Vol. 20, No. 01 – January 10, 2021
d. The rich man and Lazarus, vs. 19-32, good stewards will be rewarded.
3) The perspective of Hades / Sheol after death, vs. 23-31.
Next, we will see the sinner’s continued self-centeredness as the rich man begs for relief from his suffering, demanding that Lazarus provide him relief when on earth he did not provide relief for Lazarus’ suffering.
Luke 16:24, “And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame’.”
Ancient Jewish literature, cf. 2 Esdras 7:85, 93, does express the belief that communication is possible between the two divisions of Hades, just as we see here that the rich man called to Abraham.
The rich man, “cries out,” PHONEO, to Abraham calling him “Father Abraham,” PATER ABRAAM. This indicates that the rich man was a Jew, not a Gentile. This is a huge statement, as the rich Jewish Pharisees thought they had a direct ticket to heaven, just by being of the tribe of Abraham. But Jesus is pointing out that heritage does not save anyone. Only faith in the Messiah / Savior / King saves anyone.
By calling Abraham Father, the rich man was guilty of the very presumption which John the Baptist had earlier condemned: “Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father” Luke 3:8. The Jews of Jesus’ day were convinced that they merited eternal life simply because they were descended from Abraham. John 8:31-59. On the contrary, said Jesus, their real father was not Abraham because they did not do the works of Abraham; rather, their father was the devil, the father of lies, because they did his works instead, John 8:39-44.
The same is true of the rich man in this story. He had no right to call Abraham “Father,” because he had not done the works of Abraham, (i.e., believe / have faith). Therefore, it was useless for him to claim that relationship. Jesus made this clear when He said that at His Second Coming even some who spoke in His name would be condemned because they worked iniquity, Mat 7:21-23.
This rich man then asks Abraham for “mercy,” ELEEO, ἐλεέω that means, “have mercy or pity on (someone), or show mercy.” It is in the Aorist, Active, Imperative, for a strong request from the rich man to Abraham.
This is the first time Luke uses ELEEO. He will use it again in Luke 17:13; 18:38-39. In those three usages, it is followed by people who wanted healing, but also had faith for salvation. Interestingly, those cases where during their life on earth, where they had the opportunity to receive salvation. But in the rich man’s case, he is now in the afterlife, where it is too late to receive salvation, just as it is too late to lessen the severity of his punishment.
- Time is the only time that one can believe for eternal salvation.
- Time is the only time that one can believe so that their suffering in the afterlife is removed.
- Once you reach the afterlife, your eternal fate and situation is sealed for all of eternity.
The other point we see here is the continued arrogance of the unbelieving rich man and lack of remorse he has regarding his earthly life, as he demands mercy for himself, even though he showed no mercy towards Lazarus during his suffering on earth. In addition, he had the gall to ask Abraham “to send,” the Aorist, Active, Imperative of the Verb PEMPO, Lazarus to perform the merciful act. The fact that he knew Lazarus’ name indicated that he had been familiar with him and his plight in the previous life, although he did nothing to ease Lazarus’ suffering at that time. What arrogance, as he still saw himself as superior to Lazarus even in his current situation.
This is the problem with the self-righteous arrogant person, believer or unbeliever. They always want everyone to feel sorry for them and do things for them to make them feel better, yet they never lift a finger to help those who may be hurting around them. The believer in Jesus Christ must take their eyes off of themselves and look to how they can help others, without whining and complaining about it. If you whine or complain you have blown it!
The act of mercy the rich man demanded was for Lazarus to “dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue.”
Interestingly, “dip,” is the Greek Verb BAPTO, “to dip or immerse,” where the word baptism comes from. Because he did not get baptized for salvation in time, he will not get a baptism for relief in the eternal state. In this life repentance is possible, in the next it is not.
“The tip of his finger,” is the Adjective AKROS, ἄκρος, “end, extremity, tip or outermost,” that is only used four times in the NT, Mat 24:31; Mark 13:27; Luke 16:24; Heb 11:21. The other three have to do with seeing the fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation, which the rich man is missing out on.
This is used with the Noun DAKTULOS, δάκτυλος, “finger,” that is first used in the NT in Mat 23:4, regarding the arrogance of the Pharisees and Lawyers for not preaching the truth of the Gospel, while having the people serve them, cf. Luke 11:46.
Mat 23:4, “They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.”
The other usages have to do with Jesus’ healing, providing salvation, and forgiving sin, Mark 7:33; Luke 11:20; John 8:6; 20:25, 27.
Therefore, we see this request/demand from the rich as a continuation of his self-righteousness, unmerciful, self-centered arrogance to relieve his pain and suffering. And, because he did not lift a finger to help Lazarus in time, he will not receive help in the eternal state.
This also shows us the severity of suffering in the Place of Torments, as even a minute drop of “water,” HUDOR, would have provided tremendous relief. Likewise, as stated above, because he did not receive the water of life in time, John 4:14; Rev 7:17; 21:6; 22:1, 17, he will not receive a drop of relief in the eternal state.
