People have always had a sincere interest in the future. There is a universal and historical belief in life after death. Evidence (rituals) around the world reveals that people do not believe death ends all. These questions are frequently asked: Where are the dead? Is there a place of paradise? Is there a place of suffering? What is it like?
Let’s understand that man is a tripartite being, that is, he is composed of three parts – body, soul and spirit. I Thessalonians 5:23. The first part is material being, the other two are non-material. With a spirit man is capable of God-consciousness; with a soul he is capable of self-consciousness; with a body he is capable of world-consciousness. Only God’s Word can divide between the soul and the spirit. Hebrews 4:12.
Now, at the time of death, the soul and spirit leave the body. The body is put into the grave. In the case of believers, the body is described as sleeping, Acts 7:59, 60; 8:2, while the unsaved person’s body is spoken of as dead. The soul and spirit never sleep. If the person who died was saved, the soul and the spirit go to a place of joy and happiness – heaven. II Corinthians 5:8; Phil. 1:21- 23. If the person was unsaved, the spirit and soul go to a place of sorrow and punishment – hell. In Luke 16:19-31, our Lord clearly teaches that those who have died are conscious.
Death is not soul sleep. The word in Scripture, concerning the death in Christ, means, “rest.” It does not mean “unconsciousness.” The body may die, but the soul and spirit are fully awake and will never die. Death in the Bible always means separation. Physical death is separation of the soul and spirit from the body. Spiritual death is eternal separation from God.
Understand we are not a body, having a soul and spirit, but we are a soul and spirit possessing a body. Death simply means, “I have left my body.”