Fred R. Coulter—April 24, 2010

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We've had a particular question: Would you please explain Lazarus and the rich man? Now, this was asked by an ex-Baptist evangelical, and he's in the process of learning the Bible, so I said, yes, I'll give a sermon on it.

Let's come back here to Luke 16, because that's where the account is of Lazarus and the rich man. What we're going to find is that when we study the Bible we need to use the whole Bible. Another thing that is important is this: not everything concerning a parable is explained within the parable, because the parable is an object lesson for us to learn. Even the parables in Matt. 13, the disciples came to Jesus and said, 'Will you explain this parable to us?' because they didn't understand it. So He explained it to them. For example: He said, 'The field is the world.' Well, you wouldn't derive that from the sower going and sowing, and so forth, likewise with this. We also need to realize that it tells us in Isa. 28 that we're to learn 'line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.' Jesus also said 'we are to live by every Word of God.' Paul also wrote—so I just preface all these as something we need to know—Paul told Timothy that he was to 'rightly divide the Word of God, being a workman that needs not be ashamed' So this is what we are going to do with Lazarus and the rich man.

Let's begin by reading it and let's read it through, because when you read it—and you bring the pre-conceived notions of heaven and hell, and when you die your immortal soul goes back to God—and all of those, when you bring that here to this section of Scripture it looks like that's true. So let's examine it. Let's look and see what the Scriptures tell us and put it all together.

Now let's begin Luke 16:19: "Now there was a certain rich man, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, and daily indulged himself in luxury. And there was a certain poor man named Lazarus, who was laid at his porch, full of sores. And he longed to be nourished with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table; and the dogs even came and licked his sores" (vs 19-21).

Just a little sidebar: They are not studying dog saliva to see what is in it that helps people with sickness and disease. The comment was made that dogs can sense cancer and if you have cancer, dogs will come and lick your leg. Interesting! So who knows what poor Lazarus had.

"Now it came to pass that the poor man died and he was carried away by the angels into Abraham's bosom.... [So he went right to heaven, because Abraham's in heaven—right?] ...And the rich man also died and was buried.... [What happened to Lazarus' body? Was he buried or was he taken up bodily?] (Now for the rich man): ...And in the grave he lifted up his eyes and was in torment, for he saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have compassion on me and send Lazarus, so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am suffering because of this flame'" (vs 22-24). See, if you don't do what God says, you're going to burn ever-burning hell, and there ain't no water there.

"Then Abraham said... [Now this is not a very loving attitude—is it?] ...'Child, remember that in your lifetime you received good things to the full, and likewise Lazarus evil things. But now he is comforted, and you are suffering. And besides all these things, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed; so that those who desire to pass from here to you are not able, nor can those from there pass to us.' And he said, 'I beseech you then, father, that you would send him to my father's house. For I have five brothers; so that he may earnestly testify to them, in order that they also may not come to this place of torment'" (vs 25-28). See, it's hell!

We just checked the King James Version, and for grave—see now in the Greek grave is 'hades' and that means that the ones who did the King James Version believed in hell and heaven and immortal soul so they translated hades as hell. So, therefore, if you have a King James Version of the Bible and you read this in your Baptist Church, it does say hell—that's where you're going.

Verse 29: "Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them hear them.' But he said, 'No, Father Abraham, but if one from the dead would go to them, they would repent.' And he said to him, 'If they will not hear Moses and the prophets, they would not be persuaded even if one rose from the dead'" (vs 29-31).

So let's ask the question here: Do people go to heaven as soon as they die? Let's come to John 3, just turn a few pages over there, and let's see what John wrote when he finalized the Scriptures. John 3:13, is in parentheses showing that John added this to the Scriptures to clarify that no one has gone to heaven.

John 3:13: "And no one has ascended into heaven, except He Who came down from heaven, even the Son of man, Who is in heaven." Now Jesus could not have said this when He was speaking to Nicodemus, because He was on the earth speaking directly to Nicodemus. He was not in heaven and He had not ascended there, until when? After He was resurrected and ascended on the wave sheaf offering day, which is the day after the weekly Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

So no one has. Now who else does this exclude, besides Lazarus? No one! That excludes Mary, because as we'll see later, in Corinth some did not believe in the resurrection. If they didn't believe in the resurrection and believed in eternal life, they believed in going to heaven. So John is clarifying it for everyone. That means none of the apostles went to heaven and they all deserved to go to heaven—didn't they?—if that was the proposition; if you go to heaven, why do you need a resurrection?

So no one's gone to heaven. Let's ask the next question: Is the soul immortal? Before we answer that question let's see what a human being is from God's point of view—1-Thessalonians 5:23, because there are three distinct parts to being a human being. "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly; and may your entire spirit... [one part] ...and soul... [second part] ...and body… [third part] …be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." They were believing that Jesus was going to return within the ministry of the apostles. So the spirit, the soul, and the body, those are the three parts of being human.

Let's talk about the body and the spirit for just a minute. Let's come to James 2:26; he's talking about faith, what gives life to a human being and the body. "For as the body without the spirit is dead..." Now what happens when you die? We'll talk about the spirit here in just a little bit more. Just put this in your notes: John 19, when Jesus spoke the last, what did He say? He said, 'Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit.' We'll see the spirit goes back to God.

