April 11, 2018
Luke 16:22, 23, 25, 26 (English Standard Version)
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
In Luke 16:19 through 31, Jesus told the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Here, in verses 22, 23, and 26 (English Standard Version), are some of the highlights of this parable.
The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The
rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he
lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And
he called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to
dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish
in this flame.” But Abraham said… “…between us and you a great chasm
has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may
not be able, and none may cross from there to us.”
By the way, this may not be a parable (a fictional story that teaches an important spiritual truth). It could very well be an actual eternal incident of which the Lord was aware! If it is a parable, it is the only one that Jesus told using the name of a contemporary person – Lazarus!
What do we learn from these four verses of this parable in Luke 16?
• You will be a permanent resident in the eternal place you find yourself after you die!
✞ “The…beggar named Lazarus [who] was full of sores…was laid at…the rich man’s…gate…” (Luke 16:20, 21), where he begged for scraps!
▸ Although he had it very rough in his mortal life, he was a firm believer in God! He must have been familiar with the promises of the coming Messiah, and put his hope of eternal life on such prophecies.
▸ His faith was rewarded because, when the “…poor man died…[he] was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side…” (verse 22) – eternal blessings with those righteous ones who had passed before him! This blessed place is called Paradise by Jesus in Luke 23:43, where He told the repentant thief, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
It is a matter of faith in the promises of God’s salvation, just like the faith Lazarus had! (See Acts 16:30, 31; Ephesians 2:8, 9; I John 5:13). According to Jesus’ own words in John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me…” – we must believe He is the Savior, we are sinners, and we must trust in what He did for us on the cross to completely pay for our sins! (See Isaiah 1:18; John 5:24; I John 1:7). And for one with such faith, as it says in II Corinthians 5:8, “…absent from the body [is] to be present with the Lord.”
Another amazing thing believers can look forward to: angels will meet us and escort us into the divine presence! (See II Corinthians 5:8). What a privilege!
✞ Dives (pronounced die’-vees) is the traditional name given to the rich man. Obviously, if the above parable actually happened, Dives did not have eternal life! Instead he possessed eternal death! (See John 3:36; Revelation 21:8). Why? Because apparently he trusted in his wealth and gave little thought to poor, to eternity, and to the things of God!
• Hades is not the final hell ! It is the ante-room (the waiting place) for hell ! People are not cast into hell until after the judgment of the damned at the great white throne! (See Revelation 21:11-15).
✞ But, according to verse 23, Hades also is a place of torment ! Words matter, and in seven of the 17 Bible versions I have on a computer Bible application, the word torment is translated in the plural – torments! There is more than one torment in Hades and hell !
▸ There is the torment of being in anguish in this flame! Hell is described in Revelation 21:8 as “…the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Apparently it burns, but does not consume!
▸ There is the torment of not only suffering the effects of the burning, but also knowing it will never end! (See Mark 9:44, 46, 48; Revelation 14:11). There is no escape!
▸ There is the torment of intense thirst with no hope of refreshment! (See Luke 16:24).
▸ There is the torment of being in total eternal darkness! (See Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30; II Peter 2:4, 17; Jude 1:6).
▸ There is the torment of knowing one could have had salvation, but now it is forever out of reach, being eternally cut off from God! (See Matthew 7:23; 25:41; Luke 13:27).
✞ Perhaps in hell there is more intense suffering and torments than in Hades! Hell is designed, according to Matthew 25:41, “…for the devil and his angels [demons]…,” not humuan beings! Hell may not even be created yet, since it won’t be needed until much later (see Revelation 21:10, 14, 15).
• Apparently, Dives was used to giving orders in mortal life, especially to people like Lazarus. For it was not a humble request he gave to Abraham in Luke 16:24: “…send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”
✞ But Lazarus could not make the trip! Nor could Dives go to where Abraham and Lazarus were! There was “…between us and you a great chasm…[that had] been fixed…” (Luke 16:26) – and that chasm could not be crossed! You Can’t Get Here From There!
✞ Since that pre-resurrection time, Paradise has been transferred to where Jesus now is – “…at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 – see also Romans 8:34). It is no longer across from the great chasm mentioned in our featured Scripture. We are told in Ephesians 4:8 (quoting Psalm 68:18): “When He [Jesus] ascended up on high, He led captivity captive….” It means, those who were once held captive by sin and Satan (see John 8:34; II Timothy 2:26) are now led ‘captive’ into freedom by Jesus Christ!
Dear people, gain heaven through faith in Jesus Christ, and avoid Hades and hell at all costs!