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.’ Luke 16:26
There’s a saying “to hell and back.” No one has made this journey except perhaps the Lord himself. In the time between his death and resurrection, 1 Peter 3:19-20 seems to indicate his living spirit paid a visit to demons confined to hell to pronounce his victory over evil and death.
19 In which He also went and made proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20 who once were disobedient when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.
In this account, the days of Noah are relevant in understanding the point of Matthew 16:19-31, the story of the rich man and Lazarus; there are “no returns.”
Peter reminds us only eight persons were saved from the Great Flood when the door of the Ark slammed shut. To rest in the bosom of Abraham you must believe while you still have breath!
Jesus tells of the horrible reality of dying without having trusted him in your lifetime. There’s a wide chasm fixed between the rich man and Lazarus. Both men are very much alive as they respectively endure agony and ecstasy. No deal can be struck for a drop of water to sooth the tongue, or even to get a message of warning out to loved ones.
We also know that the rich man’s agony is unrelenting and severe. We know that it is experienced in full consciousness and to the Nth degree. We know that his regret is just as persistent. There will never be a second in all of eternity that he will not think back to when there was an opportunity to exit the road to perdition.
On the other side Lazarus rests comfortably in Abraham’s bosom, a picture of what it means to be safe and sound. There is no way to venture over to the other side and no desire to. As unyielding is the rich man’s pain, is Lazarus’ sweet comfort.
While Jesus did not seem to plead with his audiences, when the consequences of unbelief are contemplated in the context of irrevocable damnation, we should be concluding our gospel presentations with, “I’m begging you, please!”
An answer “no” or “not yet” should be horrifying to those who know the truth. As one continues to walk away, the chasm only grows wider.
For He says,“At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation.”2 Corinthians 6:2