BIBLE HIGHLIGHT – LUKE 16:19-31:
19. “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day.
20. “But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,
21. “Desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22. “So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.
23. “And being in torments in hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24. “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’
25. “But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in the lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and you are tormented.
26. ‘And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
27. “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house,
28. ‘for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’
29. “Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’
30. “And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’
31. “But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”
There is much that can be derived about life after death from these verses. It is important to note that it was none other than Jesus who spoke these words. In a very real sense Jesus spoke these words to you, as much so as to the people who heard Him. Jesus knew you would hear them through this publication, or wherever. Some call this account of Lazarus and the rich man ‘just a parable.’ It is not ‘just a parable.’ Jesus never hinted it was anything less than an account of a real happening. Jesus calls Himself “the truth.” “The truth” does not fabricate, mislead or exaggerate. With that in mind, we can safely conclude from the words of this account that:
a) There is life after death. Both the poor man and the rich man died (physically) but were very much alive in new locations.
b) The spirit of a person (the inner man) resembles the physical person; the rich man recognized the poor man who once begged at his gate.
c) The angels escorted Lazarus to paradise. (We can likewise assume the angels will escort the believer to heaven.)
d) Sheol-hades is a place of torment. It is extremely hot and dry, no water to quench the thirst or wet the dry tongue.
e) Sheol-hades is a prison; the rich man, who is now the beggar, would surely leave if he could.
f) Mercy is not dispensed to those in sheol-hades, not even a drop of water.
g) Lazarus, now the rich man, was comfortable.
h) It seems the brothers of the rich man were on their way to sheol-hades. They had heard the good news of Jesus Christ, they had read the Bible (the Old Testament) but refused God’s salvation (Christ). If Lazarus, or anyone else, were released to tell the brothers of the reality of hell they would not be convinced, no matter how emphatic or descriptive the messenger might be.
Those refusing Christ may one day meet the rich-man-turned-beggar….. if he can be found in that sea of lost humanity. Those setting their faith in Christ to save them will undoubtedly, upon request, meet Lazarus, the beggar-turned-rich, wealthy beyond description.
Lazarus is no longer in paradise. Immediately after Jesus conquered satan and sin on the cross, He descended into paradise to release all the believers. They are now in the city of New Jerusalem in heaven.
The rich man is still in sheol-hades. He will be there for approximately another one thousand years. From there he will go to the to be judged by Christ where he will await sentencing. There it will be revealed the degree of suffering awaiting him in gehennah, the lake of fire. He will remain there, in torment, “forever and ever.”
The account mentions Abraham. Elsewhere in the Bible it states, “Abraham was justified by faith” in God and not good deeds (being a nice guy). Lazarus was not in paradise because he was poor, but because he had faith in God. Adversely, the rich man was not in sheol-hades because he was rich, but because he did not place his trust in God to save him from sheol-hades.
If you are not convinced by the Scriptures about the reality of sheol-hades and gehennah, you would not be convinced even if someone you knew returned from these locations to warn you, so hardened are you against the Bible.
There is power in the words of God. There is power in truth. What you have just read is both God’s word and truth about the reality of sheol-hades. Sheol-hades is as true as these words of Jesus, as true as the Bible is true. Yet, sadly, most reading this publication will not be convinced to turn to Jesus to save them from this awful place they are walking into. What about you?