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Luke Chapter 16 Verses 19 To 31 - The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Updated)



This exposition forms part of the Hillside Bible Commentary (HBC).

Title

"The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man" [1], "Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus" (NKJV/NLT) [19|28], "A Rich Man and Lazarus" (GWT), "The Rich Man and Lazarus" (ESV/GNT/GNTD/HCSB/LEB/MSG/NASB/NCV/NET/NIRV/NIV/NIV84/NIVUK) [2|28|29|31|32], "Rich Man and Lazarus" [19], "Lazarus and the Rich Man" (CEV) [1|3|30], "Dives and Lazarus" [19], "Lazarus and Dives" [19], "The Rich Man, Lazarus, and Abraham" [22] or "Christ's Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man"

Keywords

allegory, figurative, lazarus, literal, parable, personification, representation, resurrection, spiritual, symbolic, symbolism

Proof-Texts and Cross-References

Ge. 13v2 [3], 15v14 [3], 29v31-35 [3], 30v18-19 [3], 49v10 [3]; Ex. 19v6, 25v4 [3], 26v1 [3], 28v5 [3]; Deut. 4v7 [3]; Judg. 8v26 [3]; 1 Chron. 2v1-3 [3]; 2 Chron. 17v5 [3], 32v27-29 [3]; Est. 8v15 [16]; Job 1v3 [3], 14v12 [3]; Ps. 31v17-18 [3|24], 94v17 [24], 115v17 [24], 147v19 [3]; Pr. 22v7; Is. 1v6 [16]; Dan. 12v2 [3], v13 [3]; Hos. 4v6; Mt. 8v11 [16], 13v10-11, v18, v34-35 [34], 15v15, v17, v20, 19v16-26; Mk. 7v27-29 [3], 10v17-23, 11v11 [22]; Lk. 3v8 [16], 6v21 [16], v24 [16], 15v16 [16], v32, 16v14, v19-31 [3|19|20|30], 18v18-27; Jn. 1v18 [3], 3v13 [3], 4v22 [3], 5v45, 8v37 [16], 11v11 [22], 13v23 [3], v36; Acts 2v26 [3], 10v30 [3]; Rom. 2v1, 3v1-2 [3], v22-23, 9v6, 11v19-32 [9]; Ep. 2v11-12, v19, 3v8; Gal. 3v6; Phil. 2v19 [3]; 2 Tim. 2v17-18 [3]; Heb. 11v13; Js. 2v3 [16]; Rev. 7v4-5 [3], 17v4, 18v12 [16], v16, 19v8, 20v14 [30]

Introduction

Welcome to our study into Christ's Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man.

This exposition forms part of the HALT Bible Commentary, edited by EJ Hill.

The passage of Scripture we will be looking at can be found in Luke chapter 16 from verses 19 to 31.

Significance

EMPLOYED BY THEOLOGIANS AGAINST PSYCHOPANNYCHISM AND ANNIHILATIONISM

Luke chapter 16 verses 19 to 31 are often sighted as a ready defence against the doctrines of Intermediate Unconsciousness (Psychopannycism) and Final Destruction (Annihilationism), in favour of the doctrines of a Intermediate Consciousness [28] and Eternal Torment. [30]

Those who "insist that this passage is to be taken literally" [28], believes "that God Almighty is going to torture the vast majority of all humanity who has ever lived by burning their flesh with real fire in a hellhole of insane pain for all eternity" [3].

» Charles G. Finney, for instance, believed that Luke chapter 16 verses 19 to 31 spoke "of things that take place immediately after death" [2]; "the state into which both good and bad men pass at death" [2]; "that at death the righteous go immediately to a state of bliss and the wicked to a place of torment" [2]; "of real and intense consciousness" [2]; where "the righteous and the wicked recognize each other" [2]; being "acquainted with each other's state and history" [2]. Therefore, concludes Finney, Christ "denied the assumption that this state is an unconscious one" [2]; teaching "the direct opposite of annihilation" [2]; a doctrine "entirely set aside by our Saviour's teachings in this narrative" [2]

» Likewise, Dr. John F. MacArthur, Jr. (1939-), believes that Luke chapter 16 verses 19 to 31 constitutes, yet "another compassionate, merciful warning, that those who follow this religion will end up under the judgement of God, in a place of torment, called hell." [8]

As a result, many Christians today believe that God is going to literally torture the lost for all Eternity. But is that what Luke chapter 16 verses 19 to 31 teaches? Let us have a closer look.

Transliteration

Afrikaans

"En daar was 'n ryk man, en hy het purper en fyn linne gedra en elke dag vrolik en weelderig gelewe. En daar was 'n bedelaar met die naam van Lazarus wat vol swere voor sy poort gelê het. En hy het verlang om hom te versadig met die krummels wat van die ryk man se tafel val. Ja, selfs die honde het gekom en sy swere gelek. En toe die bedelaar sterf, is hy deur die engele weggedra na die boesem van Abraham . En die ryk man het ook gesterwe en is begrawe. En toe hy in die doderyk sy oë ophef, terwyl hy in smarte was, sien hy Abraham van ver af en Lasarus aan sy boesem. En hy roep en sê: Vader Abraham, wees my barmhartig en stuur Lasarus, dat hy die punt van sy vinger in water kan insteek en my tong verkoel; want ek ly smarte in hierdie vlam. Maar Abraham antwoord: Kind, onthou dat jy jou goeie dinge in jou lewe ontvang het, en so ook Lasarus die slegte. En nou word hy getroos, maar jy ly smarte. En by dit alles is daar tussen ons en julle 'n groot kloof gevestig, sodat die wat hiervandaan wil oorgaan na julle, nie kan nie; en die wat daar is, nie na ons kan oorkom nie. En hy sê: Ek bid u dan, vader, om hom na my vader se huis te stuur - want ek het vyf broers - om hulle dringend te waarsku, sodat hulle nie ook in hierdie plek van pyniging kom nie. Toe sê Abraham vir hom: Hulle het Moses en die Profete; laat hulle na dié luister. Maar hy antwoord: Nee, vader Abraham, maar as iemand uit die dode na hulle gaan, sal hulle hul bekeer. Maar hy sê vir hom: As hulle na Moses en die Profete nie luister nie, sal hulle nie oortuig word nie, al sou iemand ook uit die dode opstaan." (Lk. 16v19-31, 1933AV, p.93)

