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New Defender's Study Bible Notes

16:23 hell. “Hell” (Greek hades, equivalent to the Hebrew sheol) is not the ultimate hell (Greek gehenna) referred to in Matthew 10:28, the same as the “lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). Hades is another compartment in the pit at the earth’s center, where the spirits of the unsaved dead are confined, until the day of judgment. They were not set free, of course, when Christ freed the spirits of the faithful, but are still there.

16:23 Abraham afar off. Although the two compartments were impassably separated from each other, they were within the range of mutual sight and sound. This also reveals that disembodied spirits are somehow still recognizable and capable of inter-communication, even though such phenomena are presently beyond our limited understanding.

16:24 Father Abraham. Abraham was also a rich man; obviously the criterion for either comfort or torment after death is not merely that of wealth or poverty.

16:24 water. Since it seems physically impossible—at least to our limited understanding—that both tormenting fire and cooling water could co-exist at the center of the earth, or that disembodied spirits could feel either one, it is possible that both are spiritual. That is, the fires may be the burning flames of a tormented conscience and hopeless future; and the waters are the waters of life and salvation. Once this life is past, however, there is an impassable gulf between (Luke 16:26), so that one’s destiny is already set for eternity.

16:24 tormented in this flame. Lazarus had begged for crumbs from the rich man; now the rich man begged for a drop of water from Lazarus.

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