“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores. And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 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: and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he (the rich man) 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 the flame. 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. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence (here) to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence (there).”
I recently had an email “chat” with a college professor from a very prestigious university who admits to being an avowed atheist. Somehow he read some of my posts. His intent in writing to me was to try to convince me the absurdity of believing what the Bible clearly states. Afterall, he argued, the Bible was written by man and would then be prone to many, many lies and errors. I tried to sway him to understand an all knowing and all-powerful God would never allow His Holy Word to be misleading to us. He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell all of His Believers and through Him we would be able to get the absolute truth from the Bible. Yes, you are right! He laughed at me!
After ending our “friendly conversation”, I was reminded of the above Scripture and a few things came to my mind.
- Both men, regardless of their wealth and status, died and immediately were in places of comfort (Lazarus) or pain and torment (the rich man).
- While Lazarus was comforted in the bosom of Abraham (which could mean he was being spiritually comforted), the rich man appeared to be going through physical pain and suffering.
- From the Bible verse above, it is quite apparent the rich man could see Lazarus “… afar off”.
- The rich man could speak to Abraham but there is no indication Lazarus was involved in the conversation and/or could see the rich man being tormented in hell.
- Apparently, the rich man still had the ego he possessed while alive believing if he simply asked Abraham to send Lazarus to “…dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool his tongue” his wish would be granted. Again, it is interesting the rich man did not ask Abraham to help him but instead he asked Abraham to have the lowly beggar to help him.
- In order to finalize his request refusal to the rich man, Abraham said there was a wide gulf or distance between heaven and hell and not only could Lazarus not go there to help him but neither did the rich man have access to Heaven once he was in hell.
“Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldst send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”
When the rich man finally realized he had no hope for relief from the pain and suffering, he did something unique. He asked Abraham to send Lazarus, who, again was dead, to come back to life so he could go to his family’s house and tell his brothers what he was going through. That way they might be saved from having to endure what he was enduing. I find it interesting the rich man again is communicating with Abraham, not Lazarus. This reinforces my belief that Lazarus was simply not in the conversation. He did not know what was being said between them because if he did, he may have wanted to go and “help”.
But, Abraham had a different response to the rich man:
“Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets (the Bible); let them (the rich man’s family) hear them. And he (the rich man) said, Nay father Abraham: but if one went unto them FROM THE DEAD (capitals mine), they will repent.”
Again, the rich man felt if someone was raised from the dead and told his family what had happened and what will happen, they would repent. How Abraham responded to his wish is a prophesy fulfilled with the writing of the Holy Bible and the death and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
“And he (Abraham) said unto him (the rich man), If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
We all know friends and family who have not accepted the Bible as the Word of God and who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Our job is not to condemn people for failing to accept these Truths but rather to continue to tell them about the Promise God has made to us AND to them. The Holy Spirit working in their hearts will convince them or they will knowingly reject what He has said. Those Promises entail eternity in Heaven with Jesus Christ or eternal pain and suffering in hell. Based on the above Scripture, and knowing God for those of us in Heaven will “…wipe away all tears from their (our) eyes: and there shall be no more death, neither SORROW (capitals mine), nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the FORMER THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY (capitals mine).” Revelation 21:4 I have come to this stark realization. People in hell will possibly remember every conversation they ever had with Christian Believers while those same Believers will be in Heaven in absolute comfort with Jesus. I also strongly believe because the “former things” have passed away this is indicative of us having no memory of them or their suffering but they may very well see forever the peace and comfort we are experiencing. Just as Lazarus apparently did not know what the rich man was going through, we will not remember, know or see what those in hell are going through. Otherwise I am sure we would be crying in sorrow for the unsaved.
Many times, after conversing with people about the Bible, I have thought “What if they do not accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, die and go to hell? Will they remember this exact conversation for eternity?” While the Bible says all “…former things are passed away” it is quite apparent this means to only those in Heaven, not hell. If accurate, this is very disturbing to me knowing how simple God has made being saved it. Accept that Jesus Christ died for your sins, rose again from the dead, repent of those sins and ask for forgiveness and you will be saved! “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” – Luke 6:28. If we believe this and know of anyone who is not saved, it is up to us, through the Words of the Holy Bible, and by our daily actions to “…therefore comfort one another with these words.” It is up to all of us to tell others of His Grace to ALL. Together, let’s do all we can to make sure our friends and family know His Promise to us.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
May God Bless you!