But what is the spirit that is in man? Actually, in his mind, connected to his mind to give intelligence? Some say that we are spirit beings and we possess a physical body. So when we die, as spirit beings we go back to God. But we're going to see the spirit of man is that which gives life to the body. The soul, on the other hand, may be part of the autonomous part of the brain which keeps you breathing and keeps the electrical circuits and your nerves going, and so forth. That is the physical life, because God breathed into Adam's nostrils the breath of life and he became a living being, or a living soul. So that keeps the physical body going.

Have we seen with modern medicine when they have someone who is brain dead, have they kept them alive on artificial respiration by keeping the heart going and the temperature up and feeding them, and everything? The answer is yes, because apparently the spirit of man has some kind of electrical thing that can be discerned with certain instruments, because that keeps the whole body going. The truth of the whole human body is this: We are physical, but we are run by electro-magnetic power or energy in our bodies. Our bodies have 50-trillion cells and each cell is like a mini universe. Each cell has positive and negative, and receptors and rejecters, and every cell has a digestive system so when it's nourished the toxins go out of the cell and are carried away to be expelled from the body. How about that? Many people don't know that.

Now the brain cells are quite something. The brain cells, when you use them, actually make connections and grow. The more you use your mind and the more you use it correctly, the more connections that are there and the more intelligent you become all through your life, which is contrary to what people say. They say when you get to twenty-five, your brain is set and everything from there on is downhill. Well, I can verify that's not true, because I learned everything that I know within the Bible and everything after I was twenty-five.

Let's talk about the spirit of man a little bit more and then we'll look at the soul again—is it immortal? and then we will look at the state of the dead. Let's just add a couple of other Scriptures so you can turn to on your own. Job 32:8 where Elihu said, 'There is a spirit in man and the inspiration of God gives him understanding.' Here's another Scripture to put in there: Zech. 12:1, 'God forms the spirit in man.'

Let's see what the spirit in man does. We can liken this very much to an electrical apparatus that you plug into the wall and you get electrical power from it. The spirit of man is put in there at the instant of conception, because Elihu also said that 'the Spirit of God formed me.' So if the spirit of man is formed within, as it says Zech. 12:1, when we are being made and our brain is developing the spirit of man is there. The spirit of man must be imparted at the instant of conception. Why? Because 'without the spirit, the body is dead'—right? It is the spirit which then gives the power to the genes and chromosomes to, in sequence, create the new life in the womb of the mother; or in the case of animals, we'll see that there is an animal spirit. Various animals have spirits, but you can have a dog spirit, a monkey spirit, an elephant spirit, and that gives intelligence to them to the level that God wanted them to have; same way with dolphins and whales, and probably sharks.

Very interesting, the deadliest enemy sharks have is the killer whale. They have found this and they have also documented it with underwater pictures. When a killer whale comes and kills a seal and the blood is in the water, transmissions come out and the sharks can hear it and they immediately dive to 1500 feet. In the case of the ones that they track, because they had a little tracking thing that they put in that shark—they had captured it, put it on and put it back in the water—went all the way from the west coast of the United States to Hawaii to get away from the whale. So there has to be a spirit of the shark, too.

Let's talk about the spirit of man here, 1-Corinthians 2:9. It also brings out the Spirit of God and what the Spirit of God does. "But according as it written, 'The eye has not seen, nor the ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'" Now this tells us several things—doesn't it?

  1. Men cannot come along with their own thoughts and add anything to the Bible—can they?—and say it's revealed of God, because it's not, unless God absolutely makes sure that it was.
  2. The things that God has prepared are for those who love Him.
  3. Those who don't love Him do not understand His plan.

Now they may profess a love for Him. They may have a warm feeling for Him. They may be doing certain things of the Bible, but to love God is reflected not only emotionally and spiritually and with the Spirit of God, but it's also reflected in your obedience to God. So if you don't keep the commandments of God, you don't truly love Him. You may have an affinity for Him. You may have a zeal for Him, but not according to knowledge, because John writes in 1-John 5 that 'this is the love of God that we keep His commandments and His commandments are not burdensome.'

It's very important for us to grasp these sermons that I've been bringing lately, God's Grace and Commandment-Keeping, because we keep the commandments of God through the grace of God, spiritually. That's a far different proposition than what we have really understood in the past. We've understood it correctly, but this is like coming from ninety-five percent to a hundred percent. There's a vast difference. If you're leaping from cliff to cliff and there's a big valley in between, if you make it ninety-five percent of the way you don't quite make it unless you grasp on that little tree that's hanging out from the side and that may rip off. You've got to go a hundred percent to the other side—right?

Now notice what the Spirit of God does for us in our understanding and the parallel that he makes, v 10: "But God has revealed them... [The things of God.] ...to us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things—even the deep things of God." That's why when you study the Bible and pray before you study, and now we have the whole Bible, that's why when you study the Bible and you learn something new and it affects your mind, it is God's Spirit that is working with you to understand that—"…even the deep things of God."

Now here's the parallel: "For who among men understands the things of man except by the spirit of man which is in him?.... [So the spirit of man is in him. It does not say 'a spirit being' in him—the spirit of man.] ...In the same way also, the things of God no one understands except by the Spirit of God" (v 11), which we know is the power of God, not a person. So therefore, the spirit in man is the intellectual power, and we can liken that to the unseen power of electricity.

Now he goes on to say: "Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is of God, so that we might know the things graciously given to us by God; which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Holy Spirit in orderto communicate spiritual things by spiritual means. But the natural man... [And the natural man is one who doesn't have the Spirit of God, but has the spirit of man. So this tells us another thing that's important. For God's purpose, in order for us to be complete in the flesh we need the Spirit of God so we understand what we're doing, where we're going, the Word of God and then we can, as we will see a little later, when the resurrection comes we'll be able to be raised from the dead.] ...But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned" (vs 12-14). So that's why there has to be:

  • repentance
  • baptism
  • laying on of hands
  • receiving the Holy Spirit

—that's all part of it. Let's ask the question: What happens to the spirit of man when he dies? Because it says there in James 'without the spirit, the body's dead.' We'll see what happens with the spirit of man.

