Vol. 19, No. 48 – December 20, 2020
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.
Luke 16:23, “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.”
In our study of Hades, we also see that Jesus holds the keys to both Hades and death, Rev 1:18. As such, it is still an active place today, but for who? Well, that is the place where the rich man went and remains today, as all unbelievers have gone there upon their death, and will continue to go there until the Great White Throne Judgement Seat of Jesus Christ, when he casts Satan, the Fallen Angels and all unbelievers throughout all time into the Lake of Fire, Rev 20:14.
Rev 1:18, dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”
Rev 20:14, “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.”
Jesus’s soul visited Hades after His death upon the Cross until His resurrection, Acts 2:27, 31, as prophesized in Psa 16:10, where the Hebrew equivalent is Sheol, cf. Eph 4:9.
Eph 4:9, “Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?”
His Spirit went to the 3rd Heaven to be with the Father, Luke 23:46, John 19:30, and His Soul went to Hades, Luke 23:43, Acts 2:27, 31; Eph 4:9, while His body remained in the tomb, Luke 23:50-53. After three days, the Father brought His Spirit back to His body, Eph 1:20; Col 2:12; 1 Thes 1:10; 1 Peter 1:21; Heb 13:20, the Holy Spirit returned His Soul from Hades, Acts 2:24; Rom 1:4; 8:11; 1 Peter 3:18, and Jesus raised His own Body from the tomb, John 10:17-18.
In David’s prophecy of Psa 16:10, he said, “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.”
Notice that David makes a distinction between Paradise or Abraham’s bosom where the soul is located and the grave where the body is located. David was not speaking about himself, because his body has undergone decay, Acts 2:29, and his soul went to paradise after he died. Acts 2:29, “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.” David was prophesying about the soul of the humanity of Jesus Christ in Hades after his physical death.
No OT believer could go to the 3rd heaven until Jesus Christ had been judged for their sins upon the Cross. At that point, the OT believers were all transferred in a triumphal procession into the presence of God in heaven. Today, after the Cross, when any believer dies, his soul and spirit is absent from the body and face to face with the Lord in heaven, 2 Cor 5:6-8; Phil 1:23.
2 Cor 5:6-8, “Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord—7for we walk by faith, not by sight—8we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”
Therefore, we know Psa 16:10, does not refer to David but is a prophecy referring to Jesus Christ because it is quoted by Peter in Acts 2:27, “Because You will not abandon My soul to hades, nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.” This verse is then interpreted in Acts 2:31, “He looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY.” Our Lord only spent three days in Hades.
As Satan had “the power of death,” Heb 2:14; cf. Rev 6:8, Hades was a place where the dead would go, and due to sin being in the world because of Satan, it is that stronghold over death and Hades that was conquered by Christ at the Cross, Col 2:15. As such, Christ can proclaim His victory in the realm of the dead, 1 Peter 3:19.
Col 2:15, “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities (Satan and the Fallen Angels), He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”
1 Peter 3:19, “In which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, (incarcerated demons).”
This is why Jesus said to Peter in Mat 16:18, that the gates of Hades will not overpower / prevail against His Church.
Therefore, Hades is an intermediate state between death and resurrection, divided into two parts; one, the abode of the blessed, and the other of the lost. At the time of Christ’s speaking, Hades was the interim place for believers to reside until His resurrection and ascension. And, it was, and is today, the prison where the wicked dead are held until there resurrection to the second death at the Great White Throne Judgment day, when at that time both death and Hades are cast into the Lake of Fire, Rev 20:14.
“Language about hell seeks to describe for humans the most awful punishment human language can describe to warn unbelievers before it is too late. Earthly experience would lead us to believe that the nature of punishment will fit the nature of the sin. Certainly, no one wants to suffer the punishment of hell, and through God’s grace the way for all is open to avoid hell and know the blessings of eternal life through Christ.” (Holman Bible Dictionary).
There are several erroneous views of Hades / Hell.
1) The second chance view: After death there is still a way to escape hell.
