What’s Beyond in the Afterlife?
By Lucie Kirouac
What motivated me to write about the story of the rich man and Lazarus is that I’m fascinated by the conversations shared in that chapter. It describes what happens in the afterlife and answers most of my questions about it. It’s sobering and I can’t understand the indifference some have about this life and eternity. My purpose isn’t to scare you. I share the Creator of the universe and mankind’s dilemma out of love, concern and compassion.
Luke 16: 19-31 – “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores. and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.
So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire’ But Abraham replied ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this between us and you, a great chasm has been set in place so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor anyone cross over from there to us.’
He answered, ‘Then I beg you father to send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them. No father Abraham but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent. He said to him, if they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'”
If you think those lines to be a parable, it’s interesting to notice that names are usually not included. If God made mention of that story in His Word-the Bible, it’s because it’s of utmost importance. Jesus spoke more about hell than heaven.
Hell is above all a place of deprivation of God’s presence and blessings, and then finally the lake of fire after the Great White Throne Judgment-forever, as a result of the rejection of His love and authority. Hell and the lake of fire are places of total loneliness, torment and thirst. Can you imagine yourself isolated forever in such a condition?
Matthew 25:30 says that the unprofitable servant will be cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. It seems that the place of hell is “down.” The rich man “looked up ” and saw Abraham! Psalms 55:15, Proverbs 15:24, Isaiah 14:9 and other Scriptures indicate that reality. That must add to the torment that people in hell experience, for sure. They will never access the Lord’s glory and they fully realize it.
Hell is a clear denial of the existence of the false teachings of soul sleep, annihilation of the dead, purgatory, incarnation, universal salvation for all, etc.
The rich man had dressed in luxury and had lived like a king. He had an ongoing ritual of daily parties of self-indulgence. It was obviously a rude and painful awakening to find himself in the torments of hell; then to see Abraham far away and Lazarus by his side! It was the soul and or spirit of Lazarus that he recognized. In the afterlife, we will resemble our physical appearance (without the emphasis on the outer experience).
Lazarus was extremely poor and covered with sores. He was longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. He was a hungry sick beggar whose sores were even licked by dogs. That sounds so unthinkable doesn’t it? He was thrown down by the rich man’s gate by the best people he could get to carry him there.
When Lazarus was carried to Abraham’s side by angels, he was finally well and at rest. Peace and everlasting joy replaced all his agonies and sorrows!
The rich man initiated a dialogue with Abraham asking for his pity. He wanted Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool his tongue. Hmm, do you get the picture here? He was in total agony. Did the rich man ever feel pity for anyone else in his life? No, he didn’t care for anyone else and little did he know that someday-he would end up in hell.
Abraham reminded him that he had received good things in his life unlike Lazarus. The selfish rich man was aware that he would never escape hell.
Jesus taught that the proud will be humbled. Here is another sobering reminder from Christ: The wicked dead can remember their earthly lives and how they “lived apart from God.” They also realize that they didn’t heed the messages of salvation. They believe in the truth but it’s too late. They will never be with the Lord.
The rich man had the audacity to ask for Lazarus to warn his five brothers not to join him in his place of torment. You just read what Abraham told him. Folks, all those who are in hell would scream at you or anyone else that you know to not to go to the “bottomless pit.”
You could be a heartbeat from heaven or hell as you read this. The view we have of ourselves, what we own, our social standing and men’s traditions don’t make us inherit the kingdom of God. Your soul is your most valuable possession and hell is the greatest danger that exists.
Having riches without Christ keeps millions of people from heaven. The “love of money” has always been a god of all societies and many kill to get more of it, without any remorse. They will join the rich man too.
Matthew 16:26: “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
Proverbs 11:4: “Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from wrath.”
I’m pleading with you to turn to Christ with a contrite, repentant heart for Him to forgive all your sins. Invite Him into your heart with honesty and sincerity and He will save you forever. Your eternity will no longer be a matter of concern and fear, for you will be assured that you will be with Christ in His heaven of peace, well-being and glory never remembering what you’ve gone through on earth…for that alone is a real blessing.
Lucie who cares!