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Rich Man and Lazarus

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by adam332, Dec 3, 2002.

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  1. adam332

    adam332 Deut. 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD t

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    Rich Man and Lazarus

    Christ told a very important parable(Luke 16:19-31), that holds significance on many levels. Before we begin to unwrap it’s meaning, it would be necessary to emphasize some important facts.

    {a.} Chapter 16 of Luke is about "stewardship", yet some seem locked in to the idea that this parable(v.19-31) holds literal clues to the state of the dead and/or heaven and hell.

    If one keeps their focus on the "tone" of this entire chapter, it is hard to miss the message that is clearly given throughout. Also equally important is, to whom Christ was addressing when He spoke told this, the Jewish Pharisees(v.14). Knowing these two contextual facts is key to identifying the message that Christ was conveying.

    {b.} This is a parable and parables are not "literal". Never in the Bible does it tell us to accept parables literally. This is precisely what makes them a parable. Webster’s Dictionary defines a parable as; "a story that illustrates a moral lesson". The moral of the story is all we are to take away from a parable. The fact is, there are over 250 parables in the Bible and less that 1 out of every 4 of those were actually labeled as a parable.

    If one were to take every Biblical parable literally, we would find plenty of items that would be difficult to explain in literal terms. Such as in Jdg. 9:7-15, Jotham spoke in a parable that was completely imaginary, about talking trees and brambles. Also, in Eze. 23:1-4, he records the Parable of Two Sisters, in which proper names are used in parabolic symbolism. As you can see, it would not be sensible to give "literal equivalents" to "symbolic terms" used in a "fictitious parable". Instead one must seek out "the moral of the story" to find the message contained therein.

    {c.} The phrase "a certain rich man", is only mentioned 3 times in the Bible, (Luke12:16, Luke 16:1, Luke 16:19). All 3 are found in Luke, and all 3 were spoken by Christ. The first two examples are agreed by most, to be parables about stewardship. Yet, the third usage is said not to be a parable, by those who wish to claim it as evidence that supports their view on death. Even though we have the same context, which is again, about stewardship, still many claim coincidence. Here we see more than mere coincidence, we see a pattern.

    When reading the first use of this phrase("a certain rich man"), in Luke 12:16, we see it followed by parable after parable. Chapter after chapter filled with parables and very little else all the way through chp. 16. Below are but some examples of these parables recorded by Luke...

    Good Samaritan -Luke 10:29-37

    Persistent Friend -Luke 11:5-10

    Lighted Candle -Luke 11:33-36

    Expectant Steward -Luke 12:35-40

    Fig Tree -Luke 13:6-9

    Great Supper -Luke 14:16-24

    Lost Coin -Luke 15:8-10

    Lost Son -Luke 15:11-32

    Unjust Servant -Luke 16:1-13

    Rich Man and Lazarus -Luke 16:19-31

    Please note; that these parables are not the only ones to be found in these chapters. As mentioned before, those chapters were almost completely filled with parables. What makes these parables so notable is that; not one of them was labeled as "a parable", and none of them were recorded by any of the other Bible authors besides Luke.

    The Parable

    • Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, making good cheer in splendour every day.

    The "rich man" is wearing distinctive clothing, these are identified as the clothes granted to the High Priest of the Israelite people.

    Exo. 28:5 And they shall take gold, and blue, and PURPLE, and scarlet, AND FINE LINEN.

    • Luke 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
    • Luke 16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

    Here we see the beggar down with the dogs, waiting for crumbs to fall from the rich man’s table. These same symbolic terms have been employed before, which helps reveal the identity of the "beggar", the "crumbs" and also confirms the identity of the "rich man".

    Matt. 15:26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to DOGS. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the DOGS eat of the CRUMBS which fall from their MASTERS TABLE.

    Here we see that the Gentile lady is being symbolized as "dogs", the "crumbs of bread" as the gospel message, and the "masters" as the Jews. Remember, the bread is the word, and Christ is the "bread", (John 6:35). Christ came to minister to the Israelites, (Mat. 15:24, 1Cor. 9:20), yet this Gentile woman was asking Christ to share himself. Like the beggar, she was desiring "crumbs" from the "masters" table.

    The Jews, whom Christ was addressing in this parable, believed the Gospel was theirs by birthright, but...

