The world in which we live is full of uncertainty. People fret over money, homes, jobs,
and everything else under the sun. Yet, there are a few things that we can try to avoid, hide from,
and make light of, and that does not make them vanish. In today’s culture, a popular thought is
that no matter how long someone lives they will face two things: taxes and death. There are
people who avoid taxes, and while the consequence is a punishment called imprisonment, they
can avoid taxes if that is their choice. But, there is one event that happens to every man under
the sun: death.

What is death? Some may say that death is a family falling apart. Others may say that it
is their favorite team losing the championship. Some people may say that death is only a made-
up idea by religionists. Some say it is a doorway to eternal life cycles in the universe. The only
way to get an accurate answer is to find an accurate source. People may be sincere and honestly
think they are right, but that does not mean they are totally correct. The only place we can go to
for a level of accuracy that high is the Word of God. The Bible says that death is “the body
without the spirit” (James 2:26). Adam was formed by God into a body, but without a spirit, he
was just formed and fashioned clay. Only when God breathed into his nostrils did he become a
living creature.

Well, if we believe what the Bible says about death, there is another question that arises.
Most people will be honest enough to admit that they believe one day they will die, but the
question is about what takes place after death. Most believe there is a life after death, yet the
large percentage are unsure about the details of it. Cultures and religions have all tried to solve
the dilemma. The results have been many and widespread. The Egyptians would build gigantic
pyramids for one person and furnish it with tables, chairs, food, and clothing in hopes that the
one buried would have a comfortable condition while waiting for the afterlife. People today try
another approach but one that is just as foolish. The large portion of religions today teach that
by doing enough good works before you die (and some going as far as teaching good works done
in memory of you after you die), you can possibly, just maybe, have a hope of something good
out there one day.

One of the oldest records of man is found in the book of Job. Many believe this is the
oldest book in the Old Testament and it does seem to point that way. We have a true story of a
man who has a wife, children, friends, and material goods, just like most today. Yet, thousands
of years later we still ask the same questions today. A quick computer search revealed that out
of the 1352 verses there are 329 question marks in the book of Job (at least one in four verses has
a question). That means there are more questions than that since many times several questions
are asked in a sentence with only one punctuation mark. The one question that is probably asked
the most often today is found in Job 14:14, “If a man die, shall he live again?” Not that much has
changed from the days of Job.

When we look into nature we see evidence of life after death. Jesus said that the only
way a corn of wheat can give life is if it falls into the ground and dies (John 12:24). Many times
the illustration has been told about the caterpillar that goes into its cocoon only to come out as a
beautiful butterfly. The creation of God is such a great revelation of his truth that it will be the
very basis on which some people will be judged by according to Romans 1. Job 14:7-9 shows
this truth also. All we have to do to answer Job’s question (If a man die, shall he live again?) is
look at God’s creation. The very trees of the forest will show us the answer. “For there is hope
of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not
cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; Yet
through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.”

Another idea to consider is not only the creation of God but also the creatures of God.
The fact that most people are afraid in the day of death shows us that there is something
afterwards which most men are not prepared to face. A rich man may live so carelessly on this
earth, but the fear in his heart during his last 60 seconds alive far outweighs decades and decades
of pleasure. Man will do whatever it takes to gain just a few more earthly moments no matter
the cost. Esau despised his birthright for a single bowl of pottage. The Egyptians were willing to
give to Joseph their money, cattle, flocks, horses, and eventually themselves as servants for
bread. The mariners in the ship going down to Tarshish were willing to cast forth whatever was
required to keep the ship afloat. Those in the tribulation will take whatever mark, number, or
name is required if it means one more day without starvation. That is just a few events
emphasizing one of the few truths, and how true it is, that has been spoken by the lying deceiver
Satan: “...all that a man hath will he give for his life” (Job 2:4).

When we look at the terminology the Bible uses we can also be sure there is life after
death. Three names that often go together in the Old Testament are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
In each record of their deaths, there is a definite statement to the truth of life after death. “Then
Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was
gathered to his people. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah...”
(Genesis 25:8-9). This passage shows that Abraham died, and when we notice the word order,
he was gathered to his people before his body was buried. The same is true of Isaac. “And Isaac
gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his
sons Esau and Jacob buried him” (Genesis 35:29). Before Esau and Jacob did the work required
to bury their father, he was already with the ones who had gone before. The same is true of
Jacob’s death. “And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his
feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people. And Joseph fell
upon his father's face, and wept upon him, and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants
the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel” (Genesis 49:33-50:2).
Not only was Jacob gathered to his people before the preparation of the body took place, but it
also occurred even before the nearly instantaneous grief of Joseph began.

