What You Will Know After Death

Luke 16:19-31

 

Sometimes we think of death, and what might lie beyond. The Bible says of Jesus "Fear not; I am the first and the last, 18and the Living one; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades".   (Revelation 1:17-19) That means He can unlock it,  and  inform us of everything that He would have us know  about it.  And He has done that., and I’m  thankful that He has.  He alone could tell you exactly  what it was all about after death.  That being the case, would it not be extremely unfair of Jesus  when explaining to the Pharisees the nature of what had happened to a man perhaps even an acquaintance and  friend  of theirs who having died, had gone to a place called torment.

 

Knowing they knew nothing about that, and He knew everything about  death and the hereafter, for Him to say anything  that would leave a false impression,  or give wrong idea about existence  after death would surely be most unfair. If God is fair and I know He is, He would reveal only truth and in a truthful way.  And would tell only stories that are reliable which could be passed on for our benefit.

 

I would like for us to contextually study the lessons intended in  Luke chapter 16 , the story as we call it of the “rich man and Lazarus”.   Now the word rich in Latin is “Dives” So normally you hear the rich man called by the term Dives,  but Jesus leaves this rich man nameless.

 

The #1 rule of Bible Hermeneutics s to find out what it says,  in the immediate context. Contextually then Jesus is talking to Pharisees, who did believe in the resurrection.  The Sadducees did not, so they were Sad U See , but the Pharisees believed in angels,  spirits and that spirit would  live on beyond the grave.  But in spite of their belief in many things which were right, they believed also and practiced many things that were wrong.

 

One of the things they believed that of course was wrong was, "that money was proof of salvation". Abraham was rich so God blessed him,  making him so.  So the richer they got, the more righteous they appeared themselves to be even if they had to devour widow’s houses to do so,  But Jesus rebuked them for their  false practices and hypocrisy. But another thing that they were rather loose in was marriage. They would divorce and remarry, being part of the school of Hilel that had a loose practice. Josephus a Jewish Historian and writer, not a Christian but was of the Pharisees,  and he said “ I put away my wife, because  I tired of her.”

 

Contextually then in Luke chapter.16 Christ is dealing with the Pharisees, and addressing their wrongs. Don’t start studying the story at verse 19 but look at the entire chapter, verse 14 is the introduction:  "14Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him".

 

The Pharisees had heard what Jesus had taught his disciples. And being  lovers of money," the Pharisees heard what Jesus had said about the use of money "they scoffed at him."  literally it means "to turn up the nose at one.   Christ was showing that money wasn’t proof of being righteousness. And they laughed and mocked him.  you don’t even know your Old Testament, You don’t know Abraham do you?   

 

Now watch it ¾ as we continue in verse 15

15And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men,

You think that you are justified before God, you have lots of money. 

 but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

 What you count as so vital,  God counts as  an abomination.       

 

Then in verse 18 He deals with another of their problems : 18“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery". Some people read this and don’t see any connection at all  with what is about to be said.  But Jesus launches immediately into a story.

 

But first one great question is it a parable.  We call it so, but the Bible never does, Is it true, or is it false.  Remember Jesus is  talking to the Pharisees,   and I believe that He is telling them about  one their own rich  who had recently died, and they had no idea where he was¾ they thought they knew where he was ¾ but they were so wrong.   Our Story Begins

                 19“There was a certain rich man

Did Jesus ever make up a person who didn’t live?

19“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.

 

This man is described as being "clothed in purple"; this is one of the marks of wealth. He fared sumptuous banquets ¾ every day, 

The Story continues Luke 16:20   

20and a certain beggar named Lazarus was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table; yea, even the dogs come and licked his sores

 

If a parable this is the only parable of our Lord where a character received a proper name. "A certain beggar" sets him apart from many beggars of that day. Who was it  that carried Lazarus, covered with sores and laid him at the gate of the rich man daily, that he might beg?  I admire those in the field of medicine, who help those sick.  But continuing ¾  verse 21

21“desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

 

He was not fed from the crumbs, but "desired" to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table.  He asked only for the crumbs from so much abundance of the rich man. Eagerly he desired the things that fell from the table, but he did not receive what he desired. 

The same thing is implied in the record of the prodigal son, where the same word is used, "he would fain" have been filled (15:16), but the pods did not satisfy his hunger.

 

Continuing: Luke 16:22

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.

Death was finally his first and only relief. We do not know how long he suffered and nothing is said of his burial, If he had a burial, it was so brief, obscure that no one knew of it. However, he was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom   Angels are coming for you if you are righteous  when you die.

 

Hebrews  1:14 states that angels are sent forth as ministering servants to do service for those  of us who are heirs of salvation. Those of us who inherit salvation, when we die and leave this old world,  angels minister to us, and carry us away to Paradise.  The rich man also died and was buried.

 

 Finally they both died; death is the common lot of all mankind. The rich and poor meet in death; this is the meeting place for all.  They did not both dwell together here, and they are separated in their death. "In Hades" the rich man lifted up his eyes. "Hades," is the condition following death, which is blessed or the contrary, according to the moral character of the dead, and is divided into different realms, represented by "paradise" or "Abraham's bosom," and "Gehenna."

