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Intermediate Place of the Dead Part II
12/11/2005
Scripture: Luke 16; 14:3; 23:43; John 5:24-30; Reve...
Track 6 of 7 in the Spiritual Realm series
Running time: 1 hour, 06 minutes, 19 seconds.


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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.


 

The Spiritual Realm
Intermediate Place of the Dead-Part 2

December 11, 2005

Last week we looked at scripture and what it had to say about death and where people go after death takes place. I taught that at death, the spirit enters into a state that is temporary called Hades. Hades means unseen or hidden. Hades is the intermediate state of the dead between death and the second coming. From scripture, it seems to have two compartments, a place of comfort called Paradise and a place of torment called Tartarus. Even though Hades is a temporary state, it will end after the 2nd coming of Jesus, it is however permanent as we shall see when we look at Luke 16.

There are many misunderstandings about what happens after we die. Most of them come from wrong information by not reading the Bible and learning what it has to say about the subject. Too often we develop our perspectives on death and the afterlife from what others tell us or from what we see and hear on TV. For many of us, we were taught false doctrines on the subject by well meaning people but the information was still wrong and goes against the principles taught in the scriptures.

Jesus taught a lot about life after death. He wanted each of us to know that everlasting life was waiting for anyone who accepted the Father. In Jesus, we have life and we have it abundantly. This life Jesus offers us never ends and is a life far beyond what we can now comprehend. Physical death plays an important role and it does not end our life, in fact it is just the beginning. As a Christian, physical death is not something we should fear but something we should rejoice about because of what it causes. For the Christian, physical death ushers in next phase of our relationship in Jesus.

John 5:24-27 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

I taught last week that at death, everything concerning the physical life is finished. There is no going back and finishing something you didn't complete or planned on doing but didn't get done. What happened in your life is sealed up and will be the facts your judgment is based on. There are no second chances. What was done was done and each person will be held accountable for the things they did in their life. Yet for some reason, some Christians and many unbelievers seem to think that God will change his mind in the end. Somehow God will cease to be God and judge like humans when it comes to the final judgment. Somehow God will throw everything he said he would do out the door and judge differently.

John 5: 28-30 Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out-those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

What have you heard? From the people you know, how do they think God will judge? Do they think they will get a 2nd chance? In the Gospel of Luke Jesus talked about a situation that relied on the principles that exist concerning Hades and the afterlife. The details he gives in Luke 16 are not a lesson on Hades and what happens when a person dies, but it was a lesson to the Pharisees and his disciples on the punishment waiting for those who show no mercy on those who are in need. In Luke 14 Jesus was invited to eat at a rich man's house. The man was a Pharisee. The dinner was a way for the Pharisees to watch Jesus closely. At that meal was a man who was suffering from dropsy. Jesus asked them a very important question.

Luke 14:3 "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?"

Of course the Pharisees didn't say a word but to prove his point, Jesus got up and healed the man immediately. After that healing, Luke records several parables Jesus taught concerning the importance God places on the lives of every human being. God was not happy with the lack of care and mercy the religious showed to those less fortunate and need of care. Luke 16:19-31 is a parable about what happens to the rich who don't help the poor. In this parable Jesus reveals some truth on the subject we are studying.

Q How many of the parables Jesus taught were a lie and not based on actual facts concerning the Kingdom of God? Just because some truths come from Parables, does it make the truths less valid? Many of the critics of what was taught by Jesus in this parable say we can't go by what Jesus said because he was speaking a parable. What Jesus taught was not real, it was just a story. But what I find most interesting, the critics of this passage of scripture are mostly Christians. Why would Christians have a hard time with what Jesus taught? I can only speculate; they have a heard time with this because they teach something totally the opposite.

Let's look at what Jesus taught.

Luke 16:19-21 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 the dogs came and licked his sores.

What is interesting about this parable, it is the only one that names a person by name, Lazarus. Most scholars believe this Lazarus is not the best friend of Jesus whom he raised from the dead. I speculate Lazarus was someone the Pharisees knew and whom they could relate to. What is important to note, Jesus didn't just tell parables, every detail of his parables had purpose and meaning and everyone was based on truth and fact.

Look at the two characters, how does Jesus describe them?

Rich Man - He wore purple all the time. The priests did the same thing. He ate in luxury and feasted every day (7 days a week). This broke the 4th commandment which forbid this on the Sabbath plus the 4th commandment also stated a man shall work 6 days which this man didn't work, he just sat in luxury. The rich man is a figure of self-indulgence.

Lazarus - He was the opposite of the rich man, in fact, he laid at the mercy of the rich man for food and care. The name used here is a Latin form of the name Eleazar which means, "God is my help". Lazarus was a beggar, he was covered will ulcerated sores and he was so helpless that he couldn't even fight off the dogs that came and pestered him.

