THE PHARISEES FACE THEIR END
THERE IS A HORRIBLE END TO RICH,
GREEDY, SELF SEEKING PHARISEES
19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And 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.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
The "certain rich man" is not a man in a parable. It actually happened, and the name of the poor beggar is given, and in parables no names are given. Jesus never uses lies to illustrate truths, and this is a story, a true story, of an unnamed rich man, and a named poor man. In no parable of Jesus is a person named. The story is a literal event concerning two beggars. The poor man begged in this life; the rich man was poor as could be, and therefore begged in hell. This story shows the conditions of those who die. No matter how rich one is in this life, if they go to hell, they are poor, beggarly beyond measure, and in torment. If one is righteous, in heaven they will be comforted, rich, and blessed.
Many want to do away with teachings of hell, torment, and suffering for eternity. The ones who do such have no Scripture that can validate that false idea, and the truth is overwhelming that it is untrue to hope that there is no hell fire for those who insist on refusing salvation through Jesus alone. .
Jesus, in this story, declares plainly that the soul is immortal, and will spend eternity in one of two places. The soul will be conscious after leaving this temporary body, and the soul will feel the pain of hell fire, or the joy of eternity with the Lord.
Regardless of the conditions here and now, the next life will be far different. The worst of conditions here, do not come close to the horrible conditions of hell. The best of this world, even if one had all the wealth of this world, do not measure up to the conditions of heaven. There, there are no ghettos of hardship and mistreatment. The poorest saint in heaven is richer than the richest man of this world.
Mark 8:36 (KJV)
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Whether rich or poor, we must prepare for eternity, to be either in heaven or hell. Both the rich man and the poor man died. There is no escaping the aging of this body, and the eventual death and termination of this temporary tent in which our soul now abides. The saved ones, rich and poor, will be carried to heaven by angels, as was this poor beggar. The unsaved ones will be taken to hell fire, whether rich or poor now. Heaven and hell are real places.
Those lost are conscious, aware, remembering family, remembering opportunities to get saved, and more missionary minded than ever. The pain and suffering of hell is so great that they do not want any loved ones to be lost and in the same despair as they are. God does not want anyone to go to hell, and has sent Jesus to die for our sins, so we can avoid such place. To blame God for hell is blasphemy. The devil and his angels had hell prepared for them, and mankind has to choose to ignore the one way of salvation, i.e. Jesus, to ever reach that place.
The ones who go to heaven will have new bodies, able to walk, eat, fellowship, (visit the heavenly library, yea!) and worship at God’s literal throne.
Heaven will have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, all the holy angels, and all the redeemed of all ages. Whereas hell and later the lake of fire, will have the devil, fallen angels, demon spirits, and fallen mankind of all the ages. Both places are eternal.
Hell is not the grave. The grave is where the physical, temporary body is put until the resurrection. The first resurrection will take the atoms of the first body, and create from those a new body fit for heaven. The second resurrection is for the unsaved, and their atoms of the first body will be made into a new body, where in the lake of fire, their eternal body, and eternal soul will both suffer for eternity.
Lazarus was a beggar, with sores on his body, which the dogs licked, and the comfort from that was helpful in his suffering. He positioned himself at the gate of the rich man, to beg for crumbs from the table, or to share what was thrown out to the dogs. He died, unhealed, and his body was buried.
Angels carried his soul and spirit to paradise. There with all the Old Testament saints, he was comforted and at peace. No hell fire, no torment, no thirst or hunger, no punishment was there in paradise. He retained his faculties, capable of enjoying eternity with God.
He was in Abraham’s bosom. This is a phrase used to signify paradise. It is located in the lower parts of the earth.. The Greek for paradise is paradeisos (G3857), meaning a park, forest, or orchard. It is used in the Septuagint for the garden of Eden, and actually, the real garden of Eden is in paradise.
It says that Lazarus was in Abraham’s bosom, meaning he was next to Abraham at the time the rich man viewed him. It is an idiom of close relationship.
Before the resurrection of Christ all righteous souls went to paradise, instead of directly to heaven. When Jesus died His body went to the grave, but He went to paradise and liberated the righteous, and took them heaven with Him when He ascended on high.
Matthew 12:40 (KJV)
40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Ephesians 4:8-10 (KJV)
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Now when a child of God dies, they go directly to heaven, for the price of salvation is fully paid and finished. There, in heaven, we await the resurrection of the body, to get our eternal bodies.
2 Corinthians 5:8 (KJV)
8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Philippians 1:21-23 (KJV)
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
Hebrews 12:22-24 (KJV)
22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
Hell is located in the center of the earth, like a sun to an inner opening, shining through that great void called the abyss, to paradise some distance away. The torment of hell is being filled more and more. It will hold all the wicked dead until the end of the Millennium. Then hell and all its dwellers will be judged at the White Throne judgment, and thrown into the lake of fire. Hell, heaven, the earth, will pass away, and a new heaven/earth is created on which we will dwell with the Lord. We will meet Lazarus then, and confirm what the Lord has told us about him. We will be able to view the lake of fire, and those within will be able to view us, but none will ever leave that horrible place of torment.
Revelation 20:11-15 (KJV)
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Isaiah 66:22-24 (KJV)
22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.
THE RICH MAN
The rich man was clothed in purple indicating a claim to royalty. He "fared sumptuously every day". He died and was buried. The body was put in a grave, but the soul of this sinner went to hell. There, he was in great torment. From hell, one can with eyes of the spirit see down to the place in the earth called paradise. He recognized Lazarus, the beggar who had died at his front gate. He begged for Lazarus to bring a drop of water for his tongue.
The rich man still had ability to think, to reason, to remember. He had feelings, emotions, will, voice, concern for his family.
