what happens to us at death?
By Elder Kevin Nkomo
When we think of death, we get shivers down our spines. It is a ‘part of life’ that we can never get used to. No one can say they are immune to the pain of losing a loved one because it is unbearable. So, how do people cope with the issue of death? Different cultures and traditions have a set of beliefs concerning the notion of death. The following article is not exhaustive and it does not, in any way seek to attack one’s beliefs or culture. It seeks to bring Biblical truth concerning the subject of death. Leave your comments below so we can engage.
Ancient Egypt and death
To the ancient Egyptians, death was not the end of life but only the beginning of the next phase in an individual's eternal journey. There was no word in ancient Egyptian which corresponds to the concept of "death" as usually defined, as "ceasing to live", since death was simply a transition to another phase of one's eternal existence.  The ancient Egyptians' attitude towards death was influenced by their belief in immortality. They regarded death as a temporary interruption, rather than the cessation of life.  According to the ancient Egyptians, when a person died, they were merely moving to another state of life. Hence to them, death acted as a passage to a better state of life.
The Mesopotamian and death
The Mesopotamians did not view physical death as the ultimate end of life. The dead continued an animated existence in the form of a spirit, designated by the Sumerian term gidim and its Akkadian equivalent, eṭemmu. The eṭemmu is best understood as a ghost.  Given what the Mesopotamian and Egyptian belief systems puts across, it is no wonder why so many people believe in the afterlife or the human living in a state known as a ‘ghost’. Ghosts are widely known as dead people that are now spirits. Let us find out what some Christian religious groups say about death.
Catholic Church’s view about death
Question: I would really like to know the truth about what happens to us after we die?
Answer: Our Church teaches that immediately after death, our soul separates from our earthly body and we stand before God for judgement. We then enter heaven, Purgatory or hell.
Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfilment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness. Those who are free from all sin enter heaven immediately. Purgatory is a place of purification, for those who die in a state of grace and friendship with God but who are not yet fully purified. Those in Purgatory are assured a place in heaven after their purification. We pray for those in Purgatory, that they may soon be with God in heaven. Hell is for those who have willingly chosen to reject God and his love. If we persist in a state of serious sin, we damn ourselves to hell.
At the end of time, our Lord will come again to judge the living and the dead. All souls will be rejoined with their bodies, and those in Purgatory will be joined to the blessed in heaven.