and the Rich Man
[A Scriptural Journey
Through the Intriguing Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man]
Before reading my
opening statement there will be many who will find fault with this paper.
"What parable?" they will ask. Contrary to all the Scriptural
proof that Luke 16:19-31 is indeed a classic example of a parable, there
are many who deny this fact. The reason for so many desiring to take this
parable literally is an attempt to add credence to the heretical teaching
that God Almighty is going to torture the vast majority of all humanity
who has ever lived by burning their flesh with real fire in a hellhole of
insane pain for all eternity. But even if we take this parable literally,
it still does not support such an absurd and evil teaching. When the truth
is seen, the Rich man is overcome with great emotional torment by whatever
"this flame" represents, but he is not physically being burned
or barbecued in this flame..
That the Rich man is
in a most distressful situation, there is no argument. But he is not
"burning in eternal hell fire." That Lazarus is being comforted,
there is also no argument, but neither is he presently basking in the
sunshine of heaven. The two main figures in this parable represent whole
nations of people who are either being shown the spiritual things of God
or are being blinded to the spiritual things of God. The situation looks
particularly grim and bleak for the Rich man, but certainly not hopeless
as is taught in the pulpits of mainstream Christianity.
parable of Lazarus and the Rich man has become a sort of theological
passport to the annihilation of hundreds of plain and exact verses of
Scripture. Next to the gross error in translating the Greek aion (a
period of time with a beginning and an end) into an English eternity (no
time at all, neither having a beginning nor an ending), I know of
no greater misrepresentation of any section of Scripture than this
parable. I will be using both the KJV and the Concordant Literal New
Testament when quoting Scripture in this paper.
Can those who teach
that Luke 16 is not a parable, prove their position? No, they can not. Can
it then be proved by the Scriptures that this is a parable? Yes, it can.
Quite easily, I might add.
Let me give you a
technical definition of a parable followed by a more simple definition:
(1) "Parable: [Greek, para boleí= BESIDE CAST]--A statement Ďcast
besideí or parallel to its real spiritual significance, a figure of
likeness in action." GREEK-ENGLISH KEYWORD CONCORDANCE p. 216.
(2) "A short and simple tale based on familiar things meant to convey
a much deeper and profound moral or spiritual truth," WEBSTERíS
DICTIONARY. In Old English it was called a "near-story."
Jesus spoke in
parables throughout His whole ministry. In Matthew chapter 13 we are given
seven different parables. No parable is literal or historical. The second
we make a parable literal, it ceases to be a parable. Jesus spoke ONLY in
parables (not true life or historical stories) among the masses of people
who followed Him wherever He went.
I am going to some
length to demonstrate the absolute absurdity of teaching this parable of
Lazarus or any other parable as a literal and historical event.
MENTION IDENTIFIABLE PERSONS
Is Luke 16:19-31 a
"parable?" Many in orthodoxy say that it absolutely is not a
parable because a person is mentioned by name and identified as a specific
and particular person. The mention of an identifiable person is not,
however, the test of a parable. Besides other parables do mention
identifiable persons, but they are still parables:
The Son of man
God the Father
II Sam. 12:7
said to be King David
Aholah and Aholibah
applies ĎPhysicianí to HIMSELF
TO THE MASSES IN PARABLES ONLY
Jesus spoke to the
Pharisees and multitudes in parables:
begins to speak to them in parables." (Mk.. 12:1).
Jesus spoke to the
multitudes in parables ONLY:
things Jesus speaks in parables to the throngs, and apart from a parable
He spoke nothing to them..." (Mat. 13:34).
Jesus spoke in
parables so that his listeners would not understand Him:
art Thou speaking in parables to them? ... To you has it been given to
know the secrets of the kingdom of the heavens, yet to those it has NOT
been given." (Matt.. 13:10-11).
Not even the
apostles understood these parables (Lk, 16:14)! Jesus had to explain their
meaning to them in private (Mat. 13:18, 36), (Mat. 15:15), etc.
The fact that Jesus
spoke to the masses in parables only, ought to be sufficient Scriptural
evidence to anyone that Lazarus and the Rich man is indeed a parable.
There are, however, many many more proofs.
What is the setting
of this Lazarus parable? Actually it is the last of a five-part parable
beginning in Chapter 15 of Luke. Here is the reason for these five
parables in a row:
"Now ALL the
tribute collectors and sinners were coming near Him to be hearing Him.
And both the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying that ĎThis man
sinners is receiving, and is eating with them!" (Luke 15:1).
"Now He told
them [the tax collectors, sinners, Pharisees, and scribes] THIS PARABLE,
Jesus then gives
them FIVE parables, one after the other. The phrase "THIS
parable" certainly is not limited to the next, one, parable only!
These are ALL
parables and most scholars recognize them as parables.
My Oxford KJV even
has at the top of the page over the parable of the prodigal son, these
words: "The parable of the prodigal son." The text does not call
it a parable, but certainly it follows that it IS the third part of a
transition that Jesus uses between the lost sheep and the lost coin? He
says, "Neither..." Some translations have "Or..." This
word certainly connects it to the previous parable! Now notice Chapter 16
first verse, "And He said ALSO unto his disciples..."
"Also" refers back to all that went before in this five-part
parable, and now Jesus is continuing with the same train of thought with
the fourth of this five-part parable.
Notice next the
introduction of the third, fourth, and fifth parables:
"There was A
CERTAIN RICH MAN..." (16:1).
"There was A
CERTAIN RICH MAN..." (16:19).
Again, it is clear
that these are THREE parables of a five-part parable!
ALWAYS BE INTERPRETED
Parables are not to
be taken literally. They are to be understood "figuratively."
The real meaning is not in what they literally say, but in what the
symbols and figurative language represent. Thatís why they are called
"parables." This is axiomatic!
Let us turn to some
parables for proof of this point:
The Prodigal Son
brother was dead..."
Comment: He wasnít
literally "dead." He came home again "alive." God did
not resurrect him from the dead. The Resurrection is yet future.
So the prodigal was
NOT literally dead, but from the perspective of his father, he was as good
as dead or he could have been considered Spiritually dead.
Parable of the Sower
"And when he
sowed, some seeds fell by the way side; and the fowls came and devoured
parable isnít teaching horticulture. Itís about "the word of the
kingdom" and how different people receive it! Birds donít literally
devour the words of God.
Sowing Ideal Seed
the men are drawsing, his enemy came and sows darnel..."
Comment: The enemy
"came." Past tense. Is this, therefore, an historical fact? No.
Read verse 39: "Now the harvest is the conclusion of the
eon." This eon hasnít come to an "end" yet. And the
"harvest" is people not grains and vegetables.
Parable of mote in
brotherís eye (Lk. 6:39-42).
"Now why are
you observing the mote in your brotherís eye, yet the beam in your own
eye your are not considering?"
Comment: A beam is a
long piece of timber. How is it possible to have a long piece of timber in
oneís eye?I know people who could fit it into their mouth, but eye,
never. This parable is about morality, not body organs and building
Is it not obvious
that the literal, physical language in all parables must be interpreted as
a higher, spiritual lesson?
If the parable of
Lazarus and the rich man is both literal and an historical fact, then
it contradicts not only the laws of physics and logic, but also literally
hundreds of plain verses of Scripture.
People are taught
that the parables are real stories that Jesus told to help the people
understand His teaching better. Thatís partly due to the fact that with
many of the parables we are also given the INTERPRETATION! How many would
understand these parables if we were not given the interpretation of them?
Who would have known Who the sower of seed is? Who would know what the
stony places are? Who would understand what the birds represent? Who would
know what the good soil represents?
Sure, itís easy
now, Jesus TOLD US THE ANSWERS! But He ONLY told His disciples the
answers, NOT THE MULTITUDES to whom He spoke!
OF LAZARUS AND THE RICH MAN
According to the
popular teaching of this parable, the Rich man is in an eternal Hell of
torture and Lazarus is in eternal Heavenly bliss. Well letís be sure
then to pay special attention to those traits of character that have
separated these two individuals into two entirely different realms.
Below is listed in
each column the exact "literal" facts regarding each manís
character, virtue and deeds that is the reason for a supposed fate of
either eternal Hell or eternal Heaven:
was RICH ... Ver 19
was POOR ... Ver 20
wore PURPLE & CAMBRIC ... Ver 19
made MERRY (Gk: cheerful, & glad) SPLENDIDLY [like
Angels-Acts 10:30] DAILY ... Ver 19
CRIPPLED ("was laid") Ver 20
DISEASED ("full of
sores") Ver 20
had a nice HOUSE ("his gate") Ver 20
gave Lazarus FOOD [Gk. psichion, "a particle of food left
over"-scraps] Ver 21
("desiring to be fed") Ver 21
DIED and was [Gk. entombed] Ver 22
DIED Ver 22
lifts up his eyes in [Gk. hades "the UNSEEN or
IMPERCEPTIBLE] Ver 23
"carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom" Ver 22
is in TORMENTS ... Ver 22
with a BODY, "eyes,' Ver 23
ALIVE with a BODY, "finger "Ver 24
desires a drop of WATER ... Ver 24
life he got GOOD things ... Ver 25
life he got EVIL things ... Ver 25
respectful toward authority ("FATHER Abraham") Ver 24
was TORMENTED ... Ver 25
COMFORTED [Gk. parakaleo = "to comfort when in
distress"] Ver. 25
could not cross the GULF ... Ver 26
could not cross the GULF ... Ver 26
LOVE toward his family even while in torment ("I have five
brothers") Ver 28
for their welfare ("Nay..") Ver 30
Examine these two
columns closely. Is it not obvious that what is literally revealed here
does not lend itself to an eternal life of torture for the Rich man or an
eternal life of heavenly bliss for the poor man? Where else in Scripture
do the character traits in the left column come under eternal
condemnation? And where else in Scripture do the character traits in the
right column bring a promise of salvation in Heaven? Seriously, WHERE?
From what is
literally stated about these two individuals it is hard to find
condemnation or praise for either party. We know for sure that the Rich
man is in a state of condemnation and that Lazarus is in a state of
consolement, but there is nothing in the narrative to tell us why this
If taken literally,
this parable consists of statements that are illogical, unscriptural,
contradictory, and impossible. But, when we understand the symbolism of
this parable, it opens up our understanding to Godís dealing with all
peoples on earth! We must know the real identity of these two individuals
before we can know that their treatment is a just treatment based on their
lives and based on Godís grace.
The Rich man
received "good things" in life and Lazarus received "evil
things" in life. That is obviously true. However, neither of those is
Scriptural grounds for either being rewarded or condemned. Where? Present
a Scripture. Christ said that it is difficult for a rich man to inherit
the Kingdom, for example, and that certainly is true. But it is not the
fact of being rich that makes this so, but rather the power that wealth
has over the soul to keep one from pursuing spiritual things. Some people
are "rich" and are right with God. Other people are
"rich" and are not right with God. But the bottom line is how
God has constituted the person himself that makes the difference, not the
fact that he is wealthy.
Donít suppose that
I am siding with the Rich man at the expense of Lazarus. I am not. I am
merely showing how ludicrous it is to insist that this parable is
A VERSE BY
Verse by verse now
we will see if this parable can possibly be taken literally. Luke 16:19:
DOES A WELL-DRESSED
WEALTHY MAN SPELL SIN?
certain man was rich..."
Many reading these
words immediately conclude that being rich must be a sin. This is the one
outstanding feature of this man--he is RICH. Is that a sin? Abraham, just
talking distance away here, was very rich (Gen. 13:2). Isaac was rich,
Jacob was rich, Joseph was rich, David (a man after Godís own heart) was
rich. Job was the richest man in all the East (Job. 1:3). And it was God
Who blessed them, thatís why they were rich. Being rich is no character
flaw or sin.
not to be sneered at, for whatsoever a man may be sowing, this shall be
reaping also..." (Gal. 6:7)
is sowing sparingly, sparingly shall be reaping also, and who is sowing
bountifully, bountifully shall be reaping also..." (II Cor. 9:6-7).
dressed in purple and fine linen (cambric)
[Gk bussos =
COTTON] probably of a fine quality, perhaps a cloth with cotton in the
warp and flax in the woof.
Why should we care
what color or what fabric of clothing he wore? Fine clothing are not a
sin. What does that have to do with a manís character, virtue, or deeds?
If taken "literally," nothing. But since this is
"symbolic" it then is THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE WHOLE
The description of
the Rich manís clothing and the position of Lazarus in Abrahamís bosom
are the two vital keys in understanding this whole parable.
making merry [Gk. cheerful
& glad] splendidly..."
Is having a cheerful
and glad spirit a sin? I donít think so. Paul says: "...that I may
be of good cheer..." (Phil. 2:19). Davidís heart was
"glad" ( Acts 2:26). And the angels dressed
"splendidly" (Acts 10:30).
