Heaven and hell

January 25, 2018

Luke 16:25… But Abraham said, “Child, remember that you in your lifetime received good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish.”

            Jesus told this parable about a fictitious wealthy man and a destitute man who sat at his gate and begged. They both died and in Hades the rich man could see Abraham and the beggar sitting in comfort in heaven. This is part of the fictitious conversation between the rich man and Abraham. Jesus often told parables to make a point. Rarely, did the whole parable make sense; it was to make one point. It is questionable whether a man in heaven can see who is in hell. That could cause distress and torment which are not part of our heaven experience. And how annoying would it be if a person in hell could see people in heaven. The parable does make this point: heaven and hell are worlds apart. Heaven is as good as hell is bad; and hell is as bad as heaven is good. The parable is also prophetic which is revealed later in the dialogue.

Verse 30…No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.

Verse 31… Abraham said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”

            Here is one of, and possibly the only, points of the parable. Jesus knew He would rise from the dead and people would still reject Him. That is one of the serious differences between Christianity and all other religions…  The leader of Christianity is the only person who rose from the dead and lives forever. When you struggle to know what to believe, remember that little bit of history.

            This reminds me of a statement I have made often: It is not enough to believe in Jesus; one must also believe Jesus. If you say you believe in Him, you must also believe all that He said and order your life accordingly.  If you don’t obey what He said, then on some level you don’t believe in Him.

            Faith without works is dead. To say you have faith is nothing if not accompanied by changed actions. Jesus’ existence is eternal and cemented in time. Faith in Him requires that we obey His words… all of them.