Jesus Describes Death and Hell as Real and Certain

COPYRIGHT WARNING

What happens at the moment of our death? It is interesting that Jesus spoke more about Hell than He did about Heaven. Jesus has been to the place of the eternal dead–and returned to tell us of its horrors. The purpose of His death and resurrection was to ensure that no human being would ever see Hell–but have everlasting life in Heaven. Jesus describes Hell as a place of “torment,” with a fire that is “never quenched,” and a place where the “worm does not die.” Jesus told us that Hell is a real place of eternal existence in never-ending sorrow and regret. No human being will go to Hell by the will of God. He has done everything that He could do to prevent this–even giving up His Only Son to die for us, so that Heaven is already ours–if we will simply choose Jesus as our Savior.

When Jesus came into the world, David had already written about the Messiah’s death and resurrection.

David wrote in Psalm 30:3 that the soul of the Messiah would not be left in the grave—He will be kept alive by resurrection.

Psalms 30:3 “O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.”

Jesus understood that His death would bring His resurrection. The sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross to pay for the sins of all people would be meaningless if there was no promise of a resurrected Messiah afterwards.

John 12:23-24 But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.

Luke, in speaking of Psalms 30:3 (O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave) in Acts 2:29-32, confirmed that David was predicting that the Messiah would rise from the dead.

Acts 2:29-32 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ.

Peter describes the three days after Jesus had died, as a time when He descended into the lower parts of the earth and preached to all those who had been held in Hell since the flood of Noah. The unsaved remained in Hell—while Jesus freed all those in Abraham’s bosom who had died in faith, believing in the coming Messiah.

1 Peter 3:18-20 “For Christ…went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient

Prior to the cross, those who died in the Old Testament, descended into the lower parts of the earth, into a holding place called “Abraham’s Bosom.” Jesus spoke of this chamber, in Luke Chapter 16, as He vividly describes two men: one rich who rejected God’s salvation and is seen in hell; the other—a poor man who received God’s promise of a future Savior—comforted in Abraham’s Bosom.

Luke 16:19-31 (Jesus Speaking) “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 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. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 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.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 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.

Notice that after their death on the earth, both men are alive and conscious; one in hell, the other in paradise. Both men have the ability to feel pain or comfort and perceive their surroundings. They are aware of their previous decisions while alive on earth and how their choices affected where they will spend eternity.

The rich man is not in hell for being rich but for his apparent rejection of the requirement which God has made, that all men must receive a pardon for their sins by the coming Messiah.

The poor man is not in Abraham’s bosom because he was poor; he is found in this place of comfort because he apparently received a pardon for his sins, by his trust in a coming Messiah and the sacrifice He would make for all sins.

What happens after death?

What we learn from this story about heaven, hell and life after death, is that all men have an eternal soul which lives on past the moment of physical death. Where that soul ends up—eternally, is determined by an individual’s personal decision—either to receive the Messiah or to reject Him.

All salvation, for all people, for all time, is encompassed in the atoning death of Jesus upon the cross. Those who were alive before the Messiah arrived—are saved by looking ahead to His sacrifice for their sins. Those who are alive after the Messiah died for the sins of the world, are saved by looking back to His death and resurrection.

Everyone is saved in the same way.

Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

We learn from Luke Chapter 16:19-31 (above) that a person who died trusting in the coming Savior—descended into the lower parts of the earth, where they were comforted.

Ephesians Chapter 4 tells us that when Jesus died and descended into the lower parts of the earth, He freed all those who were waiting in Abraham’s bosom and took their spirits back to heaven with Him, when Jesus ascended back to heaven. Apparently, this former chamber, located in the center of the earth, is no longer being used and was closed permanently by Jesus upon His ascension to heaven. Today, since Jesus has completed our salvation, when a person dies who has lived their life believing that He is their Savior, that person immediately ascends into heaven. They does not remain on earth as a spirit, nor do they descend into the center of the earth, as in the former days before Jesus made His sacrifice for sins. Paul described the death of the believer in Jesus Christ, with these words: “to be absent from the body (death) is to be present with the Lord (in Heaven).

2 Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

Two Chambers of Luke 16 reduced

Matthew records an amazing event:

Matthew 27:50-53 “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

After Jesus died on the cross, immediately—the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom. Many of the graves around Jerusalem which contained the bodies of those who had died believing in the salvation of the coming Messiah, were raised to life. These believers, in bodily form, were seen walking around the streets of Jerusalem. We notice that not all of the Old Testament believers were raised, but “many.” The Lord chose a certain number to be raised from the dead to represent the event of Jesus resurrection. This stunning display occurred for the purpose of displaying Jesus power over death after His resurrection for all those who place their trust in Him. We notice that these believers did not come out of their graves until after Jesus resurrection. It is Jesus death that paid for all our sins. It is His resurrection that makes our own resurrection possible, as each one of us will also rise from the dead at the Rapture.[2] If these believers had risen before Jesus resurrection had occurred, then Paul would not have written that Jesus rising from the dead was the first of those who have died.[3]

Jesus said that after He is raised from the dead, everything would change. Those who did not believe in Him before His resurrection will now be faced with the reality that He has power over death. We know that Jesus is the Messiah today because He rose from the dead, never to die again.

John 8:28 Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.

You can have the assurance today that you will never see Hell and all of your sin’s are taken away. Jesus came into the world for this purpose and He graphically demonstrated His power over Hell and death–by His resurrection. All those who turn from their sins (repent), and ask Jesus to forgive those sins by His sacrifice–they have the assurance of eternal life, in Heaven, at the moment of their death. These are the promises of God and Jesus came into the world to testify of this certainty.


NOTES:
[1] Graphic Illustration, Copyright, by Rob Robinson
[2] 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
[3] 1 Corinthians 15:20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

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