IS POVERTY AND
SICKNESS A VIRTUE?
was a certain poor man..."
Being poor is no
virtue! In fact the Scriptures have a lot to say about poverty:
folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come..." (Prov.
poor that dealeth with a slack hand..." (Prov. 10:4).
of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing..." (Prov. 13:4).
Many Scriptures show
poverty to be the direct result of sin.
Again, Gal. 6:7, II
Cor. 9:6-7. It is God Who makes both rich and poor (I Sam. 2:7).
Why should we know
his name if this is literal? Lazarus was a common name. And who would ever
want to be named "Helpless?"
We are not given the
name of the Rich man. What does it matter one way or the other what his
name is if this is a literal story and we donít know which Lazarus this
was anyway. Ah, but since this is a "parable" it does matter,
and we CAN know which Lazarus this really is and who the rich man really
had been cast at his portal (gate)..."
Being thrown out
into the street is no virtue.
sores [Gk. elkos =
Being sick and
diseased is not a virtue. Diseases associated with "the botch, open
sores, boils and ulcers" are very often a direct curse from God in
the Scriptures. See: Ex. 9:2, Job 2:7, Deut. 28:27, 35, Rev. 16:2, and
to be satisfied from the scraps (not
[Gk. psichion =
SCRAPS--A particle of food which is left over after eating] which
are falling from the rich manís table."
It is no virtue to
be begging for bread. "Crumbs falling from a table" is an idiom,
not literal. I have eaten at "Rich menís tables" myself, from
$25,000 a place setting of China from the Ming Dynasty, and I assure you
that scraps of food were not falling from that table--Rich people do not
eat like pigs! A few "crumbs," is possible, but crumbs are not
enough to feed a hungry ant, let alone a grown man.
Besides, if Lazarus
is a godly man why is he begging food? Read Psa. 37:25:
I not seen the righteous forsaken, NOR HIS SEED BEGGING BREAD"!
There is absolutely
nothing in the discription of Lazarus that would indicate he was a godly
man. But when we identify him, there is much to show that he was a godly
man, and that his poverty and sickness was not that of a literally
diseased beggar in the street.
curs (wild dogs) also,
coming, licked his ulcers."
It is a dogís
nature to "lick sores," but they didnít come to this manís
house for that purpose. They came there to get "scraps" of food
However, think for a
moment. What does this bit of information add to our understanding of this
story if it is to be taken "literally?" Nothing! I mean Jesus
could have told us that, "the sky was cloudy" or "the cock
was crowing" or "there were holes in the street." So what?
What do "wild dogs" add to our understanding, if itís literal?
But we learn in Scripture that "dogs" represent something
totally different from four-legged animals that bark and bite. Here is a
real clue as to who Lazarus and his dog companions really represent. And
as this is a parable it was not physical scraps of literal food that
Lazarus and the dogs desired. Who then is this Rich man, who being
tormented, nonetheless, possessed and disseminated (albeit it small
portions) of life-giving food to the poor?
The Rich man,
regardless of his character or lack thereof, was obviously blessed of God:
shall make thee plenteous in goods..." (Deut. 28:11).
all the work of thine hand" (Ver 12).
As he sewed, so he
reaped (Gal. 6:7, II Cor. 9:6-7).
He got "good
things in life" and the Scripture plainly tells us that
gift is from above..." (Jas. 1:17).
obviously cursed of God:
shalt. not prosper" (Deut. 28:16).
and scab" (Ver. 27 & 29).
He obviously sewed
sparingly and reaped even more sparingly. When one is homeless, hungry,
and diseased in the street; it doesnít get much worse than this.
OF A LITERAL INTERPRETATION
If this parable is
taken literally, we will find more than a few hundred major problems with
the rest of Godís revealed Word.
One will have to use
a black marker or cut from the Bible most verses dealing with spirit,
soul, body, death, resurrection, immortality, grave, hades, sheol, sin,
punishment, chastisement, firstfruits, rewards, justification,
reconciliation, prophecy, grace, salvation and the sovereignty of God,
just to name a few! All of these contradict the idea that this parable can
be literal. All of them.
"Now the poor
man came to die and he is carried away by messengers into Abrahamís
statement if taken literally is neither historical nor Scriptural. Many
say this represents Lazarus in Heaven. How, pray tell, could Lazarus be in
Heaven while his Lord was still on the earth?
Christ has been roused from among the dead, the firstfruit of those who
are reposing." (I Cor. 15:20).
Abraham wasnít the
"firstfruit." Lazarus wasnít the "firstfruit." JESUS
CHRIST WAS THE FIRSTFRUIT OF THEM THAT SLEPT! The latter fruit, Paul tells
us, "are [still] reposing."
Jesus plainly said,
not only had David not ascended into the heavens, but that
"NO MAN has
ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven."(John
Teaching that this
parable is a literal historical fact makes Christ out to be a liar. When
our Lord was alive on this earth giving us this parable, He said:
"...NO MAN HAS ASCENDED UP TO HEAVEN..." So how
can it be said that at the same time our Lord was telling us that no man
has ascended up to heaven, that Lazarus and Abraham are already up
in heaven? This is not just an interesting sidelight or opinion of Ray
Smith. THIS IS ABSOLUTE, INFALLIBLE SCRIPTURAL PROOF THAT WHEN
JESUS GAVE THIS PARABLE THERE WAS NO MAN NAMED LAZARUS LIVING IN HEAVEN
WITH ABRAHAM OR ANYONE ELSE!! So here then is just one of the hundreds of
problems with the Scriptures if we insist this parable is literal.
There are many
Scriptures that tell us where a person goes when he"dies." The
Scriptures say he "returns" from where he
"came." So if he goes to Heaven, then he "came" from
Heaven; if he goes to Hell, then he "came" from Hell. But
Scriptures do not teach that people "RETURN" to heaven or hell
when they die. Read these plain and simple verses that tell us exactly
where man came from and where he goes when he dies:
"...till you return
[Hebrew, shub] unto the ground; for out of it were you
taken: for dust you are, and unto dust shall you return"
pray you that as clay you did make me, and unto dust you will cause me
to return" (Job 10:9)
man to return unto dust..." (Psa. 90:3).
[the Hebrew word here is ruach, spirit, not neshamah,
breath] goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his
thoughts perish" (Psa. 146:3-4).
gather in their spirit [Hebrew ruach, spirit] they expire [Hebrew
gava, breathe out, gasp, expire], and return to their
dust" (Psa. 104:29).
which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; ... as the one dies, so
dies the other; yea, they have all one spirit; and man has no
preeminence above the beasts [in death]: for all is vanity. All go unto
one place; all are of the dust, and all return to dust
again" (Ecc. 3:18-21).
Will any of my
readers seriously contend that BEASTS return to either heaven or hell when
they die? Have we not just read in Ecc. 3:18-21 that "ALL [both men
and beasts] go unto ONE PLACE?" And arenít "heaven AND
hell" TWO PLACES rather that "ONE PLACE?" Am I going too
fast for anyone?
For sure our
Saviourís words are so true--the babes in Christ (minors) can understand
these spiritual things, but the wise in the wisdom of this world cannot
Here is irrefutable
Scriptural proof that when a person dies he returns to the dust.
Messengers or angels donít take dead people anywhere when they die. If
this is literal, then they would have had to carry a "dead"
Lazarus into the ancient cave of a "dead" Abraham. The
"resurrection" is yet future (I Thes. 4:16:18).
Remember how Paul
told us of Hymeneus and Philetus who "...swerve as to truth, saying
that the resurrection has ALREADY OCCURRED [as defenders of a literal
interpretation also contend] subverting the faith of some." (II Tim.
2:18)? Lazarus was carried (in the parable) into Abrahamís bosom.
Abrahamís bosom is not the reward of the saved. Abrahamís bosom is not
Heaven. Furthermore, no more than one person could fit into Abrahamís
bosom. Itís a parable.
When Jesus gave this
parable was Abraham alive in heaven or dead in his grave? First notice
what Gen. 25:8-9 says:
gave up the ghost, and died ... and his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried
him in a cave..."
When Jesus was
teaching these parables Abraham was still dead. "Abraham IS
DEAD" (John 8:52)! After Christís crucifixion and resurrection
(nearly 30 years after) Abraham was still dead.
Abraham ... sojourns in the land of promise ... he waited for the city
having foundations, whose Artificer and Architect is God ... In faith
DIED ALL THESE [Abraham included], being not requited with the promises
... for He [God] makes ready for them a city" (Heb.
Abraham had not yet
as of the writing of the book of Hebrews received the promises God made to
him. Besides Abraham was not promised Heaven, but this earth along with
King David (Jer. 30:9) and the Twelve Apostles who will be ruling over the
twelve tribes of Israel on this earth (Rev. 5:10). And the
"City," New Jerusalem, comes down from heaven to the New Earth.
By the way, after
Christís resurrection, we read that King David as well was also still
that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this
day..." "For David is NOT ascended into the heavens..."
(Acts 2:29 & 34).
So consider: At the
time Christ taught this parable, Abraham was STILL DEAD, David (a man
after Godís own heart) was STILL DEAD and the Scripture specifically
tells us that David DID NOT ASCEND INTO HEAVEN. Then to remove all doubt
and speculation regarding heaven, Christ plainly stated that, "NO
MAN HAS ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN!" Which part of the word "NO"
is it that theologians do not understand?
rich man also died, and was entombed. And in the unseen [Gk:
hades], lifting up his eyes..." (Ver. 23)
Impossible. He died,
was entombed, and lifted up his eyes? Where did he get a body in hades,
seeing that they just sealed his body in a tomb? Have you never heard of
exhuming a body from a grave? Six days, six months, six years after death,
when they open a grave, the body is still there. And itís usually rotten
and the "eyes" are decayed away.
entombed...and in the unseen [hades],
lifting up his eyes..."
If, as theologians
teach that the grave is one place and hades is another place, then no man
can have his body "entombed" while at the same time the eyes of
his body can be lifted up in a place called "hades." And we know
his body was still in the tomb, so how can he be simultaneously in hades
with a new body?
And how could this
man "literally" lift up his eyes in "hell" seeing that
hell is the translation of the Greek word hades which means the
UNSEEN or IMPERCEPTIBLE? To "see" one canít be in the
UNSEEN, nor can it be a place of NO perception. The parable says that he
"died" and was entombed, but that he "lifts up his
eyes" in hades. He canít be literally dead and literally alive at
the same time and in two different locations.
Hades is a Greek
word (and is synonymous with Sheol in the Hebrew O.T.) and it has a
meaning. The elements are "UN-PERCEIVED." It can be properly
translated into English as "unseen" or
"imperceptible." Now how can one "see" in the
unseen?" Itís ridiculous. How can anyone have
"perception" in the "imperceptible?" The dead canít
"see," Itís a parable.
There is no
consciousness in [Heb: Sheol] or [Gk: Hades](Psa.
146:4)--none. "Sheol" and "Hades" are synonymous in
In Acts 2:27 hades
is translated from the Hebrew word sheol. Look carefully at
these two verses:
"His spirit [ruach]
goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts
perish" (Psa. 146-3-4).
is no works, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in sheol where you
go" (Ecc. 9:10).
[Heb. mchesh- bown--contrivance, intelligence, reason]. Do these
two verses in Ecclesiasties sound like "dark sayings?" or
"tricky proverbs?" or "difficult parables?" or
"deep mysteries?" They are plain, simple statements of facts
that any child can understand! But notice how they absolutely contradict
the "consciousness in hades" theory.
One more Scriptural
proof on this point.
came to pass, that the beggar DIED ... the rich man also DIED..."
So from verse 22
onward, the beggar and the rich man are IN DEATH! Now Psalm 6:5
DEATH THERE IS NO REMEMBRANCE OF THEE [The LORD], in THE
GRAVE who shall give thee [The LORD] thanks?"
So, is it possible
to take this parable literally without violating Scripture after Scripture
after Scripture? I think not.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENS
to many, these literally happen in Hades:
according to GOD, nothing happens in Hades:
these things literally take place in hades or only figuratively?
up his eyes"
"existing in torments"
"he shouting, said"
"cool my tongue"
"I am pained"
"you are in pain"
In the center column
we have seeing, feeling, hearing, talking, and reason. In the right column
we have nothing. The center column is based on one parable that should
never be taken literally while the right column is quoted right from the
DEATH IS LIKE SLEEP
I have heard many
jeer the idea that souls "sleep" in death. Although the phrase
"soul sleep" itself is unscriptural, the idea that the dead are
"sleeping" is most Scriptural.
"And the Lord
said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy
fathers..." (Deut. 31:16).
"And when thy
days be fulfilled, and thou [David] shalt sleep with thy fathers.
(II Sam. 7:12).
with his fathers..." (I Ki. 2:10).
with his fathers..." I Ki. 11:43).