    "...UNTO WHOMSOEVER MUCH IS GIVEN, OF HIM SHALL BE MUCH REQUIRED...", (Luke 12:48).

    They were spiritually rich, (Luke 6:24-25, Rom. 11:12), for they had the one true message of God, and they had been commissioned to take the Word to the Gentiles, (Isa. 49:6).

    Isa. 42:6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, FOR A LIGHT OF THE GENTILES;

    But, they didn’t spread the message, they hoarded it instead. Remember, the focus of Luke 16 is stewardship! They failed to be goods stewards with the Word that God had entrusted to them. The Jews considered Gentiles to be lower than them. "Dogs" and "unclean" were common terms they used when speaking of them, (Act 10:28, Mark 7:27-28, Matt. 15:26,27).

    • Luke 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

    "It came to pass"(v.22) shows the passing of time and that this scene has been taken to it’s future conclusion as the result of their poor stewardship. It is also apparent that this is a future event because of the angels that will carry the righteous dead to there glorious place, this occurs at Christ's second coming.

    Mat.24:31 And he shall send HIS ANGELS with a great sound of a trumpet, and they SHALL GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT FROM THE FOUR WINDS, from one end of heaven to the other.

    Mark 13:27 And then shall he send HIS ANGELS, and SHALL GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT FROM THE FOUR WINDS, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

    • Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

    There are 4 items found together in only two places in the Bible, one of these places we find them is in v.22 & 23.

    1. Angels taking someone to a good place.

    2. Abraham is also in the good place.

    3. Someone being tormented in a bad place.

    4. The person in the bad place is able to see Abraham.

    Notice carefully below, that again it is Luke who records the same imagery!

    Luke 13:28 There shall be WEEPING AND GNASHING of teeth, when ye shall SEE ABRAHAM, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. 29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall SIT DOWN IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

    This comes from the Parable of the Strait Gate, (also see Mat. 7:13,14). And, as one can plainly tell in this parable as well it is referring to the elect be gathered by the angels from the four corners of the earth, (Mat.24:31, Mark 13:27), at the coming of Christ. This torment that will occur to the wicked, at the coming of Christ, it is said to have a weeping and gnashing of teeth according to this parable found in Luke 13. These 4 items found together in only these two places is one of the undeniable indications that this is not a literal story, but a parable with yet a future event, specifically the second coming.

    Those being tormented "see Abraham"(Isa. 52:10), while they are thrust out! The twist is; we now see the beggar, (Gentiles) in the bosom of Abraham. The father of the Jews takes the Gentiles into his bosom and the rich man, (Jews), dies and is in torment.

    Christ couldn’t haven’t been much clearer, salvation didn’t belong only to the Jews, and they had been poor stewards with the commission God had bestowed upon them.

    Act 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
     
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  2. Anthony

    Anthony Generic Christian

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    Adam

    The post is hard on my eyes, It looks like and Eye Chart at the Doctors. :cry:

    Could you close with some sort of comment which wraps up your point, conclusion, or summary? It would be helpful

     
     
  3. adam332

    adam332 Deut. 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD t

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    ....continued from above.

     

    • Luke 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

    Notice he is asking Father Abraham, showing that they are still placing assurance of salvation in their bloodline, instead of God. This can be also seen in John 8:37-42, where they told Christ that Abraham was their Father. They have placed Abraham in substitution of God as proof of their salvation. God is the only father and salvation only comes through the Son, (1Thes. 5:9, 2Tim. 2:10, 2Tim.3:15, Heb. 5:9, Heb. 9:28). They gave Abraham both divine title, (Father), and divine power, (salvation), to a man! Christ warns again that true worshipping is reserved, for God the Father...

    John 4:23-24 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship

    the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a

    Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

    Now, when judgment is finalized and the torments of this bad steward have begun, he is asking for a drop of water. Ironically similar to the Gentiles hoping for just a crumb from the masters table.

    • Luke 16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

    After all the spiritual and physical gifts and prosperity God had lavished on them for centuries, they were greedy with the divine word of God. They simply, reaped what they sowed (Job 4:8), which is the heart of the message found in this parable. Those who try to keep salvation for themselves, will lose it!

    • Luke 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that [would come] from thence.

    This great gulf is the distance between those who are tormented , and those who are taken to the kingdom of heaven, at the coming of Christ, (Luke 13:28). This distance has become impassable, because by the time of the second coming, the judgment will be fixed.

