Rich Man and Lazarus - Heaven or Hell



Rich Man and Lazarus - Heaven or Hell?


What is the down to earth explanation? 

What happened to the "Rich man and Lazarus" in the parable Jesus taught His disciples in the Gospel of Luke?


Introduction:


 To the body of Jesus Christ,

(the Church He is building)

Its leadership, 

Prophets, Apostles, Pastors, 

Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers


To seekers and to all unbelievers



Heavenly Father, in the Name of Your Son, Yeshua,

Jesus the Christ, we come to you now. You have blessed us through His sacrifice upon the Cross of Calvary, so we confess that as sinners redeemed by Your Grace, we need to be  cleansed once more. Please give us the wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and revelation that we need now in Jesus' name, amen.


Concerning Jesus' parable about the Rich Man and Lazarus, Jesus said,


"There was a certain rich man clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torment in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom. 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. 


But Abraham said, son, remember, 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. 


Then he [the rich man] said, I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him 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. 


Abraham said to him, they have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them. And he said, No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent. 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." (Luke 16:19-31)




I. Let's take a closer look: 


There was a certain rich man clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.



The rich man here did not fear God or man -- he decided to reject the Word of God, that is, the words of Moses and the Prophets. He had the choice in his lifetime to accept or reject God's Holy Word and  he chose to "do his own thing." This rich man lived his life much as the "Rich Fool" (Luke 12:16-21) had lived.


The Holy Scriptures say: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33) 


God has nothing against material wealth. There were notable heroes of faith whom God purposely blessed with wealth and honor. Among them were Job, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and David. These heroes of faith honored and obeyed God's Word, and during their lifetime God honored and blessed them. How we start in God, is not as important as how we finish in God. 


But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.



Jesus said, 


"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.  (Matthew 11:28-30) 


The beggar Lazarus was poor, full of sores, oppressed, sick, hungry, and most of all, Lazarus was suffering.  Jesus Christ came to this world to save and die for such as Lazarus. Despite Lazarus condition, he believed, obeyed, and honored the Old Testament Scriptures -- "Moses and the Prophets." Jesus Christ died for all of mankind whether rich or poor.  He told us that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have the reward of eternal life.   (John 3:16) 


2. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom.


Father Abraham was in heaven. The beggar, Lazarus died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. God tells the whole of mankind therefore, that if we believe and obey His Holy Word, when we die, His angels will escort us to be with Him in heaven.


3. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torment in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom.


The word "Hades" is another word for Hell. Please remember, we serve a Holy God and sin cannot go into His presence. Because God loves us and knows what's best for us, we must obey His Holy Word.


The rich man being in torment in Hades (Hell) means that he felt the flames of hell in his body through the soul.


Secondly, we must do as the old hymn says, "Trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."


4. 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.


How did the rich man know the name Father Abraham? According to the parable, he knew the beggar Lazarus while living on earth as a rich man. God enabled the rich man to recognize Father Abraham and call him by his name.


Jesus Christ taught in the parable that the rich man cried out to Father Abraham in torment. He pled for mercy -- that He might send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool his tongue. The rich man having a tongue indicates that he possessed a body (of some kind) in hell.


Jesus Christ clarified through the Scripture what happens to the body and soul when they enter hell. He said, 


"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."   (Matthew 10:28)


Jesus Christ tells us not to fear man who would kill the physical body and not the soul, but fear God who is able to destroy both the soul and body in hell. The body in hell is dead and the Holy Scriptures confirms this. The book of James 2:26 declares, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."


The Holy Scriptures also say, "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord."  

(2 Corinthians 5:6-8)


We know from the Holy Bible that God is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. Let us clarify:


Omnipresent means God is present everywhere, 

Omniscient means God is all knowing, and 

Omnipotent means God is all powerful.             


Now, the two-fold explanation about our eternal destiny is as follows:


Those who go to heaven experience God's grace for all eternity.


Those who go to hell experience God's wrath. 


Here's the good news! Those who are still on the earth have hope to receive the reward of "Eternal Life". We must accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior by asking for His forgiveness for our sins. We must also forgive those who have wronged us. If we reject Jesus Christ, God's judgment then comes upon us.


Regardless of our decision, God will be right there with us in His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, and all present everywhere. There is no place in eternity we can hide from God -- He is from everlasting to everlasting. He has no beginning or end. 


5. But Abraham said, Son, remember, in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.


In this dialogue, Father Abraham tells the rich man to remember that in his lifetime on the Earth, the good things he had, and likewise the evil things that the beggar, Lazarus experienced. Then Father Abraham said; "now Lazarus is comforted and you are tormented."


Jesus teaches us that our memories of eternity and of living briefly on earth will return to us when He calls us to Himself.


6. 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.


The Holy Scriptures also say, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." 

(2 Corinthians 6:2)


As long as we human beings are on Earth, there is always hope to receive the "Salvation of Jesus Christ" by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and asking Him to come into our heart, forgive us of all sin and wash it away. Then He will be our God and King forever and ever, amen!


