I feel compelled to share this. It is what I have personally learned and believe (through divine revelation) about what we call hell, in relation to this life on earth. I ask you to keep an open mind, and consider this theory (maybe it will make sense, if only a little). But know ahead of time that I believe it is up to the individual to discern if they are to take certain bible scriptures literally or metaphorically. So here we go.
Note the known phenomenon of "ghosts". There are many, many accounts of people experiencing communication with others who have died. I personally have noticed that there is a similarity between many of these experiences - often these ghosts were people who had killed themselves, or experienced being murdered, raped, etc. I believe God has shown me that hell is simply remaining attached to this earth after you die - dying in a state of confusion and lack of love in your heart (Jesus in your heart and love in your heart is the same thing - it was his only commandment!). These ghosts constantly replay the traumatic event over and over again - in a loop that never seems to end. They remain in confusion, and feel very SEPARATE FROM GOD. Alone, and miserable. The biblical definition of hell is not "lake of fire" - that is a metaphor. The definition is separation from God. Do some research on this.
The dead rich man was able to communicate with Abraham and Lazarus because he was a ghost - still on this earth, but not in a body. He was miserable, indeed - but the humans could not help him out of it because it's up to the individual to seek God and truly recieve his grace, for their way out of it. I believe God allows these ghosts to follow us and learn the ways of Christ - forgiveness, in particular - which is why we are asked to be good witnesses (not just for humans alive!). If they can learn, by our example, how to ask for forgiveness, RECIEVE that forgiveness so that they may forgive themselves - they can LET GO of the past and feel worthy of God's love. And that is when they disappear from here and are saved from their own hell. God never, ever ignores us crying out for his help. Even when we're dead. But don't take my word for it.. pray about it. Ask GOD, not your pastor, if this is true.
Now do not get me wrong - I do believe that demonic entities exist - but they are different than ghosts. Christians often confuse the two - or think that demons are playing with our minds, pretending to be our loved ones. This is a possibility, of course, but I have personally discerned a very big difference between an encounter with a ghost and a demon. Ghosts like to play games and attempt to scare us, but it is nothing compared to an actual demon - they are much darker, and actually less visible to us (they're slicker/trickier: they literally attach to us by looking for places of fear or ego inside us, and exploit that). Demons do not desire a "way out" of their existence. They enjoy their game. But ghosts, no matter how confused and mean they can appear, deep down they just want to return home, to Father. And He will welcome them home with arms wide open. Why wouldn't He? His love and grace is, after all, infinite.
I'd love to hear your views on this. Thank you.