    Mat. 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

    They were no longer God’s chosen people, (Rom. 11:19-23). The light had been taken from them, following the failure of their probation, (Dan. 9:24-27). For nearly the last two thousand years, this peoples only claim to salvation is as individuals, (2Cor. 4:4, Gal. 1:8 ). The commission had now been given to whosoever will believe in Him, whether he is Jew or Gentile.

    Act 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men [and] brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

    And it is the individual believer who is now commissioned to take the Word "into all the world".

    Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

    Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

    • Luke 16:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:

    Here again, we see the rich man(Jews) praying to father Abraham, this of course is forbidden by the second commandment(Exo. 20:3).

    • Luke 16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

    The rich man is asking for five of his brethren to be warned, not to come to this place of torments. Abraham has informed the rich man what his fate is and what the consequences for his actions are, (v.25,26). We see that he now wants Lazarus to be sent back, to "testify" to those five brethren to whom they had been commissioned to share the Word with, so long ago. But, it is to late, the "great gulf" has been "fixed", their probation is long over.

    The "five brethren" are symbolically represented as the brothers of the rich man (Jews). The term "Jews" comes from those who are in the tribe of Judah, and Judah had exactly five full blooded brothers, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, and Zebulun, (Gen. 29:32-30:20).

    But, as already shown it is too late, though it was not too late at the time this prophetic warning was told. There is no longer separation between who is to be commissioned with the word. Everyone has an opportunity to be the "chosen light to the world", as individuals. Christ has come and He is the head, (Eph. 4:15, Eph. 5:23, Col. 1:18), of all believers regardless of bloodline, and they are all now part of one body.

    1Cor. 12:13 For by ONE SPIRIT are we ALL baptized into ONE BODY, whether [we be] Jews OR Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been ALL MADE to drink into ONE SPIRIT.

    Eph. 4:16 From whom the WHOLE BODY fitly JOINED TOGETHER and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of EVERY PART, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

    John 11:52 And NOT for THAT NATION ONLY, but that ALSO he should gather TOGETHER IN ONE the children of God that were scattered abroad.

    • Luke 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
    • Luke 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
    • Luke 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

    These last three verses, are the perfect topping for this parable. One could paraphrase this as; "Why should all nations(Gentiles) listen to the word or believe in the resurrection of Lazarus, we didn’t?". A somber thought indeed, and a warning of history repeating itself. Also, a very similar warning, not to repeat the Israelites mistakes, was issued the Gentiles by Paul.

    Rom. 11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

    Christ was wise when he spoke in parable, he gave the Jews many warnings. This warning, that one needed Moses and the prophets to identify Him, was not alone. This portion of John 5 emphasizes this in more detail.

    John 5:39-47 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

    I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.

    I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that [cometh] from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is [one] that accuseth you, [even] Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?"

    This brilliant parable has many terms and concepts intertwined to express a moral truth, which is the principal behind a Biblical parable. It was a stern warning and rebuke to the Jewish nation, regarding their poor stewardship and the consequences for their iniquities. As well as a prophetic glimpse at the resurrection of Lazarus which was the sealing of Christ’s fate and evidence of His identity, which they still refused to believe, (John 11:46-53). Most importantly for those reading it today, it is a reminder for the commissioned individual not to be "highminded", or we might just find ourselves "cut off", and "thrust out" of the kingdom of God as well!

     
     
  4. adam332

    adam332 Deut. 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD t

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    Sorry about that anthony, for some reason it all was crammed together, with all the ,,etc, showing. I had to re-edit it with the forums tools, I hope you find that better on the eyes.
     
  5. Anthony

    Anthony Generic Christian

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    Luke 16:19-31 "The Rich Man and Lazarus"
    I would not considered this a "parable"; as a rule of thumb, Jesus does not use "names of people" in his parables. Check your Bible, this passage isn't referred to as a "parable". All the other parables in the Bible are highlighted as "The Parable of the ....". Luke 16:19-31 is given no such heading.

    Also could you summarized your main point(s).
     
  6. drmmjr

    drmmjr Regular Member

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    adam332,

    Excellent explanation.

    Anthony,

    Not a parable?

    Jesus told the Jews all of the important things in parables. If they understood, great. If they didn't, it was because they wouldn't listen.
     