7. Then he said, I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him 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.


This parable tells mankind that no complaining and begging in eternity can change your fate. 


As believers, we serve an awesome and holy God and we know that he protects His Holy Word. Once it has gone out it will not come back void [empty].   (Isaiah 55:11)


8. Abraham said to him, they have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.


Abraham was reminding the rich man that his family had "Moses and the Prophets."


The rich man and all his family had heard and were taught the "Law of Moses" and were exposed to the Old Testament Scriptures written by God through His holy prophets.


The Bible says that "God is love." God has always proven that love by giving mankind a choice: life or death (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). The fact that God gives us a choice proves that he loves us and wants the very best for us. If God did not love us, He would not have given mankind this choice between life or death.


The bottom line is that the rich man rejected the Holy Scriptures and followed his sinful desires. His decision shut him out of Heaven.


9. And he said, No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.


The rich man is in torment and is pleading with father Abraham to send Lazarus from the dead to his father's house to tell his family about heaven and hell.


Jesus Christ also said that all of mankind has the chance to receive eternal life, if they decide to accept His Gift of Salvation while still living and breathing on Earth.


10. 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.


Abraham tells the rich man in hell that if his father's house does not hear Moses and the Prophets, they will be lost.


Abraham was right on target when he responded to the rich man. 

Let's consider this: when Jesus Christ resurrected, His own disciples did not believe at first that He had risen from the grave. It was only when He appeared to them and showed them His hands and feet, and ate some food in front of them that they finally believed He had risen from the dead. (Luke 24:33-43)



In this parable, Jesus Christ has blessed the world with pure nuggets of wisdom from above. If we receive it our souls will be saved. 


In conclusion,

God created both rich and the poor and both have  the free will to accept or reject the "Word of God."

        In order to make the transition from earth to eternity, a human being will die a physical death on earth.

        The rich man, in his lifetime, rejected the Old Testament Scriptures - "Moses and the Prophets".     

        His refusal to accept and honor  God's Holy Word, cost him eternal life in heaven.

        Lazarus accepted and honored God's Holy Word and his reward was eternal life in heaven with a prepared eternal body and soul. 

        His human spirit returned to God in heaven.   (Ecclesiastes 3:21) 

  Human beings are created by God with a body, soul and spirit.

           (1 Thessalonians 5:23) 

        The human body was made from the dust of the earth and upon physical death, the body returns to dust. 

The human soul will go to heaven in God's grace, or to hell. (Genesis 2:7) (Job 33:4)


        After the death of the human body, the human spirit returns to God in heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:21) 

The human spirit is that part of man that is the image and glory of God.   (1 Corinthians 11:7) 

The spirit of man was created when God breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life.     

It is the spirit that gives life to the human body.  (James 2:26)


        The rich man in this parable did not fear God or man because he chose to reject the Word of God, 

(in his time) the words of Moses and the Prophets.

God has nothing against wealth. In fact, it is God who blesses us with wealth. 

It is how we use these resources that determines our destiny in eternity. 


         Solomon said, "The whole duty of man is to fear God and keep His commandments."   (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

God expects us as believers to trust and obey His commandments in His Holy Word.

How we start in God, is not as important as how we finish in God.

 

         God commands us to love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.  (Deuteronomy 6:5)        


         You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  (Leviticus 19:18)


         Those who are covered by the "Holy Blood of Jesus", the "Elect" will be carried by the angels to heaven when they die.  (Luke 16:22)   


         We serve a Holy God and sin cannot go into His presence.


         It is the "breath of life", God-breathed into man's nostrils that creates a living human soul. (Genesis 2:7)


         In Matthew 10:28, Jesus Christ taught His disciples that God will provide a body for the human soul to be in hell.   

 

         The rich man in his lifetime, heard the Old Testament scriptures, rejected them and chose death.


         The Bible says that "God is love." God has always proven that love by giving mankind a choice: 

life or death. The choice is ours.  

   (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)


         Jesus Christ said that all of mankind has a chance to receive eternal life, if they accept His Son's Gift of Salvation while still living and breathing on earth.


Now, the GOOD NEWS is that the God of the Bible gives all of mankind a choice in the matter of receiving His Son, Jesus Christ as their personal Lord, King, and Savior for all of eternity. Of course, because God has given all of mankind a choice in the matter of Salvation, he is expressing His unconditional Love for all that are lost in their sinful nature. 

To God's people, He has given the privilege and responsibility of prayer, and the proclamation of the Gospel.


Lastly, for the cynics, skeptics, and unbelievers:

Jesus Christ was, and is, God. God does not lie. Therefore, everything which Jesus spoke, and which was written in the Holy Bible, is Truth. As we think about the Rich Man and Lazarus, we must not gamble away our eternal destiny.

We pray that each reader will seriously consider this now, for it is the most important issue of our lives, affecting both time and eternity.

May our Holy God bless and keep all who read this revelation, and may He give you His perfect and everlasting favor and peace. Amen.


In His Awesome and Holy Presence,

Saint Wisdom





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