Relating An Actual Event That Took Place In Hell.
“The path of life leads upward for the prudent to keep them from going down to the realm of death (Hell).” (Proverbs 15:24)
The subject of Hell is a very uncomfortable one both for the believer and for those in the world that don’t know the Lord. We, as believers, want to share the Lord’s great love for His creation and do not want to talk about the eternal punishment that will come to those that reject God’s mercy and forgiveness. The world, on the other hand, does not want to hear about Hell for obvious reasons. But, not talking about Hell doesn’t make it less real. The subject needs to be addressed. Everyone’s eternal well being depends on knowing the truth and acting upon it.
There is perhaps no better way to describe Hell than to relate an actual event that took place in Hell. Jesus spoke about it in Luke 16:19-31. As you read the following, keep in mind that this is not one of the Lord’s Parables. The Lord used actual names, which He never did in His Parables, so we are learning about an actual happening.
“There was a rich man that was clothed in fine purple and fine linen.”
Many of that day thought that riches always represented the favor of God. We will see from this account that this is not necessarily true. The rich man was the only one in this account not identified by name for obvious reasons, as we will see.
“and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus which was laid at his gate, full of sores.”
The rich man passed by Lazarus on many occasions offering him no help. Many of that day thought that those like Lazarus were cursed by God. Many today equate a lack of wealth and earthly blessings in the same way.
And it came to pass, that the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom (Paradise).”
Who would pay much attention to the death of a beggar? We see here that the Lord takes great care with his own upon their death. He sent his angels (plural) to escort His child to Paradise. Paradise is where all those who died in the faith went prior to Jesus paying the sin debt at the cross. It stands empty today.
“The rich man also died, and was buried.”
Angels did not carry him off for he died eternally lost. All of his wealth did not help him when he faced death.
“And in Hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment.”
If anyone of that day had doubted the existence of Hell then their doubts would have been put to rest with these words of Jesus. He shows us in these two deaths that, immediately upon death, the soul and spirit go to Heaven (after the cross) or Hell. and that we are totally aware of our surroundings. This also tells us that there is great suffering in Hell. We will see in the following that identity and memory remain after death.
” And cried and said, father Abraham, have mercy on me.”
Once a person is in Hell there is no help, no mercy, and no way out. It has been well said that there are no unbelievers in Hell.
“And send Lazarus that he may dip his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.”
The rich man showed no concern for Lazarus in this life, but now being tormented in Hell he remembers Lazarus and seeks his help to bring some small relief to his suffering. The Bible here teaches that the suffering in Hell is literal.
“But Abraham said, Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things.”
Points to him being blessed in this life. This did not cause him to be thankful for the good life he lived. His faith was in his earthly blessings to the very loss of his soul at death. How many today are doing the very same thing?
“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”
The blessings the rich man received in this life did not cause him to come to the Lord, and Lazarus didn’t let his suffering in this life keep him from the Lord. Our fate is sealed upon death. Apparently, those in Hell could see across the great gulf between them and Paradise.
“Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that you would send him (Lazarus) to my father’s house: for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come to this place of torment.”
He knew that his fate was sealed, but asked that his family be warned lest they suffer the same fate as he. He seemed to know the way of salvation but did not go that way himself in his lifetime.
“Abraham said unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.”
Abraham points to the Bible as their sure way of knowing the truth and the way to God. The Lord has given us His Word (the Bible) so that all could know the way.
“And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went into them from the dead, they will repent. And he (Abraham) said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
If one does not believe the Bible then one who rose from the dead will not convince them either. After all, sometime later after relating this event Christ actually rose from the dead. And yet, most did not come to him in repentance and receive the gift of eternal life. It is the same today. Most, knowing about the Resurrection, will not come to the Lord in repentance and faith.
The question many have is this: Why would a loving God send anyone to Hell? The truth is that if someone does go to Hell then it was their choice. The Lord has given everyone every opportunity to come to Him in faith. He sent his Son to suffer and die to pay the price for our salvation. He has given us the Bible as our guide. The Great Commission, the Lord spoke about after His resurrection, commands the church to reach out to all the earth with the good news of the Gospel. He paid the price and reaches out through His church to all those that will hear. What more could He have done!
He loves us and He has provided a rest for all those that come to Him! We have His assurance that we are saved by faith in His great work at the cross! And, He has commanded His church to reach out to the whole world with the “Good News! The following verses tell the story:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son (speaks of Calvary), that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
“Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
” These things have I written unto you who believe on the Son of God; that you may know that you have Eternal Life..” (1 John 5:13)
His Command (to the church)
“Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
He loves us and has proven His love for us by paying the price for our sin at Calvary and, even to this day, seeks out all those that will come to Him in repentance and faith!
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