"...for now shall I sleep in the dust..." (Job 7:21).
Get this one: David
"...lest I sleep
the sleep of DEATH..." (Psa. 13:3).
cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep [are
dead]" (ICor.. 11:30).
show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep ... the dead
shall be raised..." ( I Cor. 15:51-52).
coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep"
(I Thes. 4:14).
daughter is even now dead ... the maid is not dead, but sleepeth."
(Mat. 9:18 & 24).
after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep
and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption." (Acts 13:36).
It is said even of
our own Lord:
"But now is
Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruit of them that slept"
(I Cor. 15:20), etc., etc.
Now I believe all of
these Scriptures. Either Abraham is dead, buried and sleeping with his
fathers, just as Moses, David, etc., or these Scriptures canít be
By the way, where do
we read of "heaven" in this parable? There is not the slightest
hint of the word heaven in this parable! Abrahamís "bosom" is
no more heaven than my bosom is heaven.
only did all these patriarchs go to sleep, but they went to sleep with
their fathers, and many of their fathers were idolaters!
So there we have a
dozen Scriptures stating that God likens death to sleep. In what way is
being conscious and tortured in the flames of Hell analogous to
"sleep?" God says death is "sleep." Now in what way is
conscious torture in Hell fire analogous to "sleep?" In what way
is a blissful life in Heaven analogous to "sleep?" Well, of
course, itís not analogous at all. Yet God plainly says, many times,
that death is "sleep" God awakens dead people out of sleep.
teaching that the dead Rich man and dead Lazarus are not asleep is wrong
and unscriptural. It is only in the figurative language of a parable can
it be said to be different.
Let me give you a
Scripture that will "lay to rest" (pun intended) this issue once
and for all. What happens after one dies:
"If a man
die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait,
till my change comes. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee; thou wilt
have a desire to the work of thine hands." (Job 14:14-15).
When a person dies,
he must: WAIT ... FOR APPOINTED TIME ... TILL CHANGE COMES ... GOD CALLS
... WE LIVE AGAIN...
When Jesus taught
this parable there were no Greek Scriptures. So when this "rich man
died" he went to Sheol [Heb. the unseen or imperceptible, the
abode of the dead, the grave] Itís the same sheol that Christís soul
went to at death:
16:10--"For Thou will not leave my soul in the unseen [Sheol]."
This verse is quoted
in the New Testament Greek:
2:27--"For Thou wilt not be forsaking my soul in the unseen [Gk. Hades]."
Sheol and Hades are
synonymous. The Old Testament says Christís soul went to "Sheol,"
the New says His soul went to "Hades."
We know that Christ
was the "firstfruit" of them that slept (I Cor. 15:20, 42, 43,
52, 53, 55, I Thes. 4:16-18). The "dead in Christ" are now
"ASLEEP" according to the Scriptures.
WHERE DID CHRIST GO
WHEN HE DIED?
Read I Cor. 15
for our sins," "He was buried," "He rose again the
All right, letís
be Scripturally exact.
Christ "died," where did His "spirit" go?
Scripture -- Luke 23:46: "Father, into thy hands am I
committing My spirit."
other Scriptures verify this truth that at death man's spirit
returns to God Who gave it? Yes.
shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall
return to the God Who gave it" (Ecc. 12:7).
did Christ's "body" go at death? Matt. 27:59-60:
when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen
cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb ... "
other Scriptures verify this truth that dead bodies are normally
buried or entombed? Yes.
... David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is
with us unto this day." (Acts 2:29)
dead bodies normally begin to decay and stink after a few days?
... Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four
days." (John 11:39).
Christ's body have started to decay had not God miraculously
prevented it? Yes.
... nor was His flesh acquainted with decay." (Acts 2:3).
Christ (Himself) said to be where His body was? Yes.
have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre ... " (Acts
other Scriptures verify this truth that the "person" or
"personality" if you will, or whatever you want the
pronoun "He" to represent, is where the body is? Yes.
... David ... he is buried ... " (Acts 2:29) It's "his
spirit" and "his soul" but it's "he" that
is said to be buried with the body.
was "The Son of man" who was entombed in the earth (Mat.
12:40 & I Cor. 15:3-5). "Christ [he] died ... [he] was
buried ... [he] rose again ...
Christ died, where did His soul go? "For Thou wilt not be
forsaking my soul in the unseen [hades]" ( Acts 2:27).
Scriptures verify this truth that at death the soul goes to the
unseen (hades)? Yes. Psa. 49:15 " ... redeem my soul
from the power of the grave [Heb. sheol]."
Now, back to the
NOT ALL PAIN IS
What are these
"torments" that the Rich man is experiencing? Is it physical
pain from having his skin burned off of his body by real flames of fire?
What a marvelous thing it is that we can have access to the Hebrew and
Greek manuscripts from which our modern language bibles have been
translated. We can check every word that has been translated into our
English bibles. And now, dear readers, we shall do just that.
In verse 23 we have
the word "torments" In verses 24 and 25 we have the word
"tormented." These three words are not translated from the same
Greek word, however. And there is a great reason why. This one point alone
will demolish any such theory that this Rich man is actually and literally
having his flesh burned by real fire.
Let us now see if
Jesus gives us any indication whether or not this Rich man will ever come
out of this place of torments and what these torments really are:
The Greek word
translated "torments" in verse 23 is basanos.
From Fribergís Analytical
Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, we are told that basanois which
is a form of the noun basanos, means, "strictly, a
touchstone for testing the genuineness of metals by rubbing against
In secular Greek
literature this word (basanois) was used figuratively to extract
information from a person by torture or punishment.
From the Greek-English
Keyword Concordance we read this, torment, literally a
touchstone, used to test metals for alloys, [and] then the examination
of persons by torture (Page 307).
Though the Rich man
may, indeed, be suffering discomfort or pain, it is not from fire burning
his flesh, but rather from being tested and proved through chastisement. .
It is an interesting
fact of Scripture that except for Paul "punishing" the church,
there is only ONE SCRIPTURE in the whole new testament that uses the word
"punishment." All others use the word "chastisement"
which always carries the connotation of correction and bringing things
back to what is right again. Chastisement by itís very definition CANNOT
be eternal. There is always a purpose and goal in mind with the use of the
In Verses 24 and 25
we will likewise see that the word translated "tormented" does
by no means carry a meaning of being physical pained or physically
seeing Abraham from afar..."
Impossible. The man
is enveloped in "flames" and can clearly identify two
personalities from "afar" across a great chasm? Not with human
Psalm 31:17--"...let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent
in the grave [Heb. SHEOL]. There it is! There is no talking and no
shouting in sheol. If anyone can literally "shout" in hades or
sheol they make God a liar.
Lazarus that he should be dipping the tip of his finger in water and
cooling my tongue..."
someone were in a literal fire they would not be asking for a drop of
water for their tongue. Their skin and eyes would be in much greater pain
than their tongue! The tongue is at least somewhat protected in the mouth
cavity. Now if anyone is so silly as to debate me on this issue, let them
jump into a fire and see for themselves which burns most--the eyes and
skin or the tongue? Besides a drop on the tip of oneís finger would be
less than useless. It would have no effect. None. It's a parable. This
language is figurative.
tormented [pained] in
Impossible. Yes, it
is possible to be "tormented [pained] in flame," however, it is
impossible to calmly talk about it while it is happening! If his
body were human so as to have a nervous system and feel pain, then of
necessity that same body would burn up. It is the destruction of the skin
cells that is causing the pain. Within seconds the skin no longer pains
(itís dead). Now it is the deeper flesh that pains. But by then the man
would pass out and soon die. I mean really, these are things that people
completely unversed in the Scriptures understand. It is not literal fire
that is causing him this pain or torment.
What kind of
"torment" is God talking about in this parable? Is this physical
pain from the flames burning his flesh as is taught in Christendom? Not at
all! Note that he does not say "flames," but rather
"flame," singular! The Greek word translated
"tormented" in verses 24 and 25 is a totally different Greek
word than is used for "torments" in verse 23. The Greek word
here is odunao and it means to be sorrowful or pained, but not
physically, but rather EMOTIONALLY! We can easily see how the Holy Spirit
of God used this word in Scripture. Adunao is used only two other times in
all Scripture and both times it has absolutely nothing to do with physical
torture, but rather with emotional sorrow or pain.
they saw Him, they were amazed: and His mother said unto Him, Son, why
hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought
thee sorrowing [Greek: adunao, same word translated
"tormented" in Luke 16:24 & 25]" (Luke 2:48).
[Greek: adunao, same word translated "tormented" in
Luke 16:24 & 25], most of all for the words which he spoke, that
they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him into the
ship" (Acts 20:38).
Now then, does
anyone believe that they were physically tortured when Paul departed? Does
anyone believe the parents of Jesus were physical tortured in their flesh
while they searched for Jesus?
Had the KJV
translators been consistent they should have translated Luke 16:24 &
25 the same way. He was emotionally "pained" or
"sorrowed" and not physically tormented or tortured! The same
word cannot mean both "emotionally sorrowed" and
The Rich man was emotionally
pained or sorrowed by the flame (the testing and trials), not tortured,
and thatís why, as we shall see later, he wanted a drop [a symbolic drop
of water] for his tongue and not a barrel of water to cool his body.
Letís not be guilty of adding to the Rich manís woes.
said, Child, be reminded that you got your good thing in your life, and
Lzarus likewise evil things."
If this Rich man is
really being pictured literally in a hellhole of eternal torture, why then
didnít Abraham say to him something like this: "Scoundrel, be
reminded that you were a liar, cheat, robber, blasphemer, drunkard,
murderer, ungodly, unholy, unrepentant, incorrigible, piece of slime in
your life,so burn in Hell for ever." But no, the Rich man is accused
of no such things.
Most governments do
not sentence people to cruel and unusual punishment for minor crimes.
Christian theologians would sentence this Rich man to all eternity in Hell
fire and I donít see where according to what this parable
"literally says" he did anything bad. He lived a life of
"good things!" In the literal language of this parable no sin is
attributed to him. Not ONE! The rich man got good things, and for that we
are told he will have his flesh barbecued with real fire in an eternal
hellhole of insane torture? Lazarus got evil things, and for that we are
told he will spend eternity in Heaven? Is anyone in this parable said to
be literally good or bad?
THE RICH MAN
all appearances and descriptions, the Rich man was an educated,
well-dressed, well-groomed and well-mannered person who gave food
to the poor, fed the stray dogs, had a merry heart and cheerful
disposition, and loved his family.
all appearances and descriptions, Lazarus was poor, diseased,
probably uneducated, poorly dressed, poorly groomed, hungry, a
homeless person in the streets.
know that God blessed him, because he "received GOOD"
And Jas. 1:17 says, "Every good gift ... comes down from the
was obviously not blessed of God. According to TBN this man just
didn't have faith to be healed. And wasn't blessed because he
didn't obey God. He wasn't very thankful. He never did say:
"Oh, by the way, Mr. Rich man, Thank you for all the food you
always gave me," Did he?
notice carefully what this parable does not say:
doesn't say Lazarus was good, kind, faithful, righteous, or loved
doesn't say that he was an evil man, ever hurt anyone, stole,
murdered, cursed God, didn't believe in God, or ever did anything
bad. It says nothing negative about the Rich man.
fact, it really doesnít say one, single, positive,
anything about him what--so--ever!
So we are to take this parable literally? As an historical fact? Okay
then, what does it "literally" say? Not what we might think it means
but what it actually SAYS:
If one is
healthy, happy, prosperous, gives to the poor, is respectful of
authority, loves his family, is concerned for the welfare of others
and is enormously blessed of God, and has a life of "good"
things, he will go to Hades and be tormented in flames of fire without
water and without mercy.
If one is poor,
diseased, homeless, a beggar, shows no thanks for even the little he
does receive, has not the faith to be healed, and is not blessed of
God, but only has a life of evil things, he will go to Abrahamís
bosom where he is consoled and comforted in his distress [Gk: parakaleo].
neither one is a pretty picture. Thatís because this is figurative and
symbolic language, so of course it doesnít make sense literally! Itís
Here then is the
bottom line of the Christian interpretation of this parable:
Live a life of
good things now, blessed of God, and youíll burn in the flames of Hell
Live a life of
evil things now, cursed of God, and youíll live forever in Heaven.
Doesnít make much
sense when we look at it literally, does it? You know, if this parable is
literal, Abraham is on the wrong side! Abraham possessed many more of the
qualities of the rich man than he did of Lazarus (not actually, but if we
take this parable literally)! Abraham was very rich, loved his family, was
concerned for the welfare of others, provided for his servants, was
respectful of authority (especially of God), was tremendously blessed of
God and had a life of many good things.
According to the
majority of Christendomís interpretation of this story, Abraham should
be in Hell!
