Hello everybody and welcome in to episode 199 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Luke 16 today and our focus is on What Happens When We Die? + Where is Abraham’s Bosom? Is it Purgatory? An Illustration of the Last Being First, and the First Being Last . We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Wellington, New Zealand, Victoria, Australia, San Jose, Costa Rica, Telangana, India, Parts unknown, Russia, Parts unknown, Bangladesh, Nova Scotia, Canada, Abuja, Nigeria, Evansville, Indiana and Charleston, South Carolina. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
One stark and sobering reminder here that I need to point out, though we want focus on it:
5 And he told them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly admired by people is revolting in God’s sight. Luke 16:5
Dear Christian, we would do well to remember this truth from Jesus. That which is popular and well liked, and well thought of in the world is REVOLTING or repelling or disgusting to God. His ways are NOT our ways. Trying to be popular with the rich and famous and popular in our world is a recipe for disaster for the Christian, because that which is admired by the popular is revolting to God, and, as Jesus says, we CANNOT serve two masters.
Jesus tells us a remarkably vivid parable in Luke 16 – a rich man, who has no name, and a beggar, who is named Lazarus. (Common name in the first century, not the same Lazarus that was resurrected) In this parable, Lazarus is so poor and destitute that even stray dogs take pity on him and come and lick his sores, says Jesus. Not only was Lazarus poor, but he was also lonely, dejected, hungry, and had a terrible illness that covered his body with sores. The rich man, in heavy contrast, dressed in amazing clothes and feasted lavishly all of the time. Eventually, both men died. What happened when they died? We only have a brief snippet, but this brief snippet, told in a parable, is one of the most detailed descriptions of the immediate after death state we have in the entire Bible:
One day the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.23 And being in torment in Hades, he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off, with Lazarus at his side. Luke 16:22-23
Now, we should probably be careful about drawing too many conclusions about what happens after we die, because this is a parable, after all – a story meant to illustrate a truth – not Jesus telling us about the intermediate state between death and eternal life…but I do find what Jesus said to be quite fascinating. ANGELS come and carry Lazarus to “Abraham’s side.” Wow – two huge questions – do angels carry all of those who are saved after they die? Also, WHAT IN THE WORLD IS ABRAHAM’s SIDE?
Well, let’s read our chapter, and then we can discuss that most mysterious of Bible mysteries!
So – what is Abraham’s side? The Greek word there is kind of odd in that it refers to a part of a garment that we don’t really wear in modern times – a fold in a person’s garment somewhere in the chest area. It seems that Jesus is conveying that those who die in the Lord go to the same place as Abraham is – in Heaven – close beside him – essentially, in his pocket almost. Some have interpreted this to indicate some sort of purgatory, but I don’t think that is what is intended here – for one, Abraham, the hero of the Jewish faith, and one who talked face to face with God, is here in this place, and it doesn’t seem that Abraham would need to spend thousands of years in purgatory. Consider these verses:
6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? 7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. Galatians 3:9
Also: Romans 4: What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
These Scriptures show that Abraham was saved by faith and justified – declared FULLY righteous by faith, and thus destined for heaven. But an earlier passage in Luke is even more clear:
25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. Luke 13:25-28
I think Luke 13 is quite clearly teaching the Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are in Heaven – the kingdom of God – and thus, Abraham’s side is a metaphorical way of speaking of eternity in Heaven. But, if you are still not FULLY convinced, I think Matthew 8 settles it beyond a shadow of a doubt:
10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 8:10-12
Abraham is in the Kingdom of Heaven – HEAVEN – according to Jesus. To be in the folds of Abraham’s garment is to stand right beside him where he is – that is, to be in Heaven.
Bible Memory verses for the month of July: 47 “I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:47-48
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