Have you ever lost a loved one in death? At such a painful time, you may wonder: ‘What happens when we die? Is there any hope that we will see our loved ones again?’ In this lesson and the next, consider the Bible’s comforting answers.
1. What happens when we die?
Jesus compared death to a deep sleep. A person in a deep sleep is not aware of what is happening around him. How is death similar to sleep? After someone dies, he does not feel pain. He does not feel lonely, no matter how much he loved his friends and family. “The dead know nothing at all,” says the Bible.—Read Ecclesiastes 9:5.
2. How do we benefit from knowing the truth about death?
Many people are afraid of death—and even of the dead! But you can be comforted by what the Bible says about death. Jesus said: “The truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) Contrary to what some religions claim, the Bible does not teach that a person has an immortal soul that lives on after death. Thus, no one suffers after death. Also, since the dead are not aware of anything, they cannot harm us. So there is no need to appease or worship the dead, and there is no need to say prayers for them.
Some people say that they can communicate with the dead. But this is impossible. As we just learned, the dead “know nothing at all.” Those who think that they are communicating with dead loved ones may actually be communicating with demons who pretend to be people who have died. So knowing the truth about death protects us from the demons. Jehovah warns us about trying to communicate with the dead because he knows that contact with the demons will harm us.—Read Deuteronomy 18:10-12.
3. Learn the true condition of the dead
Around the world, people have different beliefs about what happens when we die. Of course, not all of those beliefs can be true.
What beliefs about the condition of the dead are common in your area?
Read Ecclesiastes 3:20, and then discuss these questions:
According to this verse, what happens when a person dies?
Does any part of a person survive death?
The Bible tells us about the death of Lazarus, a close friend of Jesus. As you read John 11:11-14, notice how Jesus referred to the condition of Lazarus. Then discuss these questions:
To what did Jesus compare death?
What does this comparison tell us about the condition of the dead?
Do you find the Bible’s description of death to be reasonable?
4. The truth about death benefits us
Knowing the truth about death frees us from fear of the dead. Read Ecclesiastes 9:10, and then discuss this question:
Can the dead harm us?
How do you think Jehovah feels about a person who worships or seeks the help of someone who has died?
5. The truth about death comforts us
Many people have been taught that when they die, they will suffer as a result of their past actions. But it comforts us to know that no one suffers after death—not even someone who has done very bad things. Read Romans 6:7, and then discuss this question:
If, as we read in the Bible, death acquits, or releases, a person from sin, do you think anyone who has died is suffering because of past mistakes?
Would a God with the qualities mentioned in these verses ever approve of tormenting those who have died?
Do you find the truth about death to be comforting? Why?
SOME PEOPLE SAY: “I’m afraid of what will happen to me when I die.”
What comforting Bible verses could you share?
When a person dies, his life ends. The dead do not suffer, nor can they harm the living.
What happens when we die?
How does the truth about death benefit us?
How does the truth about death comfort us?