Answer: Heb 9:27, “It is appointed unto men once to die and after that the judgment.”
2) Universalism: All are eternally saved.
Answer: It denies the truth of salvation through Christ, which means that a person decides to either trust in Christ or else he/she rejects Christ and goes to hell, John 3:16; 3:36.
3) Annihilationism: Hell means a person dies like an animal; they cease to exist.
Answer: It denies the resurrection of the unsaved, John 5:28. It denies conscious torment, like in the case of the man. John 5:28, “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.”
In conclusion, we see that the unbelieving rich man was residing in the compartment of Hades called the Place of Torments, as he himself was in torment, and the believer Lazarus, the poor man, was now in a place called Paradise or Abraham’s Bosom being comforted, blessed, and honored.
For the rich man, we see his eternal state of “being in torment,” which starts with the Verb HUPARCHO that means, “be, exist, have, or possess,” which is an ironic word choice, as this is all that the rich man possesses for all of eternity, in contrast to the great riches, wealth, and joyous living he possessed in life. The only thing he possesses is “torment,” which is the noun BASANOS, βάσανος that means, “torture, torment, or great pain.” It is only used three times in the NT, its cognates BASANIZO, BASANISMOS, and BASANISTES are used more frequently. BASANOS is only used in this story here and vs. 28, and in Mat 4:24. The latter describes the torment people were in who sought Jesus to heal them. Ironically, because the rich man did not seek Jesus, he did not believe in the Messiah, he is now and forever in torment. This suffering is described further in vs. 24.
These are just a few of the verses that describe what Hades / the Place of Torments and the Lake of Fire are like for the occupants. Other verses that speak to the abode of the unsaved include, Isa 66:24; Mat 3:12; 8:12; 13:41-42; 22:13; 25:30, 41; Mark 9:43, 48; Jude 1:7, 13; 2 Peter 2:17.
Isa 66:24, “Then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrence to all mankind.”
Mat 3:12, “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
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.”
Mark 9:48, “Where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.”
Jude 1:13, “Wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.”
Therefore, for the unbelieving rich man, as to his soul, he was alive, fully conscious, in exercise of his mental faculties, yet in great torment. And, unlike the compartment called Paradise, which has already been taken to heaven, it is thus apparent that insofar as the unsaved dead are concerned, no change in their abode or state is revealed in Scripture in connection with the ascension of Christ, and it will not change until the Great White throne Judgement of Rev 20:13-14.
Now, when the suffering rich looked across the great chasm into the other compartment in Hades called Paradise, he “saw,” HORAO, “Abraham,” ABRAAM, “from afar,” the Adverb, MAKROTHEN, μακρόθεν that means, “from afar or from a distance.” This indicates the long ways away from the holiness and righteousness of God this unbeliever was, as all unbelievers are, especially in the eternal state.
Not only did he see Abraham, but he saw Lazarus “in his bosom,” EN AUTOS HO KOLPOS. As we have noted in vs. 22, this phrase indicates a close relationship, place of honor, favor, blessing, and comfort. This is what Lazarus was now enjoying for all of eternity, in contrast to the suffering he endured during his earthly life.
As Lazarus suffered in his physical life, he did so to demonstrate the importance of eternity compared to time. Time is just a drop in the bucket compared to eternity, according to James 4:14, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor for a little while and then vanishes away.”
Time is the only opportunity to gain eternal life, 2 Cor 6:2, “For He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”.”
It only takes one second in time to believe in Jesus Christ, yet the rich man did not even take that one second to do so, yet Lazarus did. Time is the special opportunity for the believer to glorify God, and to demonstrate to the angels the greatness of God’s justice, wisdom, and grace policy. Phil 4:11, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”
Time is the mechanism for resolving the Angelic Conflict. Lazarus was one of the greatest testimonies to angelic creatures as to what is important in life. As such, for the believer, time is the opportunity to glorify God, and to demonstrate to angels the greatness of God’s justice and wisdom.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#’s 20-133 & 20-134
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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!