English

"There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angel into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 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. 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. 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. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." (Lk. 16v19-31, AKJV, p.461)
"There was a certain rich man who [habitually] clothed himself in purple and fine linen and reveled and feasted and made merry in splendor every day. And at his gate there was [carelessly] dropped down and left a certain utterly destitute man named Lazarus, [reduced to begging alms and] covered with [ulcerated] sores. He [eagerly] desired to be satisfied with what fell from the rich man's table; moreover, the dogs even came and licked his sores. And it occurred that the man [reduced to] begging died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And in HADES (the realm of the dead), being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, Father Abraham, have pity and mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame. But Abraham said, Child, remember that you in your lifetime fully received [what is due you in] comforts and delights, and Lazarus in like manner the discomforts and distresses; but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who want to pass from this [place] to you may not be able, and no one may pass from there to us. And [the man] said, Then, father, I beseech you to send him to my father's house-- For I have five brothers--so that he may give [solemn] testimony and warn them, lest they too come into this place of torment. But Abraham said, They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear and listen to them. But he answered, No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent (change their minds for the better and heartily amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins). He said to him, If they do not hear and listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded and convinced and believe [even] if someone should rise from the dead." (Lk. 16v19-31; AMP)
"There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 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; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 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. 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 . 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. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And He said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." (Lk. 16v19-31; KJV)
"There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man's table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores. Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, 'Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I'm in agony in this fire.' But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It's not like that here. Here he's consoled and you're tormented. Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.' The rich man said, 'Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won't end up here in this place of torment.' Abraham answered, 'They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.' 'I know, Father Abraham,' he said, 'but they're not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.' Abraham replied, 'If they won't listen to Moses and the Prophets, they're not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.'" (Lk. 16v19-31; MSG) *
"But there was a certain rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and lived luxuriously every day. And there was a certain beggar named El'azar, being covered with sores, who was placed at his gate, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Indeed, even the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to be that the beggar died, and was carried by the messengers to the bosom of Abraham. And the rich man also died and was buried. And while suffering tortures in the grave, having lifted up his eyes, he saw Abraham far away, and El'azar in his bosom. And crying out he said, 'Father Abraham, have compassion on me, and send El'azar to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering in this flame.' But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your life you received your good, and likewise El'azar the evil, but now he is comforted and you are suffering. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set, so that those who wish to pass from here to you are unable, nor do those from there pass to us.' And he said, 'Then I beg you, father that you would send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, let him warn them, lest they also come to this place of torture.' Abraham said to him, 'They have Mosheh and the prophets, let them hear them.' And he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they shall repent.' But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Mosheh and the prophets, neither would they be persuaded even if one should rise from the dead.'" (Lk. 16v19-31, TS, p.1004)
"Now there was a certain rich man, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, living in luxury every day. A certain beggar, named Lazarus, was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table. Yes, even the dogs came and licked his sores. It happened that the beggar died, and that he was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried. In Hades, he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far off, and Lazarus at his bosom. 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 in anguish in this flame.' But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that you, in your lifetime, received your good things, and Lazarus, in the same way, bad things. But now here he is comforted and you are in anguish. Besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that those who want to pass from here to you are not able, and that none may cross over from there to us.' He said, 'I ask you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house; for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, so they won't also come into this place of torment.' But Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.' He said, 'No, father Abraham, but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' He said to him, 'If they don't listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead.'" (Lk. 16v19-31, WEB)

Commentary
or, What others said

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
by Dr. Robert Jamieson (1802-1880), A.R. Fausset (1821-1910) and Prof. Dr. David Brown (1803-1897)

"19. purple and fine linen, &c.--(Compare Esther 8:15 , Revelation 18:12 ); wanting nothing which taste and appetite craved and money could procure. 20, 21. laid--having to be carried and put down. full of sores--open, running, "not closed, nor bound up, nor mollified with ointment" ( Isaiah 1:6 ). 21. desiring to be fed with--but was not [GROTIUS, BENGEL, MEYER, TRENCH, &c.]. The words may mean indeed "was fain to feed on," or "gladly fed on," as in Luke 15:16 [ALFORD, WEBSTER and WILKINSON, &c.]. But the context rather favors the former. licked, &c.--a touching act of brute pity, in the absence of human relief. It is a case of heartless indifference, amidst luxuries of every kind, to one of God's poorest and most afflicted ones, presented daily before the eye. 22. died--His burial was too unimportant to mention; while "the rich man died and was buried"--his carcass carried in pomp to its earthly resting-place. in to Abraham's bosom--as if seen reclining next to Him at the heavenly feast ( Matthew 8:11 ). 23. in hell--not the final place of the lost (for which another word is used), but as we say "the unseen world." But as the object here is certainly to depict the whole torment of the one and the perfect bliss of the other, it comes in this case to much the same. seeth Abraham--not God, to whom therefore he cannot cry [BENGEL]. 24. Father Abraham--a well-founded, but unavailing, claim of natural descent ( Luke 3:8 , John 8:37 ). mercy on me--who never showed any ( James 2:3 ). send Lazarus--the pining victim of his merciless neglect. that he may--take me hence? No; that he dares not to ask. dip . . . tongue--that is the least conceivable and the most momentary abatement of his torment; that is all. But even this he is told is (1) unreasonable. 25, 26. Son--stinging acknowledgment of the claimed relationship. thou . . . Lazarus, &c.--As it is a great law of God's kingdom, that the nature of our present desires shall rule that of our future bliss, so by that law, he whose "good things," craved and enjoyed, were all bounded by time, could look for none after his connection with time had come to an end ( Luke 6:24 ). But by this law, he whose "evil things," all crowded into the present life, drove him to seek, and find, consolation in a life beyond the grave, is by death released from all evil and ushered into unmixed and uninterrupted good ( Luke 6:21 ). (2) It is impossible. 26. besides all this--independently of this consideration. a great gulf fixed--By an irrevocable decree there has been placed a vast impassable abyss between the two states, and the occupants of each. 27-31. Then he said--now abandoning all hope for himself. send him to my father's house, &c.--no waking up of good in the heart of the lost, but bitter reproach against God and the old economy, as not warning him sufficiently [TRENCH]. The answer of Abraham is, They are sufficiently warned. 30. Nay--giving the lie to Abraham. but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent--a principle of awful magnitude and importance. The greatest miracle will have no effect on those who are determined not to believe. A real Lazarus soon "rose from the dead," but the sight of him by crowds of people, inclined thereby to Christ, only crowned the unbelief and hastened the murderous plots of the Pharisees against the Lord of glory; nor has His own resurrection, far more overpowering, yet won over that "crooked and perverse nation." [16]

Exposition
or, What I believe

LUKE CHAPTER 16 VERSES 19 TO 31 IS A PARABLE

The first thing we must understand is that Luke Chapter 16 Verses 19 to 31 "is a parable" [30].

