Dead Men Talking

In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus. This story gives us an important glimpse and understanding into the realm of departed spirits. The Lord tells us how the rich man lived for himself only and not for God or others. He speaks also of a beggar named Lazarus whose body was full of sores (16:19-21). Both eventually died and their spirits went to the Hadean realm (16:23; cf. Acts 2:27, 31). The rich man found himself in the place of torments in Hades, while Lazarus found comfort in Abraham’s bosom (16:23).
For the remainder of the story we read of the conversation that took place between the rich man and Abraham. This story of dead men talking teaches us some very important lessons.

1. It teaches us that death is certain. “What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave?” (Psalm 89:48) “And as it is appointed for men to die once” (Hebrews 9:27).

2. Do not lay up treasure for yourself, but be rich towards God. “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided? So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20-21).

3. After we die (Eccl. 12:7), we will either be in a place of great pain or a place of great comfort (Luke 16:23-25).

4. Our fate is sealed at death; there are no second chances (Luke 16:26). “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

5. Those already in Hades do not want their friends and relatives to join them in the place of torments. “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’” (Luke 16:27-28).

6. Men must repent to escape the torment of Hades (Luke 16:30). “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness” (Acts 17:30-31).

7. God’s Word is all-sufficient to bring men to repentance and salvation (Luke 16:29, 31). God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:4). “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16; cf. Mk. 16:15-16).

Dead men talking. Are you listening? Are you learning and applying? I hope so!