In one of His stories, Jesus pulls back the curtain and lets us look over into the next life. He begins by contrasting two men:
The Contrast in Life
One man was fabulously wealthy; the other, ignominiously poor.
“There was a certain rich man who was 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” (Luke 16:19-21).
The Contrast in Eternity
Your soul will exist somewhere throughout all eternity. So now, Jesus talks about these two after death.
“So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22a). In Bible times, people reclined at table. And the chief place of honor at a feast was to recline where your head was near the host’s chest—his bosom. Jesus is saying this poor man Lazarus, who had been feeding on crumbs, is now at an honored place with Abraham, father of the faithful.
What will Heaven be like? Heaven will be all that the loving heart of God could desire for you. You’ll like it.
“The rich man also 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” (Luke 16:22b-23).
Why believe in Hell? Jesus taught it. “For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The LORD will judge His people’” (Hebrews 10:30).
What Will Hell Be Like?
Seeing Lazarus at Abraham’s bosom, the rich man 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” (Luke 16:24).
You will carry your senses to Hell. Hell is a place of self-inflicted torment.
“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’” (Luke 16:25).
You will carry your memory to Hell. You will remember every lie, every blasphemy, and every time someone told you, “Come to Christ.”
Some people in Hell have what people on Earth need: a concern for the lost who still have a chance. The rich man pleaded with Abraham,
“‘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 16:27-31).
Abraham told the rich man, “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” (Luke 16:26b).
Don’t get the idea that you will stay in Hell for a while, then somehow step over into Heaven. There is life after death, but no second chance after death. If you want mercy and forgiveness, you may have them—but you must have them now.
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