When a person dies where does his soul go?
The only way to know the truth is to find the answers in God’s Word: the Bible. It is a road map leading to salvation.
I will concentrate especially on what happens when a believer dies and briefly approach what happens when an unbeliever dies, as we are limited in space.
First of all let us discover how we were made: Gen 2:7 “The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” NIV Man was made perfect, but did not come to life until the “breath of life” was breathed into him.
At death, everything goes into reverse. Eccl 12:7 “and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” NIV The body returns to the earth, while the spirit returns to God. There are two different entities that makes up a human being: his spirit (sometimes called the soul, see the book of Revelation) and his body. Each of these entities takes a different path at death. One goes to the ground and the other goes to God.
God’s Word tells us that our body is the house in which our spirit lives.
2 Cor 5:2-4 “Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” NIV
2 Peter 1:13 “I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body” NIV
Our body is just the dwelling place of our spirit. Just like people’s houses are just temporary places to live in, and after a while they may move to another dwelling, so is the case with our bodies. On earth it is our dwelling. When we die we leave that dwelling behind and move on to our “heavenly dwelling”.
What happens when we die then? Very simple, our bodies return to dust, while our spirit goes to be with the Lord. The apostle Paul tells us that he 2 Cor 5:8-9 “would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” NIV
Ezekiel tells us who owns your soul and which ones will suffer destruction: Ezek 18:4 4 “For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son-both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die.” NIV
Soul sleep is not Biblical (please refer http://www.answers2prayer.org/bible_questions/Answers/hell/purgatory.html for more details on that topic). Paul never preached that our soul or spirit would lay dormant when we die. On the contrary he proclaims that he 2 Cor 5:8-9 ” would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” NIV He even wrote: Phil 1:21-25 1 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” NIV
How can death be a gain if we lay there unconscious for thousands of years? I AM SO GLAD Paul explained this under the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit, by showing us clearly that when you die, you are with Christ. Hallelujah!
Under divine inspiration, Paul wrote 1 Thess 4:14 “We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” NIV How could Jesus bring with Him someone that is unconscious in soul sleep? This text is clear that when we die, we are with Jesus in heaven. When He returns as promised in the gospel, He will take with Him all those who are with him in heaven and they will be reunited with their newly resurrected body. Jesus cannot bring the saints with him unless they are already with Him.
It is not the soul that sleeps when we die, it is the body! It is not the soul or spirit that decays and returns to dust, it is the body! Our spirit returns to God. Jesus Himself made sure we knew this fact when he uttered His last words on the cross: Luke 23:46 “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When He had said this, He breathed His last. NIV
Stephen’s last words (the first Christian martyr) were very similar: Acts 7:59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” NIV He was not looking forward to an unconscious existence. He awaited the immediate fellowship with His Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
When someone we care for dies, we are sad and we do miss that person. We must remember though that they are in a far better place. They are with Jesus. If we could only see heaven, we would never want to bring our loved ones back to this rebellious planet. Death is not our final trip to oblivion. It is a homecoming with our Heavenly loving Father. No wonder that it is written in Ps 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” NIV How can death be precious to God, if His children are unconscious? It is precious because God’s children are joined to Him at death. Just like it is precious to loving parents to have their children visit them once they grow up.
No wonder that the early Christians were signing songs of praise to God while they were devoured by lions and hung on crosses. They knew where they were going. They knew it was just a question of minutes or hours before they would be with Jesus!
If your body is being ravaged by an incurable disease, look up to heaven and look forward to be joined with Jesus. Remember what Jesus said in Matt 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” NIV There is nothing to be afraid of when facing death. Your dreams will finally come true and you will be with Jesus. You will see Jesus and be with Him, because you have met Him and knew Him while you were on this planet.
Jesus words are true!
He said about His Heavenly Father Matt 22:32 “…I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” NIV
And John 11:26 “whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” NIV
As well as John 8:51 “I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” NIV
How can these promises be true if we proclaim that when die we are unconscious! God is not to be mocked. He is the God of the living and Jesus promised we would never die. How? Our physical body may die, but our spirit lives on to be with Jesus in heaven!
Jesus explains this promise clearly in And John 11:25-26 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” NIV
Our bodies may die, but our spirit will never die. Hallelujah! God is so good!
But what about those who never believed in Jesus and who rejected His call? Will they be in heaven as well?
No, they won’t. Their future is bleak and without hope. Read for example: Luke 16:19-26
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'” NIV (Read more about this at http://www.answers2prayer.org/bible_questions/Answers/hell/purgatory.html)
(P.S. This parable by Jesus unlike other parables, is an account of an actual event. Rule of Study for Parables: If a parable mentions no actual names like “The Prodigal Son,” then it is allegorical in nature. If proper names are used, we must take it as being an account of a literal event!)
