What actually happens when a person dies?

This is a question to end all questions. Everybody asks it, searching everywhere for an answer.

The reason everybody asks about death is because God puts thoughts of eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Some look for an answer from “psychics” some look to the stars, while others look to idols.

Be assured, though, the answer is not found in any of these. It is found only in Jesus Christ (Revelation 1;8).

The Bible forbids communicating with the dead (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) and suggests an immediate presence at one’s eternal destination (2 Corinthians 5:8). Any claims of an intermediate step are biblically unsubstantiated.

There are two kinds of death. Physical death is simply the final act of our deteriorating bodies (Ecclesiastes 3:2). Americans spend billions to fight aging, but the death rate is still 100 percent. The Apostle Paul calls his body a tent, simply for a temporary dwelling place for his eternal spirit. He also affirms that he will be abandoning his “tent” as will all of us (2 Corinthians 5:1-4). Furthermore, your body dies only once, followed immediately by the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).

However, spiritual death, or the Second Death, is not a one-time occurrence; it is eternal. The Bible speaks of it as physical torment combined with an awareness of eternal separation from God (Luke 16:19-26).

We are all cursed by sin to physical death, but God provides an antidote for the Second Death: a new birth through Christ. That’s what it means to be “born again.” Be born twice and you’ll die only once. Be born only once, and you’ll die twice. While sin curses us to the Second Death, Jesus is the miracle medicine. Simply follow the Great Physician’s instructions and be cured (Romans 6:23). One dose and that’s all!

Taken from Adrian Rogers' weekly newspaper column. Used by permission. 2001, The Commercial Appeal.