The Reality of Hell

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus teaches about life after death. (Luke 16: 19-31)

Two lives: Both the rich man and poor Lazarus lived on the same street, one on the street, another in the mansion. Rich dressed in purple, while poor in rags. His table was full of sumptuous food, and Lazarus had only leftovers.

Two deaths: Death is a great divider. It divides the living and the dead. Death also marks the path of eternity: the destination to heaven or hell. When the rich man died, probably, there was a great funeral ceremony, with a 21-gun salute, and buried in a marble tomb. The poor Lazarus was carried away like a pavement dweller, but his soul was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom. (Luke 16: 22)

Recognize: Though the rich man had a luxurious life, he was tormented in hell. Interestingly, he could see and recognize Abraham. He must have been surprised to see Lazarus, who did not have enough meals or a place to dwell on earth occupying a privileged place.

Remember: There was no memory loss after death. The rich man could vividly remember his privileged life as well as the pathetic life of Lazarus.

Requests: In hell, the rich man was able to speak. He made two requests; both were rejected. First, he wanted Abraham to permit Lazarus to dip his finger in water and wet his parched tongue. Abraham explained that there was a gulf between them and hell, and it is not possible to cross over from both sides.

Unbelief: Second, Lazarus was to be sent as a missionary back to earth to preach to the rich man’s brothers, so that they do not reach hell. That was also rejected. Abraham also explained if people living in the world do not listen, believe and obey the Law and Prophets, they will not believe even if someone like Lazarus, rises from the dead and preaches to them.

Reality: Hell is not an imaginary place or virtual space, but a true place, where those who reject the gospel will end up.

Do I have the confidence of being in heaven?