by Kevin Burton
A distance calculator on my computer desktop tells me how far it is from point A to point B.
This feature is helpful for planning trips.
Today’s post represents a sixth-period geography class at our Earthly School for the Spiritually Blind.
Physical blindness is nothing compared to spiritual blindness as we will see today.
We are half way through our second semester classes at ESSB, headed toward graduation.
The language of afterlife geography speaks to Heaven being above and Hell being below. But there is another factor that is more important: there are no roads between the two destinations.
Here is a parable told by Jesus in Luke 16 about a poor beggar and a rich man and how they fared in the afterlife. We pick it up in verse 22:
“So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abrahm’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”
“Then 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 in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.’”
“‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’”
“Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”
That was Luke 16: 22-31 NKJV). Pay special attention to verse 26 and the “great gulf” that separates Heaven from Hell. There are no interstate highways, no travelling back and forth between the two.
Here is some insight on this parable from www.gotquestions.org;
“First of all, Jesus teaches here that heaven and hell are both real, literal places,” reads the website. “The Bible is clear that every person who has ever lived will spend eternity in either heaven or hell.”
“This story also illustrates that once we cross the eternal horizon, that’s it. There are no more chances. The transition to our eternal state takes place the moment we die (2 Cor. 5:8; Luke 23:43; Phil. 1:23),” the website reads.
“When believers die, they are immediately in the conscious fellowship and joys of heaven. When unbelievers die, they are just as immediately in the conscious pain, suffering, and torment of hell.”
“Notice the rich man didn’t ask for his brothers to pray for his release from some purgatorial middle ground, thereby expediting his journey to heaven. He knew he was in hell, and he knew why. That’s why his requests were merely to be comforted and to have a warning sent to his brothers,” the website reads.
“He knew there was no escape. He was eternally separated from God, and Abraham made it clear to him that there was no hope of ever mitigating his pain, suffering, or sorrow. Those in hell will perfectly recollect missed opportunities and their rejection of the gospel.’
There is also no mention of a soul returning to earth for a do-over. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,” (Heb. 9:27 KJV).
Therein lies the monumental danger of spiritual blindness.
“Perhaps the greatest lesson to learn from this story, then, is that when death comes there is only one thing that matters: our relationship with Jesus Christ. “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36),” the website reads.
Class notes, sixth period, geography: Geography in the afterlife gets real simple, there is Heaven and there is Hell. The Bible teaches that your eternal destination depends entirely on faith in Jesus Christ and accepting God’s great gift of salvation. It also teaches that there are no do-overs once this earthly life ends.
One for the spiritual road: “As one pastor aptly said, “If you board the train of unbelief, you will have to take it all the way to its destination,” the website reads.