This is a very basic Bible topic, and perhaps the most basic building block of all other Bible questions, so it probably requires more than a quick answer.

However the short answer is this:

after death men return to dust (Genesis 3:19 etc.), after which men sleep, knowing nothing (Isaiah 38:19 etc.), and those who have a connection with Jesus will rise (1 Thessalonians 4:13), to be judged (Acts 17:31, 24:15 etc.) when Christ returns:

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:21-23)

That is brief, and more could be said about the judgement, but as far as what happens after death, that is the entire story.

What that means is that – contrary to popular traditions about spirits and souls – according to the Bible people do not go to heaven or hell when they die. Good, bad or indifferent, men and women all die and, again according to the Bible, the dead are simply dead.

That probably is not going to be enough. But to do the subject justice requires doing significantly more reading than a short answer on BibleQ can provide.

Further reading:

After Death, What? booklet by Fred Pearce

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