Today "there are many who [still] deny this fact" [3].

They believe this, because "somebody in the story has a name" [8]. In other words, both Lazarus and Abraham, were "mentioned by name and identified" [3]. According to them, that disqualifies Luke Chapter 16 Verses 19 to 31 from being a Parable.

In a sermon, preach at the Resolved conference, on the 21st of October 2009, Dr. John F. MacArthur, Jr (1931-), for instance, said of Luke chapter 16 verses 19 to 31:

"I am convinced at this point that this is not an actual historical story, but it is a parable. There would be no reason to consider it anything other than a parable, except for one minor detail, and that is the fact that somebody in the story has a name, which is a little odd for parables. There are no rules against that." [8]

The question, however, is "Can they prove their position from Scripture?" [3] The answer is a definite NO! "Can it the opposite be proven by the Scripture?" [3] Of course, and quite easily so.

The problem with the aforementioned argument is that 'identifiable individuals' were also mentioned in other Parables:

- The Parable of The Sower (Mk. 4v1-20); explicitly identified as a "parable" in both, verses 2 and 13; speaks of Satan (v15).

- The Parable of The Tares (Mt. 13v24-30, v36-43); explicitly identified as a "parable" in both, verses 24 and 36; speaks of the Son of Man (v37 and 41). The term "Son of Man" referring, of course, to Christ Himself. (Mt. 8v20, 9v6, 10v23, 11v19, 12v8, v32, v40, 16v13, v27-28, 17v9, v12, v22, 18v11, 19v28, 20v18, v28, 24v27, v30, v37, v39, v44, 25v13, v31, 26v2, v24, v45, v64; Mk. 2v10)

- The Parable of The Tares (Mt. 13v24-30, v36-43); explicitly identified as a "parable" in both, verses 24 and 36; also speaks of the Devil (v39).

Their argument, therefore, is fallacious (i.e. logically unsound).

Luke Chapter 16 Verses 19 to 31 became known as the "PARABLE of Lazarus and the Rich Man" [1], or the "PARABLE of the Rich Man and Lazarus" (NKJV/NLT), for a number of very good reasons:

Luke Chapter 16 Verse 19 to 31 is Introduced in the Same Way as Luke's Other Parables

The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, starts with the words "There was a rich man" (Lk. 16v19, ESV). Likewise,

- The Parable of The Sower, starts with the words "A sower went out" (Lk. 8v5, ESV).
- The Parable of the Good Samaritan, starts with the words "And behold, a lawyer" (Lk. 10v25, ESV).
- The Parable of the Rich Fool, starts with the words "The land of a rich man produced plentifully" (Lk. 12v16, ESV).
- The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree, starts with the words "A man had a fig tree" (Lk. 13v6, ESV).
- The Parable of the Prodigal Son, starts with the words "There was a man who had two sons" (Lk. 15v11, ESV).
- The Parable of the Dishonest Manager, starts with the words "There was a rich man" (Lk. 16v1, ESV).
- The Parable of the Persistent Widow, starts with the words "In a certain city there was a judge" (Lk. 18v2, ESV).
- The Parable of the Ten Minas, starts with the words "A nobleman went into a far country" (Lk. 19v12, ESV).
- The Parable of the Wicked Tenants, starts with the words "A man planted p a vineyard" (Lk. 20v9, ESV).

None of Luke's parables ever identifies it's main character. All of Luke's parables simply speaks of 'a lawyer', 'a sower', 'a man', 'a nobleman', 'a rich man', 'a judge' or 'a certain city'.

Most Competent Scholars Agree that Luke Chapter 16 Verse 19 to 31 is a Parable

Many Protestant and "Catholic exegetes now commonly accept the story as a parable ..." [6].

This has been confirmed by those in support of a figurative interpretation (Bryan T. Huie [1], Pastor Jeff Walser [23], Joachim Jeremias (1900-1979) [19], Joshua Anderson [30], L. Ray Smith [3], N.T. Wright (1948-) [19] and myself), as well as those in favour of a literal interpretation (Dr. John F. MacArthur, Jr (1931-) [8]).

In a sermon, preach at the Resolved conference, on the 21st of October 2009, Dr. John F. MacArthur, Jr (1931-), for instance, said of Luke chapter 16 verses 19 to 31:

"I am convinced at this point that this is not an actual historical story, but it is a parable. There would be no reason to consider it anything other than a parable, except for one minor detail, and that is the fact that somebody in the story has a name, which is a little odd for parables. There are no rules against that. There are no rules given concerning parables. But all the elements concerning the story would lend to the idea that it is a parable. It is introduced, for example, in the way that parables are regularly introduced. 'Now there was a certain rich man' That's very typical of the introduction to parables." [8]

Interpreting Parables

It is important to understand that Luke chapter 16 verses 19 to 31 is a parable, since parables are interpreted differently to other genres, like poetry, psalms or historical narratives.

As Joshua Anderson of Spirit & Truth Fellowship International explains:

"It's important that we understand it's a parable, because you have to interpret Scripture according to the genre of what part of Scripture you are reading.... You interpret different types of genres differently. You wouldn't read a book that started with 'Once upon a time' the same as a newspaper article. Those are two different genres, so you come to the text differently.... Well, the same thing with Scripture. We have to interpret different parts of Scripture, according to the genre they were written. Whether it be Gospel, or whether it be parable, or whether it be poetry, a psalm, a historical narrative. We come to those with different sets of interpretations. And so with a parable it is really important not to make literal points about the details of the story, or else that leads to all sorts of bad theology." [30]

As we discovered in our study on Interpreting Parables [10], NO parable is to be interpreted literally. They are to be understood spiritually.

