Things Not Found
Lk.16:19-31 teaches about hades, the place where the spirits of men go after death. The word hades is mistranslated hell in the KJV, corrected as hades in the NKJV. What is the difference? The Gk word, “hades” is found 10 times - the unseen, the place of all departed souls as in Acts 2:27, 31. Hell is translated from the Gk. word “tartarus” one time, 2.Pet.2:4, and means “pits of darkness,” the place of fallen angels, awaiting the final judgment. The word “gehenna” translated hell, appears 12 times, and means the final place of torment for the wicked Matt.23:33. The difference between hades and hell is only that of duration. It is my understanding that hades is the waiting place for the departed souls awaiting the final judgment.
Some view the final judgment as a time of trial to determine one’s destiny, whether one goes to heaven or hell. That is not true. The final judgment is the time when the verdict is announced and the sentence executed. One’s destiny will have been determined by the state of the person at the time death comes, whether saved or lost, prepared or unprepared to meet God. After physical death comes, the soul enters into hades, the abode of departed spirits. The hadean world is pictured for us in Lk.16:19-31, as divided into two parts, torment and Abraham’s bosom, also known as paradise. I believe Abraham’s bosom and paradise are the same because of what Jesus said to the penitent thief on the cross, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” Lk.23:43. We know that when Jesus died He entered into hades, but His soul did not remain there, for He was resurrected. See Acts 2:23-31.
So, which place one’s soul goes to after death, torment or paradise, while awaiting the judgment is a prelude to where the soul will spend eternity. The final judgment is not a time of trial to determine a person’s destiny. The judgment is the time when the sentence is pronounced and the verdict executed Rev.20:11-15.
In hades two men lived, two men died. After death their status is reversed from what it had been in life. The poor man on earth becomes a rich man in Abraham’s bosom, aka paradise. The rich man on earth becomes a man tormented in flames. The poor man was attended by dogs on earth, but now attended by angels. The rich man who fared sumptuously on earth, can’t even get a drop of water to cool his tongue. Hades and the hell to come sounds like a place one should seek to avoid.
With these thoughts, let’s notice some things not found in hades/hell. I have in the past preached on “things in hell that ought to be in the church” but in this lesson I want to talk about “some things you won’t find in hell.” The absence of these things shows just how awful hell really is.
There will be no light in hell. Hell is described as a place of outer (total- blackness of) darkness Matt.8:12; 22:13; 25:30; 2.Pet.2:17; Jude 13. I’ve have read that if one is placed in total darkness he will go blind in ca.8 days. How scary is total darkness. Some have experienced it momentarily by going into a cave such as Carlsbad Cavern, where the lights are turned off momentarily. They can describe how terrible the feeling. No wonder hell is such a terrible thing Heb.10:31.
There will be no mercy and comfort in hell. The rich man in torment cried, “…have mercy on me.” He was conscious. He saw, spoke and felt the flames. He wanted mercy, but found none Lk.16:24-25. What did the rich man desire in torment? Just a drop of water Lk.16:24. Have you been really thirsty? How comforting to get a drink. No such comfort will be available in hell, no rest forever Rev.14:11.
There will be no earthly possessions in hell. The rich man lost all his when he went to hades. Wise people have realized, while still alive, that possessions in this life will be worthless in the life to come Job 1:21; Eccl.5:15; 1.Tim.6:7.
There will be no escape from hell, no freedom of movement. How many of us like to have this freedom of movement taken away? Have you ever been in a position that you can’t go anywhere? Loss of automobile, bed ridden, etc. The 2nd worse sentence for a prisoner is “life without parole.” Hell will never end Mk.9:43-47.
There will be no communication. He wanted to talk with Lazarus. The desire to talk with others is very strong. Isolation is a severe punishment. I can only imagine the loneliness of having no one to talk with. I have read “one is the loneliest number of all.” There will no desire for company. Ever heard someone say, “If so and so goes to hell, I want to be with him/her.” This will not be the case. The rich man certainly didn’t want anyone else to join him Lk.16:28. And one would not enjoy the company that is there.
There will be no hope in hell, no finish line to cross Matt.25:46. The hopeless of hell will last just as long as the joys of heaven last. Man can be deprived of some things for a while, food, water, shelter, etc. but there is always a glimmer of hope. How does one feel when a loved one is passing away and no one can stop the passing.? When hope is gone, life turns to despair. Think of the movie “Castaway.” At one time Tom Hanks felt so lonely and hopeless that he contemplated suicide. Hell is so hopeless that one can’t even commit suicide and life Matt.22:13. The Gentiles were in a hopeless situation, but it was only temporary. Their hopelessness changed to joy in Christ Eph.2:12-13.
There will be no unbelievers or infidels in hell. They are destined for hell Rev.21:8. But when they get there they will no longer be unbelievers Rom.14:11; Phil.2:10-11. There will be no faithful Christians there. Faithful Christians don’t have to worry Rev.2:10; 2.Tim.4:8. But this salvation is conditioned on our continued faithfulness Col.1:21-23; 1.Cor.15:58. So to keep from going there, come to know God and obey the gospel, then continue to press on toward the goal Phil.2:13; Gal.6:9.
By Tommy Thornhill
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