Last week we talked about Lazarus and Jesus raising him from the dead. We all have an appointment with death but that appointment is when God says that it is…

Psalm 139:15-18

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,

as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

16 You saw me before I was born.

Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Every moment was laid out

before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.

They cannot be numbered!

18 I can’t even count them;

they outnumber the grains of sand!

And when I wake up,

you are still with me

This is one of my favorite Psalms you hear me quote it often. God saw and knew you in your mother’s womb, He has recorded every day of your life. He has your days numbered. He is always thinking about you, so much so that his thoughts for you can’t be numbered. 

He knows the day you were conceived and the day you will die because he knows you so intimately.

Paul told us about death in so many places but in this passage, he makes the point clear

2 Corinthians 5:6-9

Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. (NASB)

We are either at home in this world or at home with Christ but in either place we will be pleasing Him.

Jesus told us a story about the afterlife. It is not a parable it is an actual story of an event that took place. He did it so we would understand what happens after we die.

All of us will live forever. Where we spend eternity depends on our relationship with the Lord. Jesus relays a story that tells what happened to people prior to Christ’s death on the cross (Verses are all from the ESV)

Luke 16: 19

There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.

Jesus is making it clear here that “there was a certain rich man” this story is real as he goes further to name names..

Luke 16:20, 21

And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores.

We are given the name of the beggar, “Lazarus,” and that he had to be brought to the gate and laid there.

Luke 16:22,23

The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

The rich man was not in the bad part of Hades because he was rich and Lazarus was not in the good part of Hades because he was poor it was what they did with the Father’s heart, Lazarus depended completely and daily on God, the rich man squandered his resources (gifts) on himself, that made the difference. Remember Abraham was among the wealthiest people in the world, it is not about wealth or poor but what you do with what you have. Notice also that death is not the end, our bodies cease but we live on.

Hades is the Greek term used in the New Testament, Sheol is the Hebrew term from the Old Testament. Gehenna is a different term and so is hell which we will get to in a moment

Abraham was in the paradise side of Hades (Elysium/paradise)/Sheol It also alludes to the idea of a banquet and feasting place. The rich man was in the tormenting side of Hades (Tartarus)/Sheol,) apart from God.

Gehenna is a deep ravine separating Zion from the hill of Evil Council in Israel. Jesus used it as an example of the ravine that separates Paradise from Tartarus. It was a place where garbage was always burning and Jesus made it an idiom for hell, the lake of fire the permanent place for those who have rejected Christ. It was called the hill of evil council because that was the place where in the days of Israel’s paganism they had a altar to Molech where they would offer babies to be burned to death…let’s go on so you see what I mean

Luke 16:24

And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’

Notice the rich man was aware, he was in torment, he was aware he was thirsty, he was aware of who Lazarus was (maybe for the first time in his life, Jesus knew Lazarus by name) he was aware that he was burning….In hell you are very much aware of where you are and why you are there

Luke 16: 25, 26

But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’

That Gehenna chasm is there separating Elysium/paradise from Tartarus. Once dead, your future is fixed; there is no change you will be this way forever. The rich man knew this judgment was just, but still hoped to spare his family from this justice.

Luke 16: 27-29

And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’

The rich man understood repentance must take place in order for his brothers to avoid this place. Once again, he does not deny the justice of his being in this place. You see when we stand before the Lord, he doesn’t judge us but our lack of relationship with Him judges us. The rich man squandered his life on his own selfishness and he knows his brothers are following in his path and to avoid the horror of the torment and torture and eternity of regret his brothers must repent. Abraham makes it clear, God’s witness is easily accessible for all.

Hades/Elysium/paradise was a temporary holding place for the godly dead and Tartarus/ Hades is still a holding place for the ungodly dead until Revelation 20:14 takes place…Christ descended into this part of Hades to bring the righteous dead to heaven after his death on the cross

Ephesians 4:9-10

in saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

The impassible gulf between the two sides of Hades is where Satan will be bound, the angels that have fallen are being held the locust that will be loosed on the face of the earth are all held there until Revelation 20 time

Lazarus is in a welcoming place, not the ultimate welcoming place but is there with all the righteous dead until Christ descends during his three days in the grave. He is there with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Boaz, Esther, David and all waiting to ascend to heaven once Jesus made the way by dying on the cross.

We have the privilege of being immediately in Heaven by accepting the Father’s gift of Jesus’s blood shed for us and building a relationship with him.

Hell is a real place where people are aware of their failure and God’s justice. It is a place of torment where people are completely aware of why they are there, and so it is now for us in heaven.

The difference is what have you done with the gift God has given you in Jesus’ death on the cross. We will start to get into that next week as we see the price that was paid for us?

The question today is you know you will live for eternity so where will you live? If you aren’t sure you can be sure today….we all will live forever where we live depends upon you, your decision about Jesus.

Let me just share with you a few scriptures about heaven and the new earth where we will spend eternity

Notes about the heaven (the new earth) only

1 – It is a physical place – Jesus came from there (John 6:42) and lives there (John 14:2,3), God dwells there (Matthew 6:9), angels are there (Hebrews 12:22)

2 – It is a place where our inheritance is waiting. Reserved specifically for each of us. (1 Peter 1:4)

3 – We will be free of the corruption of this earth and will be made righteous and pure. (Matthew 6:20; Romans 7:24; Matthew 13:43

4 – We will be with our loved ones who have died in Christ before us. (1 Thessalonians 4:14 – 18)

5 – We will be given rewards (Matthew 6:19 -25; 25:20-21) 

6 – It is a place where those things that may have been disregarded on earth will be acknowledged and rewarded (Galatians 6:9)

7 – It is a beautiful city (or large dwelling of people) with many dwelling places for each of us. (Revelation 21:1 – 27; John 14:2

8 – Heaven has light, water, trees, and fruit (Revelation 22:1,2)

9 – We will be able to walk in and out of the city, the city is only part of heaven. Revelation 21:24,25; 22:14

10 – There are animals there. (Isaiah 65:25; Revelation 6:2-8;19:11)

 11 – We will eat and drink there. (Matthew 8:11; Luke 22:29,30; Revelation 19:9)

I believe this is what the Lord intended along for us to live like but sin spoiled it for us