Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Rich Man, Lazarus and a Gentleman

Greetings To All in the Name of Jesus;
Below you will find a writing about my life and the wonderful Dad that I had and the vision that I had while praying for him. I told my vision to this friend and then with my permission he wrote about it. I would like to share it with you all, and pray for God's mercy on those of us who still have parents and their destiny is not sealed.


Anybody that reads the Bible will not be able to avoid the subjects of Heaven or Hell. There is a lot of natural avoidance and tangents regarding these subjects. The average person usually ends up being deceived because the Bible says " because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matthew 7:14. They probably are not even aware that it is happening. Our eternity is so much more important than our life. Our life is like a vapor in comparison to eternity. We are here and then we are gone. Since we are so close to the return of Jesus Christ this is an invaluable subject to talk about. The rich man, the poor man ( Lazarus) and the gentleman all died and went into eternity. The question is where did they go and why? The gentleman is not a character that came out of the Bible. He was a real human being. He told his children he would never leave them nor forsake them. He was very sincere in what he said and he truly gave his children a real sense of security. Jesus said this to His children in the very last verse in Matthew. He told His children that your problems are My problems and He meant it. Peter said in 1 Peter 5:7 " casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you." I personally believe on a scale of one to one hundred the gentleman was probably a ninety nine when it came to possessing Christ-like character qualities about himself; however, I don't believe he is in Heaven right now. As this article enfolds you will see why this man never accepted Jesus into his heart as his personal Savior. Of course I'm going to explain myself. I can't just make a huge statement like this without going over the subtle details on how this happened.
If you will notice I am choosing a person on one extreme ( the rich man) and another person on the other side of the fence in life ( the gentleman) but there are also many people in the middle area that reject Jesus Christ. Many don't even realize they are rejecting Him but they have ( in a subtle way) and I fear they will find out too late. They unfortunately will die and be eternally separated from God forever. It might be a good idea if you let me walk through these stories with you and explain to you some things that most people really don't understand.
If a person only tells the good side of a story they probably left out the other part of the picture. It is a travesty not to accept the love of God into your heart. It is almost as if many people are saying " I will do anything but that." Let me give you some examples. I was just talking to a guy the other day and he just started to do some evangelism. He told me when a question like " if you were to die and God were to ask you why I should allow you into My Kingdom, what would you say?" He said that over ninety five percent of the people responded something like " I believe in God", " because I am a good person", " I follow the Golden Rule", " I never hurt anybody", "I am a good family man", or " I go to church." These responses are conditional statements that are merit ( works) oriented such as " I go to church." The Bible says " for by Grace are you saved by faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) not of works, lest any man should boast." Eph. 2: 8,9. I don't want to be taken wrong and I'm sure there is a better way to say this but let's just say somebody asked you why you love you wife or husband. What if you said " well I take out the trash", " I sometimes take out the garbage", " " most of the time I do my fair share in walking the dog", " I do a lot of the cooking", " I clean the cabinets once a month." None of these responses are getting to the heart of the matter. The Bible says it is about entering into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. John 3:16, Titus 3:5, Acts 16:31, Roman 10:9,10, Eph. 2: 8,9, Acts 2:21, John 6:37. Of course there are more verses. We cannot contribute to our own salvation, but people want to believe in their hearts that they can. This is pride and any time the ego is involved man gets the glory. God deserves the glory through His Son, Jesus Christ. Salvation is by faith thought the finished work of Jesus Christ plus nothing. When people start throwing in all these additives they are missing the point. God loves you, He sent His Son to die for you and a person's responsibility is to accept Jesus into their very own heart. All these actions will be done in vain apart from Jesus Christ.
Let me just talk about the rich man and Lazarus briefly because I know you will get the main idea shortly. It is found in Luke 16: 19-31. Jesus mentions five things in about five seconds regarding the rich man in verse 19. He was (1) rich, (2) clothed in purple, (3) fine linen, (4) fared sumptuously, (5) not just one day but every day. By the way the color purple seems to represent the wicked on Earth trying to build their own kingdom down here on this planet. It's interesting that Jesus mentioned what color he was wearing. This color ( purple) seemed to be an everyday thing for the rich man. In verse 20 Lazarus was (1) a beggar, (2) he was laid at the rich man's gate, (3) he was full of sores. Lazarus was not just a poor man, he did not even have one cent to his name. We might not have too many problems in comparison to what Lazarus went through. In verse 21 I would first like to highlight what the number 21 in Scripture means-exceeding sinfulness of sin. From Egypt to Jordan, Israel had 21 bad sins. In 2 Timothy 3: 2-5 Paul lists 21 things that people would be doing right before Jesus Christ comes and they are all bad. If you decide to read those verses you will see that we are certainly close to the return of Jesus Christ. Lazarus had to wait for the crumbs to fall from the rich man's table to eat and on top of that the dogs licked his sores. You would think that at the very least the rich man would cut ten percent of his sandwich and give it to Lazarus. The truth of the matter is the rich man had the resources to feed Lazarus three square meals a day. In essence Jesus was calling this exceedingly wicked. I almost get the impression the rich man relished in Lazarus's suffering. In verse 22 both died but I find it interesting that the Bible gives Lazarus the grandstand ovation..." and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom." Then notice it says..." the rich man also died, and was buried." I believe in verse 23 he immediately saw Abraham ( the Patriarch of the Old Testament believers) and Lazarus. In verse 24 the Bible says he cried for mercy but he was not willing to give it on Earth. At this point he became responsible and accountable for his words and actions. The rich man must have seen Lazarus to be a strong man of character because he requested him to do two errands for him. The first was about water because his tongue was hot. The second request-Lazarus was to go to his father's house and tell his brothers about this horrible place. This was because he felt guilty. It was not because he truly loved God. On the first point Abraham said Lazarus was tormented and now he is comforted. On Earth you were comforted and now you are tormented. It is amazing how the tables turned. The second request was Lazarus was to go to his father's house and be a witness. You know I'm just thinking about this request, don't you think that would have really spooked his five brothers out to see some spirit walk through a wall to be a testimony to this place called Sheol ( Old Testament term) and Hades ( New Testament term). Abraham had to correct him on his false theology by saying..." if they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rise from the dead." Luke 16:31. The rich man at the Great White Throne Judgment ( which takes place after the one thousand year millennial reign of Jesus Christ) will be judged for all of his sins and be transferred to the Lake of Fire ( Gehenna the New Testament Greek word) to the final penitentiary and he will spend eternity in this place according the Bible. Are you starting to get an idea how important this is to accept God's Grace and mercy in His Son, Jesus Christ while you are still living in this life?