Actually Abraham is
in hades (sheol), as are all the "fathers." And all the dead
ungodly people are there as well. They donít know it, however. Itís
very quiet in hades, no thoughts, no praise, no anything--itís
"imperceptible" and "unseen."
Back to the parable:
here he is being consoled, yet you are in pain [adunaoI]."
If Lazarus is in
heaven, where are all the saints? Where is there a reward? Where is
Christ? Where is the happiness and joy?
"consoled." This word in Greek is used in conjunction with
someone who is "in distress." So Lazarus is being "consoled
in his distress." Doesnít sound like much of a Heaven to me. And
the rich man is "in pain." Why? It doesnít say he did anything
wrong, or evil, so why is he in pain? Who judged him? When? For what?
DOES GOD SENTENCE
BEFORE HE JUDGES?
insist that this is a literal story, they place a huge blotch on the
character of God! According to the Christian interpretation, this man is
spending eternity in Hell fire, but has never had his day in court. He has
been sentenced without being judged! This man could not have been judged,
because when our Lord spoke this parable, "The Judgment" was yet
"Verily, I am
saying to you, More tolerable will it be for the land of Sodom and the
land of Gomorrah in that DAY OF JUDGING than for that city." (Matt.
Now I never was good
at grammar, but I donít think "will be" is in the "past
tense," is it? And again,
Ninevites, will be rising in the judging with this generation and will
be condemning it..." (Mat. 12:41)
men of Sodom have not yet been judged. The "righteous" men of
Nineveh have not yet risen or been judged. What are we to do? Get the
scissors out and clip more verses from the Bible so that theologians can
be at liberty to turn a parable into an historical event?
Besides, judging has
to do with doing right or setting things right. Punishment is meted out
according to the degree of the crime. Punishment is never eternal. And how
does eternal torture in Hell fire equate to the punishment for
"having good things in your life?"
I have heard
theologians say, "No, heís in Hell for rejecting Christís
sacrifice." But it doesnít say that. And it is the theologians that
demand that this parable be taken literally. Honestly, it doesnít
literally say anything about rejecting Christís sacrifice, does it?
Well, okay, letís
look at that premise anyway. I heard a world famous evangelist say
regarding the Rich man in this parable, "You go to Hell for rejecting
Christís sacrifice." But, he does err not knowing the Scriptures or
history! Not only didnít the rich man literally reject Christís
sacrifice, but it was literally impossible for him to literally do so.
When Christ taught
this parable (Luke 16) HE WAS NOT AS YET SACRIFICED (Luke 23)!
So how, pray tell, could the Rich man have "rejected a
sacrifice" Who had not yet even been sacrificed?
It is an amazing
thing to hear world famous evangelists with audacity teach millions of
people that our Merciful God has already sent millions of fellow human
beings to an eternal burning hell to suffer indescribably in torturous
agony, and horrifying pain without mercy, all without a
"hearing" or "trial" or "just judgment" and
for rejecting a Sacrifice Who had not yet even been sacrificed?
MILLIONS OF GALLONS
OF WATER IN HELL
"And in all
this, between us and you a great chasm has been established, so that
those wanting to cross hence to you may not be able, nor yet those
thence may be ferrying to us."
"Thus also is the resurrection of the dead ... It is sown a soulish
body; it is roused a spiritual body" (I Cor. 15:42 & 44). If
Lazarus has a spiritual body in heaven, how can a gulf or chasm keep such
a spiritual being from crossing it?
Notice this phrase, "...those
wanting to cross hence to you..." What? Do you think that is
translated correctly? I assure you it is translated correctly. So why, oh
why, would anyone in Heaven be "WANTING" TO GO TO HELL? Isnít
it is time that we concede that this is indeed a parable!
The last part of
verse 26 should read as follows: "Nor yet those thence may be ferrying
King James uses
"pass" twice in this verse. They are different words, however.
The first "pass" is [Gk. diabaino = THROUGH-STEP or
cross]. But the second "pass" is [Gk: .Diaperao =
THROUGH-OTHER-SIDE, and is used of passage over WATER] hence,
Here is water. Since
there is water separating Lazarus from the rich man in this chasm, why
doesnít the rich man just jump into the water? And the word
"ferrying" also presupposes "ferry boats." Even if the
Rich man canít swim it would be better to drown than burn.
DID THE RICH MAN EVEN
KNOW WHO MOSES WAS?
is saying to him, ĎThey have Moses and the prophets. Let them hear
Impossible. The rich
man recognized Abraham on sight. Even called him "Father." How
could someone who knows Abraham "...hear Moses...?" Moses
didnít live until hundreds of years after Abraham? How could the
rich manís "brothers" hear Moses? Moses didnít live until
far into their future?
You see these are
just some of the dozens of problems and contradictions we face when
someone insists that this parable be taken literally!
And where in Moses
and the Prophets does it warn that if one is rich and blessed of God that
when he dies he will go to some eternal hellhole of fire and torture? Or
that a poor man cursed of God will go to an eternal heaven of bliss? Now I
have a few concordances, but I canít find any such verse. If this
parable is literal, then somewhere in Moses and the Prophets it must warn
of such a fate for being rich and also promise a heaven of bliss if one is
sickly and poverty stricken. But where is there such a teaching in Moses
and the prophets? There is no such teaching in Moses and the prophets.
This is a parable.
Abraham, but if someone should be going to them from the dead, they will
Lazarus isnít dead. if heís alive in heaven, why didnít the rich man
say, "No ,father Abraham, but if someone should be going to them from
HEAVEN, they will be repenting?" How could Lazarus, who is alive, go
"...to them from the dead?"
will they be persuaded if someone should be rising from among the
The rich man is now
persuaded. Why wouldnít they also be persuaded? Because it will take
more than Moses and the Prophets and more than one returning from the dead
to persuade them.
DECLARE UNTO US THE
I heard Matt Crouch
say on international television that since the Jews were prophesied to not
understand, Christ spoke in parables so that this prophecy would be
apparently voided and they would understand. The Scriptures show just the
us the parable..." (Mat. 13:36)
us this parable" (Mat. 15:15)
twelve asked of Him the parable" (Mk. 4:10)
"Know ye not
this parable" (Mk. 4:13)
disciples asked Him concerning the parable" (Mk. 7:17)
disciples asked Him saying, what might this parable be?" (Lk. 8:9)
parable is this: The seed is..." (Lk. 8:11).
This is so simple a
child can understand it. It wasnít Christís explanations that none
understood, it was his "parables" that none understood.
The multitudes did
not understand Christís parables:
spake Jesus unto them; but they understood NOT what things they were
which He spake unto them." (Jn 10:6)
If, as Matt Crouch
suggests, Christ taught in parables so that the the masses would
understand, then the Scriptures themselves would prove that He failed
disciples did not understanding His parables when he spoke them anymore
than the multitudes did!
speak I to them in parables; because they seeing see not; and hearing
they hear not, neither do they understand" (Mat. 13:13)
therefore the parable of the sower" (Ver. 18)
answered Peter and said unto him, DECLARE UNTO US this parable.
And Jesus said, ĎAre ye also [like the multitudes] yet without
understanding?í" (Mat. 15:15-16)
"And he said
unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all
parables?" (Mk. 4:13)
Christ had to
explain all the parables to them!
many such parables spake he the word ... but without a parable SPAKE HE NOT:
and when they were ALONE, He expounded all things to His disciples"
It is interesting
what Christ said here. If his disciples didnít understand
"this" parable, "how then will ye know "all"
parables?" There is a continuity among most of the parables. They
basically speak of the same peoples and the same events.
werenít so foolish, however, as to believe that this parable was to be
taken literally, anymore than they believed any of the parables were to be
taken literally! Thatís why our Lord explained all the parables to them
in private. Read it and believe.
One can only take
this parable literally at the expense of contradicting hundreds of other
plain Scriptures! I have presented more than ample Scriptural proof that
this is a parable and that it cannot be taken "literally!"
Like most parables,
it was prophecy not history! If one persists in thinking this parable can
be understood completely "literally" in contradiction of
hundreds of plain Scriptures of facts to the contrary, I donít know what
else I can say. Maybe the "Flat Earth Society" of Great Britain
is still accepting new memberships.
Before I explain
this parable, please notice something. The condition the Rich man now
finds himself in was not something he had anticipated in "life."
Abraham making reference to Moses and the Prophets, presupposes that the
Rich man was familiar with these writings. However, nothing in these
writings gives any warning of going to a "fiery place of
torment" immediately upon death. Nor does the parable state that this
condition of the Rich man [in torment] and Lazarus [consoled in his
distress] is permanent or endless. Furthermore, being "not
persuaded" by either "Moses and the Prophets" or
"someone rising from the dead" does NOT preclude that there is
nothing that ever will persuade them in the future! That is false opinion,
The truth is, there
are many, many Scriptures that do tell us when and what actually will
persuade the "Rich man," "his brothers," "all
mankind," and "every celestial being" in the entirety of
It is that truth of
the salvation of ALL that IS the gospel, the "Good News." God is
operating to bring all to salvation, (Eph. 1:10-11, Phil. 2:10, I Tim.
2:4-6, 4:10) "These things command and teach" (Ver. 11).
PARABLE OF LAZARUS AND THE RICH MAN
(A Scriptural explanation)
Before I go into the
explanation of Lazarus and the Rich man, I feel a certain amount of
background information is essential.
As most explanations
and commentaries on this parable are extremely short (even by those who do
understand itís proper setting), much of this material is my own
research and, therefore, certainly could be better refined than I am
presenting it. I can see now that one could easily write a sizable book in
expounding this parable. Here, however, is sufficient evidence to set us
on the right track of understanding this parable. The accepted Christian
interpretation of this par- able is unscriptural and heresy of the darkest
unto His own, and His own received Him Not. (Jn. 1:11)
Who were these
people, "His own?" Many would say, the Jews. And they are right,
but who are the "Jews?" Paul was of the Tribe of Benjamin, yet
he called himself "a Jew." How can this be? Today, for example,
we have Hebrew University in Jerusalem, in the ancient land of Judea, in
the nation of Israel, and itís occupants call themselves Jews. Where did
all these names come from?
there are two broad categories of people in the world--The Children of
Israel and the Other nations. Later this designation was shortened to
"The Jews and The Gentiles."
It all began with
Eber [Heber] who was the forefather of all Hebrews (Gen.10:21). Abraham
[Abram] was of this lineage and so is an "Hebrew." There were
other lines of Hebrews also. God changed Abramís name to Abraham
signifying that he would become a "Father of Many Nations" (Gen.
16:7-11). Abraham had a son Isaac, and Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob.
Jacobís name to "Israel" (Gen.. 32:28). And Israel had twelve
sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Napthali, Gad, Asher, Issachar,
Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin (Gen.. 35:23-16), who then became known as
"The Children of Israel."
of Israel" became Godís "chosen" people: "For thou
art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen
thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all peoples that are upon
the face of the earth" (Deut. 7:6).
with Israel was so close that He married them: "For thy Maker is
thine husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy
One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall He be called" (Isa.
The Tribe of Judah
early on was chosen of God to lead in battle (Jg. 1:2). The various Tribes
warred against each other during a period of civil wars. They finally
became united under two powers, Judah and Israel. David was anointed King
of Judah (II Sam. 2:4) and then later King over Israel (II Sam. 5:3).
In I Kg. 12:19-21
Judah (with the tribe of Benjamin) is again at war with Israel. Israel was
then known as the "Ten Tribes." Many of the Priests and Levites
left Israel and went to Jeru- salem under Judah (II Chron. 11:13).
And so the Kingdom
of Israel (with its capital at Samaria), and the Kingdom of Judah (with
itís Capital at Jerusalem) were separate nations for several centuries.
was destroyed and driven into captivity by the Assyrians (II Kg. 18:11)
and later Judah was destroyed and driven into captivity by Babylon (Jer.
Nehemiah comes to
power and returns eventually to Jerusalem to rebuild it, and takes Priests
and Levites with him (Neh. 2:1-8). Ezra also returns to Jerusalem with a
large company of Jews (Ezra 7:8).
"Even all the
Jews returned out of all places whither they were driven..." (Jer.
I doubt that many in
Judea and Jerusalem even knew for sure which Tribes they came from by the
time of our Lordís ministry.
To show how dominant
Judah was in absorbing all these Tribes and passing on his name to them,
look at Judges 17:7:
was a young man out of Bethlehem-judah of the family of Judah, who was a
He was a Levite who
was considered Juhahís family.
The Priests, of
course, did have to know their lineage or they would not be qualified for
the Priesthood. Paul was an extremely well-educated man and therefore did
know his lineage. So letís see if this makes sense now. With all these
things in mind, maybe we can better understand how these different names
are used and applied to even the same person.
