Rich Man and Lazarus-Luke 16:19-31

Rich Man and Lazarus-Luke 16:19-31

This idea of hell is getting less and less acceptable to people today. Although many religions have some kind of punishment system for faithful followers, Christianity offers a clear presentation of this truth. Critics of the Bible look at the story of the rich man and Lazarus as an illustration or parable, but not literal. However, no true Christian can use the Bible as a smorgasbord of choices. We must take it all. Is punishment rational? In our world, yes it is. Governments have laws and there are consequences if you break them. Companies have rules and if you break them, you will be dismissed from your job. God has a plan to destroy the devil and demons. Is it so inconceivable to think that God would not punish evil? Heb. 9:27 “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment…” Biblical words for hell-“Sheol” in OT mentioned 31x as hell, 31x as grave and 3x as pit. Isaiah 14:9, 11, 15 all speak of “hell” as the grave. NT word “hades” is found in Rev. 20:13. Here is the narrative of the rich man in “hades” v. 23 “hell.” The other word is “Gehenna” (valley of Hinnon) this was a garbage dump that burned constantly. Used 12x in the NT translated as “hell” (3 of them as “hell fire” and 11 of the 12 references are from Jesus). Matt. 5:22, 29, 30 and 23:23, Matt. 13:40-42 “furnace of fire,” Matt. 18:8-9 “everlasting fire.” If you reject the teaching of Jesus on Hell, you must reject everything else. The name “Lazarus” means God is my help.


Circumstances: one rich, the other poor; one clothed well, the other a beggar; one well fed, the other ate crumbs; one in health, one with sores; one with a luxurious house, the other living at a gate.

Spirituality: one believed his wealth was a sign of God’s favor, the other was contented in his poverty and his future; one loved his earthly possessions, the other looked for treasure in heaven; one was selfish, the other not.

Destiny: one in heaven and one is hell; one tormented and one comforted; one with Abraham and the other not. v. 23 “tormented” can be sometimes translated grief or sorrow v. 24-“fire” means a blaze.


Their mortality-Both men died-“the beggar died,” then it is added, “the rich man also died.”

Their accountability to God-Angels carried Lazarus to Abraham’s side (paradise), the rich man went to the pit.

They both think they are believers. “He saw Abraham far away” (the rich man remembered his sins)

They both remember. v.25 “Son, remember…” People forget their sins but God remembers and reminds them.


It is irreversible. v. 26 “a great chasm has been fixed” (torment and agony compared to comfort) v. 26chasm” (gr. chasma)  is an impassable vacancy or gulf and fixed (sterizo) means established or confirmed.

It is eternal. v. 27-31 No answers to prayer, no family help, no more prophets, no miraculous signs (the dead don’t preach).

Life lessons

1.  Earthly possessions are no proof of Divine favor.

2.  The occupants of hell will remember their sins.

3.  There is no grace in hell.

Peter heard this sermon from Jesus. Notice his words in 2 Peter 3:11-13  


*If there is no hell, there is no punishment for sin.

If there is no sin, there is no need for the cross.

If there is no need for the cross, there is no Savior.

If there is no Savior, there is no heaven.

If there is no heaven, there is no hope.


*This first line is a quote by Sheen, Fulton John. Communism and the Conscience of the West . Bobbs-Merril Company, Indianapolis, 1948, pp. 24-25.

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