Summary: 1st of 5 messages leading up to Resurrection Sunday. This message is on the Rich Man and Lazarous and focuses on what we know about Hades.
Shadows, Souls, and Where They Go
It’s clear that people struggle with death
Some are afraid. Some are fatalistic. Some are in denial. Some are just way out there… Looking for some way – any way – out of death and denial of the fact that there is an end to this material universe.
Recently I came across an article in a magazine while I was in a waiting room. The Title:
“How to Survive the End of the Universe – in Seven Steps”
We live in an expanding universe. There is no end to this expansion and eventually everything will grow dark and cold - in about 50 billion years! This isn’t tomorrow but still it’s important to think about being ready for the end! Right!
So would you like the seven steps? We’ll I’m going to tell you what they are!
Here you go:
1. Find and test a theory of everything
2. Search for a naturally occurring wormhole.
3. Send a probe through a black hole
4. Create a black hole in slow motion
5. Create negative energy
6. Make a baby universe
6a Build a Laser Implosion machine
6b Build a Cosmic Atom Smasher
7. Send in the Nano-bots
Why do people find it necessary to create such solutions to death? Because they are afraid.
Death is a reality of life but the big question is – What comes next?
CS Lewis “Here lies an atheist—all dressed up and no place to go.” Lewis quietly replied, “I bet he wishes that were so!”
Today we are going to look at the grave and deal with the issue of death. Let me just say that the Bible and Jesus say very clearly that the grave is not the end of life. There is life after life.
One of the best sources of information in the Bible is in a story Jesus told about a rich man and a poor man. Each man died. But each man had a different experience in the grave.
Let’s look at Luke 16:19-31 and learn just a little about these matters of life.
The Rich Man & Lazarus
22 Later, Lazarus died, and the angels carried him to the arms of Abraham. The rich man died, too, and was buried. 23 In the place of the dead, he was in much pain. The rich man saw Abraham far away with Lazarus at his side.
24 He called, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am suffering in this fire!’
25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember when you were alive you had the good things in life, but bad things happened to Lazarus. Now he is comforted here, and you are suffering.
26 Besides, there is a big pit between you and us, so no one can cross over to you, and no one can leave there and come here.
27 The rich man said, ‘Father, then please send Lazarus to my father’s house. 28 I have five brothers, and Lazarus could warn them so that they will not come to this place of pain.’
29 But Abraham said, ‘They have the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets; let them learn from them.’
30 The rich man said, ‘No, father Abraham! If someone goes to them from the dead, they would believe and change their hearts and lives.’
31 But Abraham said to him, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not listen to someone who comes back from the dead.’ ”
Sheol & Hades
The Hebrew word sheol (Strong’s #7585) is translated in the KJV 31 times as "hell," but also 31 times as "the grave," and another three times as "the pit."
The Jews returned from Babylonian captivity with a form of the Babylonian religion, including the concept of an afterlife. To the Jews of first century Palestine, sheol referred to the place where the dead go, and also as a place where the wicked are sent for punishment. That may suggest torment, but consider this: What do we do with our children when they misbehave? We send them to their room! What does God do with people when they misbehave? He lets them wait in the grave until His own time when He calls them forth and deals with the problem. So, sheol is properly translated as "the grave," but to translate it as "hell" is misleading, because we tend to read a meaning into that word that probably wasn’t intended by the original authors.
The Septuagent was the translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek. It was the translation used by Jews and Nazarenes in the first centuries B.C. and A.D. The Septuagent translated sheol as hades (the Strong’s number is, appropriately enough, #86). Hades is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew sheol.