Saturday, October 29, 2016


What is hell like?

This question has undoubtedly been asked countless time over the ages.

I don't presume to leap frog over each and every theologian and "common man" who has searched for the answer, with a shortcut, "Hell for Dummies," type answer. The Bible seems to give us some hints and clues but does not contain an exhaustive definitive description of hell.

We can glean some truths about hell from Jesus' familiar teaching about the afterlife of two men, one rich and the other a poor beggar.

First, we can learn that, when God establishes His kingdom, justice will prevail and many situations will be turned around!

Before Judgement

19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.
20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,
21 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 (emphasis added)

The rich man walked the earth in expensive clothing, and made himself merry with the luxuries of this world. Lazarus was so poor that he begged for mere crumbs from the rich man's table.

Post Judgment!

22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.
23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luke 16:22-23 (emphasis added)

The circumstances of these two men certainly changed drastically!

Lazarus, previously a poor beggar is now living in comfort in "Abraham's Bosom." The rich man, who lived in luxury, is now living in the torments (plural) of hell.

Second, we learn that God's assessment of us is often far different from man's own assessment of himself!

No doubt, the rich man enjoyed the notoriety that often accompanies riches. Notice that now, in the afterlife, his name is not even mentioned, perhaps an indication of his complete lack of honor in the Kingdom of God.

Lazarus, on the other hand, is mentioned by name and is seen being held in Abraham's bosom. This is no insignificant detail. Abraham is the father of Jews and Christians! How well known is Lazarus now? He is personally attended to by one of the great saints of the Old Testament! I wonder if the rich man even knew Lazarus' name in his past life. Now he knows it well!

Third, we learn that the type of torments suffered by the rich man seem to be in direct correlation to his lifestyle - particularly his mistreatment of Lazarus!

24 “Then 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.’
Luke 16:24 (emphasis added)

Lazarus begged for even the crumbs from the rich man's table. Now the rich man is begging for Lazarus to come to him - for even the drips of water which fell from his hand!

25 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 (emphasis added)

It frightens me to think that the judgment of God includes all of my own sins directed against me. That thought should frighten all of us!

The good news is that Jesus has already paid the price for those sins - and all we have to do to be pardoned is to turn from our sins, believe what Has done for us and follow Him!

It is as though Jesus' hand is extended to all of us, saying, "Come and follow me!"

What answer will you give when Jesus calls?