John 4:14, “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
The rich man wanted Lazarus to give him a drop of water to “cool off his tongue,” that uses the Verb KATAPSUCHO, “cool or refresh,” only used here in the NT. The root word PSUCHE means life or soul. So, we have a subtle meaning here of “soul refreshment,” which the rich man desired but is prohibited from receiving.
With that is the Noun GLOSSA, “tongue or language.” The first use in the NT is in Mark 7:33, that also is used with “finger,” DAKTULOS, and has to do with Jesus healing and providing salvation. Because the rich man did not even use his words for refreshment, (i.e., speak the gospel of Jesus Christ), in time, he is unable to even be refreshed on his tongue in the eternal state.
Next, he describes the suffering he is under in that place of torments. In vs. 23, the rich man said he was “in torment,” which was the noun BASANOS, βάσανος that means, “torture, torment, or great pain.” Here he states, “for I am in agony in this flame’.”
“Agony,” is the Verb ODUNAOMAI, ὀδυνάομαι that means, “cause pain; feel pain, or be tormented.” The latter is why this compartment of Hades is called the “place of torments.” It is used here and vs. 25, and in Luke 2:48, for the anguish Mary and Joseph had when they left Jesus behind in Jerusalem and could not find Him for 3 days. It is also used in Acts 20:38, for the Ephesians heartfelt sorrow when Paul had to depart them realizing they would not see him again. From those usages we see the torment being one of an absence of lost relationship, that is, with God in this case.
In its active sense it means, “to cause intense pain,” and in its passive sense it means, “to be anguished or tormented.” Here, it is in the Middle or Passive Deponent, which means the action of his life has led to him receiving this agonizing suffering. As such, the rich man was physically, mentally, and spiritually, “tormented,” as all unbelievers are who are in Hades.
“In this flame,” is EN HOUTOS HO PHLOX, where the Noun PHLOX means, “flame or flaming fire.” It is first used here in the NT, and also in Acts 7:30; 2 Thes 1:8; Heb 1:7; Rev 1:14; 2:18; 19:12.
In 2 Thes 1:5-9, it describes the judgment for the unbeliever, as in our passage, “This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. 6For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”
Therefore, we see that “flame or fire” describes the environment of the Place of Torments, as it does for the Eternal Lake of Fire. It is hot and incredibly dry, feeling like you are burning without being burnt up, and thirsty where your thirst cannot be quenched. All of this suffering is the result of rejecting Jesus Christ as your Savior / Messiah / King during your life here on earth.
Luke 16:25, “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony’.”
Here, we have Abraham’s reply regarding the reality of both men’s situation. Abraham starts by addressing the rich man as “child,” TEKNON, τέκνον that means, “child, descendant, or posterity.” This confirms his Jewish heritage, and that heritage does not save anyone, Mat 8:12.
Mat 8:12, “But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
“Remember,” is the Aorist, Active, Imperative of the Verb MNAOMAI, μνάομαι that means, “be mindful of, to turn one’s mind to a thing, remember, or to court or woo (as turning the mind to seek a bride).” Because the rich man did not turn to his Lord for salvation, he is in this place. Nevertheless, Abraham wants him to remember the kind of life he had on earth compared to Lazarus and how the rich man loved money and wealth more than God, thereby never coming to faith for salvation. Here, we see that those in the afterlife can and will remember their life on earth. For the unbeliever, there will be much regret for squandering their opportunities for salvation. And for some believers there will be temporary shame for lost opportunities to glorify God, 1 John 2:28.
Luke first used MNAOMAI in Luke 1:54, “He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy.” As noted above, the rich man rejected the Lord’s mercy, and “during his life he received his good things.” In other words, he lived a “good” worldly life inside of Satan’s Cosmic System, and Abraham wants him to remember that “good life,” where he rejected the Lord, so as to show the justice of God for the position he is currently in.
The contrast in lifestyles here on earth:
“Received your good things” is the Verb APOLAMBANO in the Aorist, Active, Indicative, with the Pronoun SU and the Adjective AGATHOS. With this is “in your lifetime,” EN SU HO ZOE. Notice the Personal Pronoun is used 3 times in this statement, showing that this is what the rich man valued during his life here on earth, rather than valuing a relationship with God.
Jesus warns in Luke 6:24, “But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.”
In contrast is Lazarus’ life who Abraham says only received “bad things,” the Adjective KAKOS that means, “bad, evil, wicked, worthless, depraved, etc.” Therefore, while the rich man was living “high off the hog,” that is, a good life of wealth and riches in time, Lazarus had a life filled with bad things happening to him, both physically and materially. Lazarus endured these things under suffering for blessing. This shows that it is not what you have in life that matters.