We can also get a glimpse into the truth of life after death by looking at a word that is
used in connection with the spirit leaving the body. The word “depart” is used of this event in
both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Bible says in Genesis 35:18-19, “And it
came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his
father called him Benjamin. And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is
Bethlehem.” The same word is used by the apostle Paul in the New Testament. “For I am in a
strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better”
(Philippians 1:23). “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand”
(II Timothy 4:6). The word is defined as “the action of leaving, typically to start a journey.”
We can be confident that death is not a cessation of our existence, but it is the beginning of our
eternal future.

We can also look at the declarations by people in the Bible about the future of the dead.
Job said, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the
earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom
I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed
within me” (Job 19:25–27). If Job really is the oldest piece of inspired literature and he had
nowhere to learn this truth, then he could have only spoken this if he were moved by the Holy
Ghost. We can be sure that the Spirit who leads into all truth (including the truth of life after
death) led Job when this was spoken. In the New Testament, Martha also states this belief when
she says “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:24).

There is also a brief picture of life after death for both those in hell and those in heaven.
Luke 16 tells us about a man who was in hell. And while his spirit and soul were separated from
his body, he was able to see with his eyes, cry aloud with his voice, be touched on his tongue,
hear with his ears, remember his brothers with his mind, and be tormented in his body. Truths
about heaven were also revealed to Paul when he was caught up to the third heaven into paradise.
He was able to hear things which are “not lawful for a man to utter” (II Corinthians 12:4). The
apostle John had revealed to him more than anyone else about heaven. Many of the chapters in
Revelation say that John looked into heaven and saw various events take place.

When we think about the prophecies of both the Old and New Testament, there is an
understood truth concerning judgment related to life after death. In Daniel 12:2, the Bible says,
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and
some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Paul tells us of the judgment seat of Christ in II
Corinthians 5:8-10: “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and
to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be
accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may
receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
There is an understood principle that after death we will give an answer to the one who created
us. This is probably the most upsetting fact to most minds when they consider the question of
life after death. Many try to deny it and say that it will not happen, but that does not change the
truth of it. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews
9:27).

There are even so called Christians who try to use the book of Ecclesiastes to teach that
there is no judgment or punishment after death. Yet, the very book they wrest to teach their
false hope concludes with the truth they hate so much. The last thing the writer tells us, the last
words he wants to leave on our mind, the last statement he wants us to remember from the days
of our youth until our years draw nigh concerns life and judgment after the day of death. “For
God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or
whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14). After his personal testimony of a life full of wine,
wisdom and knowledge, wives and concubines, pools and stables, musicians and pleasures, he
warns us that the duty of man is to fear God and keep his commandments because there will
come a day of reckoning.

Yes, the Bible firmly teaches there is life after death. It tells of heaven and hell and what
one must do to go to either one. There are four men in the Bible who were sure that after death
they would be in heaven and not hell.

The apostle Peter wrote in II Peter 1 to all those who had obtained like precious faith
through the righteousness of God and Jesus Christ. In this letter, he wrote that he would shortly
put off his tabernacle (earthly body). The words teach us that the real Peter was not the body
but the one inside the tabernacle that would shortly “enter into the everlasting kingdom of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

The apostle Paul could confidently say in II Timothy 4:6-8, “For I am now ready to be
offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my
course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which
the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also
that love his appearing.” He knew that after his body was offered and his soul and spirit took a
departing flight upward, he would enter into a day not measured in hours, but in ages and
eternities.

When the apostle Paul wrote one of the greatest salvation sermons ever, the book of
Romans, he chose two men as illustrations to show the single requirement of eternal life which is
justification by faith. Those two men, Abraham and David, also had assurance as to their life
after death.

In Hebrews 11, we see the faith that could allow Abraham to live in tents in a strange
country. It was faith that after this temporary life was over, he would no longer live in tents, but
in an eternal city built by God. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place
which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither
he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in
tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city
which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:8–10).
David also showed his confidence in a wonderful life after this one. He would not get
there because he was the King of Israel. He could not earn his way there because he was the
sweet psalmist of Israel or the victor over the giant Goliath. The only way David could
confidently know he would go to heaven is because he realized he was a helpless sheep who
needed the goodness and mercy of the Shepherd. He wrote these famous words in the 23rd
Psalm:

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of
righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I
will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a
table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup
runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell
in the house of the LORD for ever.”

There is one more point to consider when answering the question of life after death, and
that is Jesus. He was with the Father in heaven, but when the fulness of time came, he was born
of a virgin. He lived a sinless life and died on the cross. No one believed that he would live again
after his death. Not a single person waited at the tomb for his resurrection, but several came to
mourn his death. However, three days and three nights later Jesus rose from the dead.
The question was asked in Job’s day thousands of years ago, and it is still asked today:
“If a man die, shall he live again?” The answer is not yes, and the answer is not no. “If a man
die, shall he live again?” The answer is Jesus. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us
eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son
of God hath not life” (I John 5:11-12).