When Interpreted Literally

Those who insist on a literal interpretation of Luke Chapter 16 Verses 19 to 31, "must overlook several facts to arrive at that conclusion" [1]. "If taken literally", for instance, "this parable consists of statements that are illogical, unscriptural, contradictory, and impossible." [3]

A literal interpretation would contradict what the Bible teaches concerning the Afterlife

I. If taken literally, Luke chapter 16 verses 19 to 31 directly contradicts Genesis chapter 3 verse 19, Job chapter 10 verse 9, Psalms chapter 90 verse 3, Psalms chapter 104 verse 29, Psalms chapter 146 verses 4, Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verses 18 to 21 and John chapter 8 verse 21 - which makes it abundantly clear that upon death we return from where we came:

"I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth?" (Eccl. 3v18-21, ESV)
"By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Gen. 3v19, ESV)
"Remember that You have made me like clay; and will You return me to the dust?" (Job 10v9, ESV)
"You return man to dust and say, 'Return, O children of man!'" (Ps. 90v3, ESV)
"When You hide Your face, they are dismayed; when You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust." (Ps. 104v29, ESV)
"When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish." (Ps. 146v4, ESV)

Upon death we will return from where we came. We came from the dust, and to the dust we will return. And there we will sleep the sleep of death (Jn. 11v11; 1 Thess. 4v14; 1 Cor. 15v20, v51), until the day Christ Returns to Resurrect us.

Christ alone ascended into Heaven, since He alone descended from Heaven.

"No one has ascended into heaven except He who descended from heaven, the Son of Man." (Jn. 3v13, ESV)
"So he said to them again, 'I am going away, and you will seek Me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come" (Jn. 8v21, ESV)

Yet, as we will see in the next chapter, there will come a day, when Christ Return, that we will be with Him.

"Simon Peter said to Him, 'Lord, where are you going?' Jesus answered him, 'Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you will follow afterward'" (Jn. 13v36, ESV)

To the Literalists we ask: How is it that you would have us believe, that upon death we would return to, from where we did not come?

II. If taken literally, Luke chapter 16 verses 19 to 31 directly contradicts Psalms chapter 31 verse 17 to 18 and Psalms chapter 94 verse 17 - which refers to the Afterlife as a place of complete and utter silence.

"Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon Thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave [sheol]. Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous." (Ps. 31v17-18, KJV)

In Psalms chapter 13 verses 17 to 18 David spoke specifically of "the wicked" - those "who are in outright rebellion against God" [24], those who wanted to kill him. David was praying for their death, since that was the only way in which their lying lips would be silenced.

Yet, it could be argued that their lying lips would be 'silenced in the grave', since the dead "have no more share in all that is done under the sun" (Eccl. 9v6, ESV), meaning that they were silenced as far as the living was concerned, but not literally 'in silence'.

This objection, however, is quickly dispelled from the original Hebrew text: יְהוָה אַל־אֵבוֹשָׁה transliterated as "yëvoshû r'shäiym yiD'mû lish'ôl" [25] reading "be silent in the grave" [25] - making it abundantly clear that the wicked would not only "go silently to Sheol" (as the ESV indicates), but would "become silent to Sheol" (YLT), "BE silent IN the grave" (KJV), "BE silent IN Sheol" (AMP/ASV) and "lie silent IN the grave" (NLT).

The above is confirmed in one of David's later passages, Psalms chapter 94 verses 17, reading:

"Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence." (Ps. 94v17, KJV)

According to King David, "the wicked do not constantly scream in torment in sheol" [24], but dwell there in silence.

It would therefore be impossible for either, Abraham or the Rich Man, to have communicated in the Afterlife.

A literal interpretation would contradict what the Bible teaches concerning the Resurrection

I. If taken literally, Luke chapter 16 verses 19 to 31 directly contradicts First Corinthians chapter 15 verses 20 to 23 - which makes it abundantly clear that no-one would be raised from the dead prior to Christ Himself: not Abraham, not Lazarus, neither the Rich Man.

In First Corinthians chapter 15 verses 20 to 23 the Apostle Paul makes it clear that Christ was the first to be resurrected from the dead.

"Maar nou, Christus is opgewek uit die dode; Hy het die eersteling geword van die wat ontslaap het. Want aangesien die dood deur 'n mens is, is die opstanding van die dode ook deur 'n mens. Want soos hulle almal in Adam sterwe, so sal hulle ook almal in Christus lewend gemaak word; maar elkeen in sy eie orde: as eersteling Christus, daarna die wat aan Christus behoort by Sy koms." (1 Kor. 15v20-23, 1933AV)
"But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at His coming l those who belong to Christ." (1 Cor. 15v20-23, ESV)
"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." (1 Cor. 15v20-23, KJV)

Christ was to be the first - the "firstfruit" (1 Cor. 15v20, v23) - to rise from the dead. Yet, while sharing this very parable, of Lazarus and the Rich Man, Jesus was still very much alive and well on Earth. He was not yet crucified. Nor was He yet resurrected.

This is absolute infallible Scriptural proof, that at the time Jesus gave this parable, there was no Abraham, no Lazarus, and no Rich Man living in either, Heaven or Hell.

To the Literalists: How is it that you would have us believe, that Abraham, Lazarus and the Rich Man, were risen before Christ Himself? How could they have been risen from the dead, while Jesus Himself was not yet risen? How could they be alive and well in Heaven and Hell, while Jesus Himself was yet on Earth sharing this very parable?

II. If taken literally, Luke chapter 16 verses 19 to 31 directly contradicts Job chapter 14 verse 12, Daniel chapter 12 verses 2 and 13, John chapter 3 verse 13, John chapter 5 verses 28 to 29, John chapter 6 verses 39 to 40, John chapter 11 verses 23 to 24, John chapter 13 verse 33 and 36, John chapter 14 verse 3, Acts chapter 2 verse 34, First Corinthians chapter 15 verses 20 to 24 and 35 to 55, First Thessalonians chapter 4 verses 13 to 17, Revelation chapter 20 verses 5 to 15 - which makes it clear that no-one ascend into Heaven before Christ's Return: not David (Acts 2v34), not Abraham, not Lazarus, neither the Rich Man:

