November 1, 2017
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
For the final blog of this series, The Rich And The Poor, our featured Scripture is Luke 16:22 through 26:
The rich man…died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades…he
cried out and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Laza-
rus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for
I am tormented in this flame.” But Abraham said, “Son, remember that
in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil
things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides 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.”
We have seen that the lives of Dives and Lazarus were totally reversed in eternity! The rich man now had absolutely nothing but a torturous existence in Hades! The poor man had peace, comfort, fulness, and companionship in paradise! What made the difference? Was it their economic and social standing in this mortal life? No! It was (and is) faith (or lack of it) in Jehovah God through the Messiah Jesus Christ – in the promise of His coming before His first advent, and after in the fact of His purchasing salvation for us.
Let’s look at some more characteristics of Hades through the experience of the rich man:
• It was mentioned in the last blog that Dives was experiencing extreme thirst! “…he cried…‘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.’ ” (verse 24). From the context, it seems this man had only been in Hades for a couple of minutes – and the heat and thirst were already overwhelming! And this torment and thirst would go on forever!
• Apparently he still thought of himself as deserving privileged treatment!
✞ “Father Abraham….” Matthew Henry, in his Commentary on the whole Bible, writes, “There are many in hell that can call Abraham father, that were Abraham’s seed after the flesh….” For they are Jewish by lineage!
▸ But Paul tell us in Romans 9:6 through 8:
For they are not all Israel, who are of Israel, nor, are they all children
because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be
called. That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the
children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.
In other words, to gain eternal life through being God’s offspring, it is by faith only in God’s provision of His own Son, our Savior – whether in the promises of His future coming (Old Testament) or in the fact that He has come (New Testament)!
▸ I am reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21 through 23:
Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom
of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many
will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in
Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders
in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you;
depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
Calling Jesus “Lord, Lord…” will not do anyone any good if they don’t have Him as their personal Savior!
▸ Remember what Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8 and 9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” It is only by receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior that you can become God’s child! (See John 1:12).
✞ “…send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue….” It seems from the parable that the rich man hardly ever noticed Lazarus on the mortal side of eternity. For there is no indication he even directed a “…crumb…which fell from the rich man’s table…” toward the beggar. If any notice of him occurred at all, it was probably, “Get that dirty *#&% out of my sight! He’s spoiling my feast!” But now, it seems, he still thinks in terms of privilege – that he can order Lazarus to do his will! But in Hades he has nothing and is nobody!
• When he realizes his hopeless condition, he thinks of those still mortally living: “…send him [Lazarus] to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.” (Luke 16:27, 28).
✞ He is still thinking in terms of ordering Lazarus to do his bidding!
✞ Does he care for his five brothers? Or, as someone has suggested, is it that he has so mistreated his siblings in mortal life (in his climb to wealth and prestige) that he does not want them where he is for fear of retribution?
✞ But Abraham told the rich man in Luke 16:29, “They have Moses and the prophets [the Old Testament Scriptures]; let them hear them.”
▸ The Old Testament plainly shows the way of salvation! (See for example Genesis 15:5, 6; Isaiah 53:1-12). The Scriptures are enough! (See Isaiah 55:10, 11; II Timothy 3:16, 17).
▸ Luke 16:30 and 31 – “‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But [Abraham]…said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead’ ”
The proof of Abraham’s statement is dramatically shown in that One did rise from the dead – Jesus Christ! And how many still don’t believe?!
Will you be in fellowship with Lazarus someday? Or will you rub elbows with the rich man “…in…the lake of fire…the second death…”? (Revelation 20:14). You decide – and do it quickly, for we don’t know what tomorrow will bring!