Not Everything in Hell is Bad
“Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.” – Luke 16:22
Hell is a very unpopular theological topic. Many denominations find the subject rather uncomfortable, and motivated by political correctness, seem to avoid it as often as possible. Sadly, the last century and a half of Church history has been marked by a handful of denominations that have all but abandoned the doctrine of Hell. But our Lord Jesus never skirted the issue, and He never functioned under the banner of political correctness. Actually, He said more about Hell than He did heaven. One passage providing a great amount of detail about the reality of hell is the story Jesus told about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16. Interestingly, it is in this passage we find out that not everything in Hell is bad.
The people in Hell will have good senses. For instance, their eyesight is strong. Luke 16:23 says, “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.” The rich man was able to see a far distance. Also, those residing in Hell have active taste buds. Luke 16:24 says “Send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.” The Rich man yearned for the cooling sensation that even a drop of water might provide. This is not to suggest that relief is ever provided to those suffering in Hell; for Hell is a place of eternal torment. But it does show us that the senses of those in Hell have not been lessened or numbed in any way.
The people in Hell will have good voices. Luke 16:24 says that the rich man cried out “Father Abraham, have mercy on me.’” He demonstrated strong vocal cords by raising his voice. Oh how the sounds of yelling, screaming, weeping and crying will all be a part of the musical score echoing though the hallways of Hell!
The people in Hell will have good minds. In Luke 16:25 Abraham said to the rich man, “Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.” The rich man was able to flip through the rolodex of his mind and remember specific life moments. This means Hell’s residents will be haunted by the memories of each time they rejected the truth of Jesus Christ.
The people in Hell will have good theology. In Luke 16:26-27 the rich man said, “Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house. For I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” Even though the rich man was in Hell, he had the proper perspective on eternal matters. He finally had sound theology, only to have it too late. It has been said that no one in Hell is an atheist. Why? Because everyone has come to the realization that Jesus Christ truly is the Son of God. Sadly, they made their acknowledgement on the wrong side of eternity.
Some have suggested the story of the rich man and Lazarus is a parable not intended to be taken literally. But this is highly unlikely. Parables have always been described as earthly stories with heavenly meanings, and the parable was one of Jesus’ favorite teaching methods. Whenever He told a parable, He used generic language like “a certain man” instead of proper names. However, Luke 16 contains the proper names Abraham and Lazarus. If the rich man and Lazarus is a parable, it would be the first and only time Jesus used proper names in telling a parable. These proper names point to the event as literal.
I pray this list on the good things in hell have given you a new perspective on the realities of Hell, and that it sparks a sense of evangelistic urgency in your heart.
– Pastor Eric