Luke 16:19-31 (Continued)
Another valuable insight we get from this story that Jesus tells is that there is an afterlife and that people are still conscious and aware of both their present condition and their past. Notice that Abraham and the good people are in “Hades” with the bad people. That’s another common misunderstanding about Hades. Hades is just a waiting place. It isn’t a final destination. For the “Saints” in the Old Testament like Abraham, it was temporary until Jesus raised from the dead.
Notice that Hades used to be divided into two parts. In one part there were good people waiting to be taken out and there was another part that contained unsaved people who were in torment and waiting for their future place of permanent torment. On the bad side of Hades there was fire and no water. On the good side there, evidentially was plenty of water. This passage tells us that there was a great gulf that separated the two sides of Hades. I am guessing that Jesus is using physical similarities to the spiritual realities here for without bodies, we would only be spirits.
It is my understanding that Jesus called all of those saints out of the good side of Hades when He resurrected and that they now live with Him in Heaven. That is why now, we don’t talk about dying and going to “Father Abraham’s bosom.” We talk about going to be with Jesus in Heaven. The bad side of Hades, however, is all that is now left, which explains why we think of it today as we do. It is now only a place of torment. Notice what it said in Matthew about the moment when Jesus died:
Matthew 27:50-53 :
Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit. Behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, they entered into the holy city and appeared to many.
“Saints who had fallen asleep” which means “who died” were actually seen walking around after Jesus resurrected! How did they come back? It is reasonable to me that they were leaving Hades and on their way to Heaven with the one who paid the price for them to be free. Evidentially, some were given their bodies and they stopped by to say “Hello” on the way. The price that Jesus paid to free these saints has already been paid for us, so for us, there is no waiting, just Heaven.
So, Hades, even though it is a spiritual reality, is still a reality. There is a conscious afterlife and we are all going to see it for ourselves. The question is, are we prepared? To be continued…