Paul, for example,
was an Hebrew (Phil. 3:5) through Abraham (Rom. 11:1), and through Isaac,
was an Israelite through Israel (Rom. 11:1), was a Benjamite through the
Tribe of Benjamin (Rom. 11:1), from Tarsus of Cilicia (Acts 21:39), was
educated in Jerusalem, was trained a Pharisee, under Gamaliel, spoke
Hebrew & Greek (Acts 22:2-3), was also a Roman (Acts 16:37), and also
calls himself A JEW (Acts 21:39).
So hereís what
happened. In the Old Testament all Jews were Israelites, but not all
Israelites were Jews. Like all Floridians are Americans, but not all
Americans are Floridians. But, because Judah was always the dominant Tribe
and Israel was once again gathered in Judea under Judahís leadership,
and because many of the individual Tribes became so mixed in inter- tribal
and interracial marriage, many became designated as "Jews" in
the New Testament. Even today, many known "Jews" may really be
"Danites" or "Reubenites" etc. Many thinking
themselves Gentiles could really be descendants of Israelites or Jews or
other lines of Hebrews and not even know it..
I always considered
myself a "Gentile" until a recent trip to Germany and Amsterdam,
where I talked to different people about the early immigrants to America.
My last name was "Schmidt" two hundred years ago, but when I
mentioned other family names in my genealogy they told me: "Thatís
Jewish, thatís Jewish, etc.," My father was David, his father was
Charles, his father was Thomas, his father was Manuel, his father was
Isaac, his father was Abraham, and his father was Jacob. They told me that
"true Germans" almost never named their children with Hebrew
names. So maybe Iím a "Jew." Only God knows for sure.
But the point I want
to make is that at the time of our Lord, Judah (the Jews) dominated to the
extent that all non-Gentiles were referred to as Jews, although
"Israel" as their historical origin was still used. The name
"Israel" is used some 120 times in the N.T., while
"Jews" is used some 360 times. So they really are used
interchangeably. They are all Israelites, but Judah has always dominated.
It will be important to keep these things in mind as we discuss this
When one looks at
all the parables, as they are "literally" written they really
are of little spiritual value, and often are physiological
impossibilities, or donít tell us things we didnít already know.
Look at the parable
of the tares: A man sews good seed. An enemy sews tares. A servant
suggests they pull out the tares. The owner suggests that would pull out
the good wheat as well.. So he says to wait till harvest and then separate
the wheat from the tares, (Mat. 13:24-30). None of the parables are to be
understood in their literal language. Some, like Lazarus and the Rich man,
are physiological impossibilities if taken literally.
parable of the tares can be taken literally. That is it makes sense even
in its literal language, and does not contradict other Scriptures.
However, it was not
meant to be taken literally, and if we take this parable
"literally," what do we learn? Quite frankly, not much. Are you
suggesting that Christ wasted His time giving little household hints and
horticultural tips? Like, how to weed your garden? Come on.
When Christ explains
this parable to His disciples, it takes on enormous meaning never even
suggested in the "literal" story. Parables are in some ways like
fine poetry. Marvelous word pictures having giant spiritual applications
and ramifications can be presented with very few words, AND, it is Godís
purpose to conceal many of the truths of His Kingdom except to those to
whom it is given to understand.
See the spiritual
application of Matt. 14:37-43:
is none less than the Son of man.
"field" is the world.
seed" are the children of the Kingdom of God.
"tares" are the children of the wicked one (Satan).
"harvest" is the end of the age.
Now thatís some
pretty heavy stuff! This is no horticultural tip for would be farmers. I
have already shown how utterly ludicrous it is to try and take Lararus and
the Rich man literally, not to mention totally unscriptural..
Christ is not
telling us about some "one" individual rich man and some
"one" insignificant beggar in the street. Look at that parable
of the "tares" again. Literally it is nothing. But what it
represents in figurative and symbolic language is awesome. It has to do
with the operations of God, Satan, millions of people and the very end of
and personification, God often uses one some thing or person to represent
many or even multitudes and whole nations of people:
imageís head was of fine gold...Thou, O king, art a king of
kings...THOU ART this head of gold" (Dan. 2:32, 37, 38)
"image" represented King Nebuchadnezzar, but the
"King" represented all Babylon and all the nations and kingdoms
that he conquered.
"And this is
the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, Lord, the voice of
Judah..." (Deut. 33:7)
This was not
"literally" the voice of the one man, "Judah," but of
his Descendants. Judah had "literally" died hundreds of years
said unto Simeon his brother ... and they slew of them in Bezek ten
thousand men." (Judges 1:3-4)
Judah was dead,
Simeon was dead, and two individuals could hardly "slay ten thousand
men!" Clearly, Judah represents the children of Judah or as they are
called, Jews. Remember this, this is important!
All of the parables
have huge consequences. They depict giant events to come on this world.
They deal with the future of millions and billions--not just a beggar in
the street somewhere. Letís not cheapen or demean this parable.
There is a
continuity running through most of the parables. Virtually all of the
parables deal with punishments and rewards on the same people at the same
event. Although the meaning of His parables were hidden, on one occasion
Christ did identify Himself in a parable. Correctly translated thus:
you will be declaring to me this parable: ĎPhysician cure your
selfí" (Concordant Literal New Testament).
And on one occasion
the Pharisees did realize that Christ was talking about them even if they
didnít understand the parable completely:
chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on Him;
and they feared the people: for they perceived that He had spoken this
parable against them" (Luke 20:19)!
It is also important
to note that a few verses before this parable it is stated that Christ was
giving these parables partly because the Pharisees were
"...inherently fond of money" (Lk. 16:14).
But in the parable
of "Lazarus and the Rich man," surely they understood who it was
that Christ was speaking of. In the parable of the "tares" no
one could even guess who or what the "tares" represented without
explanation. But in "Lazarus and the rich man" there are more
hints and more identifiable symbols and facts given than in any other
parable in the Gospels.
The Pharisees may
have been hypocrites, but they, nonetheless, were highly educated and
familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures. They knew what "Purple and Fine
Linen" symbolized. The name "Lazarus" wouldnít
necessarily have meant too much to them (it was a common name) until we
find him "in the bosom of Abraham." Now they knew for sure which
Lazarus our Lord was making reference to. And when they were told that the
rich man had "Moses and the Prophets" there was little doubt
left. And this rich man had "five brothers." That clinched it.
Surely they knew for certain who these men are.
And although they
probably hadnít a clue as to the real meaning of the parable, there was
no doubt that our Lord did not portray the rich man in a very favorable
a certain rich man..."
certain man was rich..." Concordant Literal New Testament
I am not convinced
that the first and second verses of this parable should not be a question.
As in, "WHO was a rich man...? And, "WHO was a beggar named
Lazarus. . ."
The Greek word
translated "certain" is ti (neuter), tis (mas. and fem.)
generally has the meaning of "any." However, the indefinite
pronoun "any," used freely, especially in questions, where
English uses Ďwho,í Ďwhose,í Ďwhich,í Ďwhat,í Ďwhy,í
or with negatives, Ď(any)oneí, though, when possible, we seek to
preserve its indefiniteness by rendering it Ďany,í Ďsome,í or
Ďcertain.í" Greek-English Keyword Concordance p. 15.
So certainly we can
render this word in this particular passage as "certain." That
is if we use Websterís Third definition of "certain"
which means "3. not named or described, though perhaps known."
However, if we use Websterís First definition of
"certain" it destroys this "questionable" character of
the word: "1. Without any doubt or question; sure; positive."
"Who [tis] touched my clothes?" (Mk. 5:30).
Certainly, the answer couldnít be "ANY." And, likewise, Christ
asks "Whose [ti] is this image and the inscription?"
(Matt. 22:20). Again, the answer certainly could not be "any
image," or "a certain image." It was definitely
"Caesarís" image. Letís face it, showing someone a famous
"image" and then asking "who" it is, is a pretty big
Now this verse is
particularly interesting, because everyone or anyone would have known
"whose" image was on the coin, yet Christ merely asked the
"question" to confirm that fact! And in the same way I believe
Christ asked "who" was this rich man and "who" was
this poor man Lazarus, (with all the accompanying clues and symbols) to
merely confirm in their minds that they surely already knew who these two
I firmly believe
that the "who" of this parable is just as important or even more
important than the "what" of the parable. Without knowing
"who" is spoken of, the "what" makes almost no sense
at all! The Pharisees undoubtedly did not understand the prophetic
fulfillment of this parable any more than they did any of the other
parables. However, just as in Luke 20 the Pharisees knew Christ was
speaking about them, I believe they also knew full well the
identity of this rich man and Lazarus .
Although I know of
no translation that does translate this verse into a question, I
nonetheless, do not at present believe it would violate any rules if it
were translated a question. Hey, Iím a roofer not a scholar.
"Now who was a
"Now who was a
poor man named Lazarus, who had been cast at his gate...?
"Who?" That is the question.
There were lots of
"rich men" and lots of "poor beggars" and Lazarus was
a common name. But "who" was this rich man and "who"
was this particular Lazarus, thatís the question! It is not necessary,
however, to the explanation of the parable whether it should have a
question mark or not. I just believe it lends itself to a question as do
the other scriptures where "who?" is used.
THE RICH MAN
There is only one
man who Scripturally fits all the descriptions of the "rich man"
in this parable. Only one person who "personifies" all of the
symbols and identifying clues given of this rich man. And that man is:
But not just Judah
as an historical individual, but collectively. All Israel under the
headship of Judah, the Jews. And the Jews were "rich."
Beginning back in
Gen. 15:14 God prophesied that Abrahamís descendants were to be very
rich. "And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and
afterward shall they come out with great substance."
the Lord stablished the kingdom in his hand and all Judah brought to
Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance"
(II Chron. 17:5)
built in Judah castles, and cities of store" (Ver. 12)
Jerusalem had a
standing army of 860,000 men! (II Chron. 17:13-18). And that didnít even
include the fortified cities in Judah. (Ver. 19)
Hezekiah (King of
exceeding much riches and honour; and he made himself treasures for
silver, and for gold, and for precious stones...all manner of pleasant
jewels; storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine, and oil,
and stalls for all manner of beasts ... he provided him cities,
possessions of flocks and herds in abundance; for God had given him
substance very much" (II Ch 32:27-29.
So yes, Judah was
rich. And who to this day are universally known for having money and being
successful in the financial world? The Jews. However, these were just some
of Judahís material possessions. Judah was rich in another way--very
rich. Judah possessed something far more valuable than all of these
possessions. God bestowed on Judah a treasure greater than any other on
the face of the earth, in the history of the world.
is the prerogative of the Jew, or what the benefit of circumcision? Much
in every manner... For first, indeed, that they were entrusted with the oracles
of God" (Rom. 3:1-2).
translated from [Gk. perissoní EXCESS, SUPERABUNDANTLY] Who has a
diamond collection, an art collection, a string of corporations, or fifty
Swiss Bank accounts that could begin to approach the value of the oracles
nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord
our God is in all things..." (Deu. 4:7).
His word unto Jacob, his statutes and His judgment unto Israel" (Psa.
ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of
the Jews" (Jn 4:22)
So not only was
Judah rich materially, but God bestowed on Judah His very word, and
through Judah the very salvation of the world. Who but Judah possessed
dressed in purple..."
asking His disciples: "Oh, by the way, would you fellows be
interested in knowing what color clothing this Rich man was wearing just
before he went to Hell?" Ridiculous nonsense!
But what is nonsense
in the literal is the symbolic sign of this manís real identity!
Purple is: "A
color used in garments of a bluish red, by a dye obtained from a shell
fish, purpura. It denotes rank of royalty" (Greek-English Keyword
Concordance p. 236).
Purple was worn by
Kings (Judges 8:26). Even the Caesars of Rome wore Purple as a symbol of
And who was to carry
the royal line in Israel?... Judah.
[a symbol of rulership and power] shall not depart from Judah, now a
lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come..." (Gen. 49:10).
David was of the
Tribe of Judah and was anointed King of Judah. Our Lord was of the line of
Judah (Mat. 1:2), and will be not only King of Judah, but King of Kings
over all the world.
During our Lordís
ministry, Judea was under Roman rule, however, there were still rulers in
Judea--The Jews. There were Scribes, Pharisees, and Priests. Jesus said
they had power and authority from God. "The scribes and the Pharisees
sit in Mosesí seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that
observe and do..." (Mat. 23:2-3).
God has always
elevated Judah above the other Tribes.
In I Chron. 2:1-3 we
the sons of Israel; Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, and
Zebulun, Dan, Joseph, and Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. The sons
Notice Judah was the
third born to Israel [Jacob] and is listed third, but when God gives their
childrenís names He starts first with Judah.
To show Judahís
dominance in Rulership, when the Tribes of Israel are enumerated in
Revelation 7:4, Judah is put first at the head of the list. He was not,
however, the firstborn!
cambric (fine linen)..."