"... so a man lies down and rises not again; till the heavens are no more he will not awake or be roused out of his sleep." (Job 14v12, ESV)
"And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.... But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days" (Dan. 12v2 and 13, ESV)
"No one has ascended into heaven except He who descended from heaven, the Son of Man." (Jn. 3v13, ESV)
"Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment." (Jn. 5v28-29, ESV)
"And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given Me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him l should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (Jn. 6v39-40, ESV)
"Jesus said to her, 'Your brother will rise again' Martha said to Him, 'I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day'" (Jn. 11v23-24, ESV)
"Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek Me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, 'Where I am going you cannot come'. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another'. Simon Peter said to Him, 'Lord, where are you going?' Jesus answered him, 'Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you will follow afterward" (Jn. 13v33-36, ESV)
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also." (Jn. 14v3, ESV)
"But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.... But someone will ask, 'How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?' You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as He has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being'; the last Adam became a j life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory'. 'O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?'" (1 Cor. 15v20-24 and 35-55, ESV)
"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord." (1 Thess. 4v13-17, ESV)
"The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such a the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with Him for a thousand years. And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From His presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." (Rev. 20v5-15, ESV)

This is absolute infallible Scriptural proof, that at the time Jesus gave this parable, there was no Abraham, no Lazarus, and no Rich Man living in either, Heaven or Hell.

To the Literalists: How is it that you would have us believe, that Abraham, Lazarus and the Rich Man, were risen before Christ's Return? How is it that you would have us believe, that anyone were risen before Christ's Return? Do not fall into the error of "Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened" (2 Tim. 2v17-18, ESV).

For more information on the Intermediate State, please review the Doctrine of Soul Sleep (Psychopannychism).

Fallible Proofs Against a Literal Interpretation

I am sad to say, but I often find, among my Annihilationist-friends, the unfortunate tendency to fortify already indisputable, and therefore, infallible Scriptural proofs (like the above), with disputable, and therefore fallible proofs, like the following:

I. Some have concluded that Luke Chapter 16 Verses 19 to 31 must be a parable, because Matthew Chapter 13 Verse 34 says, that amongst the Multitudes Jesus ALWAYS spoke in PARABLES ONLY:

» L. Ray Smith, for instance, points to Matthew Chapter 13 Verse 34 as teaching that "Jesus spoke to the masses in parables only" [3], and hence "ought to be sufficient Scriptural evidence to anyone that Lazarus and the Rich man is indeed a parable" [3].

The argument is fallacious [i.e. logically unsound] for a number of reasons:

Yes, Jesus did speak in parables only on this occasion. (Mt. 13v34)

Yes, Jesus spoke in parables often. [3] In Matthew Chapter 13, for instance, we find no less than seven different parables. [3]

- He spoke to the Chief Priests (Mk. 11v27) in Parables (Mk. 12v1).
- He spoke to the Scribes (Mk. 11v27) in Parables (Mk. 12v1).
- He spoke to the Elders (Mk. 11v27) in Parables (Mk. 12v1).
- He spoke to the Multitudes (Mt. 13v34) in Parables (Mt. 13v34).

But, Jesus did NOT speak to all the multitudes in PARABLES ONLY.

» In Matthew Chapter 22 Verses 23 to 33, Jesus spoke to a "multitude" (v33) plainly.
» In Matthew Chapter 23 Verses 1 to 36, Jesus spoke to both "the multitudes and to His disciples" (v1) plainly.
» In Mark Chapter 7 Verses 14 to 16, Jesus spoke to a "multitude" (v14 and 17) plainly.
» In Mark Chapter 12 Verses 41 to 44, Jesus spoke to a "multitude" (v41) plainly.
» In Luke Chapter 13 Verses 10 to 17, Jesus spoke to a "multitude" (v14 and 17) plainly.
» In Luke Chapter 14 Verses 25 to 35, Jesus spoke to "great multitudes" (v25) plainly.
» In John Chapter 7 Verses 14 to 24, Jesus spoke to a "multitude" (v20) plainly.

II. Some have concluded that Luke Chapter 16 Verses 19 to 31 must be a parable, since if taken literally it would consign all the dead in Christ to Abraham's Bosom, and only one person could fit into Abraham's Bosom:

» L. Ray Smith, for instance, reasoned that since "Lazarus was carried (in the parable) into Abraham’s bosom" [3] and "no more than one person could fit into Abraham’s bosom" [3], the passage had to be understood figuratively.

The argument is fallacious [i.e. logically unsound] for a number of reasons:

» One. It could be said that it was ONLY Lazarus who would find himself in Abraham's Bosom. There is no Scriptural reason to object or believe otherwise.

» Two. It could be said that Abraham only received the dead into his bosom, but did not necessarily retain them there. There is no Scriptural reason to object or believe otherwise.

III. Some have concluded that Luke Chapter 16 Verses 19 to 31 must be a parable, since if taken literally, the saved could not enjoy eternity, since they would forever behold the lost tormented in hell:

» Bryan T. Huie of Tentmaker Ministries, for instance, asked "If hell is truly as it is pictured in this story, then the saved will be able to view the lost who are burning there. Could anyone enjoy eternal existence if they were able to see lost friends, family, and acquaintances being incinerated in hell, yet never burning up?" [1]

The argument is fallacious [i.e. logically unsound] for a number of reasons:

» One. Even those who hold to a literal interpretation of Luke Chapter 16 Verses 19 to 31, believe that what is taught in the passage do NOT speak of eternity, but only of the Intermediate State, between death and Christ's Return. In other words, it could be said that it was only during the Intermediate State that the saved would behold the suffering of the lost, and NOT necessarily thereafter.

» Two. They assume that the saved will retain some sense of compassion for the lost, even after having witnessed their judgement. In other words, they assume that the saved will still feel sympathy for the lost, even after having witnessed the deepest depths of their corruptions and sin.

To my young friends, NEVER fall into the temptation of using fallible proofs to reinforce infallible proofs. NEVER stretch the truth. Doing so will not only undermine your fallible proofs, but also your infallible proofs. The opposition will, in time, find and overthrow your fallible proofs, and in the process also discredit your infallible proofs. If they discredit you on one thing, their followers and the public, will assume you are, most likely, also in error on the other.

Even IF Taken Literally the Passage Still Does NOT Teach Eternal Conscious Torment

Even IF Lazarus was consciously in bliss and the Rich Man consciously in torment - "that still doesn't give us any justification for believing in eternal conscious suffering in hell" [30]. Let me explain.

