questions when it comes to life’s most confusing and dangerous transition. His answers are wonderfully refreshing, honest, and powerfully biblical.”
—Kenton Beshore, senior pastor, Mariners Church, California
A Word from the Author
The city of Jerusalem is the home of the famous Wailing Wall. Jews come to this wall daily to pray for the coming of the Messiah, the One who will save them from their sins and restore that relationship with God. We Christians celebrate that the Messiah has already come. His name is Jesus. He has made the way for all people to come into an eternal relationship with God.
We now go to our own "Wailing Wall" to pray for people to believe in the Messiah and to receive this gift of eternal life. Perhaps you have someone in your life who hasn't received Christ. Maybe it's a spouse or one of your children, a neighbor, a coworker, or just a friend. Maybe you need to place your own name on the wall.
I want to invite you to go to www.prayer.randyfrazee.com and place the name onto this wall so that others can pray. You can use a name or initials, include the state or country where the person lives, and leave a short note or prayer. We have a team of committed prayer warriors who will be faithful to pray for the person you place on the wall. Please join in and take time to pray for the name of someone else on this wall. God is listening.