Jude 5-7 “Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home-these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” NIV (Note the present tense)
Job 27:19-20 “He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more; when he opens his eyes, all is gone. 20 Terrors overtake him like a flood.” NIV
(P.S. Can it be any more clear? The sinner lies down and his body appears to sleep, but he instantly opens his eyes and realizes he is no longer in the body and physically existing in this world. Immediately terrors take hold of him.)
For the believer, death is a welcome sign to heaven. But for the unbeliever the thought of death is terrifying. No wonder. They are waiting in hell for their final consequences of sin. (This is a whole other answer to be studied separately)
Are you saved my friend? If you answer, “I hope so”, you are not. The Bible is explicit! 2 Cor 1:21-22 “He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” NIV and Eph 1:13-14 “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession-to the praise of his glory.” NIV If you know Jesus and His Spirit dwells in you, you will have no doubt of your salvation.
It isn’t too late yet! You can change your destination by answering God’s altar call (see http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html ) Will you invite Him into your heart?
This is a question coming from a heart that is prepared to meet the Lord after our sojourn in this world. I also pray that the following answers would further enhance your walk with the Lord and that you would be a witness for Him till he comes.
Like the word ‘spirit, the word ‘soul’ has a variety of meanings in English. There is some variety also in the usages of the original words from which ‘soul has been translated. In the Hebrew of the Old Testament the word is nephesh. In the Greek of the New Testament the word is psyche.
I Thessalonians 5:23 say: May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body by kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firms and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain where Jesus, who went before us has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden for that would be of no advantage to you”
I Peter 1:8-9 “Though you have not seen him, you love him: and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
I Peter 2:11-12 “Dear Friends, I urge you, as aliens, and stranger in this world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us”
III 2 “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your souls is getting along well”.
I have attempted to get you references that have to do with the Spirit of a man and that of the soul. The two are independent of each other even though they work in harmony. When a person is born again, the make-up of that fellow: the Spirit, body and souls are affected. No wonder the Bible affirms that we should not be unequally yoked with unbelievers – II 5:17. They cannot corrupt our spirit, soul and body! Those who are not yet born again are living in a system that is corrupted: the body if fed with all kinds of ungodly things such as sexual immorality, drinking of alcohol cigarette smoking, piercing, unholy dedications to idols, movement to places that don’t glorify God.
The spirit and soul of a born again believer however lives in harmony with the Spirit of God. It is the Spirit of God that gets a man born again. As a matter of fact, once the Spirit of a man is affected by the Word of God because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word – Romans 10:17, the soul is automatically affected. The soul is therefore fed with things that noble. Things that are loaded with it good reports. God’s Holy Spirit will then be directing such an individual.
Christians are living the life of Christ. This is because God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship in Spirit and in truth – John 4:24. Once a man is born again, his spirit along with his soul change. The quest for ungodly things will cease. Such a person would avoid music that affects the soul that is ungodly. There would quest (hunger) from that individual who has experienced rebirth of nurture his spirit and soul with the Word of God.
Man, however, is a spirit. He has a threefold nature: He is a spirit; he possesses a soul; and he lives in a body. Death is not the end for man, because he is an eternal spirit.
YOUR SOUL IS IMPORTANT
James 1:21 “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your soul.
If your souls has not destination, which is heaven, James would not have emphasized in the above passage that you should something about it.
Even if your spirit is born again and has the Holy Spirit abiding within, if you mind (soul) isn’t renewed (or as James said, the soul saved) with the Word, then the mind (which has been educated through the body and the physical senses) will side in with the body against your spirit to keep you away from getting to maturity and thereby go to hell.
Friend, what are you dongs with your life? Are you saved? Do you know that the unrighteous would not inherit the Kingdom of God?
“Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit from the Spirit will reap eternal life” Galatians 6:7.
You are blessed!
Rev Debo Adeyemo
Prior to the ascension of Christ Jesus to heaven 40 days after His resurrection, the immaterial side (the soul and spirit) of all who died went to a place known as Hades in the New Testament, or Sheol in the Old Testament (Luke 16:19-31). At that time, there were two areas in Hades. One area (Abraham’s Bosom: Paradise) was where people of faith in the one true and eternal God, and those who had died having never reached the age of accountability (a point in one’s life whereby they are held accountable for sin before God), went. They were awaiting Christ Jesus’ victory over sin and death on the cross of Calvary as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world (Luke 16:22; 1 Peter 4:6). The other area is where the unrighteous dead reside.