The Rich man
didnít just dress in "Purple," but "Purple and
Cambric." He wore both. Cambric or Fine Linen is symbolic of the
clothing that the priests wore (Ex. 28:5, 25:4). And of the interior
decorations of the Tabernacle itself (Ex. 26:1).
Our Lord would not
have told us that the Rich man wore these two specific types of garments
except that they have great symbolic value in identifying who this man
"Purple" symbolizes "Royalty" and "Fine
Linen" symbolizes "Priesthood," how can the same man wear
both? Only our Lord is both, King and Priest.
Levites and the priests were loyal to Judah through their long history.
When they got the
opportunity, they went with Ezra and Nehemiah back to Jerusalem--back to
Judah. They were part of Judah. They were called Jews. Only one, had both
the Scepter and the Priesthood: Judah.
"Then rose up
the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the
Levites ... God had raised, to go up to build the house of the Lord
which is in Jerusalem." (Ezra 1:3).
There it is! Judah
had both the royalty and the priesthood. And all these leaders of Judah,
Benjamin, and Levi, became who were known in Christís time as "the
Jews." And thatís why, although the Apostle Paul was of the Tribe
of Benjamin, nonetheless, he said of himself, that he was "a
In Judah were both
the Royal Scepter (purple) and the Priesthood (fine linen). And thatís
the reason Christ took the time to tell us what the Rich man was wearing!
And no other personality in Scripture has both these designations along
with all the other identifying features attributed to the Rich man!
"...Child, be reminded..."
therefore legitimately call Abraham, "Father." Abraham was
Judahís Great Grandfather. Abraham could legitimately call the Rich man,
"Child." Judah was Abrahamís Great Grandchild.
Moses and the Prophets..."
The Kingdom of Judah
did have "Moses and the Prophets." They were the protectors and
scribes of those very documents till the time of our Lordís ministry,
when Jesus said that they "sit in Mosesí seat." Judah was the
very depository for The Law (Moses), The Prophets, and the Writings.
Remember the Oracles were given to the Jews (Rom. 3:1-2).
The Rich man said:
"I have five brothers..."
Thereís a rule of
Scripture study that is very sound, and I believe is applicable here. It
goes like this: "Literal where and when possible." Most of this
parable cannot be taken literally. Why? Because for one, it often
contradicts the laws of science and physics. And two, it would contradict
hundreds of other plain verses of Scripture. Itís the
"parable" that cannot be taken literally. That does not mean
that certain facts contained "in" the parable are not
"literal." Abraham is, undoubtedly, "literally"
Abraham. Moses and the prophets are, undoubtedly, "literally"
Moses and the prophets. They obviously represent themselves, not someone
With that in mind,
who was it who had literally five brothers? Not that these "five
brothers" cannot represent something else in the Scriptures. For
example, there were five spheres where there were "Jews" who
heard Christ proclaimed after His resurrection:
of the land"
dispersed "among the nations."
At first glance, you
might think Judah canít be this "Rich man." Didnít Judah
have eleven brothers? Yes and No. True, there were twelve sons of Israel,
one of which was Judah, but not all by the same mother.
Judah makes six
(Gen. 29:31-35, 30:18-19).
So who had five
That Judah (the
Jews), is here personified in this Rich man, there can be little doubt!
But who then is this
The answer is not
far to find when we see where he is: "in Abrahamís bosom."
Being in someoneís bosom shows a very close emotional relationship and
position of honor. Christ likens Himself as being in the "bosom"
of His Father (Jn 1:18). And John, likewise, who was very fond of Jesus
leaned back into Jesusí bosom (Jn 13:23). To be in the bosom of Abraham,
or the bosom of Christ, or the bosom of the Father, are certainly
positions of great honor.
The Jews coveted
that relationship with Abraham. They were so proud of their Father
Abraham. They knew that God thought highly of their Father Abraham, and
they wanted to be connected to that lofty position themselves. However,
they did not come even close to qualifying for such an honor. They loved
to say: "We have Abraham for our father!" But as Christ told
them, they didnít do the works of faith that their Father Abraham did.
So Judah is not in
the bosom of Abraham, but Lazarus is. Why? Who is this "Lazarus"
that he should have such a lofty position of honor with the Father of the
I said earlier that
the Jews, undoubtedly, understood who Christ was referring to in both the
Rich man and Lazarus. Remember that the Jews of Jerusalem knew Hebrew.
Their scriptures were written in Hebrew. And they were a lot closer to
these symbols and the Hebrew language than we are today.
said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the
steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said
me thou hast given no seed; and, lo, one born in my house is mine
heir." (Gen. 15:2-3).
In chapter 13 God
had already promised great land and possessions to Abramís seed. But
Abram had no seed!
Abram told God that
since he had no son, his chief steward, Eliezer, would be his heir and
inherit all that was his.
Eliezer was so
faithful a steward to Abraham that he was planning to make him his heir
and give Eliezer all his possessions and inheritance. Eliezer would have
been wealthy. He would have inherited the "promised land." He
would have received the "oracles of God" Ah, but no, God had
different plans. Abraham would have a son Isaac who would continue the
It appears that
Eliezer will be left out. He lost his one big claim to fame. Now heís
just a Gentile from Damascus. All his generations will be Gentiles (dogs).
Eliezer knew he would inherit all of Abrahamís posessions one day. And
now, thatís all gone. But he remains faithful.
Eliezer had ample
opportunity to do away with Isaac on any number of occassions, but he
remained faithful to Abraham. He even took a journey to get a wife for
Isaac. Every step of faith and obedience that Eliezer took removed him
just that much further from the inheritance he always thought would be
his. He did all that a faithful steward should do. But every step of
faithful obedience to Abraham caused his inheritance to slip further away.
Imagine just how
faithful and trustworthy a steward would have to be for Abraham to leave
ALL his possessions to him. Abraham was extremely rich. Why look for
"another" to pass these blessings onto? Eliezer has already
proved himself faithful. Abraham had already concluded that Eliezer was
the only logical heir:
of Demascus ... born in my house IS MINE HEIR" (Gen. 15:2-3)
It appears that
either Eliezer becomes Abrahamís heir, or he receives nothing.
Absolutely no spiritual promises or possessions were ever made by God to
Eliezer If he is not to get Abrahamís inheritance, which included all
that Abraham already had plus all that God is about to bless him with on
top of all his other possessions, then Eliezer is going to be poor as far
as spiritual blessings are concerned. As a Gentile, all he can ever hope
for are the spiritual "crumbs" that fall from the Rich manís
table. Not to fear: Through faith God works many miracles.
FAITH OF THE GENTILES
woman was a Greek, a native of Syro-Phoenicia [A Gentile], and she asked
Him that He should be casting the demon out of her daughter. Yet Jesus
said to her, ĎLet first the children [The Jews] be satisfied, for it
is not ideal to take the childrenís bread and cast it to the dogs.í
Yet she answered and is saying to Him, ĎYes, Lord, For the dogs also,
underneath the table, are eating the scraps from the little children.í
And He said to her, ĎBecause of this saying, go. The demon has come
out of your daughter.í" (Mk. 6:27-29).
So clearly this Syro-Phoenician
woman was not asking for a small portion of food (crumbs or scraps), but
rather a small portion of Christís spiritual blessing. And clearly,
Lazarus does not represent a street beggar in need of a small portion of
food. He personifies something much greater than one single beggar in the
When Christ entered
Capernaum a centurion [a Roman, a Gentile] asked Christ to heal his boy.
Christ said He would come. The Centurion said He need only to "say
the word" and he would trust Christ for the healing!
heard it, He marveled, and said to them that followed, ĎVerily I say
unto you I have not found so great faith no, not in Israelí"
Why then, are the
Gentiles relegated to "dogs?" Not in all Israel did our Lord
find such faith as in these GENTILE "DOGS!" But
"Judah" gets all the blessings while the "Gentile"
dogs get the crumbs? Ah, just when we think things are going bad and God
isnít fair, He shows us His strange and marvelous wisdom!
As Paul Harvey says,
"And now for the rest of the story..." What was Christís
response to this marvelous exhibition of faith by the Centurion?
"And I say
unto you, That many shall come from the east and the west [Gentiles],
and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of
Heaven, but the children of the kingdom [Judah--the Jews] shall be cast
into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth"
Christ is not
telling us that "Jews" from the East and "Jews" from
the West will sit down with Abraham, but that the "Jews" shall
be cast out." Thatís contradictory. Itís the "Jews" who
are the "children of the kingdom" who are "cast out."
And those from the East and West are "GENTILES." Christ is
telling us who these "many" are because He is commenting on the
faith that God has given to this Centurion Gentile.
Christ rarely spoke
of the Gentiles in His ministry. But He did speak of them. And, although,
He said He was sent only to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel, in His
human ministry, He nonetheless, was making provisions for the Gentiles, as
in this prophetic statement. As Christís disciples were to be like
"salt" to the earth, this Syro-Phoenician woman, Cornelius of
the Italian squadron, the Roman Centurion, the Samaritan woman at the
well, and others were certainly like "salt" among the Jews. The
very first sermon of Christís ministry foretold the calling of the
Gentiles, and it nearly cost Christ His life (Luke 4:13-30).
When it comes to
Godís blessings, faith is thicker than blood.
God has not
"cast off" the Gentiles!
So we find
"Lazarus" [Gk: helpless] begging scraps from a rich manís
table. Can "helpless" find "help?" Will God have mercy
on him just as He did the Syro-Phoenician woman and the Centurion? Yes!
"Lazarus" is from Lazaros [Heb. HELPLESS].
Hebrew "Lazarus" is Elazar or "Eliezer" from el
[God] and azar [HELP]!
If Lazarus knew his
Hebrew name, he would have known that help was on the way. The "God
of Help" had already planned this whole marvelous drama from the time
Just as the Jews can
look to their ancient "father" Abraham as a sterling example of
faith in God, so now, likewise, can the Gentiles Look to Abrahamís
Steward, Eliezer as a "father" of rare faith. Truly there is no
partiality with God--it only appears that way when we let the relative get
in the way of the absolute.
It is the Gentiles
that God is primarily dealing with today! Paul says there is to be only a
"remnant" of Jews. His calling was to the nations. However, Paul
knew that God was still calling a "few" of the Jews. "If by
any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh [Jews], and
might save some of them" (Rom. 11:14).
For nearly two
thousand years now God is calling primarily the Gentiles..
GODíS CALL IS NOW
TO THE GENTILES
was: "...cast at his [Rich manís] gate [portal]..."
It was the
"Gentiles" who were not allowed into the Royal and Priestly
House of Judah. They could go no further than "The court of the
Gentiles." Any blessings they received had to come to them from
inside where they were never allowed to go! Though designated as
"proselytes," they were, nonetheless, like "dogs" who
only got the "crumbs" or scraps! Hence we find Lazarus cast "at
Little could these
Jews hearing this parable realize that in just a few short years all this
"Yet now, in
Christ Jesus, you [Gentiles], who once are far off are become near by
the blood of Christ. For He is our Peace, Who makes both one, and razes
the central wall of the barrier [middle wall of partition] ... He brings
the evangel of peace to you [Gentiles] ... for through Him we both [Jews
and Gentiles] have had the access, in one spirit to the Father"
And so today, the
Gentiles donít have to stand outside the gate, or be separated by a
barrier, or stay in their own court, and wait for handouts. They have
direct access to God.
And who has been
preaching the Evangel for the past two thousand years? The Jews? Hardly.
It has been the Gentiles that have translated the Scriptures into nearly
every language on earth. It is those called of the Gentiles that are
accepting Christ Jesus as their Savior, not the Jews. It is really a rare
thing to find Jews accepting Christ as the Messiah. And thatís why we
find Lazarus [Eliezer--the Gentiles] in the bosom of Abraham, and the Rich
man [the Jews] engulfed in flames of Anti-Semitism for the past two
ulcers [full of sores]..."
Lazarus is not full
of sores in Abrahamís bosom. He has been healed. In fact, thatís what
"salvation" meant in New Testament times. "Salvation"
is a beautiful sounding Latin word, however, it was never part of the New
Testament Greek Vocabulary. Not until six or eight centuries ago did the
word "salvation" come into translations. Before that time it was
"health" that was oneís salvation. And all of the very oldest
Anglo-Saxon Scriptures translate it "health" not
"salvation." So for Lazarus "health" in the bosom of
Abraham was salvation!
represent materialistically poor Jews, but spiritually poor Gentiles.
Thatís the whole point here in the parable. Judah was rich and knew it!
They were like the Laodiceans who said:
"I am rich,
and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that
thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked"
Abraham, be merciful to me, and send Lazarus that he should be dipping
the tip of his finger in water..."
In figurative and
symbolic language the Rich man asks for a drop of water on the tip of
Lazarusí finger. How appropriate! Who was it that refused to help the
"poor" with so much as their little finger?