The Rich Man of Luke Chapter 16 Verses 19 to 31 found himself in what the original Hebrew text calls "hades" (Lk. 16v23, AMP/ASV/ESV/NASB/YLT), often correctly translated in English as "the realm of the dead" (Lk. 16v23, AMP) and "the place of the dead" (Lk. 16v23, NLT); or incorrectly simply as "hell" (Lk. 16v23, KJV).

In Revelation chapter 20 verses 14 to 15, we read that:

"Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." (Rev. 20v14-15, ESV)

It is very clear from Revelation chapter 20 verses 14 to 15, that at the end of the world [as we know it], following Armageddon and Final Judgement, God Himself would scoop up both, Death and Hades itself, and cast them both into the Lake of Fire, to be destroyed.

Hence, the Rich Man's torment wouldn't be everlasting, since both he and Hades [the realm of the dead], would in the end be destroyed in the Lake of Fire.

For more information on the Final Destruction, please review the Doctrine of Final Destruction (Annihilationism).

When Interpreted Figuratively

The Rich Man Described

In Luke chapter 16 verses 19 to 31, Jesus gave us five elements from which to identify the Rich Man:-

I. In verse 19, we discover that the Rich Man was "rich" (AMP/KJV/MSG/TS), or in Afrikaans: "ryk" (1933AV).

II. In verse 19, we discover that the Rich Man "clothed himself in purple and fine linen" (AMP), "clothed in purple and fine linen" (ESV/KJV), and "dress in purple and fine linen" (TS), or in Afrikaans: "hy het purper en fyn linne gedra" (1933AV).

III. In verse 19, we discover that the Rich Man "reveled and feasted and made merry in splendor every day" (AMP), "feasted sumptuously every day" (ESV), "lived luxuriously every day" (TS), and "wasting his days in conspicuous consumption" (MSG), or in Afrikaans: "elke dag vrolik en weelderig gelewe" (1933AV).

IV. In verse 24, we discover that the Rich Man recognized and referred to Abraham as his "Father" (AMP/ESV/KJV/MSG/TS), and in verse 25 Abraham referred to him as his "Child" (AMP/MSG) or "Son" (KJV/TS).

V. In verse 28, we discover that the Rich Man had "five brethren" (KJV), "five brothers" (AMP/MSG/TS), or in Afrikaans: "vyf broers" (1933AV).

VI. In verses 29 and 31, we discover that the Rich Man's brothers "have Moses and the Prophets" (AMP/ESV/KJV/MSG), or in Afrikaans: "het Moses en die Profete" (1933AV).

The Rich Man Identified

Biblically speaking, there is only one that fits ALL the descriptions of the Rich Man. Only one who "personifies" all of the symbols and identifying clues. And that is Judah and his descendants, the Tribe of Judah.

I. Like the Rich Man, Judah and his descendants were 'rich'.

God Himself prophesied that Abraham's descendants would be rich.

"But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions." (Gen. 15v14, ESV)

Hence, virtually all the Kings of Judah were extremely rich:-

David, the first King of Judah from 1010 to 1003 BC, was rich.

"Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the LORD an hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight; for it is in abundance: timber also and stone have I prepared; and thou mayest add thereto." (1 Chron. 22v14, KJV)

Jehoshaphat, the fourth King of Judah from around 873 to around 849 BC, was rich.

"Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. And all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor.... And Jehoshaphat grew steadily greater. He built in Judah fortresses and store cities, and he had large supplies in the cities of Judah. He had soldiers, mighty men of valor, in Jerusalem. This was the muster of them by fathers' houses: Of Judah, the commanders of thousands: Adnah the commander, with 300,000 mighty men of valor; and next to him Jehohanan the commander, with 280,000; and next to him Amasiah the son of Zichri, a volunteer for the service of the Lord, with 200,000 mighty men of valor. Of Benjamin: Eliada, a mighty man of valor, with 200,000 men armed with bow and shield; and next to him Jehozabad with 180,000 armed for war." (2 Chron. 17v5, 12-18, ESV)

Hezekiah, the fourteenth King of Judah from 715 to 686 BC, was rich.

"And Hezekiah [the King of Judah] had very great riches and honor, and he made for himself treasuries for silver, for gold, for precious stones, for spices, for shields, and for all kinds of a costly vessels; storehouses also for the yield of grain, wine, and oil; and stalls for all kinds of cattle, and sheepfolds. He likewise provided cities for himself, and flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him very great possessions." (2 Chron. 32v27-29, ESV)

Even today, the Jews are still "universally known for having money and being successful in the financial world" [3].

However, apart from their material possession, Judah were also rich in a spiritual sense. They possessed something far more valuable than any of their material possessions - a treasure greater than any other on the face of the planet. To them He entrusted His Word.

"Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God." (Rom. 3v1-2, ESV)
"He declares his word to Jacob, His statutes and rules to Israel." (Ps. 147v19, ESV)

So not only was Judah rich materially, but God bestowed on Judah His very word, and through Judah the very salvation of the world.

"You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is a from the Jews." (Jn. 4v22, ESV)

Who, but Judah, possessed such wealth?

"For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon Him?" (Deut. 4v7, ESV)

II. Like the Rich Man, Judah and his descendants were 'clothed in purple and fine linen'.

From Scripture itself we know that the colour purple symbolised "rank or royalty" [3|11] (Est. 8v15; Judg. 8v26; Dan. 5v7, v16; Mt. 15v17, v20). According to the Greek-English Keyword Concordance, 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" [3|11]. Purple was worn by Kings (Judg. 8v26). "Even the Caesars of Rome wore Purple as a symbol of their royalty" [3].

Judah "was to carry the royal line in Israel" [3].

"The scepter [a symbol of rulership and power] shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples." (Gen. 49v10, ESV)

King David was of the Tribe of Judah. [3] King Jesus was of the Tribe of Judah. (Mt. 1v2) [3]

From Scripture we also know that fine linen represents "righteousness" (Rev. 19v8) and the Priesthood. Fine linen was worn by the priests (Ex. 25v4, 28v5). And the Tabernacle were arrayed in fine linen (Ex. 26v1).

The Levites and Priests were part of Judah. [3]

It is only Judah who "had both the royalty and the priesthood" [3].

God has always elevated Judah above the other Tribes. Even though Judah was the third born to Israel [Jacob], he is often named first.

