October 30, 2017
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
How the tables turn! In this mortal life…
• …the beggar Lazarus was begging at the rich man’s gate, hungry, alone, and full of sores! His only companions were dogs! (See Luke 16:20, 21)
• …the rich man (identified in tradition as Dives – Latin for rich man) “…was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.” (Luke 16:19).
But in eternity (our featured Scripture of Luke 16:22 through 24 tells us)…
So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s
bosom. The rich man died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades,
he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Then he cried out 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.”
In the last blog, we were began to look at Dives “…being in torments in Hades…” (verse 23) and crying out, “…I am tormented in this flame…” (verse 24). Just where is Hades, and what is Hades like?
• Where is Hades? Apparently it is somewhere inside the earth!
✞ We are told in Ephesians 4:8 through 10 (verse 8 quoting Psalm 68:18):
“When He [Jesus] ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave
gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended” — what does it mean but that
He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who de-
scended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He
might fill all things).
This passage speaks of Christ’s ascension into heaven, but first He descended into Hades! Why did Jesus descend into Hades?
✞ In I Peter 3:18 through 20 it says, “…by the Spirit…He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient….” These were the spirits of those condemn by God! Why did Jesus go there? Was it to give them the good news of His payment for sin, and – as some think – to offer them a second chance for salvation? No! Apparently the Lord went there to announced to them His final victory over sin (by the perfect sacrifice of Himself on the cross), and so the justness of God’s condemnation upon them because of their unrepentance and unbelief!
✞ I coined a phrase some time ago: God is an economist! What do I mean? He does not engage in extra work superceding what He accomplished long ago! (See the example in the February 20, 2017 blog, What The Hell…? – IV). In the case of Hades and the suffering of the damned in flames in that place, the core of the earth is hot and fiery from the time of creation! So God apparently made that the site of Hades!
• What is Hades like?
✞ It is a “…place of torment.” (Luke 16:28). The rich man cried out, “…I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16:24). Remember, we are told in verse 22, “The rich man…died and was buried.” So it was not his physical body that was experiencing torture, but his soul (his human spirit, according to I Peter 3:18). He could feel the effects of the flame – extreme heat and thirst – but that fire did not end his existence! (The doctrines of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christadelphians, among others, express the annihilation of the wicked).
✞ It is a place of conscious remembering! The rich man knew the identity of both Abraham and Lazarus, and he remembered that he had five brothers! (See Luke 16:28). Also (and apparently from what Abraham told him in Luke 16:25) he could remember specifics of this life on earth! “ Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things….”
✞ It is inferred in this passage that Hades is a place of loneliness! While Lazarus is seen enjoying fellowship and comfort with Abraham (and apparently other godly souls), the rich man is totally alone!
• Hades is not the final hell! The description of the great white throne judgment is in Revelation 20:11 through 14. Here is what is says in Revelation 20:13 and 14:
…Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they
were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades
were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (verses 13 and
There is yet “…the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death….And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever….” (Revelation 20:14; 14:11). Actually hell…
✞ …is not designed as a place for the wicked of humanity to occupy! Jesus said in Matthew 25:41, the “…everlasting fire [is] prepared for the devil and his angels….” But it is logical that if someone let’s Satan lead him or her in this life, they will follow the devil into the next!
✞ …may not even be created yet! After all, Hades is the waiting place of the dead!
• Hades is not just a place of preliminary torture for the damned! According to our featured Scripture, Lazarus was in Paradise, then also a part of Hades – the place of those who had died. But he was across an impassable “…great gulf fixed…” (Luke 16:26). However (as stated above in Ephesians 4:9) Jesus “…ascended on high, He led captivity captive…” – the meaning of which is that those who were held ‘captive’ in the righteous part of Hades, the Lord took with Him to heaven. That part of Hades is no longer across a great gulf fixed, but it in the presence of the ascended Christ Himself!
There will be one more blog on Wednesday to this series.