Is Jesus Christ the only one who has the right to speak about what will happen one minute after death
By: The John Ankerberg Show
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|Topics cover: Attempting to peek behind the curtain of death. How to overcome the fear of death. What actually happens at the point of transition from life, to death, to Heaven? Your first hour in glory: what will Heaven be like? The descent into gloom: what will Hell be like? Is God in control of how and when you die? Suicide and the Christian. How to have complete assurance you are going to Heaven.
Copyright: 1998, Number of Programs: 8, Cat. No. EL
Keywords: Jesus, Luke 16:19-31
- Ankerberg: Now, there is only one man in all of history who died and came back from the dead, and that’s Jesus Christ. Only He has the right to speak about what will happen one minute after death. Listen to what He said will happen:
- Lutzer: Now, John, the best place for us to see this is in the New Testament. In the 16th chapter of Luke, Jesus tells a story. It is not a parable; it’s actually a story. And let me tell you the reason He told it. He was trying to show the Pharisees, who loved money, that in the afterlife the fortunes of the rich and the poor might be reversed. And so He tells the story of a man by the name of Lazarus who was very poor. So poor, in fact, that he was willing to eat the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Jesus talks about the dogs coming and licking his sores. Can’t get much more poor than that, can you? And yet the remarkable thing is, he dies and he goes to Hades. Now, let’s just be clear: in the New Testament, which was written in Greek, the Old Testament word Sheol is Hades. And I take, therefore, Hades to be another description of the Old Testament Sheol. And here you have two compartments, if you please. Let me just read a few verses. [Luke 16:19ff]
- Jesus says that, “A certain poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate [that is, at the rich man’s gate] covered with sores, longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table. It came about that the poor man died and was carried by angels into Abraham bosom. And the rich man died and was buried and in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue because I am in agony in this flame.’ And Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received good things and likewise Lazarus bad things; and now he is being comforted here and you are in agony. And beside all this, there is between us a great chasm fixed in order that those who wish to come over from here are not able to do so and we cannot cross over.’” And then, the man becomes interested in “missions” and says, “Send Lazarus that he may go warn my brothers that they come not to this place of torment.”
- Now, John, it’s important that what we do is to simply make a couple of observations regarding this place called Hades. What can we say about it?
- First of all, the man who died, the rich man who was tormented, he was fully conscious. You just look at his senses. He could see. He could feel. He could touch. He was still filled with compassion. Also notice, though, his eternal destiny was fixed. Abraham said that “between you and us there is a great gulf fixed and no one can cross over” from either side. [Luke 16:26] Furthermore, I want you to notice that he was in torment. He is in agony in this flame.
- John, I thought about this a lot and I believe that one of the characteristics of hell – and remember, this is not yet hell, this is Hades; Hades is going to be thrown into hell – I believe that one of the characteristics is these great burning desires that are never fulfilled; insatiable desires for all of eternity. In fact, that’s the other thing, is that he is eternally in this place called Hades which will be thrown into hell.
- But something else that I find remarkable is that I believe that this man believed that his punishment was just. You say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, how do you know that?”
- First of all, he did not complain about being there and say that “it is unfair.” But second, he knows exactly why he’s there. He says to Abraham, “Please send Lazarus back that he might preach to my brothers and that they might repent so that they do not come to this same place of torment.” [Luke 16:27-28] I marvel at this story because what it really means is that this man knew that it was repentance that would keep them from this place of torment.
- And you know, let me just speak from my heart to your heart for a moment. At the end of the day what we need to do is to understand that unless we repent, unless we trust in Jesus Christ, we will be in this place called Hades and we will experience the gloom and the darkness and the torment.
- A few moments ago I spoke about that wealthy man that I had the responsibility of burying in Chicago. While I was scurrying around looking for a place to park at his funeral, he was in agony. And furthermore, wouldn’t it have been something if he would have told me what I should preach in that funeral sermon? I’m sure he would have said, “Pastor Lutzer, warn my family so that they do not come to this same place of torment!” The compassion that he had in this life extended to the life that he was now experiencing, because you’re the same person after you die.