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"The Other Place" continued...

There are many important truths found in Jesus’ parable about heaven and hell. It begins by describing two men. There was the rich man who had no cares besides the things of this life. Then there was Lazarus, the poor beggar. This man would have been extremely disgusting to the Jews of his day. One, the fact that he was poor gave men the erroneous impression that God disapproved of him. Two, he would have been considered unclean because of his sores. Three, dogs were repulsive to Hebrews, and here the dog licked Lazarus’ wounds. Yet, when the poor man died, he went to “Abraham’s bosom”, aka: heaven. He found comfort and was healed for his faith. The rich man found himself in the total opposite situation in hell.

Torments in the flame were what a conscious soul faced in hell. The rich man cried for comfort but showed no remorse for his unbelief. He even called for Abraham to send Lazarus like a servant to “cool his tongue.” Abraham said that this could not be. There was no second chance for the rich man, and there is no second chance for man today. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Abraham described a gulf that was fixed. Basically, heaven and hell were permanently separated. No one could pass from one to the other.

Hell is not the party or reunion of friends that too many rock & roll songs have declared. The rich man realized this, and when he saw no relief for his own suffering, he desired to send Lazarus (like a servant again) to preach to his brothers. He knew that they too were headed straight for this place of torment. Abraham’s response revealed the true problem of unrepentant men. He said “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Accepting or rejecting Jesus is not truly an intellectual issue, but it is a moral issue. No matter how many facts are presented to non-believers, their acceptance lies in the condition of their heart. Abraham knew that the rich man’s brothers would not be persuaded by Lazarus rising from the dead.

This story was a parable teaching us about the two destinations of man. It is a historical fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, but His return did not change the hearts of those who reject Him. Those “brothers of the rich man” still cling to this world and make every excuse not to believe. God has made a way to heaven for everyone.

Each man chooses heaven or hell, God or ultimately no God. As hard as it is to imagine, the common grace that all of mankind experiences here in the world will not be in hell. God’s presence and love will not be there. Common grace is the goodness of God that believers and unbelievers alike feel. It is the joy of life. “For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). There will be no joy in hell.

Hell is a very real place. Our Lord does not desire that any should go there (2 Peter 3:9). Many would ask, “Why would a loving God send anybody to hell?” A holy and just God cannot allow sin into His presence, but He has allowed a way for us to be washed clean of our sin. We CAN come into His presence, if we accept the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. God does not send anybody to hell. Man chooses to go to hell, and justice will be served. Our ultimate Judge has offered us a pardon. God loves us. Will you join Him in heaven?

From: Volume 2 - Issue 3


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