Where do peoples’ souls go when they die?
Suggested Daily Reading: Luke 16:19-31
When a person dies, his soul departs from his body. The person’s body returns to the ground, but his soul goes to God his Creator (Eccl. 12:7). God judges each soul, and each is sent immediately to heaven or hell (Luke 16:22-23 and 23:43).
The time between our physical death and resurrection (at the end of time) is called our intermediate state. During our intermediate state we are alive and conscious spiritually. Our thoughts, emotions and wills are all engaged, but without our physical bodies. While we do not fully understand how this functions, we do know that saved souls are conscious during their intermediate state.
The Bible informs us that saved souls:
- Immediately enter and live in heaven (Luke 23:43)
- Communicate with God in heaven (Rev. 6:9-10)
- Serve and praise God (Rev. 14:3-4)
- Are with Jesus (II Cor. 5:8)
- Reign with Christ (Rev. 20:4)
- Fellowship with other saved souls (Heb. 12:23)
- Enjoy a far better state of existence than on earth (Phil. 1:23)
The Bible also informs us that lost souls:
- Immediately enter and exist in hell (Luke 16: 22-23)
- Feel total separation and hopelessness (Luke 16:26)
- Experience torments and terrors (Luke 16:23; Ps. 73:19)
The only people who will never experience an intermediate state of existence, a separation of their souls from their bodies, are those who will be living on earth when Jesus returns, and the great resurrection takes place. Scripture teaches that these people will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of eye, from an aging and temporary body into an incorruptible and eternal one (I Cor. 15:51-52).
God’s children enjoy perfect spiritual restoration in heaven during their intermediate state, but their total salvation is not yet complete. Full salvation in soul and body will be experienced after the resurrection in the new heaven and earth.
Why is the day of our death so important? How can we be prepared for it? Are you prepared ? Why would it be wrong to pray for a person who has died?