In First Chronicles chapter 2 verses 1 to 3, when listing the names of Israel's grandchildren, Judah's are named first.

"These are the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. The sons of Judah: Er, Onan and Shelah ..." (1 Chron. 2v1-3, ESV)

In Revelation chapter 7 verses 4 to 5, when the Tribes of Israel are enumerated, Judah is listed first.

"And a I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: 12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed, 12,000 from the tribe of Reuben, 12,000 from the tribe of Gad, ..." (Rev. 7v4-5, ESV)

III. Like the Rich Man, Judah and his descendants 'feasted daily'.

More details coming soon ...

IV. Like the Rich Man, Judah and his descendants had 'Abraham as their father'.

Judah was the fourth son of Jacob (Gen. 29v35; Mt. 1v2) [12], later known as Israel (Gen. 32v28-29 and 35v10) [13]. Jacob was the son of Isaac. (Gen. 25v19-26) [13] Isaac was the son of Abraham. (Gen. 25v19) [13|14]

The Rich Man (Judah), therefore, could legitimately call Abraham, "Father", since Abraham was Judah's Great Grandfather. [3] And Abraham could legitimately call the Rich Man (Judah), "Child", since the Rich Man (Judah) was Abraham's Great Grandchild. [3]

V. Like the Rich Man, Judah had 'five brothers'.

Judah was the brother of Reuben [3], Simeon [3], Levi [3], Issachar [3] and Zebulun [3]. (Gen. 29v31-35; 30v18-19)

VI. Like the Rich Man, Judah and his descendants had 'Moses and the Prophets'.

As we already discovered, they were entrusted with "the oracles of God" (Rom. 3v1-2, ESV). They were the custodians, depository, "protectors and scribes of those very documents till the time of our Lord’s ministry" [3].

SUMMARY: The Rich Man personified Judah. His riches symbolizing their Rulership (Pr. 22v7; Lk. 16). His clothing symbolized their Royalty and Priesthood. His dialogue with Abraham confirmed their Paternity.

Lazarus Described

In Luke chapter 16 verses 19 to 31, Jesus gave us three elements from which to identify Lazarus:-

I. In verses 20 to 21, we discover that Lazarus was a "poor" (ESV) "beggar" (KJV/TS), or in Afrikaans: "'n bedelaar" (1933AV).

II. In verse 21, we discover Lazarus "desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table" (KJV) and closely identified with dogs.

III. In verse 22, we discover upon his death Lazarus was carried to "Abraham's bosom" (KJV), "the Bosom of Abraham" (TS), or in Afrikaans: "die boesem van Abraham" (1933AV).

Lazarus Identified

Biblically speaking, there is only one that fits ALL the descriptions of Lazarus. Only one who "personifies" all of the symbols and identifying clues. And that is the Gentiles, the "goyim" [17] or non-Israeli, non-Hebrew, "non-Jews" [17]).

I. Like poor Lazarus, the Gentiles were 'poor beggars'.

Lazarus was poor and hungry. He was so pitiful that even "the dogs came and licked his sores" (Lk. 16v21, KJV).

Throughout history, there were none as poor as the Gentiles. The Jews only allowed them to enter the Temple courts to a certain point. (Acts 21v28)

II. Like poor Lazarus, the Gentiles desired 'the crumbs from the rich man's table'.

In Mark chapter 7 verses 25 to 30 we find a Greek woman, a native of Syro-Phoenicia, a Gentile, begging Jesus to liberate her daughter from demonic possession.

"But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of Him and came and fell down at His feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And He said to her, 'Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs' But she answered Him, 'Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs' And He said to her, 'For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter'. And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone." (Mk. 7v25-30, ESV)

The Syro-Phoenician woman was not asking for scraps. She was asking for a small portion of Christ’s blessing.

As far as the Gentiles were concerned, they were literally scraping the bottom of the spiritual barrel. In biblical terms, they were like 'dogs' (Mt. 15v26-27; Mk. 7v27-28), "longing to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's [Judah's] table" (Lk. 16v20, TS).

In Ephesians chapter 2 verses 11 to 12 we read:

"Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, ... were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." (Ep. 2v11-12, ESV)

III. Like poor Lazarus, the Gentiles would one day also find comfort in 'Abraham's Bosom'.

From Scripture itself we know that being in someone's bosom symbolised "a very close emotional relationship and position of honor" [3] (Jn. 1v18, 13v23). To be in the bosom of Abraham, the bosom of Christ, or the bosom of the Father, were considered as positions of great honour.

Historically the Jews [that is Judah the 'Rich Man'] believed that they had exclusive right and access to Abraham's Bosom in Heaven, because they were Abraham's "offspring" (Jn. 8v37), his "children" (Jn. 8v39). They literally believed, that being Abraham's descendants guaranteed their salvation.

But they were wrong.

In Matthew chapter 3 verses 9 to 10, John the Baptist rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees, saying:

"And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." (Mt. 3v9-10, ESV)

You see, Abraham had two types of descendants:-

- First his natural descendants, namely "Israel after the flesh" (1 Cor. 10v18). They are Abraham's children by natural descent, but the Devil's children by nature (Jn. 8v44).

- Second his spiritual descendants, namely "Israel after the spirit". They are Abraham's children by spiritual descent, and God's children by adoption.

Both, Jesus and the Apostle Paul, made it clear that only the latter were truly Abrahamic, truly Jewish, and by extension, truly Christian.

In John chapter 8 verses 37 to 47, Jesus says:

"I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill Me because My Word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have heard l from your father.' They answered Him, 'Abraham is our father'. Jesus said to them, 'If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did'. They said to Him, 'We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father - even God'. Jesus said to them, 'If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear My Word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God" (Jn. 8v37-47, ESV)

In Romans chapter 2 verses 28 to 29, Paul says:

"For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God." (Rom. 2v28-29, ESV)

In Romans chapter 9 verses 6 to 8, Paul continues:

"But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named" This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring." (Rom. 9v6-8, ESV)

Therefore, The True Israel of God are NOT to be found among the natural descendants of Abraham, but amongst his spiritual descendants - those who believe like he believed (Rom. 4v3, v12: Gal. 3v7-9), and those who do what he did.

