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A man who went to hell... and stayed there

Bible Study

In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus told a story about a man who went to hell. The man wasn’t coming back! From this man’s experience, here are some lessons from hell.  The lessons are in italics between the lines of the story Jesus told.

19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell

* Death is not the end! No matter who you are, rich or poor, the day will come when you are going to die. [150,000 die every day]

* When some die they go to a place of comfort (described as Abraham’s bosom – Abraham is known as the father of all who live by faith in God to save them from their sins).

* When others die, they go to hell.

* Those who go to the place of bliss are welcomed after death by heaven’s hosts.

* Those who are judged as not worthy to join the eternal home of the faithful, receive no such welcome.

23 And in hell he [ie. The rich man] lift up his eyes,

* The rich man could see and therefore, even though his earthly body had died, he had a body in which he existed in hell – a body in which he could experience the torments of hell.

Being in torments,

* Hell is a place of torments and these torments are many. “Torments” is in the plural.

and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

* Although the rich man was in hell, he could still see Lazarus at Abraham’s side (bosom). Being able to see was one of the torments. Seeing those you know receiving the blessings of God in the afterlife while you suffer the wrath of God, will no doubt be one of the greatest torments that a person in hell will experience.

* While he could see Abraham, and Lazarus being comforted at his side, and while he could somehow communicate with him, he only saw from a distance “afar off”. There was no opportunity for company and fellowship with those on the “other side”. The damned are separated from the saved.

* NOTE: The rich man was not in hell because he was rich for Abraham himself (who did not go to hell when he died) was one of the wealthiest people of his time. The Bible says that it is the love of money, not money itself, which is the root of all evil.

24 And 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.

* The cry for mercy (as the next verse shows more clearly) is going to come too late in the next life. There is no purgatory; there will be no second chances. The rich man does not ask to be set free. He knows his guilt. He knows he is in hell because he deserves it. He knows he is not getting out. All he wants is some relief from the torment. Being tormented in “this flame” fits with all the other descriptions the Bible gives us of hell as a place of fire. Jesus spoke of “hell fire.”

* Note that the rich man is not just tormented occasionally by the flame but in a constant state of “being tormented”.


25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things:


* Your status in this life is no guarantee of where you will go in the next. Do not take what you have in this life for granted.

but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

* In simple terms, the state of people in the afterlife can be described as either one of comfort or torment. That means that when you die, you will either be comforted or tormented.

* Some think that hell is annihilation. They think that to be cast into hell is to be destroyed and cease to exist. But note how people are either comforted or tormented. If to be tormented is to be tormented for a moment just before you are destroyed, then logically, to be comforted must also be to be comforted for a moment before you cease to exist. But that makes no sense. This is not what Jesus said. What Jesus said is quite different. The picture he gives of the afterlife clearly shows that some people will be in a continual state of being comforted and the other in a continual state of being tormented. Comfort and Torment are both forever.


26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.


* If you go to hell, not only will there be no comfort from the flame but no one is going to rescue you from the flame. There is a “great gulf” between the damned and the saved after death and that gulf is “fixed” for all eternity. Hence the saying, “Those who enter hell, abandon all hope!” Even if there was no actual fire, just knowing that there is no escape from hell and that you will experiences it’s torments forever, should be enough to scare the hell out of you and get you repenting on your knees before God for your many sins.


27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead


* Once in hell, there will be nothing you can do to prevent those you love from joining you! You will be utterly helpless. They will have the same things that warned you about hell: “Moses and the prophets” point us to the writings of the Old Testament in the Bible and “one rose from the dead” points to the New Testament of the Bible which tells us about the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He who died to save you from hell.


* The pride of sinful people will be so great that even though they have the testimony of God’s Holy Word, God himself speaking through his Word, they will still refuse to believe. They will not be persuaded even by God himself.


* If you go to hell for your sins, you are not coming back to warn anyone. God has already given everyone what they need in his Holy Word, the Bible. That’s why this website presents the Bible to you because it alone, shows the way of salvation through Jesus Christ.

* In the end, the rich man realized that what he needed to do in this life was “repent”! But it was too late.

However, it’s not too late for you.



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