Let's come back to the book of Ecclesiastes 3:16: "And again I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there... [Sounds like the Supreme Court—doesn't it?] ...and in the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there.... [Sounds like Rome—doesn't it? Supposed to be righteousness.] ...I said in my heart, 'God shall judge the righteous and the wicked; for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.' I said in my heart, 'Concerning the matter of the sons of men, may God reveal to them, that they might see, that they themselves are but beasts.'.... [That is without the Spirit of God.] ...For that which happens to the sons of men also happens to beasts—even one thing happens to them. As the one dies, so dies the other; yea, they all have one breath; so that a man has no advantage over a beast; for all is vanity" (vs 16-19). That is any advantage over any animal without the Spirit of God. If you want to know how true that is, next time you go by a cemetery and you look at all of those monuments and stones and everything, and just think how many billions of people have lived and died, think about all the animals that have lived and died. Only difference between a cow and us is we go to the grave, and we get to eat the cow.

Verse 20: "All go to one place; all are of the dust, and all return to dust again.... [Now here's the question that he posed and he answers a little bit later] ...Who knows the spirit of man whether it goes upward, and the spirit of the beast whether it goes downward to the earth? Therefore I perceive that there is nothing better that a man should do than to rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion; for who can bring him to see what shall be after him?" (vs 20-22). Well, only God can through His Word. But once you're in the grave and they put the top down, that's it.

Let's come to Ecclesiastes 12:7. You have to read all the six verses ahead of it, but we'll bypass that for the time being. "And the dust... [That is your old body.] ...return to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God Who gave it." The spirit of man cannot work outside of a human brain. It's not like a spirit being or a demon. Now just like I'm recording here on a digital recorder. I've got electricity coming into it, a microphone coming into it, and I've got a little chip in here. Everything that I'm speaking is recorded on this little chip, which is about one-by-one-and-a-half inches. It'll hold three hours of sermons or more, depending on how I program it.

Now that can be likened to the spirit of man, because everything that your brain does is recorded on the spirit of man. When a person dies, it goes back to God, but it doesn't have consciousness because it's not in a human brain or in a human body. So God keeps track of all human beings. Doesn't He say that a sparrow won't drop without God knowing about it? What about every human being made in His image? He has a purpose for them. So it goes back to God.

Let's answer the question concerning converted people. When we receive the Spirit of God—let's see what Peter says that that is, 1-Peter 1:3: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again..." Now that is a very interesting word. In the Greek it's 'anagennao' and you can't translate it any way other than 'begotten again.' Now why would it be phrased that way? Because, you read every genealogy in the Bible, so-and-so begat so-and-so—right? When you're begotten and conceived then, in your mother's womb, that's your first begettal—right? When you receive the Holy Spirit, that is begotten again by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let's come to 1-John 3 and let's see where it talks about it in exactly the same terminology. 1-John 3:9: "Everyone who has been begotten by God... [Now that's when you're begotten again, because in your physical begettal, that's from your physical father, so this is the spiritual begettal of being begotten again by God.] ...does not practice sin... [Doesn't mean he can't sin, but he doesn't live in sin. He doesn't practice sin.] (Now notice the reason why): ...because His [God's] seed... [In the Greek the word is 'sperma.' What do they call the begettal from the father to the egg of the mother but sperm? There you have it.] ...because His seed of begettal is dwelling within him..." Now God's Spirit is giving you spiritual life. We also know as we have from the other sermons that there are two aspects to the Spirit of God:

  1. The begettal from the Father to become son or daughter of the Father.
  2. The Spirit of Christ to have the mind of Christ.

Those two factors compose the Spirit of God. So because that is dwelling in him: "...he is not able to practice sin because he has been begotten by God" (v 9).

Question comes up: What is the difference between the Spirit of God and the spirit of man? The spirit of man is given at conception. You might liken that to 'half spirit,' when compared with the Spirit of God also being added as being begotten again. So you can truly say that all human beings are half here. You're like an egg waiting to receive the begettal. So then you become complete in God, in Christ with His Spirit.

What happens to those who die in the faith? Jesus said, 'Into Your hands I commend My Spirit.' Ecclesiastes says it goes back to God. Where does it go? Since it's not a spirit being and doesn't have consciousness of thought, because it's not attached to a brain any longer, so it cannot have separate thought. It has to be connected to a brain to make the brain think. It is the brain that is thinking.

Now let's come to Hebrews 12:22 and let's see where that spirit goes. "But you have come to Mount Sion... [That is as a Christian through your prayers, coming to God, growing, overcoming, being led of the Spirit of God.] ...you have come to Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God... [And New Jerusalem's coming to the earth.] ...heavenly Jerusalem; and to an innumerable company of angels; to the joyous festival gathering; and to the church of the firstborn, registered in the book of Life in heaven; and to God, the Judge of all; and to the spirits of the just who have been perfected" (vs 22-23). So when you have been begotten again, receive the Spirit of God, grow in grace and knowledge, overcome, then you live your life however long it is. You come to the end of your life and you die. Then whatever perfection there is in your life, and we know from Rev. 2 and 3 that there are varying degrees of it, but it's enough for eternal life, then that goes back to God. What does He do with it? Just like what we do with this that's recorded on the chip. We just put it on the shelf until we're ready to use it. Then it has to be put back into a spirit body to work.