Hell, is where he is still. The word ‘hell’ is the Greek word, hades, meaning the unseen world of departed spirits. In this part of hades, there is ‘torment’, which is the Greek word, basanos (G931), meaning the lowest or gravest of grief, torture and pain.
Like this rich man, those in hell fire will feel remorse and despair. The rich man saw the poor Lazarus, but now he was being comforted, while this rich man was in torment and suffering. All the evil this rich man had done, was now abhorrent to him. He knew that his soul was doomed, but suddenly cared about the souls of his brothers. He remembered the lost opportunities of salvation for himself, and of chances to lead his brothers to the same salvation. He regretted the deeds that had brought him to this horrible place. He was told of the absolute hopelessness of ever departing this place, even if the goal would be to win others to salvation. Had he listened to the gospel message, the plan of God for salvation, he would have avoided this place, but now, he was in fire and brimstone, suffering torment and thirst.
He saw the great chasm between paradise and hell fire. It was an impassible gulf. He wanted to evangelize, give good news of how to avoid where he was, but the Lord tells him, ‘let them hear’ the prophets. We are all required to read the Word, to hear it preached, to commune ourselves with the Lord and learn of the salvation offered by God. If we are not persuaded by such messages, we would not be, even if someone came back from the dead and witnessed of the evil horror and pain of hell.
Many still rebel against the teachings of this passage, and try to explain their rebellion in what they think are logical reasons. Someday, like this rich man, they will find their mind to be changed, but then, in hell, it is too late.
JESUS HAD SHOWN THESE REBELLIOUS PHARISEES
THE WAY OF SALVATION,
BUT THEY HAD NOT BELIEVED...
Romans 1:16 (KJV)
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
The ‘wisdom’ of the Pharisees, was proven over and over by our Lord, to be foolishness. The ‘gospel of Christ’ was logical, Scriptural, proven applicable, but they rejected it. The Pharisees claimed to be wise, but the rhema words of Jesus proved to be truth. The Pharisees abhorred the preaching of Jesus.
They mocked it, they challenged it.
God is ‘pleased... by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." It pleased God to befuddle the Pharisees of that day by the preaching of a Jesus. They expected a Savior would be a mighty conqueror. When He came to die for our sins, they stumbled at that kind of salvation. God then began to choose the foolish ones of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak ones of the world to confound the ones who think they are mighty.
God chose: foolish ones to confound the wise, weak ones to confound mighty, base ones to humble the exalted, despised ones to humble noble, and powerless ones to bring defeat to the powerful. The foolish Pharisees thought they were wise, but those they looked down upon, the followers of Jesus, were going to heaven, while the ‘wise ones’ went to the hell fire of the rich man in this story.
We need to deliver the message to the Pharisees of this day. We are called to warn the hypocrites in churches today, that think they are holier than others, that think they can deserve salvation, but exclude the humble repentance that Jesus requires.
When called to deliver Israel, Moses said: "Who am I, that I should...?" To this God answered: ‘Certainly, I will be with thee..." We have a similar commission to go to ones who reject Jesus. They may reject us, but we still preach and teach the gospel message. Just to trust and obey, and God will do miracles, show signs and wonders, miraculously provide for us, as He did for Moses and Israel. If we recognize our weakness and stupidity, but still push on with Jesus as our Source, we will see God’s power.
When Gideon was called to deliver his people, he said: "Wherewith shall I save Israel?’ Yet, the Lord said ‘Have not I sent thee?’ God became his sufficiency, his wisdom, his power.
Solomon was chosen king in Israel, but his words were ‘I am but a little child, I know not how to go out or come in." The gift he requested from God was ‘wisdom’, and since then the wisdom of Solomon has been considered the greatest of all in the Old Testament.
The apostles were ordinary men. Fishermen, tax collectors, angry zealots, just common people. God used them, empowered them with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They took the gospel message of how to avoid hell, and how to be with the Lord someday in heaven, to the world of that day. We have no excuse but to spread the warning of hell fire, and offer the blessings of heaven, through a Lord Who died so we could put on His righteousness to enter heaven.
What excuse do preachers today offer to God for not feeling worthy to do the work? Whatever they are, they are actually the reason God called preachers to be preachers. He wants to take those who totally are unworthy, unable, and unwilling, and make them great due to His power.
There are 168 hours in the week of all people. It does not get less for the preacher than for anyone else. The problem is not lack of time, it is the crowding of too many things into that time.
The preacher sows spiritual seed into the garden of a congregation. The preacher delivers sermons authored by God and by His Word, requiring much study and prayer. The preacher educates of the Word of God, showing principles which are guidelines for the lives of the hearers. The preacher must organize the mundane things of living, with the spiritual requirements of his calling.
The rich man in this story of Jesus, and the rich people of every age, who do not accept the free gift of salvation, will find themselves in hell-fire. These people have thought that money, wealth, stocks and bonds, and financial security are all that is necessary. Once the rich could afford the best in meals, the most comfortable of habitations, and the comfort of servants. They could take vacations, and feel the comfort of sharing their crumbs with less fortunate.
However, suddenly, this rich manfound himself in a place where even the former sick beggar that sat in front of his house could not be ordered to obey his command. He tried to be in charge, and tried to order the person to whom he was speaking in this story to do things his way, but the power of his wealth was gone.
The rich have many friends and many who will heed their every whim, here on earth, but in hell the friends and influence of money is gone.
"The poor is hated even of his own neighbor, but the rich hath many friends..."
We are told what will be spoken to the rich in hell-fire in the book of James.
"Go now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them shall be witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Saboath. Ye have lived in pleasure on earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter... Ye have condemned and killed the just, and he doth not resist you."
Stay tuned for part 3