Sunday, 29 October 2017

Abraham's Bosom

Scripture: Luke 16 v 19 - 24: "There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
 20  And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
 21  And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
 22  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;
 23  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
 24  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."

When Jesus refers to 'a certain rich man' it means that this is a true event, not a parable.  He is teaching us about Abraham's Bosom, also known as Paradise.  It is a compartment of Hell where the righteous dead were housed until the death and resurrection of the Son of God.

Lazarus was a poor beggar who was ignored by this rich man who saw him every day at his gates.  Just because he was poor and covered in sores did not make Lazarus unrighteous.  He was a believer who found himself in Paradise.  The rich man went to Hell for his selfishness and could see Lazarus was in a comfortable place.  He cried out for help but Lazarus could not reach him.

We know that the last person to enter Paradise was Jesus Himself.  Matthew 27 v 50 - 53: "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
 51  And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
 52  And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
 53  And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."

Those verses hold a wealth of information!  We need to back up to where the thief dying on the Cross next to Jesus, to whom Jesus said, This day you will be with Me in Paradise.  This was because the thief had discerned His innocence.

So the forgiven thief gets to Paradise before Jesus and what an announcement he has to make to get the inhabitants ready to meet the Saviour.  After Jesus arrived the whole of Hell must have trembled at the joy and rejoicing of the saints who had patiently waited for His coming.

After Jesus had beaten up the devil and his demons, He rose up on Resurrection Sunday with the saints of Abraham's Bosom following Him.  In Jerusalem, their graves suddenly burst open and these men of renown like David, Moses, Isaiah, Daniel, Jeremiah, Jonah and all the others, were seen walking around the city.

They were just passing through this Earth on their way to Heaven.  Jesus was recognised by Mary Magdalene in John 2 v 15 - 17: "Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
 16  Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
 17  Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."

There is another reference to this event in Ephesians 4 v 8 - 10: "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 
 9  (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
 10  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)"

When Jesus did this quick ascent and return, it was to present the captive saints to our Father and then be back to walk with two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  They did not recognize Him until He broke bread with them.  He vanished again and then appeared to the disciples in Jerusalem.  He was on Earth for forty days until He ascended into Heaven.

The angels who were present told the disciples in Acts 1 v 10 -11: "And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
 11  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, we are longing for the day Your Son returns and takes us home to Heaven.  To live in Your presence with an absence of sin, disease, corruption and death will give us a magnificent existence.  Thank You for loving us, the Body of Jesus, just as You love Him.   Let our love shine forth to light the way for the Lost.  In Jesus' name. Amen.