 

Luke 16:23

23“And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  .

The rich man was buried; it is natural to suppose that he was buried with the usual ceremonies that belong to the rich.

in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom    "He lifted up his eyes" shows that the rich man is conceived as being in the lower region of Hades, and looking up toward paradise. "Afar off" represents the great distance, or a bridgeless gulf that separated him from Lazarus.

 

He saw Lazarus in Abraham's "bosom." Lazarus was reclining in honor at the banquet of bliss, while the rich man was agonizing in the misery of eternal punishment

 

 Luke 16:24

24And 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 in anguish in this flame.

 

The story here needs no comment, nor rhetoric to make it awfully impressive. "Being in torments" designates the place to which the rich man had gone; "in torments" is put in contrast to "Abraham's bosom"; Jesus puts this case in such terms as to make the great facts clear and unmistakable; he shows that the rich man is in misery, and that Lazarus is among the blessed and happy.

 

Let’s make some application. There are some things NOW this rich man knows for certain.   He Now knows that God meant what  He said in His word! Remember that Jesus said, “the things you look upon as great  ¾ God counts as an abomination?” The possession of wealth and his use of misuse of  it? Everyday this man  disobeyed God.  In the Old Testament what where they to do when the gathered the crops?  God over and over again, when  you read the prophets,  shows concern for the poor. 

 

This man walks out daily and doesn’t even cast a mite  to the poor beggar lying at his gate,  Here is a man with no compassion,  no concern for the needs of others , and he allows this poor beggar to suffer hunger and sickness.   This rich man knows right now, what God had taught in his word about caring for the poor,  and proper daily living.  I believe  this is a real story about a real man that lived in that day, that he is literally still in Hades.  God meant what He said in His word.  

 

One day you and I will know that God meant what He said, in 1 Timothy 6;6-8

6But godliness with contentment is great gain: 7for we brought nothing into the world, for neither can we carry anything out; 8but having food and covering we shall be therewith content.

 

One day we’ll understand perfectly:   Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness”. Matt 6:33  ( And I know I haven’t done that)

 One day we’ll know for sure what God had in mind when He said:   24and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is”   Hebrews 10:24-25

One day : We’ll know for certain God meant it, when in His Word  He said: except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.  But many are to stubborn or two proud to repent of wrong doings.  Many will know for certain that God meant it when in His Word we read: Mark 16:16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.  And your are turned out of heaven on that day.

    

We’ll know secondly  that there is feelings and a consciousness in the grave. In torment this man cries out: "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 in anguish in this flame".

 

I read the story ….. true supposedly, of a man who had a certain disease, I won’t go into great detail. But his eyes were greatly diseased and he couldn’t see.  And in those times, they only thing they knew to do was to take him to the Hospital and put him in a hot box¾ Heat the box hotter and hotter and try to burn those germs out of him that was causing his problem. The story spoke of the nurse who would come and  give him a shot so he could stand the pain.  She would open the little side door, in that box, reach in and give him a shot in the arm. And in 15 minutes he would be screaming for her to come back and give him another shot. He said it was not that the shot had worn off, but he just wanted her to open that little door, and get just a breath of fresh air in that box  so I could stand it.

 

I believe the story of the “Rich Man and Lazarus” is a real story, You may not like it …. But  Jesus talks about outer darkness where there’s weeping and gnashing of teeth.  That ‘s hard isn’t it? Eternal fire that was prepared for the Devil and his angels …  and eternal darkness ….. The Bible makes it plain, this rich man was conscience …..  in torment  in agony …..  in that flame. There is a consciousness  in the grave, in fact I wonder if there is really any state of  unconsciousness. 

 

I heard of a woman from Tennessee who needed surgery,  Injured in a car wreck. - But while recovering from surgery, and suddenly her heart stopped beating.  Because they were not watching closely, by the time they got to her, she had expired she couldn’t move , talk or move a muscle.   The  doctor standing over her began working and talking  to the nurses,  and she is alright now although she is legally blind ….  can’t walk and move as she once did,  she said I can remember every word  that doctor said, but I couldn’t move a muscle and he stood over me and  said, “Well we don’t know what caused, her to die,  but the autopsy will show it. “  Wouldn’t that be encouraging? 

 

In Conclusion …   25“But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things,

 Remember, is a fearful word at this time. Will you allow my imagination to ramble for a moment?  Several years ago in a scientific article I read  that it was estimated man had 30 billion brain cells, But now medical science says there is something like a 100 trillion.  How in the world did we evolve possessing that kind of a brain?  You figure that one out ….    We are told also if the proper part of the brain is stimulated we can remember things that we have long since forgotten?  Could it be that God had given us a computer mind that one day can be re-activated to remember every thing we ever did. Everything we ever heard, everything we ever said?  We don’t use 1/10th of  our brain. I fancy you may be able to remember one day ever word of this sermon better than I can now.  You may be able to remember every sermon you ever heard, and every invitations we’ve turned away from. And finally it became to late, Too late.

 

After death we are going to know  everything God said in His word He meant.    There will be a conscience state fully aware of where you are,  and your situation.  You are going to remember others and your going to know  this life  this day and this offer of the Lord’s invitation.