Jesus told a story recorded in Luke 16:19-31 aimed at the Pharisees “who were lovers of money” (Luke 16:14). Whether this is a parable or a true story is not an issue since it was spoken by Emanuel and His parables were always true to life. There are many lessons to be gleaned from this great story of reversal but I want us to notice three realities of death.
Faithful children of God will enter divine rest upon their demise. Lazarus was evidently an Israelite and “was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom” (verse 22).
On the other hand, sinners who have refused God’s redemptive measures – as apparently the rich man had – will enter into torments within the Hadean world (the intermediate state of the dead).
Our eternal destiny is sealed at death. A great gulf will forever separate the godly from the wicked (verse 26).
While this story verifies Paul’s statement in 1 Timothy 6:10 about the “love of money”, it should impress upon us the need to make our “call and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). We don’t want to miss heaven!
There are many details about death and beyond that I don’t know but the New Testament reveals enough that I want to avoid hell and spend eternity in heaven. Yes, heaven will be a place devoid of tears, sorrow, pain, and death (Revelation 21:4). By contrast, hell will be an “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). And, unless Jesus returns first, our deaths are assured – and then the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
But whether we’re alive or dead when Christ returns, faithful Christians – those in Christ – have this promise from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 – “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” And that’s where Lazarus will be!