Let's talk about the gentleman because this man is on the other extreme. He had natural children and he adopted a step daughter. Like I said he made statements like " I will never leave you nor forsake you", or " your problems are my problems." He worked extremely hard in a blue collar job and if he knew his children needed something he would work overtime even if he was exhausted. In the morning when they ( daughters) were waitresses he would go to the restaurant and order extra eggs, bacon, and toast and insist that his daughters take a break and eat together so they could talk and catch up. This man set such a good tone that there was never any fights in the home and everybody loved each other. He truly had unconditional love for his family. The man could have wrote a Christian book about loving your family but it is still not clear to this day if he knew these were Biblical principles that he was teaching. The story takes a little bit of a turn. The step daughter was hospitalized and on her death bed. She was an adult at this time. A short time prior to this she accepted Jesus Christ into her heart as her personal Savior. She was faithfully serving Jesus Christ and even converted her sisters. As his daughter was lying on her death bed ( by the way the Lord preserved her life ) he said " how could God do this when my daughter is serving You so faithfully" ( anger). He had such love for his daughter that he would have gladly taken her place. That is something Jesus did for us at the Cross. This all sounds great but a long time prior to this some bad seeds of religion were sown in his heart and he was very taken back by what he saw. I wonder what he observed. This is still unknown to this day. Whatever you do don't let bad religious seeds keep you out of Heaven. God is so much higher than man. It makes you think, we as representatives for Jesus Christ should be radiating the presence of our Savior and living it. At this point he made a decision to have nothing to do with Jesus Christ. He put a reserve sign up in that area for his own salvation and I believe Jesus Christ being the perfect Gentleman that He is respected that reserve sign. I don't believe God will force a person's will. On the other hand he made a decision to live a moral and ethical life. In fact he was mugged in an alley and these robbers not only stole all of his money but they beat him senseless. The irony is the man would have given them every last cent he had with integrity and joy. Let me just go back to the hospital room where his daughter was suffering. She must have witnessed to her step father several times but he just was not interested. She prayed for the man fervently and a couple of hours after she was released from the hospital ( a miracle from God) her Lord, Jesus Christ decided to give her a vision. I have never known this particular woman to lie to me but you make up your mind as to whether you want to believe this. Her description was very vivid. In this vision she was taken to the Great White Throne Judgment and she saw in her opinion all the saved Saints behind Jesus Christ. She made it very clear that this was a legal proceeding, a courtroom as it were. The Great White Throne is a judgment for sinners who rejected Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. In one way or another they said stay out of my life, stay out of my way to Jesus Christ. She was summoned by Jesus Christ Himself along with her sister to stand beside him ( Jesus Christ). Her step father was summoned to come forward. Remember he chose law over the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ so now the legal proceedings for Gehenna ( the Lake of Fire) are beginning. Jesus put her arms around her two sisters and turned to the step father and asked " why did you not listen to your daughters" with tears in His eyes. In this vision he (the step father) gave the most amazing response and I will never forget this as long as I live. He said " I followed the Golden Rule." After one thousand plus years he still did not get it and there was no sign that he wanted Jesus Christ in his life. In the middle of April when I wrote a Left Behind article I had to point out that when anyone dies and goes to Hell they enter into a Christ-less eternity with a fixed character away from God. The step daughter saw the Lake of Fire behind her step father. Jesus said..." I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:23. He pointed to the Lake of Fire and then turned the daughters away from this ( they were not allowed to watch) and at that moment they did not feel their own pain, they felt Christ's pain and she said it was sheer agony. Jesus desires all men to be Saved. He weeps over one sinner going to Hell. Can you imagine the love that Jesus Christ has as He goes through this process with every sinner that gets consigned to the Lake of Fire? We will never be able to comprehend His love, but don't put a reserve sign up for Him to come into your heart and life because He will honor your request.
Hell is a very real place. Among other things it is a sad place and there is no joy. I remember a story when a rebellious teenager kept saying no to Christ when her parents kept trying to share the love of Jesus Christ with their own daughter. When she was about seventeen to twenty years of age ( right around that area) she was on her death bed and her parents tried one more time and she responded " don't even bother Mom-Dad I'm gong to Hell", and I believe she did go. I want to note two things I must say (1) I don't know if I wrote down every jot and title of the vision the step daughter had and (2) of course her identity is going to be kept secret.
God has infinite love for you. Jesus Christ took the judgment of sin at the Cross so you would not have to go to this horrible place. Think about listening to what I wrote and give yourself an honest investigation and see for sure if you truly made that all important decision in accepting Jesus Christ into your heart today. Don't tarry another minute without making sure your sins are forgiven through the Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
A simple prayer such as " Dear Jesus I know I have sinned and I know that you died on the Cross for me and rose from the dead on the third day to conquer sin and death. Please come into my heart as my very own personal Savior and guide my life so I can spend eternity with You."
With All Kindness and Love
Bob D.

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