Because of that, let's ask the question: What is the state of the dead? What is the state of the dead? Because the rich man in the grave looked up and he was scared to death. Do people in the grave have consciousness? Years ago before they did a lot of embalming when they would bury people they would think that they were dead. Just to make sure in case they came to life while they were buried, they would have a bell up on the top of the ground above where the person was buried and they would run a string down into the casket, so if the person woke up in the casket saying, 'Where am I, I can't see anything, what am I doing here?' and they grabbed this string and go 'ding-dong, ding-dong.'

I remember when I was delivering newspapers. You've probably heard me tell that one time. Sunday morning I had to go through the mortuary, but during the week I could take the papers up and come back down, because they had apartments above the mortuary. I wouldn't want to live up there. Can you imagine living in apartments above the mortuary? I could come down and then I would go into the mortuary front door and take the paper to the counter.

So this one Sunday morning I go up there and I thought, 'I wonder where these stairs lead that go downstairs?' No one was around, just me. So on Sunday I would normally just scoot down the steps, put the paper on the front desk, and walk out. But I wanted to find out where these other steps led. So I went down there and lo and behold there were rooms with caskets. I looked and here's a person in the casket. You know, being about 13-years-old, 12-years-old, my heart went pounding like that. First time I'd really seen a dead person face-to-face. I didn't get up close and look at them, knock, and say, 'Hello, anybody in there?' That's what they do with the pope. They have little hammer and when he dies in order to pronounce him dead, they have a special attendant come in and tap him on the forehead and say, 'Are you there?' The answer comes back, 'No, I'm out of here.'

So anyway, I looked in another room and right at that time all of a sudden this corpse sat up, scared me to death, because a corpse will do that because they have a delayed muscle reaction. I thought, 'Oh, man.' I ran out of there. I came down to the counter, I took that big, thick Sunday paper and I threw it up on the counter and ran out and the paper just spewed everywhere all over the office. At that point I didn't care, because I didn't know whether that corpse was going to get up and chase me out or not.

Now those who are dead, what do they know? Psalm 6:5: "For in death there is no memory of You... [Because your spirit is gone. It has gone back to God. Your brain doesn't work.] ...in the grave who shall give You thanks?"

Let's look at Psalm 115:17: "The dead do not praise the LORD, nor do any who go down into silence." Because when you're dead, you're dead and the spirit has left you.

Let's go to Ecclesiastes 9:1. It sounds almost like Solomon was like an indulging hippie trying to check out everything in life when you read the book of Ecclesiastes. "For all this I took to heart, even to make all this clear, that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God. No man knows either love or hatred by all that is before them. All things come alike to all; there is one event that happens to the righteous and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him who sacrifices, and to him who does not sacrifice. As is the good, so is the sinner. He who swears is as he who fears an oath. This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event that happens to all. Yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead" (vs 1-3).

Now I don't know how old he was when he was writing this, but it sounds like he had a lot of experience when he was writing it, and maybe he was contemplating his death. If he was a young man when he started reigning, maybe he was less than twenty, say sixteen, eighteen. He reigned forty years, so that made him forty-eight to fifty maximum. So he was contemplating death.

"For whoever is among the living, there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they shall die; but the dead do not know anything, nor do they have any more a reward; for their memory is forgotten" (vs 4-5)--unless you're remembered of God.

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What about the soul? Is the soul immortal? Let's first of all come to Leviticus 17, and let's talk about the body, because it is the soul part of man. The body is just the human body. Now when God formed Adam, He made the body, created the brain, there was no life in him. So He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and Adam became a living soul. The invisible part that keeps the body going is activated by the soul, which then is controlled by the spirit.

Let's read it here in Leviticus 17:10: "And any man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that are living among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that soul who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood…." (vs 10-11). That's why if you lose a lot of blood, they can give you a transfusion of blood that is still living blood.

By the way, they found by accident—a nurse heated up some blood in a microwave and it killed a man, so that should tell you microwave's are not good. "For the life of the flesh is in the blood. And I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for yourselves... [for your physical life. They weren't promised eternal life, just physical life, so it was the blood.] ...for it is the blood that makes an atonement for life" (v 11).

Now, let's come back here and see about Jesus in Isaiah 53. What did He do? And it shows that the soul dies. We know in Ezek. 18 it says, 'the soul that sins, it shall die.' Jesus didn't sin, but He became sin for us and let's read it here what happened to Him. Isaiah 53:11: "He shall see the travail of His soul.... [The reaction of what happens when He was beaten and scourged and the pain and all of that is a reaction of the soul.] ...He shall be fully satisfied. By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; and He shall bear their iniquities.... [That's why He died.] ...Therefore, I will divide to Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He has poured out His soul to death" (vs 11-12). In other words, He bled to death. So the body dies and the flesh dies.

The body we see returns to the dust. It's like a little girl, she learned that in Sunday school or Sabbath school, either one, depending if you're prejudiced against Sunday, which a lot of people are, so are we, so we'll say Sabbath school, that dust you are and unto dust you return. That's what God told Adam when he had sinned. So she was upstairs cleaning up her bedroom and she saw underneath what she thought was a person. So she ran down and told mommy, 'Mommy, Mommy, come upstairs. There's somebody under my bed.' So they ran up there and looked and here were big balls of dust. She was wondering, 'Is someone coming or going?' Clean it up.

