(1) Before Jesus’ resurrection, everyone went into the center of the earth when they died. It was separated into two compartments. One was called “Abraham’s bosom,” or “paradise,” while the other was called “hell,” a place of torment (Luke 16:23-28).
(2) In the story about Lazarus and the rich man, the rich man spoke to Abraham from hell, the place of torment. Luke 16:22-26 says,
“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted and thou are tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed.”
(3) There is so much that we can learn from this passage. For one, it makes it clear that in she’owl, or hell, those who were in torment could see those across the gulf. They could hear, thirst, feel pain and sorrow, and even communicate with those in paradise. But the one thing that the people in hell will never be able to do is die.
(4) After the Resurrection, things concerning hell changed. Jesus went to hell, took the keys of hell and death (Rev. 1:18), and set the captives free—those who were in Abraham’s bosom.
Ephesians 4: 9-10 says, “Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.”
(5) After defeating the devil and setting the captives free, Jesus took those in Abraham’s bosom to heaven with Him, where all believers go now. But we will not live in heaven forever. We only live in heaven until the end of the age. Then God is going to make a new heaven and a new earth, and all the believers will live there with Jesus in the new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-4).
After that, hell will no longer be in the center of the earth, but it will be cast into a place that the Bible calls the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14), a place that was prepared for Satan and his angels (Matt. 25:41).
(6) In Matthew 25, we read the story of the nations coming to the Lord on His throne where He divides the sheep from the goats.
In Matthew 25:34, He said to the righteous, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” But to the unrighteous, He said, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41).
(7) Although it was never intended for man, hell is an awful place where those who reject so great a sacrifice will join the devil and his angels for eternity (Rev. 20:10).
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