No Unbelievers in Hell !
by Ed Stevens
In the sixteenth chapter of Luke's gospel is found an account of two men who died and passed on into the state after death. Some audaciously deny the facts given here, consenting not to "wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ" (See I Tim. 6:3-5). They say this is a mere parable. As to what it in that case teaches they bring forth all sorts of fanciful guesses totally void of scriptural support. That it is not a parable is proved in that personal names never appear in parables. Also, we can know that the narrator, Christ, had accurate knowledge of the time, the characters involved, their history and the place they arrived., Of Him it is written, "Hell and destruction are before the Lord; how much more then the hearts of the children of men" (Prov. 15:11). Thus Job said, "Hell is naked before Him and destruction hath no covering. The thing that is hid bringeth He forth to light" (Job 26:6; 28:11).
In all love and merciful warning the veil of the unseen beyond death has been drawn aside for us in Luke 16:19-31. "There was a certain rich man which was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate full of sores and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores. 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."
It is evident that the beggar was a saved man for we read in Hebrews 1:14 that angels are "ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation". Not so the rich man; he simply "died and was buried". What then? His immediate experience thereafter, righteous Job believed to be as follows (Job 27:19-22), "The rich man [if not saved] shall lie down but he shall not be gathered. He openeth his eyes and he is not. Terrors take hold of him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night. The east wind carrieth him away and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place. For God shall hurl upon him and not spare: he would fain flee out of His hand".
The belief in soul-sleep at death is unscriptural.
Continuing the narrative in Luke we read, "And in Hell he lifted up his eyes being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom. 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. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things and likewise Lazarus evil things, but now he is comforted and thou art tormented. 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". Note the unchangeable situation and continuous suffering!
"Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham, but if one went unto them from the dead they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead."
"Then he said, I pray thee, therefore, father, that thou wouldst send him to my father's house, for I have five brethren; that he may test:fy unto them lest they also come into this place of torment." He remembered conditions on earth: "For the living know that they shell die, but the dead know not anything", i.e., anything "done under the sun", or on earth (see Eccles. 9:5, 6).
The rich man in Hell did not complain as to his fate. He knew he was justly doomed forever, there being no remedy. To this Proverbs 29:1; 11:7 bares witness: "He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. When a wicked man dieth his expectation shall perish and the hope of unjust men perisheth". With aroused conscience and belated penitence this lost soul pleaded that Lazarus be sent to "testify" to his five brethren whom he knew did not believe God's Word about Hell and how to be saved from going there, just as he also had not believed. Abraham reminded him they had "Moses and the prophets"—the Bible. Yes. therein is this testimony, among many others, that "The wicked shall be turned into Hell and all the nations that forget God" (Psalm 9:171.
The lost unbeliever of Luke 16, NOW a believer, too late, with false unwarranted assurance thought his brethren would repent "if one went unto them from the dead". With godly wisdom Abraham who in Scripture is thrice called "the friend of God", replied that if men do not believe the Bible neither will they believe though one rose from the dead. No availing testimony can be given in addition to God's faithful written Word! Rejecters of that Word are incorrigible. Proof of this is given us in John 11:46-53. Shortly after His discourse on Hell the hardened Jews plotted to murder Christ after He had raised another Lazarus from the dead.
Now, by comparing scripture with scripture we learn that on the cross Christ paid the "ransom for all", "who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree" (Matt. 20:28; I Tim. 2:6; I Pet. 2:24). Until this ransom was paid all men passed into Hades after death. However, "a great gulf fixed" separated between the lost and the saved, descriptively called in Revelation 17:8 and 20:3, "the bottomless pit". On one side of this gulf the lost suffer in Hell fire while on the other side the saved rested in comfort awaiting their ransom by Christ's atoning death and His triumphantly leading this "captivity captive" into Paradise in Heaven (Ephes. 4:8-10). Since then all the saved who at death "fall asleep in Christ" go immediately to heaven where they await God's bringing them down with Christ to the meeting in the air. Then having entered resurrected and glorified bodies they will together with living believers, having also changed glorified bodies, be "caught up into the clouds". Please reed I Thes. 4:13-18; I Coy. 15:51-57; Phil. 3:20,21; II Tim. 2:11,12; Rev. 20:6. These will reign with Christ on earth a thousand years. When this period closes, all the lost souls remaining in Hades will be removed therefrom to enter their former bodies, resurrected, and will be judged at the Great White Throne to be then "cast into the lake of fire" prepared "everlasting" for the devil and his angels God calls this 'the second death". (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:12-15). This will be the permanent (second) "Hell" for all who reject God's loving offer of everlasting life to all who simply believe that Christ, in our place received "in His own body on the tree" the penalty, or "wages of sin" which is death —separation from God. (I Pet. 2:24; Rom. 6:23).
The Lord Jesus revealed that the dead though unclothed as to a physical body can still intelligently talk, see, recognize, remember, feel, etc. Thus the rich man on seeing Abraham pleaded with him for relief from the torment of "this flame". The solemn answer came, "Remember thy lifetime". He was informed it was impossible for the saved to reach the unsaved or to help them. David by inspiration wrote, "None can by any means redeem his brother nor give to God a ransom for him" (Psalm 49:7).
Compare this with Heb. 9:264 10:12, "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many... this Man after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God". These texts sufficiently expose the pious deceptive lie of the Romish "Mass" and so-called "purgatory".
The imaginary Roman Catholic "Purgatory" is nowhere revealed in the Bible. It is but a cruel whip in the hands of Romish priestcraft to extort filthy lucre—an invention (1439 A.D.) to keep souls in superstitious fear and abject slavery.
Eternal torment is not a heartless arbitrary act of God. It is the inevitable result of the warned wilful sinner and his sins (in which he dies--John 8:24) meeting with God's holy and righteous wrath against sin. There will be eternal consciousness because man will ever exist, being made in God's image and being the "offspring" of the ever-existent God (Gen. 1:26; 2:7; Acts 17:29).
Since "our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:291, His abiding judgment-wrath will be "a furnace of fire". "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever", for all Christ rejecters (Matt.' 13:42; John 3:36; Rev. 14:10. 11). Also, God's Word declares seven times that such will be "cast out into outer darkness" in "weeping and gnashing of teeth". "They shall never see light." They shall be "wandering stars to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever". Please read I Sam. 2:9; Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30; II Pet. 2:17 and Jude 13. Then "thank God for His unspeakable gift", Christ, and warn the lost!
"I declare unto you the gospel . . . wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved . . . how that Christ died for oar sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen . . . " "Believe on the Lord. Jesus Christ [that He died for your sins] and thou shalt be saved"! "He that believeth not shall be damned"! (I Cor. 15: 1-5; Acts 16:31i Mark 16:16). It is God's Word!
Let not God's grace be in vain for you. "Behold now is the accepted time. Behold, now is the day of salvation" (II Cor. 6:1,2). Remember, in Hell all become believers, but forever too late for salvation!
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