When Jesus ascended to heaven 40 days after His resurrection, He took those who were held captive in Abraham’s Bosom (the righteous dead) to heaven with Him (Ephesians 4:8). Paradise is now in heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).
At the present time, the immaterial side (the soul and spirit) of those who die, those who have turned to God in repentance through faith in Christ Jesus, and those who have died having never reached the age of accountability, go to be with the Lord in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:7). At a future date in time, their body (a glorified body which will never grow old get sick or die) will be resurrected and their body, soul and spirit will once more be reunited (1 Corinthians 15).
The immaterial side (the soul and spirit) of those who die at this time having reached the age of accountability, yet having never turned to God in repentance through faith in Christ Jesus, go to Hades (the area of the unrighteous dead). They (along with all of the unrighteous dead throughout time) await the resurrection of their bodies, at which time, their bodies, souls, and spirits will once more reunited. At that time, each will all stand before Christ Jesus in judgment of their sin, and their degree of punishment for all eternity, in the lake of fire, will be determined (Revelation 20:11-15).
Jim Futral http://www.biblepath.com (Answers to questions from a Biblical perspective)
Some people or sect belief in purgatory, some hold to the belief that the soul goes nowhere but as a Christian, I believe the soul goes to paradise. Jesus told one of the thieves on the cross that confessed him today, you will be with me in paradise – Luke 23:39-43. Therefore, any soul that confesses Jesus as his/her personal saviour will be with Christ. The soul that believes in Jesus will go to heaven but the soul that refuses Jesus will go to hell fire – John 3:18.
Rev Israel Adeoye
We have to understand what the soul consists of. The soul is made up of the mind, will and emotions. This is where we make our decision to accept Jesus as Lord or reject Him. We choose to serve God and obey His Word through our mind, will and emotions. We have to submit our souls to Him. When we die, our souls will go to one of two places: Heaven or Hell. It is up to us where we spend eternity.
Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief cometh not but for to steal, kill and destroy. But I am come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” I John 3:8 says “For this cause was the Son of God manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus also said in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” We can die two ways: physically and spiritually.
The Bible says that the “wages of sin is death but the gift og God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Sin leads to death physically and spiritually. Spiritual death is separation from God. When people die and go to hell, they are eternally separated from God. When people die and go to heaven, they are experiencing everlasting life because the Source of life (Jesus) lives in heaven. Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Jesus is the ONLY way to get to the Father and He is the ONLY way that your soul can make it into heaven.
If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, please answer the Savior’s Call and accept Him. Otherwise, your soul will end up in hell. God bless you.
It is his soul that goes to Heaven or hell, whichever the case may be. Our earthly bodies are nothing more than housing for our souls. Our bodies are not what goes to be with the Lord. When our souls return to the Lord, we are given perfect and heavenly bodies. None of us will truly know what these are until in the Lord’s time He takes us home with Him.
It came about as her soul was departing (for she died), (Gen.35:18)
For You have delivered my soul from death, Indeed my feet from stumbling, So that I may walk before God In the light of the living. (Psalm 56:13)
What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah. (Psalm 89:48)
let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:20)
These are just a few scriptures pointing to the fact that it is the soul that goes to Heaven or Hell and not the body!……The body is nothing! We will not look the same whatsoever in Heaven. We can’t even begin to fathom what the Lord has us look like. Nobody knows this until that time when we join Him. MAY ALL BE BLESSED!
In response to the question “Where does the soul go upon death?”. Jesus told the thief on the cross “today, you will be with Me in paradise.” I’ve always held on to that as a promise that the soul would go to be with Jesus whether it be a holding place or directly to heaven. Of course, this would be the soul of the believer. The soul of the unbeliever would enter eternal damnation (hell).
This word from Jesus settles the question of where a persons soul will spend eternity
John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
a picture of heaven and of hell
Luke 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
SAVED FROM THE PENALTY OF DEATH-HELL
James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
A PERSON CAN LOSE THEIR SOUL
Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
HUMAN SOULS OF THE UNSAVED THAT WERE IN HELL ARE DELIVERED UP
Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Man doesn’t have a soul. He is the soul e.g. his body formed by Jesus from the dust and the breath of life from God breathed into his nostrils created a living soul. Hence when a person dies, the body is separated from the breath of life. The body returns to the ground and the breath of life returns to God who gave it to man.
The soul is the combination of the body and breath of life from God.
Furthermore, all animals are living souls as well until they too die. Their bodies return to the dust and breath of life returns to God.
So the soul doesn’t go anywhere.
Well our souls goes to heaven with Jesus if we are saved by hid grace and if not the our soul goes to hell so I hope all who reads this is saved by his grace and ready to meet the savior.