Let's talk about the resurrection. Let's come to Psalm 16, and let's talk about the resurrection of Jesus, because His body did not see corruption. So therefore, when we talk about His resurrection, we're not talking about a body that went back to dust.

Psalm 16:9: "Therefore My heart is glad, and My glory rejoices; My flesh also shall rest in safety, For You will not abandon My soul to the grave; neither will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption" (vs 9-10). And that's what Peter spoke about on the Day of Pentecost. He quoted this. So after three days and three nights, Jesus was raised from the dead. His body had no chance of decomposition and it was perfectly preserved. So what God did, He said to God, 'Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit.' That went back to the control of God. When He was resurrected, that had to be put back into His physical body, but transformed His body into an eternal being at that time.

As we have talked about, a spirit being can appear as flesh and bone, like Jesus said. Doesn't have blood. So His resurrection obviously is way different than if you ask the question: Where's Noah's dust? Where's Adam's dust? or grandma? Grandpa?—whomever you want. Now when it disintegrates, it disintegrates. So does God put that in new dust because He's got the complete formula here in the spirit of man and in the complete spirit of those who are spirit beings? What does He do with it? Well, if you're alive, let's see what happens. Let's come here to Philippians 3. If you are alive, which when Paul was writing Philippians he was expecting Jesus to return before he died, so this is why he wrote it the way that he did.

Philippians 3:20: "But for us, the commonwealth of God exists in the heavens, from where also we are waiting for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; Who will transform our vile bodies, that they may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the inner working of His own power whereby He is able to subdue all things to Himself" (vs 20-21).

If we're living, that's what's going to happen. Doesn't tell us exactly how He's going to do that with those who have died and their bodies have completely decomposed. Does He cast it back into the dust and command it to be resurrected as a spirit being? I suppose that would be possible. He doesn't tell us. The best we can do is look at 1-Corinthians 15. Let's ask the question: what happens to those who are cremated and have their ashes sprinkled in the ocean? How does God separate that out? Doesn't tell us, but we know He's not there on a hunt for, 'Who's the ashes here and there? Who does this belong to? Does this speck of dust belong to this person and this speck of dust belong to that person?' So we don't know exactly how God is going to do it, but we get an inkling of it here in 1-Corinthians 15, which is the resurrection chapter. Let's understand something here that according to the evangelical's view, if you have an immortal soul, you'll go immediately to heaven or to hell. There's no need for the resurrection. There would be no need for the resurrection. All of us are going to die and return to the dust.

Let's pick it up here in 1-Corinthians 15:12, because this is astonishing. They were preaching in the church at Corinth the immortal soul. "But if Christ is being preached, that He rose from the dead, how is it that some among you are saying that there is no resurrection of the dead?.... [He said after His resurrection He appeared to all of the apostles and then His own brothers and then to five hundred brethren at once.] ...For if there is no resurrection from the dead, neither has Christ been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is also in vain" (vs 12-14).

"And we are also found to be false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised Christ, Whom He did not raise, if indeed the dead are not raised.... [Doesn't tell us here how to do it.] ...For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised. But if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins" (vs 15-17). Now let's apply this to all of those who believe in the immortality of the soul and not needing a resurrection. "…your faith is in vain and you're still in your sins"—right? Even though you may believe that Christ rose from the dead, we're going to see here in a minute He's the firstborn of those first fruits, and firstborn of those from among the dead. If He was raised from the dead, why then did God all of a sudden change His plan and say, 'Okay, now we're going to deal with immortal souls. As soon as you die, you're going to come to heaven or go to hell,' if you read the King James Version of the Bible.

Verse 18: "And those who have fallen asleep in Christ have then perished... [Now the term 'fallen asleep,' is how God looks at death. Because He has the formula for you as an individual, just like a seed. They have taken seeds of wheat found in the tombs of Egypt, two or three thousand, four thousand years old and they planted and it grows. So it immediately grows. Whatever there was in the seed, all it needed was what? The water and the soil! Still nobody knows how a seed grows. They can watch it, but they don't know how it grows. What is it that is in the soil and what is it that is in the water that combined together makes a seed grow? We're not told! So it's like falling asleep. That's why the rich man, when he woke up, he said, 'Father Abraham, send Lazarus to my father's house for I have five brethren,' because he just came back to consciousness, and we'll see when he comes back to consciousness, and that's what was on his mind. We're not told the span of time from the death of the rich man until he experienced the resurrection. Because in the grave—now when do you open your eyes in the grave? We have to come back to life—right? We'll see when that is in just a little bit.

"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most miserable. But now Christ has been raised from the dead; He has become the first-fruit of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by man also camethe resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all... [that means everyonewho's ever lived.] ...be made alive. But each in his own order... [So there's an order of the resurrection.] ...Christ the firstfruit... [In Col. 1 He's called the 'firstborn from among the dead.' Rev. 1 He's called the 'firstborn from among the dead.' Here He's called the firstfruit. James likens Christians to firstfruits of God, James 1:18. When are they given eternal life? If they're righteous and die, as soon as they die and their soul goes to heaven? No!] ...each in his own order: Christ the firstfruit; then, those who are Christ's at His coming" (vs 19-23).

So no one has gone to heaven, no one has received eternal life except Jesus Christ. None will receive eternal life until Jesus returns. Let's come to 1-Thessalonians 4. Let's see where Paul writes of that again. Now some of this I cover for the sermons on Pentecost, but we'll just review it here again.