Contrary to the "proud claims of exclusive divine recognition" [18] by both, the Jews and first-century Jewish Christians, God NEVER abandoned the Gentiles. Salvation has come to the Gentiles. (Rom. 11v11; Gal. 3v26)

In Matthew chapter 8 verses 5 to 10, when Christ entered Capernaum, a Roman Centurion, a Gentile, asked Him to heal his servant. But when Christ offered to go to his house to heal him, the Centurion said Christ need only "say the word" and his son would be healed.

"When He entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to Him, appealing to Him, 'Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly' And He said to him, 'I will come and heal him' But the centurion replied, 'Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but l only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it" When Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who followed Him, 'Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west [Gentiles] and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth' And to the centurion Jesus said, 'Go; let it be done for you as you have believed' And the servant was healed at that very moment." (Mt. 8v5-13, ESV)

Conclusion

In conclusion, Luke chapter 16 verses 19 to 31 does NOT support the Doctrine of Intermediate Consciousness nor the Doctrine of Eternal Torment.

The passage does, however, support the Doctrine of Intermediate Unconsciousness (Psychopannychism) and the Doctrine of Final Destruction (Annihilationism).

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any remaining questions, please do not hesitate to email ejaysnet@gmail.com

Adherents

Individuals

» The American Theologian, Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies at Atlanta Bible College, Ambassador Christian College and Rock River Christian College, and Pastor of Faith Bible Christian Church in Oak Ridge, NC, Prof. Dr. John H. Roller (1949-) [28|29|31|32], defended a figurative interpretation of Lazarus and the Rich Man in an essay, entitled "The Rich Man and Lazarus" [28]. johnroller@faithbiblechristian.com

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» The American Theologian, J. Thomas Butler, defended a figurative interpretation of Lazarus and the Rich Man in an essay, entitled "The Rich Man and Lazarus" [31].

» The American Theologian, Joshua Anderson [30], defended a figurative interpretation of Lazarus and the Rich Man in a video, entitled "Does God Really Burn People Forever in 'Hell?' - Lazarus and the Rich Man" [30].

» The American Theologian and Roofer, L. Ray Smith, defended a figurative interpretation of Lazarus and the Rich Man in a very helpful essay, entitled "Lazarus and the Rich Man" [3]

» Raymond M. Beecroft defended a figurative interpretation of Lazarus and the Rich Man in an essay, entitled "The Rich Man and Lazarus: The most misunderstood text of the Bible" [29].

» Rev. Victor L. Harrison defended a figurative interpretation of Lazarus and the Rich Man in an essay, entitled "The Rich Man and Lazarus" [32].

Videos

Please take note that while the following videos do relate to the topic at hand, it does NOT necessarily reflect my beliefs.



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Footnotes * The Message (MSG) is one of the worst translations out there. In fact, I won't even call it a Bible. Bibliography 1. Bryan T. Huie. Lazarus and the Rich Man (Tentmaker Ministries; 9 January 1998) ✔ 2. Charles G. Finney. The Rich Man and Lazarus (The Gospel Truth; 9 November 1853) 3. L. Ray Smith. Lazarus and the Rich Man (Exposing Those Who Contradict; 29 September 2010) ✔ 4. EJ Hill. Defining Parables. Hill's Word Pictures (Ejays; 29 September 2010) 5. Ernest L. Martin, PhD. The Real Meaning of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Associates for Scriptural Knowledge; 2 June 2003) 6. Lazarus: Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1913) 7. Lazarus (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; 29 March 2008) 8. VIDEO: John MacArthur. The Rich Man and Lazarus (YouTube; 21 October 2009) 9. Tony Warren. The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man: An Exposition of Luke 16:19-31 (The Mountain Retreat; 22 April 2001) 10. EJ Hill. Interpreting Parables (Ejays; 26 October 2011) ✔ 11. Greek-English Keyword Concordance p. 236 ✔ 12. Judah (biblical person) (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; 28 October 2011) 13. Jacob (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; 28 October 2011) 14. Isaac (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; 28 October 2011) 15. Tribe of Judah (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; 28 October 2011) 16. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown. Commentary Critical and Explanatory of the Whole Bible: Luke 16:19-31 (Bible Study Tools; 28 October 2011) ✔ 17. Gentile (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; 28 October 2011) 18. Alden Bass. Is He not Also the God of the Gentiles? (Apologetics Press; 2003) 19. Rich Man and Lazarus (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; 31 October 2011) 20. Jenee Woodard. Luke 16:19-31 (The Text This Week; 31 October 2011) 21. The First Sunday after Trinity, Luke 16:19-31 (Lectionary Central; 31 October 2011) A Sermon by Martin Luther; taken from his Church Postil, 1522-1523. 22. Steven Cox. The Rich Man, Lazarus, and Abraham (Christadelphia World Wide; December 2000) 23. VIDEO: Pastor Jeff Walser. LUKE 16 19 31 Preached by Pastor Jeff Walser (YouTube; 8 March 2009) 24. Alexander Verin. The Exact Nature of Sheol, Hades and Hell (Sheol Know; 8 November 2011) 25. Tehillim/Psalm 31 (qBible; 10 November 2011) ✔ 26. Samuel M. Ohmart. Facts About Hell. 27. Silas P. Whitney. Future Punishment (Walton, West Virginia) 28. Prof. Dr. John H. Roller. The Rich Man and Lazarus (Concord, NC: 5847 Brookstone Drive, United States, 28027-2535) 29. Raymond M. Beecroft. The Rich Man and Lazarus: The most misunderstood text of the Bible. 30. VIDEO: Joshua Anderson. Does God Really Burn People Forever in "Hell?" - Lazarus and the Rich Man (Spirit & Truth Fellowship International/YouTube; 28 January 2011) ✔ 31. J. Thomas Butler. The Rich Man and Lazarus (Jacksonville, Florida) 32. Rev. Victor L. Harrison. The Rich Man and Lazarus. 33. Dr. John R. Rice. Hell – What Does the Bible Says About It (Discerning The World; 5 April 2010) 34. EJ Hill. Matthew Chapter 13 Verse 34 (Ejays; 3 January 2012) ✔ Downloading You may want to download this document in PDF format (single-left-click to generate). Revisions 29.03.2008 / 29.09.2010 / 04.10.2010 / 25-31.10.2011 / 01.11.2011 / 03-05.11.2011 / 08-13.11.2011 / 24.11.2011 / 20.12.2011 / 27.12.2011 / 03.01.2012 / 05.01.2012 / 18-19.01.2012
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