  7. Anthony

    Anthony Generic Christian

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    I agree Jesus spoke in "parables", but this "particular" passage is not considered a "parable" for the reason I mentioned. Check out several Bibles, and you will see this story ( Lk16:19-31) is not highlighted as a parable.
     
  8. adam332

    adam332 Deut. 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD t

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    Sorry Anthony,

    but all the things you mentioned are discussed and explained in the study. It took me a very long time and much effort to produce this study. So, before you make assumptions about proper names, or parables being labeled as such, please at least read it.

    Just so as you know a parable isn't one that is labeled as one. A parable is a style of speech and or other form of communication. I'm sorry you can't find a Bible that titles that passage as a parable, but if you scour the library or any online thorough list of Biblical parables you will actually find that they all include that passage as a parable.

    I'm sure there has been someone who has not included it, but out of the dozen or more books on Biblical parables that I've seen, I have still yet to see one that doesn't.

    And besides that, if you'd take the time to read it, you just might realize that it cannot be literal language, only parabolic. 
     
  9. adam332

    adam332 Deut. 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD t

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    drmmjr,

    Thank you.
     
  10. kern

    kern Miserere Nobis

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    It certainly is. In both my St. Joseph NAB and my Oxford Study Bible, this is called "Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus".

    Your claim that all other parables are marked explicitly as such is false. The previous parable of the Dishonest Steward is not marked, nor is the parable of the Lost Sheep (15:1-7) nor the parable of the Lost Coin (15:8-10) nor the Parable of the Prodigal Son (15:11-32), etc.

    You cannot prove that RM&L is not a parable because there is a named character in it. Just because Jesus didn't do that in any other parables doesn't mean anything. He never said "OK guys, if I use a name in a story that means it's not a parable."

    -Chris
     
  11. adam332

    adam332 Deut. 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD t

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    Wow Chris we agree on something.
     
  12. Anthony

    Anthony Generic Christian

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    Are the places mentioned in this story real, or did Jesus fabricate them to make a point?
     
  13. kern

    kern Miserere Nobis

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    "fabricate" sounds so dishonest, but adam332 gave a good exegesis of the parable understood in the context of the Jews he was speaking to.

    The parable is bizarre if understood literally. People in heaven can see and speak to people in hell? People in hell can speak to Abraham in heaven? Lazarus went to heaven simply because he was poor? It makes much more sense understood in a symbolic manner.

    -Chris
     
  14. kern

    kern Miserere Nobis

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    We probably agree on more than you think!

    -Chris
     
  15. Julie

    Julie ONLY JESUS CHRIST SAVES

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    The rich man and Lazarus is not a parable.
     
  16. Anthony

    Anthony Generic Christian

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    Julie

    I would agree, but the next question becomes what is it then. Also this is an area of debate between Christians, some call it a parable and some don't. If it isn't a parable, some say then it is a historical story as given. Then the issue become should you take it literally. So to play it safe people simply call it a parable.
     
  17. thetruthseeker

    thetruthseeker Member

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    Hi Anthony,

    The Bible makes it clear that it is a parable.

    Your brother in Christ,
    TheTruthSeeker
     
  18. cthoma11

    cthoma11 Up in Canada

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    From the King James VersionLuke 12:16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

    The fact that it says it is a parable seems to be a strong indication that your opinion might be in error.
     
  19. adam332

    adam332 Deut. 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD t

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    cthoma11,
    ummmm?

    I hate to break this to you, especially since you are defending my stance, but....

    Luke 12:16 is not the the passage we are discussing, we are talking about Luke 16:19-31.

    Yet that passage is relevant as to whether or not this is a parable or not. Please read the intro section of my study to see the connection.
     
  20. adam332

    adam332 Deut. 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD t

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    Anthony,
    you said;
    Are the places mentioned in this story real, or did Jesus fabricate them to make a point?

    By your standards then all parables that cannot be taken literally as well are fabrications.

    Are we really wheat? Was Jesus lying? No! He was portraying us as wheat to make a point. Do you know what proverbs are? Parables.

    Parables can be literally possible but they do not have to be. Would you pleaseeeeeeee take the time to address the points in my study that show beyond any doubt that this must be a parable since it cannot be literal.

    Julie,
    whew!!!! Ok ya' got me. How can I resist the huge amount of logic and effort that went into your posting. I give up your just to Biblically well read for me.
     
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