There is always an interest in what happens when we close our eyes in death.  Most cultures hope there is life beyond the grave.  Christianity alone (John 14:6) gives substance to this universal hope.  Man (is it really necessary to add, and woman?) tends to imagine what it would be like.  Or should we say, imagines what he would like it to be like?

The clearest peek we have in the Bible is given by Jesus and found in the book of Luke (Luke 16:19-31).  It is a look that is fraught with controversy!  Religious "materialists" and others reject it, calling it a "parable," and thus does not count a valid source of doctrine.  They forget however that Jesus parables are scenes from every day life. Without dealing with that issue, let us take a look at what is pictured to us by God's son.

Jesus having, in context, (Luke 16:1ff) been teaching on the problems of being rich and being a faithful servant of God tells about the death of two men, one rich and the other poor.  The rich man ends up in a place of torment while the poor man (named Lazarus) ends up in Abraham's bosom.  The point by Christ is clear, our status in this life can and in some cases will be reversed in the next life.

The following are facts Christ revealed about the condition of men after they die: Note: The situation in Luke 16 takes place between death and the judgment in as much as the rich man still had five brethren still on earth (Luke 16:27-28).

1. The dead souls or spirits are conscious and aware of their present condition.  The rich man and Abraham carried on a conversation.

2. We will, contrary to what some teach, recognize one another after death.  The rich man recognized both Lazarus and Abraham, and vice versa.

3. We will know whether we are saved or lost - I know, it is before the final judgment day (I make it a principle not to argue with the Scriptures). The rich man was tormented in the flames and Lazarus was in Abraham's bosom.

4. We are aware that the "dead know not anything" (Ecclesiastes 9:5).  However the context of the chapter (verses 3, 6, 9, 11, and 13) has to do with what is happening on the earth or "under the sun."  The truth is that this is the same context for the entire book.  Oh well, so much for "the window in the floor of heaven," or our loved ones rolling over in their graves

Dale I. Royal
Elk City OK

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

"There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:" "And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores," And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. "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 lift 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 art tormented." "And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence." "Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:" "For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment." "Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." "And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent." "And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."

"And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods."

"Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:" "For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment."

"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten."