Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Scriptural Decisions Made on Earth

In recent years, there has been a series of accounts of people who have been pronounced dead and sometime later came back to life. They then told what they saw and experienced during the thirty minutes when they were dead. Most of the accounts said that they had pleasant experiences. Some of those later said they had lied. It is not my purpose to verify or refute these stories.

The Bible tells the stories of two men, both of them named Lazarus. Lazarus #1 had been dead four days, wrapped in grave clothes and buried. There is no written account of his experience during those four days. The point of the story is Jesus’ own resurrection. “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.’” (John 11:25)

Lazarus #2 does not come back to life. Jesus tells us of a conversation Abraham had with a rich man after the rich man and Lazarus both died. The rich man wanted Lazarus to go back to earth. Here is the story:

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” (Luke 16:19-31)

This is not a parable. It is a true story in real time told by the only one who could tell it, the Lord Jesus.

This story tells us of two places, one pleasant, and the other unpleasant (understatement). The moral of the story is that decisions are made an earth, and the answer is in the Scriptures.

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