1-Thessalonians 4:14: "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in exactly the same way also, those who have fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.... [Someone says, 'See, they're in heaven.'] ...For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall in no wise precede those who have fallen asleep because the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first" (vs 14-16).

And what? We're all going to meet Christ in the air and He will come back to the earth. That's when we're with Him—right? Verse 17: "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds for the meeting with the Lord in the air; and so shall we always be with the Lord." So that's when we become with Him, not until that point.

Let's come to Revelation 20. We've talked about those who are in the first resurrection, they're raised to immortality. Exactly how God is going to do that, we don't know. But we know that with the combined perfected spirit of man with the Spirit of God that that is going to be—what shall we say—the commanded code of how God is going to resurrect you as a spirit being. It's all right there and stored in that, just like this message is right here and stored on this chip. Each man in his own order, those who are Christ's at his coming. What about other people? We know with the Last Great Day what's going to happen and we've covered that before, so let's just review it here. We know that Satan has to be bound before the Millennium begins and that's why he's cast into the abyss.

Revelation 20:4: "And I saw thrones; and they that sat upon them, and judgment was given to them; and I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded... [They were raised back to life. They are spirit beings or you could say, 'And I saw,' the Greek here is 'psuche,' which can mean soul or life or being.] ...saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and those who did not worship the beast, or his image, and did not receive the mark in their foreheads or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."

Now here is something that we're going to cover which could not have been understood in the sequence of time with the development of the Bible, Old Testament and New until John wrote this under the inspiration of God. "(But the rest of the dead... [Now who are the rest of the dead? We've identified the ones who were dead:

  1. Christ
  2. Those who were Christ's going all the way back to Abel and all the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and so forth.

So these are all the rest. What we're going to do is see that this includes the rich man.] ...(But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were completed)" (v 5).

Hold your place here and let's come to Matthew 12, because we're going to see something very interesting in what Jesus said. Now it appears that the rich man committed the unpardonable sin, because he was tormented by the fire. We'll see that in a minute when we get back to Rev. 20.

Matthew 12:31: "Because of this, I say to you, every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men except the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit..." And that is the denial of God the Father, the denial of His work. That shall not be forgiven to men. And in the series in Hebrews we have two sections covering the unpardonable sin.

A little sidebar: there are people who believe in universal salvation even to include Satan and the demons, but that's nowhere found in the Bible.

"'And whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age... [And this age closes when Jesus returns.] ...nor in the coming age" (v 32). And that's the age that Jesus brings with Him—right?

Now let's come down here to v 36: "'But I say to you, for every idle word that men may speak, they shall be held accountable in the day of judgment.... [Because it's all recorded on the spirit of man—right? Yes!] ...For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.' Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, 'Master, we desire to see a sign from You.' And He answered and said to them, 'A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. For just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, in like manner the Son of man shall be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights'" (vs 36-40).

Then He completely changes the subject based on Jonah and the city of Nineveh. "'The men of Nineveh shall stand up in the judgment with this generation... [That has to include those 'the rest of the dead' that we read of—right? (Rev. 20)] ...and shall condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah; and behold, a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation and shall condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, a greater than Solomon is here'" (vs 41-42).

Let's come back to Revelation 20. Let's see how this is brought out. Remember, 'the rest of the dead,' meaning all those who were not in the first resurrection, do not live again until the thousand years are over. Revelation 20:5, we'll finish the first resurrection here. "This is the first resurrection.... [And if it says there's the first resurrection, that means what? There's more than one! If this just said, 'This is the resurrection,' that would be it.] ...Blessed and Holy is the one who has part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power" (vs 5-6).

So what does this tell us? The second death has power over the rest of the dead. And if they are subject to death, that means they're raised to what? A physical life just exactly like we cover for the Last Great Day in Ezek. 37—right? Yes! "But they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years" (v 6).

Satan is loosed. We'll cover that on the Last Great Day. Come down to v 11. After Satan has been cast into the lake of fire to be tormented day and night into the ages of eternity—how can someone read the Bible and say that Satan is going to be saved when it says here in Rev. 20 that he's cast into the lake of fire to be tormented into the ages of eternity? Nowhere does the Bible say that.

Verse 11: "Then I saw a great white throne and the one Who was sitting on it, from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead... [The rest of the dead. Now we know from the meaning of the Last Great Day and Ezek. 37 that there are two categories of the rest of the dead:

  1. Those who did not commit the unpardonable sin, who will be raised as Jesus said in Matt. 12.
  2. Those who committed the unpardonable sin who will be, as we will see, cast into the Lake of Fire.

So then we can answer the question concerning the rich man: When did he lift up his eyes in the grave? And this will tell us how long he was in the grave before that event occurred. So far we're from the time he died until the end of the thousand years—correct? Yes! So if that was during Jesus' day, we could say that's roughly three thousand years.] ...And I saw the dead, small and great... [Just like Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, the rich and poor, the good and evil, it happens to them all—right?] ...standing before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged out of the things written in the books, according to their works" (vs 11-12).

Every idle word is going to be given account for in the day of judgment—right? Yes! "And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and the grave gave up the dead that were in them; and they were judged individually, according to their works. And death and the grave... [or hell, as it is in the King James from the Greek 'hades.'] ...were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.... [Meaning, if you don't repent, you're dead. Or if you committed the unpardonable sin, you'll be resurrected, placed alongside all the rest of the wicked, and you're going to be cast into a lake of fire.] ...And if anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire" (vs 13-15).