It is important to get the full picture as to what was happening here. In a country where common people were fortunate to eat meat once a week, Lazarus is pictured lying outside the gates of the rich man hoping to get the crumbs from the rich man's table. If Lazarus was lying at the gate, how could he get the crumbs from a table inside? Food was eaten with the hands and in very wealthy houses; the hands were cleansed by wiping them on hunks of bread, which were then thrown away. This is what Lazarus was waiting for.

Luke 16:22-24 "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 hell (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.'

As I mentioned last week, death is the end for most of us and unless we see Jesus return before we die, death will be when judgment takes place. For the rich man and Lazarus, that is exactly what happened. At death, everything changed. What was in this world abruptly changes to the next and there Lazarus is in glory and the rich man is in torment.

What was the sin the rich man did that caused him to be in torment after death? Did he order Lazarus to be removed from his gate? Did he kick him as he passed Lazarus on the road? Was he deliberately cruel to Lazarus? What was his sin? The rich man never noticed Lazarus. It was perfectly natural for Lazarus to lie in pain and hunger while he wallowed in luxury. In essence, Lazarus was just part of the natural landscape to the rich man. Someone said, it wasn't what the rich man did that got him into hell, it was what he didn't do that got him there.

What about us? Are we like the rich man? Do we see the poor and the sick in our community? Do we even see the poor and the sick within our own church or even within our own families?

I want you to notice the state of the two men. These men died while Jesus was still on the Earth the first time. Notice they didn't go to heaven; they went to an intermediate state. Lazarus found himself in the same place next to Abraham in comfort while the rich man went to hell. Notice in your Bibles that there should be a footnote indicating that the rich man went to Hades. What is important, they didn't go the final state but their destination is final.

Luke 16:25-26 "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 fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'

Verse 25-26 are the verses many Christians don't like. Jesus teaches us through Abraham a very important fact, even though Hades is temporary, it is also permanent. It might be an intermediate state of the dead but if you find yourself in torment after death, there isn't going to be any relief. These verses refute doctrine of purgatory.

We must realize that Purgatory is absolutely foreign to anything found in the Bible. Today, there are many Roma Catholic theologians who agree that the doctrine of purgatory is no where found in the Bible. It was Pope Gregory who is generally credited as being the one who introduced this idea into Romanism. He admitted he got the idea from Plato, not God and it was other pagan influences that embellished this idea that now many Catholics believe in. But it is not until 836 that the church at the The Council of Aix la Chapelle decided to make purgatory part of their dogma. Here are some of the Biblical problems:

  • It attributes human works the power to shorten punishment
  • It recognizes that mortal beings have the power to forgive sins
  • It destroys all motives for repentance
  • It ignores the certainty that death brings to judgment (Rev. 22:11)
  • It bridges the great gulf that Jesus said was fixed and impassible
  • It opens the door Jesus said will be shut (Matthew 25:10)
  • It invalidates the atonement of Christ by asserting that man can accomplish what God's plan failed to do.
  • It gives men a second chance
  • It puts into the hands of men the keys to Hades
  • It is no where found in any teachings of Jesus, the apostles or any other inspired individual of the New Testament

Purgatory is one of the most commercialized schemes in the history of man. Think a minute, how much would you be willing to give or sacrifice if you could be made to believe that by paying money to Chuck or any one of our staff or elders, you could alleviate the suffering of a loved on in purgatory? What would you be willing to scrape up to get that accomplished? How low a person would you be if you allowed one of your loved ones to suffer in Hell?

As Abraham said it, there is no crossing from torments to comfort or the other way around. Even though Hades is temporary, it is also permanent.

Luke 16:27-31 "He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, 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,' he said, '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.'"

Another very important fact we see in Luke 16 is the dead don't return to the living. The rich man realized that what happened to him will also happen to his brothers. He didn't want them to end up in the same place. He wanted Lazarus to go back and warn his family about the realities of God's Law. Notice he didn't ask to allow himself to go back. I think he knew that was impossible. He was hoping the good could return but that wasn't possible either.

Unfortunately, what are the realities about the spirits returning to tell the truth? Why won't the living believe the testimonies of the returned dead? Don't you think that if someone would rise from the grave and told us what it was really like on the other side, we would listen and believe? Name someone who did this and yet many don' believe him?

Jesus in Luke 16 prophesied the very facts that would take place after he rose from the dead. The Pharisees still didn't believe, in fact, they made up lies so others wouldn't believe either.
Here are some scriptures to ponder this week that deals with Paradise and Torments in Hades

Paradise
Luke 23:43
Acts 2:27; 31
2 Corinthians 5:1-4; 12:1-4
Revelation 6:9, 10
Psalms 139:8

 

Torments
2 Peter 2:4-9
Jude 6
Luke 10:15
Psalms 9:17