Jesus points out here that those who live for this life of wealth and riches, fun and enjoyment, have a good chance of missing out on the faithful belief in the Savior for salvation, while those who have had a difficult life have a better chance of faithfully receiving the Savior for salvation. Cf. Mat 19:16-24; Mark 10:23-25; Luke 12:16-21; 18:18-25; James 1:11.
Mat 19:23-24, “And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”.”
The contrast in lifestyles in the eternal state:
In this portion, Abraham gives Lazarus’ eternal state first, “but now he is being comforted here,” DE NUN PARAKALEO HODE. PARAKALEO typically means, “to call or invite,” which Lazarus was called or invited to salvation which he received. But, here it is used in its third of five applications for the act of “exhorting or encouraging” with the idea of “console or comfort.” It shows the contrast of his earthly life that was filled with bad things happening to him. Now, in the eternal state truly good things are happening to him. But remember, it is not because of the bad things that happened to him that he is now being comforted, it is because he believed. As such, all of our suffering will be turned to comfort when we reach the presence of God. Suffering will give way to glory. The first will be last, and the last will be first.
In contrast, Abraham states the rich man’s eternal state, “and you are in agony,” which uses DE SU ODUNAOMAI. We noted ODUNAOMAI in vs. 24, as the rich man described his own suffering. Here, Abraham confirms it that he is in pain and torment physically, mentally, spiritually, and soulishly, as we noted in vs. 24, all due to the absence of a relationship with God in the eternal state. And, just like Lazarus, it is not because he lived a wealthy life that he is now suffering. It is because he rejected God’s plan for his salvation. He chose to live a worldly life rather than accepting His Messiah / Savior / King, and living for Him.
James 5:1-7, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. 3Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! 4Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you. 7Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.”
Therefore, we see Abraham pointing out the contrast between the two individuals in both time and eternity. Because the rich man squandered his time on earth, he is now in the Place of Torments. Abraham points to the contrast between time and eternity to show that it does matter what we do in time, because it will determine our eternal state. Likewise, once we are in the eternal state our fate is sealed forever, and it cannot be changed. It is too late!
Luke 16:26, “‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us’.”
Abraham, points out the futility of the rich man’s request by giving another reason for the impossibility of the request for mercy being fulfilled in the eternal state. He starts by saying, “and besides all this,” meaning what he just stated about their time on earth that resulted in their eternal state.
He then points out a feature, (part of the topography), that once existed in Hades, “between us and you there is a great chasm fixed,” METAXU HEMEIS KAI HUMEIS MEGAS CHASMA, (only used here in the NT), STERIZO. This feature may still exist, but is no longer needed, as Abraham’s Bosom is now in heaven, as we have noted previously in this study.
The Verb STERIZO means, “fix, set firmly, establish; support, confirm, strengthen.” This chasm has been established by God the Creator.
Chasm is the noun CHASMA, χάσμα, which is a figurative extension of CHASKO, “yawning,” that is not used in the NT. It is a deep, unbridgeable valley or trough between two points in Hades, Abraham’s Bosom/Paradise and the Place of Torments. It references the impassable space between these two parts of the supernatural abode of the dead. Interestingly, this account differed from the teaching of the Jewish rabbis, who claimed that only a finger’s breadth separated the places of Paradise and of torment. Jesus once again debunks their false teaching.
Abraham tells why the chasm was there, speaking from both vantage points.
1) “So that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able,” HOPOS HO THELO, “to wish or desire, purpose to, or willing to,” DIABAINO, “go through, cross, or go over,” ENTHEN, “from here,” only used here and Mat 17:20, PROS HUMEIS ME DUNAMAI, “be able, have power to do so, have the capacity for.” As such, we see that those who resided in Abraham’s Bosom, who may have wanted to visit or help those in the Place of Torments, are prohibited from doing so.
2) “and that none may cross over from there to us,” MEDE, “nor, not even, neither, etc.,” DIAPERO, “pass over or cross,” EKEITHEN, “from there,” PROS HEMEIS, “to us.” This tells us that those in the Place of Torments cannot cross over to the other compartment in Hades, Abraham’s Bosom.
This barrier is a reflection of the barrier between the rich man and Lazarus that had existed during their lifetimes, i.e., pride, arrogance, and selfishness on the part of the rich man that prohibited from granting mercy to the poor and humble Lazarus, was now permanently fixed. The gulf which the rich man could have bridged while alive was now uncrossable. It also shows that there was no fellowship between the saved and the lost in the afterlife.
Therefore, there is neither help coming to those who reside in the Place of Torments nor is there any escape from the Place of Torments. It indicates that for those who reside in the Place of Torments, their fate is sealed for all of eternity without diminish or reprieve. There are no second chances or further opportunity to repent after death.
In addition, the gulf cannot be crossed because it symbolizes the separation between light and darkness. 1 John makes it clear that sin and righteousness are utterly incompatible, 1 John 1:5-2:11. As such, there will be no communication between those in heaven and those in hell because sin cannot have contact with God’s holiness.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#’s 21-001 & 21-002
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!