Now let's come back to Luke 16. Let's answer the question concerning the rich man. So that's the timeframe, because you see, the timeframe is not answered in the context of Luke 16, so you have to use the rest of the Bible. Luke 16:22: "'…And the rich man also died and was buried. And in the grave... [At the time of his resurrection to a second physical life being after the thousand years are over, that's when his grave is opened.] ...he lifted up his eyes and was in torment...'" (vs 22-23). For what was the first thing that he saw? The Lake of Fire. Now the Lake of Fire is just like a big volcanic lake. If you watch a special on National Geographic about volcanoes they love to show this picture of the lake of lava inside the mountain there in Hawaii. It's always there bubbling and perking all the time. I wonder what the green movement's going to do about that. Let's see, what can they do for carbon credits to offset that. That would be interesting—wouldn't it? They'll have to go stand at the edge of the volcano and ask it.

Now if you are resurrected and the first thing you saw was a volcanic lake of fire with flames coming up from it—would you be in torment? Would the heat be affecting you? Yes! because it's four thousand degrees. "...for he saw Abraham afar off... [Who had been resurrected when? At the return of Christ!] ...and Lazarus in his bosom.... [So Lazarus was resurrected at the return.] ...And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have compassion on me and send Lazarus, so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am suffering because of this flame'" (vs 23-24).

He wasn't in ever-burning hell, as you would get out of the King James Version. He was resurrected to a second physical life. When you see a lake of fire and you look at your flesh and you know that you're not going to last very long if you're cast in there, you're going to be in torment. I wonder how long a person would last. I think first of all if they had to come into it, the heat would be so intense it would take your breath away from him, they would pass out, and then just their body would burn. That would be it.

So this is a parable. So there is a lesson to learn from this. "Then Abraham said, 'Child, remember that in your lifetime you received good things to the full, and likewise Lazarus evil things. But now he is comforted, and you are suffering. And besides all these things, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed.... [Because the judgment has been given. Those who receive eternal life are in the kingdom of God. Those who are set for eternal death are standing at the lake of fire.] ...so that those who desire to pass from here to you are not able... [Because you're spirit beings and you're not going to go back there where they are, because they're going to be thrown in the Lake of Fire.] ...nor can those from there pass to us'" (vs 25-26). It's impossible. Two levels of life:

  • Flesh for extermination for the unpardonable sin in the Lake of Fire.
  • Spirit beings to live forever to inherit the Kingdom of God and New Jerusalem, and so forth.

So then because he has no thought of anything else than what he experienced in his life, he immediately thought of his brothers and said, 'Well, maybe they can be saved.'
So he said here, v 27: "And he said, 'I beseech you then, father, that you would send him to my father's house. For I have five brothers; so that he may earnestly testify to them, in order that they also may not come to this place of torment.' And Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them hear them'.... [That's the key word right there. Now what did Jesus say to the scribes and Pharisees? 'Had you believed Moses you would have believed Me.' What did Paul write to Timothy concerning the Old Testament? 'That you have the holy writings which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus'—right? Let them hear them.] ...But he said, 'No, Father Abraham...'" (vs 27-29).

See they don't want Moses and the prophets, just like the evangelicals—huh? Isn't that amazing? And when they read this do the evangelicals say, 'Oh, we need to listen to Moses and the prophets.' No, they say, 'That's all done away.' Did a miracle convert a lot of people? Give you an example of the ten blind men. They all received their sight, only one came back to say thank you and he was a Samaritan—right? What he's saying here is, 'If they'll see a miracle, one from the dead would go to them, they would repent.'

No, he says, v 31: "And he said to him, 'If they will not hear Moses and the prophets, they would not be persuaded even if one rose from the dead.'" So the whole topic here is the resurrection of the dead for the righteous as symbolized by Lazarus; for the wicked as symbolized by the rich man. All are subject to Moses and the prophets and of course then, the teachings of Jesus and the apostles. Which those things were not done when this parable was spoken by Jesus.

Let's come back here to 1-Corinthians 15 and let's talk a little bit more about the resurrection from the dead for the first resurrection. 1-Corinthians 15:34, let's start here. Show you the problem he had with the church at Corinth. "Awake to righteousness, and do not sin, for some of you do not have the knowledge of God... [In the Church and don't have the knowledge of God. Wouldn't you say that would be true of the evangelicals and the Protestants? They have some knowledge, but they don't believe in the resurrection because they believe in the immortality of the soul. They don't believe in the resurrection of the wicked to be cast into the Lake of Fire, because they believe reading the King James erroneously, that the wicked are tormented in hell based upon Luke 16 and parable of Lazarus and the rich man.] (So Paul says): ...I say this to your shame. Nevertheless, someone will say, 'How are the dead raised?.... [That's what we asked here—right? Yes!] ...And with what body do they come?'" (vs 34-35).
Notice what he says: "Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that shall be; rather, it is bare grain... [Now he's drawing the analogy of the seed.] ...it may be of wheat, or one of the other grains; and God gives it a body according to His will, and to each of the seeds its own body" (vs 36-38). The seed of God the Father, with His Spirit, unites with the spirit of man, and now that's the seed for the resurrection. How God handles that, we'll find out when we're there.

Verse 39: "Likewise, not all flesh is the same flesh. Rather, there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another of fish, and another of birds. And there are heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies; but the glory of the heavenly is different, and the glory of the earthly is different. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory" (vs 39-41).

