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
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 a parable.
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 forever.
Live a life of
evil things now, cursed of God, and youíll live forever in Heaven.
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.
the majority of Christendomís interpretation of this story, Abraham should be in
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
"Yet now here
he is being consoled, yet you are in pain
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
SENTENCE BEFORE HE JUDGES?
theologians 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 future.
"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. 10:15)
Now I never
was good at grammar, but I donít think "will be" is in the "past tense," is it?
Ninevites, will be rising in the judging with this generation and will be
condemning it..." (Mat. 12:41)
The "evil" 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?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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
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, "ferrying."
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 them!í"
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 be
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 dead."
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
US THE PARABLE ...
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)
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.
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 utterly.
disciples did not understanding His parables when he spoke them anymore than the
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)
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?"
Christ had to
explain all the parables to them!
"And with 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" (Mk.
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
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!"
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.
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, not Scripture.
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 the universe!
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).
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.
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 kind!
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?
speaking 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."
ISRAELITES, AND JEWS
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).
relationship 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. 54:5).
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.
Israel 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. 30:9).
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. 40:11-12)
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:
"And there was
a young man out of Bethlehem-judah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite..."
He was a
Levite who was considered Juhahís family.
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.
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
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..
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 parable.
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.
this parable of the tares can be taken literally. That is it makes sense even in
its literal language, and does not contradict other Scriptures.
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.
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.
spiritual application of Matt. 14:37-43:
The "sower" is
none less than the Son of man.
The "field" is
seed" are the children of the Kingdom of God.
are the children of the wicked one (Satan).
is the end of the age.
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 this age.
symbolism and personification, God often uses one some thing or person to
represent many or even multitudes and whole nations of people:
head was of fine gold...Thou, O king, art a king of kings...THOU ART this head
of gold" (Dan. 2:32, 37, 38)
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.
This was not
"literally" the voice of the one man, "Judah," but of his Descendants. Judah had
"literally" died hundreds of years earlier.
said unto Simeon his brother ... and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand
men." (Judges 1:3-4)
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:
"And the 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.
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.
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 light.
"There was a
certain rich man..."
"Now a 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.
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 clue.
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
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 .
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...?
That is the question.
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.
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."
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."
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)
a standing army of 860,000 men! (II Chron. 17:13-18). And that didnít even
include the fortified cities in Judah. (Ver. 19)
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.
"What, then 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 of God?
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. 147:19)
"Ye worship ye
know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews" (Jn
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 such wealth?
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
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
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.
God has always
elevated Judah above the other Tribes.
In I Chron.
2:1-3 we read:
"These are the
sons of Israel; Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun, Dan,
Joseph, and Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. The sons of Judah;..."
was the third born to Israel [Jacob] and is listed third, but when God gives
their childrenís names He starts first with Judah.
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 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.
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 Jew."
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
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
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
The "limits of the land"
Those Jews dispersed
"among the nations."
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.
Mother, Leah, had
Judah makes six (Gen.
So who had
five brothers? Judah.
(the Jews), is here personified in this Rich man, there can be little doubt!
But who then
is this "Lazarus?"
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.
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 faithful?
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
"Behold, to me
thou hast given no seed; and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir." (Gen.
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 Abrahamic line.
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.
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.
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)
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
FAITH OF THE
"Now the 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).
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 street.
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" (Mat. 8:5-10).
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" (Mat. 8:11-12).
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
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].
But in Hebrew
"Lazarus" is Elazar or "Eliezer" from
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 of Abraham.
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.
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 the gate."
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" (Eph. 2:13-18).
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
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 thousand years.
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!
doesnít 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" (Rev. 3:17).
Abraham, be merciful to me, and send Lazarus that he should be dipping the tip
of his finger in water..."
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"
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
"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
"By the rivers
of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion" (Psa.
brought Judah back from Babylon to Jerusalem, but Judah didnít have the same
heart as King David. He failed to remember. David said:
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 place:
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 "chasm."
"And in all
this, between us and you a great chasm
WHAT IS THE
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?
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
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 "Great Chasm."
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).
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 &
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 and penitentiaries.
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:
"And I [Jesus]
have the keys to hell [hades, the unseen] and of death."
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" (Rom. 11:26-27).
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
"And in the
lifting up his eyes, existing in torments..."
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
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 8:39-20)!
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).
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
not the commandments of the Lord..." (II Kg. 19:17)
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. 21:2-9).
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. 2:11).
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 vipers."
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..." (Mat. 21:32)!
"Why tempt ye
me, Ye hypocrites?" (Mat. 22:17)!
"But all their
works they do for to be seen of men..." (Mat. 23:5)!
"But woe unto
you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! (Ver 13)!
"...ye shut 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).
"Woe unto you,
ye blind guides..." (Ver. 16).
"Ye fools and
blind..." (Ver. 17).
"Woe unto 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)
"Woe unto 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..." (22-23)
"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 said:
"Ye are the
children of them which killed the prophets" and "Ye fill up then the measure of
your fathers" (Ver. 32).
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. 4:10)
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]" (Jonah 2:2).
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
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.
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
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 ovens?"
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 dead.í"
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
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,
"Many of the
Jews, then, who came to Mary and gaze at what Jesus does, believe in Him" (Jn
Yet when other
Jews reported this miracle back to the Pharisees
day, they [the Jewish leaders] consult that they should kill Him" (Jn. 11:53)!
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" (Jn.
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.
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).
forgave them before He even died:
forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).
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?
"Now he [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
Just as Christ
will they be persuaded if someone should be rising from among the dead."
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!
thought doesnít bring joy to our hearts, I donít know what could. And
disclosed to those [Gentiles] who are not inquiring for Me" (Rom. 10:20).
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 Himself.
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!"
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!"
teaches 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.
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
"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).
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).
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
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.
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
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
Ver. 25, "And
David my servant shall be king over them..."
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 honest here:
Israel (ver. 8).
God used their
offense to bring salvation to the nations (ver. 11).
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!
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.
punishments and chastisements are severe enough without multiplying them a
trillion times to the power of infinity. That is truly INSANE!
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 Lazarus.
preached the kingdom of God.
"I must 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).
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 comprehend.
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
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.
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 11:20).
Now listen to
Paulís admonition very carefully:
haughty, but fear" (Ver. 20).
"God parts to
each the measure of faith" (Rom. 12:4).
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:
"Now what 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." (Rom. 11:24).
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!" (Rom.
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
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! L. Ray