“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers —so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” Luke 16:19-31
What happens when we die? This is a question for the ages and how one answer it will impact how they live. If this life is all there is then we need to make decisions that will increase our happiness, live life to the fullest and do whatever makes us feel good. If something exists after death then we need to live life with an eye on that time after we die. Human beliefs on life, death and what happens next run the gamut from the Christian concept of heaven to the atheist’s view that we simply cease to exist.
One concept I find very interesting is the Jehovah’s Witness belief that when we die not only does our body die, but our soul also dies. Nothing about us survives death. For them the resurrection is a complete recreation of the individual by God. So one dies, they cease to exist and then the true believer is recreated by God to either live in heaven, the 144,000, or to live eternally on earth. During the time between death and resurrection a person will have no consciousness.
What does Jesus say? We can find it in this parable. Both Lazarus and the rich man are conscious and aware of what is going on around them. The rich man is tormented by the decisions he made in life, while Lazarus is comforted for the decisions he made. Both are fully aware of what happens to them and why it happened.
We have our lives to make one decision, where we want to spend eternity. We can decide we want to spend it with God or we can decide we want to spend it separated from God. God will honor our decision whichever one we make. He will not force Himself on us.
We must choose wisely,
Have a blessed day,