And weren't they surprised when they had the Hubbell telescope. We saw that recently on National Geographic. They picked a space out there in the universe right near the north star and they said the telescopes on the earth now say there is nothing but blank space out there in the universe. So they aimed the Hubbell, that's the old one—wait till we get pictures of the new one—they aimed it there and kept it photographing for eleven days. When they got all that information and got it however they process it, they were amazed, it was filled with galaxies more than you could ever imagine. They were astonished! So God's plan must be absolutely fantastic for things like that to be so and we are living in an age when we can understand that.

Another thing that was brought out in a book written about the earth in relationship to where the earth is in the solar system and a relationship to where our galaxy is in the universe, and it's one of the very few places where that on the earth you can look out and see the vast reaches of the universe. Most are shrouded in clouds, you couldn't see it if you were on Mercury or Venus, you could see it on Mars, but here to see the glory of the heavens is really something!

Notice what he says here, v 42: "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown... [as a seed] ...in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body" (vs 42-44). Doesn't tell us how God is going to do that. That's part of the secret of God. But I think of this every time I give a sermon and someone has lived a long, long life. Recently there was a woman who lived to be a 102-years-old, who was in the Church.

Dolores and I when we first went up to Boise, she was the first one we visited and at that time, 45 years ago, she was 57. She had grey hair at that time. At 102 she looked just a little more withered, a little older, but she looked really good. Someone sent us a picture of her just before she had died. When you look at that you think, when this person was young, or any person, was vibrant, was healthy, was strong, all this sort of thing. Then when they get old, they get weak and they get withered, just like it says there in Isa. 40, all flesh is like grass and it's cut down and it withers. Or it's like the flower or it's like a vapor that comes and goes. I think of this every time I have a funeral. They have served their purpose in the fleshly life, now this seed is going to be put into the earth and when they are raised from the dead then they're going to have glory as it's written here.

Verse 44: "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." So your natural body, you want to be guaranteed you're going to have a spiritual body, pound yourself on the chest. You're there? Yes! You have a body? Yes! Sometimes we wish it was different than what it is, but that'll have to wait for the resurrection at which time all of us who have problems with weight will have it solved forever.

The comment was made from Deut. 29:29, 'the secret things belong to the Lord, but that which is revealed we know.' And we know more than they did, but God still has secret things.

However, the spiritual was not first, but the natural, then the spiritual so we cannot be physical bodies possessed of a spirit being. Verse 47: "The first man is of the earth—made of dust. The second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the one made of dust, so also are all those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly one, so also are all those who are heavenly.... [Which takes place when? At the resurrection!] ...And as we have borne the image of the one made of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one…. [Now that's a positive statement, a guarantee.] …Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all fall asleep..." (vs 47-51).

So when he wrote this, he was still expecting Christ to return in his lifetime. You can read the commentary about when that changed and you can read in 1 & 2-Timothy about how then Paul was preparing for the Church to go on for considerable length of time. "...but we shall all be changed. In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (vs 51-52).

Now one other thing we forgot to answer concerning Lazarus. Let's come back here to Matthew 24. When did the angels carry him to God? If you have an immortal soul and you die, you don't need an angel to carry it to God. It's supposed to go zip, right back to God. But if you're resurrected from the dead, you need an angel to take you where? To the Sea of Glass!

Matthew 24:29: "But immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.... [So when He gets down to the clouds what happens? Resurrection takes place!] ...And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other'" (vs 29-31).

In other words, when you are looking at the earth from the perspective of Jesus returning, you're looking down on the earth, the trumpet blows and the angels are sent to bring those who are in the first resurrection up to where Christ is. It's from one end of heaven as you look down on the earth to the other end of heaven. It doesn't mean that they're up in heaven. I hope that answers the question concerning Lazarus and the rich man. Obviously in that parable with the Scriptures that we have covered, it is impossible to have all the time sequence in the one parable. So that's why it's broken up the way that it was.

The comment was made that that was projecting forward. Yes, all of those things were in the future time and in parable. But the lesson was listen to Moses and the prophets. That's the whole lesson that He was saying, because those who follow Judaism do not listen to Moses or the prophets. They listen to their rabbis instead.


Scriptural References:

  • Luke 16:19-31
  • John 3:13
  • 1-Thessalonians 5:23
  • James 2:26
  • 1-Corinthians 2:9-14
  • Ecclesiastes 3:16-22
  • Ecclesiastes 12:7
  • 1-Peter 1:3
  • 1-John 3:9
  • Hebrews 12:22-23
  • Psalm 6:5
  • Psalm 115:17
  • Ecclesiastes 9:1-5
  • Leviticus 17:10-11
  • Isaiah 53:11-12
  • Psalm 16:9-10
  • Philippians 3:20-21
  • 1-Corinthians 15:12-23
  • 1-Thessalonians 4:14-17
  • Revelation 20:4-5
  • Matthew 12:31-32, 36-42
  • Revelation 20:5-6, 11-15
  • Luke 16:22-31
  • 1-Corinthians 15:34-44, 47-52
  • Matthew 24:29-31

Scriptures references, not quoted:

  • Matthew 13
  • Isaiah 28
  • John 19
  • Job 32:8
  • Zechariah 12:1
  • 1-John 5
  • Revelation 2 & 3
  • Ezekiel 18
  • Colossians 1
  • Revelation 1
  • James 1:18
  • Ezekiel 37
  • Matthew 12
  • Isaiah 40
  • Deuteronomy 29:29
  • 1-2 Timothy

Also referenced: Sermon Series:

  • God's Grace & Commandment Keeping
  • Hebrews

FRC:lp
Transcribed: 6-1-10
Formatted: bo—6-3-10

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