What does the Bible say about Death?

The Bible says that when you die, you are dead in every sense of the word. It says:

  • You have no consciousness of being alive (Eccl 9:10).
  • Man can’t save himself from death (Ps. 89:48).
  • Our only deliverance from death is resurrection (John 5:28, 29).

Although the majority of Christians have been taught that death is a transition into another state of being—that only the body dies and you live on as a spirit-being in hell or heaven—that is not the true teaching of Scripture. Death came by Adam’s sin, and God warned Adam in the Garden of Eden that if he ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, that “in the day that you eat of it you will die, yes, die.”(Gen. 2:17)—not live on in another state of being.

The only person who has ever been raised from the dead permanently is Jesus Christ. “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep”(1 Cor. 15:20). The Bible often uses the metaphor “sleep” in describing death because when we die, we have no consciousness, just as we are “unconscious” when we sleep—but there will be a time when Christ will return and awaken us out of our sleep (1 Cor. 15:51, 52). There are scriptures that tell of the dead being raised, like Lazarus, but we know that he eventually died again because Christ was the “firstfruits” from the dead, and not Lazarus. Hebrews 11 tells the story about many of the Old Testament believers and their faithfulness to God. It mentions Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and many others. Most Christians believe that these people are in Heaven with God, but Hebrews 11:13 says “All these people were still living by trust when they died.”

Death is the consequence of sin (Rom. 5:12), and our only deliverance from death is by salvation through Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:9, 10).