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What Is The Condition Of The Wicked?

Life after Death  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  50:40
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Scripture speaks of those who die lost in their sin (the wicked) are in hades; in torment; separated from God; and conscious.

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INTRODUCTION
1. So far in this series, we have concentrated our attention upon...
a. The "intermediate state" of man between death and the resurrection
b. In particular, the temporary state of the departed righteous
2. Stated briefly, I have tried to show that upon death the souls of the righteous:
a. Are in Paradise, which since the ascension of Christ is in Heaven with Jesus and the Father
b. That they are conscious in this state of "bliss", and recognize one another
3. A passage which I understand to beautifully describe this "intermediate state" of the righteous after death is Re 7:9-17
Revelation 7:9–17 ESV
9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” 13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
4. In this lesson, I wish to address the following question: "What is the condition of the departed wicked?"
5. Once again, we are considering at this time only the "intermediate state" between death and the resurrection
[The Bible reveals several thing about the condition of the departed spirits of the wicked. For example, they are...]

I. ALIVE AND CONSCIOUS

A. AS SUGGESTED BY THE STORY OF THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS...
1. Recorded in Lk 16:19-31
2. Even if this story is a "parable" (which I doubt), like all parables it is "true to life", not based upon fantasy
3. The reference to "Moses and the prophets" (31) makes it clear the time frame of the story is set while the Law of Moses was still in effect, so this is a description of the "intermediate state"
Luke 16:31 ESV
31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ ”
B. FROM THIS ACCOUNT, WE LEARN THAT THE WICKED...
1. Do not cease to exist ("he lifted up his eyes and saw") - 23
Luke 16:23 ESV
23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
2. Are aware of where they are, and what is going on around them ("I am tormented in this flame") - 24b
3. Recognize others ("Father Abraham...send Lazarus...") - 24a
Luke 16:24 ESV
24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’
4. Remember those who have yet to follow them in death ("for I have five brothers") - 28a
Luke 16:28 ESV
28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’
[Not only alive and conscious, but as already hinted at, they are...]

II. IN TORMENT

A. AS EMPHASIZED FOUR TIMES IN THE STORY OF THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS...
1. "being in torments" - Lk 16:23a
Luke 16:23 ESV
23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
2. "I am tormented in this flame" - Lk 16:24c
Luke 16:24 ESV
24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’
3. "and you are tormented" - Lk 16:25c
Luke 16:25 ESV
25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.
4. "lest they also come to this place of torment" - Lk 16:28b
Luke 16:28 ESV
28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’
B. AS REVEALED BY PETER...
1. The Lord knows how to "reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment" - 2 Pe 2:9
2 Peter 2:9 ESV
9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,
2. According to Robertson's Word Pictures, the Greek word for "under punishment" (kolazomenous) is a present passive participle; the present tense emphasizes continuity of the punishment
3. Note that the wicked are reserved under punishment "for" the day of judgment, so the punishment is something going on prior to the Judgment itself
[Where is this "torment" or punishment taking place? As revealed in the Scriptures, the wicked dead are...]

III.IN HADES

A. THE ORIGIN OF THE WORD "HADES" IS UNCERTAIN...
1. Either from Idein (seen) with a negative prefix A-, meaning "the unseen, invisible"
2. Or from Aianes, meaning "gloomy, gruesome"
B. IN THE SEPTUAGINT VERSION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT...
1. It is used to translate the Hebrew word, Sheol
2. Depending upon the context, "sheol" (hades) may mean...
a. Simply an unseen place
1) As in Jonah 2:2
Jonah 2:2 ESV
2 saying, “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.
2) Where it refers to the belly of the great fish
b. The grave - Gen 42:38; 44:29,31; Job 17:13; Psa 16:10
Genesis 42:38 ESV
38 But he said, “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he is the only one left. If harm should happen to him on the journey that you are to make, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.”
Genesis 44:29 ESV
29 If you take this one also from me, and harm happens to him, you will bring down my gray hairs in evil to Sheol.’
Genesis 44:31 ESV
31 as soon as he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die, and your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol.
Job 17:13 ESV
13 If I hope for Sheol as my house, if I make my bed in darkness,
Psalm 16:10 ESV
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
c. The realm of the dead (but not the tomb), where both good and bad people go upon death
1) Gen 37:35 - How could Jacob hope to go down "into the grave" to his son (even though that is how the NKJV translates "sheol") when he thought his son had been eaten by animals? This makes me think Jacob had in mind the "realm of the dead", not the tomb
Genesis 37:35 ESV
35 All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.
2) Psa 55:15; Pro 9:18; Isa 14:9-11 - These passages speak of the wicked
Psalm 55:15 ESV
15 Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart.
Proverbs 9:18 ESV
18 But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
Isaiah 14:9–11 ESV
9 Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations. 10 All of them will answer and say to you: ‘You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!’ 11 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers.
C. IN CLASSICAL GREEK...
1. Homer used the word as a proper name for the "god of the underworld"
2. In other literature, it stood for "the underworld" as the abode of all the dead
a. Which was divided into two parts (similar to Luke 16)
b. These two parts were:
1) The "Elysian fields", the abode of the good
2) "Tartarus", the place of punishment for the wicked
D. IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, "HADES" IS FOUND ONLY ELEVEN TIMES...
1. Ten times it is translated "hell" or "hades" (Mt 11:23; 16:18; Lk 10:15; 16:23; Ac 2:27, 31; Rev 1:18; 6:8; 20:13,14), and once it is the "grave" (1 Co 15:55)
2. Some believe that "hades" is the realm of ALL the dead (similar to the concept of the Greeks), and made up of two separate parts...
a. With Paradise (at least prior to the Ascension of Christ) for the righteous
b. And Tartarus for the wicked - cf. 2 Pe 2:4,9
2 Peter 2:4 ESV
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;
2 Peter 2:9 ESV
9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,
3. Others believe the term "hades" refers only to the place of the wicked
a. That it is not clear in Luke 16:22-23 whether Hades was just the abode of the rich man, or also that of Lazarus and Abraham
Luke 16:22–23 ESV
22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
b. And in Ac 2:26-27, 31 we may have a case of synonymous parallelism, with only the resurrected body of Christ in view ("soul" being used to refer to the body, and "hades" is referring to the grave, as "sheol" in the Hebrew sometimes does)
Acts 2:26–27 ESV
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption.
Acts 2:31 ESV
31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.
c. But remember the statement of Jacob in Gen 37:35
Genesis 37:35 ESV
35 All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.
4. In any case, "hades" is used at least on several occasions in the New Testament...
a. As the place of the wicked - Lk 16:23
b. As a place where the wicked are in torment - Lk 16:23
c. As a temporary place, to be thrown into "the lake of fire" after the Judgment - Re 20: 13-14
Luke 16:23c ESV
23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
Revelation 20:13–14 ESV
13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
CONCLUSION
1. Though the Scriptures may not tell us everything we might like to know about the "intermediate state", enough is revealed to make the following comparison:
a. Concerning the righteous...
1) With God and Christ
2) In Paradise, which since the ascension of Christ is in Heaven
3) Alive and conscious
4) At rest in a state of blessedness
b. Concerning the wicked...
1) Separated from God and Christ
2) In Hades
3) Alive and conscious
4) In torment, reserved under punishment for the day of Judgment
2. In future lessons we shall consider the "eternal state" of man, both of the righteous and the wicked...
a. But does this not suffice to move us to so live as to experience the blessings of the righteous and to avoid the torment of the wicked?
b. If so, what are we doing about it?
Next lesson: What Do We Know About The Lord's Second Coming?
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