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Why did the rich man go to hell? Or, better yet, is the story in Luke 16:19-31 a parable or a true event? Still again, is there really a hell? Let’s begin with hell. Hell is mentioned in Deuteronomy 32:22, II Samuel 22:6, Job 11:8 and 26:6, Psalm 9:17, and so on. Altogether, there are 54 references using the word hell throughout the Bible and ending in Revelation. If the Bible is believed to be true, then hell must, by the same token, be accepted as a real place.
Now, is the story a true event or a parable? The famous Albert Sweitzer believed it a parable and used it to contrast the wealth of Europe with the poverty of Africa. Others believe it may be a true event since Jesus was dealing with the Pharisees at this time. He may have used the name Lazarus because it may have been someone they were familiar with. They may have even known the rich man with five brothers. At any rate, it’s a good story of what happens to those who are like the rich man. And, according to the story, once in hell there is no chance to cross over from either heaven or hell.
Why did the rich man go to hell? Abraham spells it out. It wasn’t because of the wealth he had. It wasn’t because of the all the good things that he had. It was because he ignored the beggar he knew by name and had most certainly seen him on numerous occasions. He saw the condition Lazarus was in; and while it was in his power to do something about it, he did nothing. It’s plain that the rich man was in agony and wanted to warn his brothers, which he remembered. What’s not clear was whether Lazarus saw the rich man. It seems as though he didn’t. Maybe those in hell are aware of those who are in heaven but the reverse is not true. That’s a scary thought for hell dwellers.
Copies of the sermon are always available and we would love to send you a CD of it. They are free. Call (417) 543-6219 to get a copy. However, if you would rather just pick one up, they are available at Strong’s Watch Shop in Barnes Shopping Center, Ava.