[Judah] bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on
menís shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of
their fingers" (Mat. 23:4).
unto Rehoboam [King of Judah], saying, ... make thou the grievous
service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter,
and we will serve thee. But he forsook the counsel of the old men ... My
little finger shall be thicker than my fatherís loins ... my
father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with
scorpions" (I Kg. 12:7:11).
Now Judah begs the
assistance of a finger from a poor man! And not just a poor man, but a
poor Gentile! It was custom for pious Jews to cut a section of their
garment off if it were so much as touched by the finger of a Gentile. Now
the rich and lofty personification of Godís chosen people begs for the
assistance of a Gentile FINGER.
"God is not
to be sneered at, for whatsoever a man may be sowing, this shall he be
reaping also" (Gal. 67).
cooling my tongue..."
It isnít his flesh
that he wants cooled from this flame, but his tongue. This man is
frightened. His tongue is swelling. And well it should be. When people are
petrified from fear their tongue dries and swells. Thatís why some
inexperienced speakers often need a whole glass of water just to get
through a 10 minute speech.
rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered
Zion" (Psa. 137:1)
Well, God brought
Judah back from Babylon to Jerusalem, but Judah didnít have the same
heart as King David. He failed to remember. David said:
"...let my tongue
cleave to the roof of my mouth ... if I forget to remember
It was because of
Judahís "tongue" that Jerusalem was destroyed in the first
Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen; because their TONGUE and their
doings are against the Lord..." (Isa. 3:8).
So in the parable we
find Lazarus (Eliezer--a Gentile) in the bosom of Abraham, and Judah, who
should be there, on the other side asking for mercy. But Lazarus canít
come over to the Rich man even if he wanted to, because of this
all this, between us and you a great chasm [gulf]
has been established."
WHAT IS THE GREAT
Earlier I showed you
from the Greek that there is water in this gulf or chasm. What could this
be all about? Certainly there is no literal chasm between hades (unseen)
and Abrahamís bosom. What or where is this great chasm? Does the Bible
speak of a great chasm that has anything to do with salvation or rewards?
When the Children of
Israel made their exodus out of Egypt, they were on their way to the
Promised Land. After receiving the Ten Commandments at Mt Sinai, where
they stayed approximately one year, they headed north to Kadeshbarnea.
They sent men to spy out the land. They were very close to Canaan. But God
sentenced them to thirty-nine more years in the wilderness for their
unbelief. How different they were from their ancient Father Abraham. After
thirty-nine years they again headed north, only this time through Edom and
Moab and approached the Jordan from the East. To get to the Promised Land
they had to cross over the Jordan River Valley.
The River Jordan
runs through a great chasm (or gulf).
From Mt. Nebo Moses
could see the Promised Land. The Jordan is in a huge chasm. Itís a
"far" way to the other side. This chasm, in fact, is so large
that it may well be one of the largest fault lines on earth! It starts on
the southern boundaries of Turkey and runs through Palestine, through the
Dead sea, trough the Red Sea, through Africa to Lake Victoria. But some
scientists and geologists believe it continues through Africa and the
South Pole and reemerges again in the Pacific Ocean. Now thatís a
Because of Mosesí
sin, God did not allow him to enter the Promised Land.
Jordan" has always been used symbolically as a type of
"salvation." But just as Israel couldnít cross the Red Sea
except by a miracle of parting the waters, so too, God supernaturally
dried up the Jordan so that they could cross over. So literally, they
didnít "get wet" crossing the Jordan; they didnít "get
baptized." And neither did most of the rulers of the Jews "get
baptized" at Johnís baptisms either!
It is always
"God" who determines boundaries. Moses could not cross that
chasm. And no one else could cross over except it were Godís intention.
Just as Israel looked to the crossing over Jordan as their salvation in a
new land, so we too, are looking for a future complete manifestation in
Kingdom of God. And God alone determines who will and who wonít be in
that Kingdom at this time.
In a real sense we
too go into the Kingdom of God by way of the Jordan! Jesus was baptized in
the River Jordan (Mat. 3:13). And
are baptized into Christ Jesus, are baptized into His death. We, then
were entombed together with Him through baptism into death ... For if we
have become planted together in the likeness of His death, nevertheless
we shall be of the resurrection also..." (Rom. 6:4-5).
Mortality kept the
majority of Israelites from entering the Promised Land. The generation
that started on this journey died in the wilderness. Only a remnant
crossed over Jordan under the leadership of Joshua. And likewise, today,
God is calling only a "remnant" to salvation:
"God does not
thrust away His people whom He foreknew ... Thus, then, in the current
era also, there has come to be a remnant according to the choice of
grace" (Rom. 11:2 & 5).
Mortality kept most
of Israel out of the promised land, and by immortality we will enter the
Kingdom of God in full spiritual glory:
"Lo! a secret
... we all shall be changed ... at the last trump ... the dead will be
roused ... this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal
put on immortality (I Cor. 15:51-53).
And we enter the
Kingdom under the new Joshua (Jesus) the Christ!
No matter what this
gulf or chasm symbolizes, it is only "man" who cannot cross it.
Nothing is impossible with God. And God has given His Son authority over
EVERYTHING. It is blasphemy to even think that there is a gulf that cannot
be bridged by the Almighty Jesus Christ!
Though not a place
of eternal torture in fire, there is, nonetheless, a realm called "hades."
It is an enemy of man and there are "gates" (not literal iron
bar gates, but gates in the sense that passage is restricted to all who go
therein). There are also gates and bars and locked doors in human prisons
But there are guards
and wardens who have "keys" to these doors and gates--they CAN
BE OPENED. Well guess what? There are also "keys" to the gates
of hades and it is NOT SATAN WHO POSSESSES THEM! IT IS NOT SATAN WHO HAS
POWER OVER LIFE AND DEATH AND RESURRECTION! Rev. 1:18:
[Jesus] have the keys to hell [hades, the unseen] and of death."
It is senseless to
boast in having "the keys" if those keys will never be used to
open the locks on the gates! Not only does Christ have the keys to all
doors, HE IS THE DOOR! When we enter HIS door, He enters OUR door and we
dine together. One day Judah will knock on Christís door and He WILL
OPEN to them.
Letís read the
make a NEW Covenant with the house of Israel, and the house of
Judah...For this is the Covenant that I WILL MAKE [future tense] with
the house of Israel AFTER THOSE DAYS [those days of blindness and
unregenerate hearts crying out from the symbolic gates of hades], saith
the Lord; I will put my Laws INTO THEIR MINDS, AND WRITE THEM IN THEIR
HEARTS; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a
people" (Heb. 8:8-10).
Judah had the
"promises," the "Oracles" of God, the
"Royalty," the "Priesthood," the "Seat of
Moses," the "Temple of God," the "Ark of the
Covenant," enormous "wealth and riches," the
"Possession of the Land," and the prophesied
"Messiah." But they crucified their only Savior! For this they
will certainly go through many "tormenting" trials and
afflictions, but the fire of Godís Holy Spirit will cleanse them of
their sins and they WILL BE SAVED--ALL OF THEM!
"And thus ALL
Israel shall be saved..." (Rom. 11:26)
So sad that the
Scriptures are not believed and the gospel rarely preached. People accuse
me continually of teaching that unbelievers, and evil unrepentant and
unregenerate sinners will be saved in THAT condition. I have never even
suggested such a repugnant thing. God WILL CHANGE THEM. And it all begins
in THE HEART! They will repent at the goodness of God.
"And thus ALL
Israel shall be saved, according as it is written, Arriving out of Zion
shall be the Rescuer [thatís CHRIST!]. He WILL be turning away
irreverence from Jacob [Jacob includes Israel and Judah], And this is My
Covenant with them whenever I SHOULD BE ELIMINATING THEIR SINS"
If we would but
believe these simple and profound Scriptures there would never be such
distortions of Godís Word being taught as is the case with this parable.
THE RICH MANíS SIN
the unseen [hades],
lifting up his eyes, existing in torments..."
Judah [the Jews]
proved to be totally unworthy of their high calling. Their heartís
turned from the declarations of God. Claiming Abraham as their father did
not exonerate them either.
father is Abraham.í Jesus answered them, ĎIf you are children of
Abraham, did you ever do the works of Abraham? Yet now you are seeking
to kill me, a Man Who has spoken to you the truth..." (John
Not only were they
no longer "...of the faith of Abraham," but they had, in fact,
utterly corrupted themselves. After King David, Solomon broke God
commandments and covenant (I Kg 11:11).
King Rehoboam said:
whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your
yoke; my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you
with scorpions" (I Kg. 12:10-11).
kept not the commandments of the Lord..." (II Kg. 19:17)
And King Manasseh,
of Judah, went from bad to worse:
that which was evil in the sight of the Lord after the abominations of
the heathen ... he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his
father had destroyed ... he built altars in the house of the Lord ... he
built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house
of the Lord. And he made his sons pass through the fire, and observed
times, and used enchantments, and dealeth with familiar spirits and
wizards; he wrought much wickedness ... Manasseh seduced them to do more
evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed..." (II Kg.
dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in
Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the holiness of the Lord which He
loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god." (Mal.
According to a
"literal" teaching of this parable, the Rich man did nothing to
deserve his torment. But once we identify this Rich man, however, we find
a mountain of sins and evils that are attributed to him:
When John the
baptist saw these same descendants of the Jews, the Pharisees and
Sadducees coming to his baptisms, he remarked: "progeny of
Our Lord used the
most derogatory language possible in describing the Jews of the first
of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good..." (Mat. 12:34)!
"And evil and
adulterous generation seeketh after a sign..." (Mat. 12:39)!
"Why do ye
also transgress the commandment of God..." (Mat. 15:3)!
and perverse generation..." (Mat. 17:17)!
unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not..."
"Why tempt ye
me, Ye hypocrites?" (Mat. 22:17)!
their works they do for to be seen of men..." (Mat. 23:5)!
"But woe unto
you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! (Ver 13)!
up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves,
neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." (Ver 13)!
devour widowsí houses..." (Ver 14).
"Woe unto you
scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make
one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold morethe child of
gehenna than yourselves" (Ver 15).
you, ye blind guides..." (Ver. 16).
"Ye fools and
blind..." (Ver. 17).
you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of the mint and
the anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law,
judgment, mercy, and faith..." (Ver. 23).
guides, which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. (Ver. 25)
you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! ... whited sepulchres ... full
of dead menís bones, and of all uncleanness" (Ver. 27)
be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which
killed the prophets. Ye serpents. Ye generation of vipers..."
"I send unto
you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye shall kill
and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your Synagogues, and
persecute them from city to city; That upon you may come all the
righteous blood shed upon the earth..." (Ver. 34-35).
HOUSE IS LEFT UNTO YOU DESOLATE (Ver. 38)!!
Yes, there is more
than ample reason for "Judah" finding himself in a "place
of torment!" Can we see how God combines them all together? Christ
"Ye are the
children of them which killed the prophets" and "Ye fill up
then the measure of your fathers" (Ver. 32).
So why shouldnít
Christ picture the Jews in hades viewing this disaster of their race? Of
course it is figurative! God often uses just such figurative language
of thy brotherís blood crieth unto me from the ground" (Gen.
chapter 6 the dead souls of those slain for the Word of God are crying
out. This too is figurative. God wouldnít allow His Conscious Saints to
be all piled up on a bloody heap under an altar for thousands of years.
Jonah was literally in "...the fishís belly" (Jonah 2:1), but
figuratively he called it "...the belly of hell [sheol=IMPERCEPTIBLE]"
And so we have the
Rich man (Judah) "crying out from hades." Figuratively, it has
great emotional power. The Jews corrupted themselves. In the person of
Judah they see the result of their ways. Notice that the Rich man never
said one word in his own defense. He knew what kind of a people he was. I
find it hard to believe what I am reading when I see the terminology our
Lord used against the Jews and their forefathers. Really, consider His
words: adulterous, evil, transgressors, faithless, perverse, hypocrites,
murderers, blind guides, fools, generation of snakes.
The Jews were given
so much by God, but showed ever so little appreciation to God! They have
suffered like few races of people have ever suffered. Lazarus, on the
other hand, lived an untarnished life of faithfulness, and yet is promised
nothing from God--neither material blessings nor spiritual blessings. In
life he received "evil things." Abraham considered him worthy of
inheriting all his possessionis. God, on the other hand, disinherited him.
This was an "evil" to Eliezer. It was Godís wisdom in bringing
this evil on Eliezer.
Little did these
Jews know at the time that Christ spoke this parable, that it would be
only thirty some years future that their beloved Jerusalem would once
again be destroyed. But this time, God would also take from them the
Temple and the Ark of the Covenant as well. And little did the Gentiles
know that Saul [Paul] was already being prepared to take Godís spiritual
blessings "to the nations." It will be Eliezer himself who will
be the first Gentile to not only justify God in His actions, but glorify
Him for the marvelous blessings that God has bestowed on the Gentiles.
