Luke 16: 22 -26
“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. “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. “And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and 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.’ “But Abraham said, ‘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. ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
People say we don’t know our future.
But is it really true for God’s children?
God controls life, death, curses, and the blessings of men according to the rules of spiritual realm.
From the moment a person is born and until he reaches eternal life to come, the entire life process is strictly run by rules of the spiritual realm.
Therefore, if we understand the will of God and the rules of spiritual realm, we can also predict the future to some extent.
If we understand the law of God written in the Bible, we can also understand when our actions will bring blessings and when what we do will cause us to face disasters.
Above all, we know about our life after death through the word of God. We know about Heaven and Hell, and our goal in life is in the heavenly kingdom.
God the Father did not only let us know about Heaven and Hell.
He opened the way for us to enter into heavenly kingdom, and not fall into Hell. The way is our Lord Jesus Christ.
God urges us on with blessings like that of the seasonally early and late rains.
If we do not let go of the hands of the Lord, He continually leads us to heavenly kingdom.
When you listen to this message, I hope you will feel the love of God the Father who tells us about the spiritual realm and leads us to heavenly kingdom.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will tightly hold on to the hands of the Lord and reach the heavenly kingdom, especially New Jerusalem.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in the last session, we learned about the structure of Heaven and Hell.
Neither Heaven nor Hell is a single space, but they are separated into several different spaces.
And the Grave, in a strict sense, is a separate place from both Heaven and Hell.
Then, why is it necessary to have the Grave that is separate and different from Heaven and Hell?
It’s because Grave serves a specific purpose. The most important use of Grave is that it is a waiting place.
It is a waiting place where those who die on earth wait before they go into actual Heaven or Hell.
Also, the Grave is a place where some persons that cannot go into either Heaven or Hell will stay forever. I will explain about this exceptional case in the next session.
Now let us talk about the Grave as the waiting place.
Throughout the long course of human history there are countless souls who have died after living out their lives on earth. They do not go directly into their houses in Heaven nor are they cast immediately into Hell.
They will go into their heavenly dwelling places or be cast into hell after the final judgment, the Great White Throne Judgment.
Revelation 20:11-13 talks about what John the apostle saw about this Final Judgment.
It says, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.”
At the Final Judgment, each one’s heavenly dwelling place and heavenly rewards, or the punishment in hell will be decided according to each one’s deeds.
Until this Final Judgment takes place, when a man dies, his body will be buried on earth, and his spirit will wait in a waiting place.
But the waiting place is different in the Old Testament times and New Testament times.
More precisely, it’s different between before and after the resurrection and ascension of the Lord.
Those who are not saved will stay in the Lower Grave in both the Old Testament and New Testament times.
Until they fall into the Lake of Fire or Lake of Sulfur in Hell, they will suffer in the Lower Grave like the rich man in today’s reading passage.
But it’s different for those who are saved. In the Old Testament times, they stayed in the Upper Grave, and in the New Testament times, namely, since the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, they wait in the waiting place in Paradise.
Today’s reading passage Luke 16:22 says, “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.”
Here, Lazarus was not at the bosom of the Lord, but that of Abraham.
Lazarus went into the Upper Grave, which is the waiting place for those who died in the time of the Old Testament.
He went to the bosom of Abraham because Abraham, the Father of Faith, was in charge of the Upper Grave.
In the Old Testament times, most of those who received salvation were the sons of Israel, the descendants of Abraham, who believed in God. In case of Gentiles, their salvation was decided through the Judgment of Conscience.
I will also explain about this conscience judgment in the next session.
Spiritually, Abraham is the father of all believers in God, namely the Father of Faith.
Therefore, Abraham was in charge of taking care of the souls who were saved in the Upper Grave.
But after Jesus died on the cross, resurrected, and ascended into heaven, it is a little different.
When people die, they don’t go to the Upper Grave to the bosom of Abraham, but they go to the bosom of the Lord in Paradise.
When Jesus was on the cross, one criminal who was hanging on the cross next to Jesus repented. Then Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Paradise belongs to heaven.
Then, why could people go into the heavenly kingdom only after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension?
Heaven is an eternal dwelling place given to those who believe Jesus Christ as their Savior and have received salvation.
But those who lived in the Old Testament times died before Jesus took the way of the cross.
Thus, they were not saved by believing in Jesus Christ. Their salvation was decided by the standard of the Law or the conscience.
But this should be perfectly clear, that all sinners can be saved and go into the heavenly kingdom only through Jesus Christ.
John 14:6 says, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
Acts 4:12 also says, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Therefore, those who were saved during the Old Testament times had to accept Jesus Christ before they could go into the heavenly kingdom.
Then, when were they able to hear the Gospel and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior?
Jesus preached the Gospel to the souls in the Upper Grave for three days after He died on the cross.
1 Peter 3:18-19 talks about this event.
It says, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison,”
Here, the spirits in prison refer to the spirits in Upper Grave.
While His body was buried for three days, our Lord preached the way of salvation to those spirits who were in the Upper Grave.
Those spirits who were in the Upper Grave believed and accepted Him as the Savior.
Then, as our Lord resurrected and ascended into heaven, all of them went into the kingdom of heaven.
