Death is one of those things that is, most certainly, a mystery. I, like many of you, have had my experience with the death of loved ones and friends and each time, it has been devastating. But I believe that the more we understand death and what happens to our departed, the softer the blow becomes. This subject is often misunderstood and I've decided to use this space to explain, from the Bible, the truth about death. The Bible is VERY clear on the subject.
Before we go any further, let's remember, Satan has an agenda. His agenda began from the very beginning. He lied to Eve telling her, "Ye shall not surely die." Genesis 3:4
First, I'd like to share what happens to the body at death and then I'll share where the body goes at death. This is not a conclusive study. Please take some time on your own and discover these truths from God's Word. When we study these deep topics and learn for ourselves, and see with our own eyes what God says, it becomes more real in our life.
In order to understand what happens to the body at death, we need to first go back to Creation. When we were created, our bodies were formed from the dust of the Earth. We obtained life through the breath that God breathed into us [man], so essentially we came from dust or dirt and a breath (God's breath). And that's it. Our body was formed from dust and our life came from God's breath. Body + Breath = Soul/Person (life). At death, the very reverse happens. Our body goes back to the Earth from which it came and the breath that was given us of God goes back to Him. Body - Breath = No Soul/Person (death). Ecclesiastes 12:7
When a person dies and is put in their casket and lowered into the ground, that is where the body stays until Christ returns. If a person is cremated, the body that was formed from dirt becomes ashes and the breath is still returned to God who gave it.
The person is no longer alive because the breath that kept them alive in no longer in that person's body. It goes back to the Lord, but not that whole person, only the breath that was breathed into him/her at the time they came to be (at conception). Once that person dies he/she has no knowledge of anything. The Bible states in Ecclesiastes 9:5, "For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know not any thing." If they were in Heaven, as some believe, this statement could not be true. If they were smiling down on us, or enjoying life with God, why would this statement be in God's infallible Word?
Moreover, the Bible calls death a sleep, Job 14:10-12, Psalm 13:3, Daniel 12:2, which make perfect sense, since the Bible also declares what happens to the dead in Christ once He returns."For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first..." 1 Thessalonians 4:16. But if they are already there (Heaven), how can they rise first, or why would that verse be written? God will not contradict Himself. If ever we find contradictions in God's Word, it is not a contradiction at all, it is our human error, our misunderstanding, and thus, we must ask the Holy Spirit for understanding and He promises to give it. Psalm 119:130, James 1:5.
But wait, wait, what about the verse that says, "absent from the body is present with the Lord," 2 Corinthians 5:8, one may question. Does that not conclude that our loved ones are in Heaven immediately upon death? But what is not understood here is that the breath that is lend to us from the Lord at birth, it is the only thing that returns to Him, not the body, the soul or the spirit. Again, the body returns to the dust, from which it came. Ecclesiastes 3:20, and the breath returns to the Lord who gave it.
I understand that it is hard for us to let our loved ones go and be at peace with the fact that they are resting in their grave or on the sea (if cremated and sprinkled there), but the Bible is so comforting on the subject of death. He (God) would not have us ignorant concerning these things. 1Thessalonians 4:13
We can rest assured that the Bible is true and ALL of life's answers can be found therein. Study the Word of God and pray that the Lord will open your eyes to this truth if you have ever wondered what truly happens when a person becomes no more. Proverbs 2:6