For nearly two
thousand years the Jews have been without the ark of the covenant or a
Temple. The Jews have wandered from country to country for centuries never
even having a country they could call their own until 1948 They have been
persecuted everywhere they lived! This greatest persecution and slaughter
took place during Hitlerís death camps when reportedly six to seven
million Jews were exterminated!
The Rich man said
" I am tormented in this flame." If one checks all the parables
it becomes evident that most of them were prophecies. And therefore
"flames" is most appropriate in describing the plight of the
Jews through the millennia. Not just the "Flames of
Anti-Semitism," but even literally--remember "Hitlerís
I remember the words
of a Jewish teenager after the Holocaust, bemoaning: "The world stood
still while the Jews burned. The pain! The pain!" Yes, Judah is still
crying out from the unseen.
And so the Rich
manís thoughts turn to "his fatherís house" and his
"five brothers." What will happen to them? Even if they didnít
hear Moses and the prophets, surely, if "someone should be going to
them from the dead, they will be repenting."
"Yet he said
to him, ĎIf Moses and the prophets they are not hearing, neither will
they be persuaded if someone should be rising from among the
Well how could
Abraham know that for a fact? Because it is really Christ who is speaking,
and itís a parable, and it also is a prophecy of things to come, and
Christ knows all.
Ironically, the only
person ever resurrected from the dead that we know by "name" at
this time was Marthaís brother Lazarus. Did that miracle persuade the
Jews? Actually, yes, many.
"Many of the
Jews, then, who came to Mary and gaze at what Jesus does, believe in
Him" (Jn 11:45).
Yet when other Jews
reported this miracle back to the Pharisees
day, they [the Jewish leaders] consult that they should kill Him" (Jn.
It seems like itís
always the religious leaders that have the most trouble believing!
But how many of
these "many who believed" stayed faithful? When Christ began
teaching them really "spiritual things," many could not handle
it. Christ told them that "The flesh is not benefiting anything"
(Jn 6:63). That was more than they would tolerate as most
"Christians" today do not tolerate such a thought either, and
time many of His disciples went back, and walked NO MORE with Him"
however, is not speaking about Lazarusí resurrection, but Christís
resurrection from the dead. All of Judea did not know of the resurrection
of Lazarus, but everyone heard about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Not
only the Jewish leaders who killed Him, but all Jerusalem, all of the Rich
manís brothers and everywhere the descendants of his brothers were
scattered: (1) Jerusalem, (2) Judea, (3) Samaria, (4) The limits of the
land (Acts 1:8), and (5) to the dispersed among the nations. And the
message sent to all these Jews, everywhere, was that the Christ whom they
crucified has risen from the dead.
JEWS STILL REJECT
Judah did not obey
God through most of their long history. The Jews as a nation did not
repent at the preaching of John the Baptist. They killed their own Savior!
"Let all the
house of Israel know certainly, then, that God Makes Him Lord as well as
Christ--this Jesus Whom you [Jews] crucify!" (Acts 2:36).
But Christ forgave
them before He even died:
forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).
He commissioned his
apostles to herald the good news of His resurrection and the coming
Kingdom of God to them again, but again, as a nation, the Jews rejected
So now what? So then
Christ calls Saul to be "Paul." And so Paul preaches and teaches
in Jerusalem. And what kind of reception did Paul and his message receive?
[Paul] argued in the synagogue on every sabbath ... Paul was pressed in
the word, certifying to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. Now at their
[the Jews] resisting and blaspheming, shaking out his garments, he said
to them, ĎYour blood be on your head! Clear am I! From now on I SHALL
GO TO THE NATIONS" (Acts 18:4-6).
Just as Christ
will they be persuaded if someone should be rising from among the
The Scriptures do
plainly state that the Jews shall yet find salvation through Christís
Sacrifice, because it was God who blinded them in the first place so that
they would not and could not understand and repent! Isaiah prophesied that
they would not repent and so Christ did not heal them (Mat. 13:1915).
"...us [Gentiles], whom He calls also, not only out of the Jews, but
out of the nations also..." (Rom.. 9:24). And
"I shall be
calling those who are not My people [poor and wretched people like
Lazarus--Gentiles] ĎMy people,í" (Rom. 9:25).
Yes ALL PEOPLE will
be GODíS PEOPLE!
If that thought
doesnít bring joy to our hearts, I donít know what could. And
disclosed to those [Gentiles] who are not inquiring for Me" (Rom.
Since the time that
Paul said "From now on I shall go to the nations," the Jews
have, except for rare and individual cases, rejected Christ risen from the
dead. But millions of poor rejected people like Lazarus have been brought
into Abrahamís bosom, into a close and intimate relationship with God
THE BLIND CANíT SEE
What about these
Jews then? Is the Rich man [Judah, the Jews, the whole house of Israel]
going to suffer in a fancied Christian Hell of devils and flames of
torment for all eternity? Why canít we believe the Scriptures? And not
just one or two, but hundreds and thousands of Scriptures that point to
the fact that all is of God. God is operating all.
Many years ago I
learned something most profound: "The Ďblindí canít see!"
Not many theologians
believe that. Surely, if we present it in just the right way, they will
see. No, they wonít. If they get sick enough of their life and sins,
then they will see. No, they wonít. If we tell them often enough and
with enough conviction, with hundreds of scriptures, and with charts and
diagrams, and with analogies and examples, surely then at least
"some" of the blind will see. No, they wonít. Iíll tell you
why. Because the blind cannot see. I told you it was profound. You
can hold it closer to their face, you can shout, you can shine a bright
light on it. It doesnít matter, "The blind canít see!"
that if people want to see and understand, then they can. It's all up to
them. No itís not. I know people who are physically blind, and they want
to see, but they canít because the blind canít see.
When God Almighty
"blinds" someone, they cannot see. I do not entertain any such
notion that this paper will persuade anyone who is blind, to see itís
truth, unless God uses it to open their mind and remove the blindness.
Let the Scriptures speak:
"Does not God
thrust away His people?... God DOES NOT thrust away His people
whom He fore knew" (Rom. 11:1-2).
in the current era also, there has come to be a remnant according to the
choice [Godís choice] of grace" (Rom. 11:8).
is seeking for, this she did not encounter, yet the chosen [those God
chose] encountered it. Now the rest [the rest of the Jews, all the rest
of Israel] were calloused..." (Rom. 11:7).
Who calloused them?
Who is operating all? Now pay close attention to this next verse. I just
checked twenty-six translations and the Greek Text to be sure Iím right
on this point, and they all say same the same thing.
gives them a spirit of stupor, eyes not to be observing, and ears
not to be hearing, till this very day" (Rom. 11:8).
"Till this very
day," was written 2000 years ago, and yet "till this very
day" today, as a race, as a nation, as a religion, and as a people,
the Jews have universally rejected their only Savior Jesus Christ.
Yes it was "God"
Who did these things! Why would God do such a thing? Is there some purpose
to it all? Yes there is.
"But in their
[the Jews] offense is the salvation of the nations, to provoke them to
jealousy (Rom. 11:11)
SALVATION OF THE RICH
MAN (JUDAH & ISRAEL)
Well, since it was
"God" who blinded the Jews and caste them away, will He ever
take them back and remove their blindness?
"For if their
[the Jews] casting away is the conciliation of the world, what will the
TAKING BACK be if not life from among the dead?" (Rom. 11:15).
callousness [by God Ver. 8], in part, on Israel has come, until the
complement of the nations may be entering. And thus ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE
SAVED..." (Rom. 11:26)!!
Look at Ezekiel 37
beginning in verse 13
"And ye shall
know that I am the Lord when I have opened your graves, O my people, and
brought you up out of your graves." (Notice they come out of their
graves, not out of hell).
Ver. 14, "And
shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live..." (Notice they
shall "live." That means they were "dead," not alive
in some hell).
"Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols,
nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions;
but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, so shall
they be my people, and I will be their God."
Ver. 25, "And
David my servant shall be king over them..."
GOD IS OPERATING ALL
How could anyone
possibly believe any one of these verses and yet believe that unbelieving
Jews God will burn in Hell for all eternity. Letís be Scripturally
God blinded Israel (ver.
God used their
offense to bring salvation to the nations (ver. 11).
God caste Israel
away so that He could conciliate the whole world (ver 15).
God will take back
these unbelieving and sinning Jews (ver 15)
God will give them
life from among the dead (ver. 15).
God will save all
Israel (ver. 26).
God will not burn
them in hell for all eternity, because they will be sinless:
"Whenever I should be eliminating their sins" (Ver. 27).
It is GOD Who is in
control of the destiny of the human race, not MAN!
Perverting a parable
to such gross extremes as to nullify hundreds of plain and exact verses of
Scripture (that are not parables) is a damnable thing! Consigning billions
and billions of human beings to an eternal Hell of torture for all
eternity is unspeakable. Not to mention totally unscriptural.
and chastisements are severe enough without multiplying them a trillion
times to the power of infinity. That is truly INSANE!
This parable, like
all the others, has great and enormous consequences. This is not the story
of a single, nameless rich man and one poor beggar in the street named
Christ preached the
kingdom of God.
preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I
sent" (Lk. 4:43).
Himself to a "bridegroom" (Lk. 5:34). Now look at all of the
parables, and see how they point to the coming Kingdom of God when the
Bridegroom will make a great feast and hand out rewards or punishments
according to the "faithfulness" and "stewardship" or
lack thereof, to His servants.
But time and again,
those initially invited to this Great Feast are rejected and those who had
no claim to attend such a feast are invited in.
quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither, the
poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind" (Lk. 14:21).
of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper" (Ver. 24).
How amazing the
workings of our God are. First it looked like God had forsaken the
Gentiles--He did not. Then it looks like He has forsaken His own people
(the Jews)--He has not. Itís Godís way. This is Godís wisdom. And it
is so much higher than puny manís ability to ever fully appreciate or
When God removes all
blindness, gives faith to believe, removes all sins, and convicts the
heart of the greatness of God and nothingness of our own selves, ALL WILL
BE PERSUADED! We can doubt it all we want, but we are not our own
achievement. But rather:
achievement are we..." (Eph. 2:10)! "...our Saviour, God, Who
WILLS THAT ALL MANKIND BE SAVED and come into a realization of
the truth" (I Tim. 2:4).
How dare any doubt
Godís own ability to fulfill and accomplish His own will? (See Isaiah
FATHER OF THE
If God cannot
accomplish and fulfill His own will, what hope is there for us? It is a
gross lack of faith to believe that God will not accomplish His own will.
And whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
The reason Abraham
is in this parable, is because Abraham is the "father" of the
faithful. Abraham BELIEVED GOD.
are they [the Jews] broken out, yet you stand in faith" (Rom
Now listen to
Paulís admonition very carefully:
haughty, but fear" (Ver. 20).
"God parts to
each the measure of faith" (Rom. 12:4).
Yet most Christians
think faith is the one thing, for sure, that they must contribute on their
own to be saved. To believe such a thing is not only unscriptural, but
vane as well.
All of the haughty
arrogance of Christendom would vanish over night if they would just
believe and comprehend this one beautiful and profound verse of Scripture:
have you which you did not obtain? Now if you obtained it
also, why are you boasting as though not obtaining?" (I Cor. 4:7).
We must be thankful
that God is calling us (the Gentiles), and to not be haughty. Does any
think that we are special but the cast-off Jews are not? No! The Jews are
very special to God. The Rich man asked for "mercy," and he will
yet receive mercy. "...God is able to graft them in again."
unregretted are the graces and the calling of God. For even as you once
were stubborn toward God, yet now were shown mercy at their
stubbornness, thus these also are now stubborn to this mercy of yours,
that now they [the "Rich man" and all his descendants--all
Israel] may be shown mercy. For God locks up all together in
stubbornness, that He should be merciful to all [Jews and Gentiles]. O,
the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God!"
God gave Abraham
that kind of faith. God gave Eliezer that kind of faith. Faith that
doesnít require substance, evidence, and proof. Every step of faith that
Eliezer took put him that much further from his inheritance. Eliezerís
faith wasnít in the "visible evidence," but in God. In
Abrahamís case the "evidence" (he and his wifeís old age)
that God would give them seed, was a faith destroyer. There was nothing in
the visible evidence that would have given anyone faith. Abrahamís faith
wasnít in "evidence" but in God. Children need proof; the
mature live by faith.
I am sure that there
is much more that can and will be learned and understood regarding this
unique parable of Lazarus and the Rich man. However, whatever we teach
regarding it must at least stand on solid Scriptures and not contradict.
The real truth of this parable is not nearly as morbid as it may appear at
first glance. God has a plan that eventually brings all the Jews and all
the Gentiles to salvation. The very heart of the Gospel is the salvation
of the Jews and Gentiles, the salvation of the WHOLE WORLD!
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