The King is Coming!
So many people around us could die in the next year—unexpectedly and rapidly, and most of them LOST. They would enter at death the place called by various terms in God's Word--the grave, hades, hell, the pit, and sheol.
That is a place that has been feared since the earliest times of life on this planet. It is a dark place of endless night, a dreary place of never hope. Most people think about this place more and more the older we get.
Today I would like to take you on a tour of the grave--the destination of the vast majority of people that you live with, work with, and see around you in daily life. “ You and I, everybody you meet, from the mailman to the guy next to you at work, has an eternal destiny. That destiny is either a joyful existence in the presence of God, or a Christ-less eternity in the place prepared for the devil and his angels. It is a real place.”
Now let me show you something that may change the whole way you look at death, dying, the grave and the afterlife. The expert witness, the only one who has ever gone to the grave and returned to report on it is Jesus. And no one has more to say and has a greater reliability on this to do with the afterlife than Jesus. As Revelation 1 says—He alone has the keys to death and to the grave! Here is what He has revealed.
Jesus told a parable in Luke 12:16-20
Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
Now turn a few chapters to Luke 16. Here Jesus tells of Lazarus and the rich man. Luke 16:19-20:
“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate ,
Hold on. Look what is missing. Jesus did NOT say, 'Learn the parable of the rich man'. No He speaks in a different way, He said 'there WAS a certain rich man.' Jesus was speaking of a literal event of which He, as God, had knowledge. Now continue reading:
Luke 16:22-24 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’
Stop again. Jesus is explaining another truth to us here. Before the Cross when their Pardon was paid, the righteous dead, like Abraham, Moses, etc, did NOT go directly to heaven, as do Blood-bought Christians of the Church Age. Instead, they went to
Note also that the rich man can see Lazarus, that he speaks of literal torment and literal flame. Abraham explains the division of hell, and that Lazarus cannot come to him.
Now look at the account again as the rich man cries out.
Luke 16:27-28 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’
Stop here again. Note that the rich man remembers his life on earth. As he will for eternity. He remembers his loved ones, and is conscious of their destiny. He begs Abraham to do something, but Abraham simply tells him that
Luke 16:29-31 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”
Now note something EXTREMELY revealing about the exchange. Abraham is Abraham. Lazarus the beggar, is Lazarus. But the rich man has no name. He has his memories, he has his awareness of his surroundings, he knows the hopelessness of the situation and the only thing he wants more than a drink of water is to save his five brothers. But HE HAS NO NAME! Why is that so important? Because he doesn't need one. Nobody will ever speak it again. There is no reprieve, no visitors, no hope and no need for a name. To all intents and purposes, he is dead, although eternally aware of it.
Eternal, conscious, perpetual, lonely torment, dead forever, yet alive, remembering that one time when you could have escaped the torment. That is what awaits the mailman, or the guy next to you, or your friends or relatives of whom we say, "I'll talk to him when the time is right" or when he says, "I'll think about it. Maybe tomorrow."
Then God says, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee."
These are the last days. The Rapture is coming, the Tribulation is almost upon us, the King is coming! But He isn't here yet. And there are plenty of people alive today who won't be here then, either.
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