"If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets ... " (Luke 16:19-31)

"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.' He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' " (Luke 16:19-31)

What is Jesus talking about?

Jesus is describing with this story the fact that human life is a life of critical importance: This is the opportunity we have to grow spiritually and return to our home in the spiritual realm.

Or not. Those who waste this precious human form by spending all our time and attention on chasing the temporary forms and names of the material world are not utilizing the opportunity we have in this lifetime to explore, learn and test ourselves.

This is indicated metaphorically as Jesus states:
"'And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'"

What is this 'great chasm'?

The 'great chasm' is the divide between the physical world and the spiritual realm. It is also the divide between ignorance and wisdom. It is also the divide between emptiness and fulfillment. It is also the divide between loneliness and love.

The point of Jesus' story is that when we are not ready to hear about the Supreme Being and our relationship with Him - if we are not ready to accept our position as loving servant - then practically nothing will convince us.

This also explains why - even with scriptures being readily available, and so many opportunities to learn about God - so many of us are unwilling to change our hearts and our lives. We simply are not ready to admit that we are servants.

We are too busy seeing ourselves as masters: As the masters of all we survey. This more specifically means that we want to be the enjoyers. We want to be the recipients of pleasure. We want to have the goodies. We want to have the money. And the big family. And the big house. And the big car. And the fame. And the prestige.

Why do we not want to serve?

We don't want to be a servant: We want others to serve us.

This is our disease. And this is specifically why we are here in this material world, away from God and His loving realm.

But if we look around at all the people who temporarily gain various positions of seniority or mastership - and physical pleasures - we can see that none of these things bring happiness. Those in temporary positions of mastership or enjoyment are never satisfied. They are always seeking more.

We can thus concur logically: Trying to make myself happy doesn't give me any real happiness. It brings no lasting joy: No fulfillment.

This is because this is not our identity. We are not only not the physical body: We are not enjoyers by nature. We are spirit by constitution and servants by nature.

How can we tell we are servants by nature? Because being the masters - the center of our lives - does not bring us happiness.

There are only two options here: Either we are masters or we are servants. There is no middle ground.

When we serve others - when we give to others - we taste happiness. Giving to others and loving others truly gives us pleasure. This is where the saying came from: 'Tis better to give than to receive.'

But just giving to others' physical bodies doesn't give us complete fulfillment. Those temporary physical bodies will not stick around for long - therefore our relationships with other forms of the world are temporary.

But if we become God's servant - well this is another thing altogether. This brings us true happiness. And our relationship with God is eternal.

Was Jesus happy?

We can see by his teachings that Jesus was happy from within. He was in love with God. This is why he said:
"By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." (John 5:30)
So the chasm that Jesus speaks of relates ultimately to purpose: As long as someone is seeking their own happiness, there is no happiness. But when a person seeks the happiness of the Supreme Being, that brings happiness. This is because we are each servants by nature. This is confirmed by Jesus when he said:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21)
We must note also that Jesus accepted a tormented situation - not so different from the rich man who went to Hades in Jesus' story. Jesus allowed himself to become arrested and hung from a cross in the middle of the hot sun in the desert. His body was parched and thirsty - and all he was given was some vinegar on a sponge before he left his body.
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. (Matt. 27:50)
Thus we can understand that Jesus' body was tormented much like the rich man became tormented.

What is the difference?

The difference is that Jesus' accepted his body being tormented as part of his loving service to God. Meanwhile, the rich man's torment of his new body (in Hades) was forced upon him as a result of his choices during his human lifetime.

Thus we find the real chasm between hades and the spiritual realm: Those who are the center of their own lives end up in hades (hell) while those who have the Supreme Being at the center of their lives return to the spiritual realm.

This difference in consciousness is the basis for this chasm. In fact, a person whose life is focused upon oneself would find the spiritual realm to be hellish - because everyone there is focused upon loving God. A person who seeks self-centered happiness would find this repulsive.

Notice that Jesus doesn't state the form of "torment" that the rich man was in. Why? Because Jesus is describing an ongoing state of agony for those of us who decide that we want to be the center of our lives. This makes us do things that create consequences.

This is God's design in the physical realm: When we seek independence of God we must suffer the consequences of our actions.

But those who dedicate their lives to pleasing the Supreme Being no longer create material consequences: Because their goal is to love and serve God - their only consequences are spiritual - they relate to their loving service relationship with God.

Jesus confirms the means of entry into the spiritual realm:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27)