Where a dead person went before Christ died


  Posted by B.D. Means on Monday, August 25 2:36 pm

Because Jesus told this parable (and had therefore not died yet), keep in mind that a person could not simply "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved-Acts 16:31. Jesus had not died yet. Sin's debt had not been paid "once and for all". This passage therefore does NOT show where a New Testament believer in Christ will go, but rather where Old Testament believers would temporarily exist. I say temporarily because both the rich man and Lazarus will one day stand before the Great White Throne where the book of life will be opened and THEN their FINAL destination will be decided; either eternity future with Christ on a "new heaven and a new earth", or in torment forever in the lake of fire. Remember that Abraham obeyed God and it was "accounted to him for righteousness". This parable gives us an insight to the waiting place of the Old Testament believer; not the New Testament. This is NOT a proof text for the Catholic view of limbo. This does NOT relate to a present-day Christian.
Looking at the parable, I find several interesting points:

(1) The rich man and Lazarus were in the SAME place. Yes they were separated by a "great gulf fixed", but they could see and recognize each other.

(2) Being able to see one another, we see that they must have had bodies that were visible to one another. The rich man could still see, speak (to God), and feel the pain of his torment.

(3) However, Although their physical senses are functional, they do not still have their physical bodies. Verse 22 is clear in explaining that the rich man's physical body was indeed buried!

What I have covered thus far is merely an introduction to this parable (only covering up to verse 24). The real meat of this story is in Abraham's warning in verse 25 and the importance of the spiritual rather than the temporary things of this world. To quote one of the humblest Christian poets of my generation:

"Who have I in heaven but you Jesus? What better could I hope to find down here on earth?" -Rich Mullins

I hope this has been helpful.
Myself your servant for Jesus' sake
-B.D. Means

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