Of course, it doesn’t mean they went into their own dwelling place in heaven.
They went to the waiting place which is located at the outskirts of Paradise.
In John 14:2 Jesus says, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”
As said, after His resurrection and ascension our Lord has been preparing dwelling places for each one of the heavenly citizens.
The kingdom of heaven is being prepared under the supervision of the Lord.
Now do you understand why Grave has to exist?
We should understand that spiritual realm is being operated and run through strict justice and order.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, among those who died on earth, those who are saved now will go into the waiting place in Paradise.
But they do not go to this place of Paradise directly.
They stay in the Upper Grave for 3 days and then go into paradise. Why is it so? Many times in movies, we see the scenes in which a person dies.
The spirit that looks exactly same as the body comes out of the body and goes to the other world following angels or messengers of hell.
The reality is very similar. When a person dies, his spirit comes out of his body.
And to those who are saved, two angels are sent and will escort them to guide them to the Upper Grave.
For those who are not saved, messengers of Hell will come and take them to the Lower Grave.
The spiritual realm is vast. It is impossible for a person who used to live in the physical world to go to Heaven or Hell by himself.
Just imagine. How awkward it would be if the spirit has just come out of the body! It will be very different from the time when he was in the physical body. As he doesn’t feel any weight, he will feel like flying.
The spiritual realm, which has completely different sensations than the physical world, is being unfolded before him.
He is going through such a tremendous change in a moment. Everything is awkward.
Thus, he needs some time to adapt himself to the spiritual world and gain the basic spiritual knowledge.
For this reason they stay in the Upper Grave for 3 days.
After the 3 days, they will be transferred to the waiting place in Paradise and wait there until the Lord comes back in the air and the 7-Year Wedding Banquet is held.
Then, what do they do in the waiting place in Paradise?
Does ‘waiting’ mean just boring waiting and passing of time? Brothers and sisters, the spiritual world is not such a vague and obscure place! It is very real and practical world.
Those who wait there will learn many spiritual things from the prophets.
They will learn about God, the heavenly kingdom, and the spiritual laws.
They will learn about this endless spiritual realm. There will be no end to this learning.
Upon hearing this, some may say, “Do we have to study in heaven also? I hate studying!”
But gaining spiritual knowledge is by no means difficult or boring. But rather, it is so exciting, wondrous, and fun that the more we learn, the more spirit-filled our heart will be.
Those who clearly communicate with God can learn many spiritual things from God even on this earth. Of course, to have such a communication with God one must have very clean and gentle heart.
If we learn and understand the things about the spiritual realm, we will be filled with joy that cannot be compared with anything of this world.
Some of you can see the spiritual realm with your spiritual eyes that have been opened. You see the spiritual beings such as angels and the beauty of heavenly kingdom directly.
Also, you realize the spiritual things through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. By understanding the rules of the spiritual realm, you can experience the power of God that belongs to spirit.
If we understand the rules of faith and rules to receive answers and act according to them, we can receive great blessings and answers to prayers.
We can experience the impossible becoming possible. For example, your business may expand in economic recession. Or in this world full of accidents, all family members are healthy and are safely kept.
Even in a situation in which all people say it’s difficult, you can rejoice and give thanks.
Likewise, if we understand spiritual things even on earth, we will be full of the Spirit and happiness.
And how much more joyful and how much happier we will be when we learn the deep spiritual things in heaven?
We will have great emotion every time we understand the wondrous and mysterious providence of God.
Because all the questions that we have because of the physical limits will be solved, we will feel very refreshed.
Brothers and sisters, if we preach that there is a Heaven and a Hell, some people have a question.
They doubt what kind of place can accommodate countless people who have been born in the course of human history. But we don’t have to worry about such a thing.
We can have the answer just by thinking about the universe.
The solar system to which the earth belongs is only like a dot in this galaxy.
But this galaxy is also like a dot in the whole universe.
We cannot understand the limit of even this physical universe with human brain.
And how would it be for heavenly kingdom, the spiritual realm?
Even Paradise alone is such a vast area that men cannot even begin to imagine it.
Even in Paradise, the central part and the outskirts are so far away from each other. So, nobody should worry about having insufficient space in the waiting place of heaven.
Then, those who are not saved, how would they wait in the Lower Grave? I will talk about this in detail later in this series.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, I talked to you about the reason why Grave has to exist.
It has one function as a waiting place; it is a place where people go before entering into actual Heaven or into Hell.
The waiting place for those who are saved was changed in the New Testament.
It was changed from the Upper Grave to a place on the outskirts of Paradise.
It’s because our Lord opened wide the way to the heavenly kingdom by His resurrection and ascension into Heaven.
Through this, we can find that the only way to heavenly kingdom is our Lord. But then, those who had no chance to hear about God or the Lord before they died, do they have to just go to Hell?
It cannot be so. God is a just God.
Justice is made to save even one more person after all, and justice is the love of God.
If you listen to the message in the next session, you will have the answer to this question.
I hope you will pray about this message and gain power through the word.
I hope you will experience the love of God who gives us prosperity in our spirit and body by teaching us about the spiritual realm.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will take one more step towards New Jerusalem.