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Old 10-08-2007, 08:37 PM
 
Location: CA
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Luke 16:19-31 What do you think this parable means? Many have presented it as proof that there is a heaven and a hell. Does anyone think it has a symbolic meaning?

I'll put up what I think later.
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:53 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville,Florida
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The rich man had all the pleasures of the world looking down upon the poor like they were nothing .The wicked may gain all the pleasures of the world and delight in the pleasures of the world but are separated from the world when he dies into his sins.Lazarus was a poor man under the tutelage of a wealthy person who fed him crumbs from the table. His life was a living hell on earth ,whereas the rich man life was heaven on earth.
Jesus here gives a conversation between Abraham and Lazarus after death. The implications are plain ,for one thing angels are at hand at the death of saints to bear them away to glory. And for a second thing the lost are in torment. There is an impassable route between Paradise and Hell.The wicked who occupy high places on earth will not in death. Jesus appealed to the hope of Heaven and the fear of Hell. A heart firmly fixed in Heaven will surely mean a more careful walk in this world.
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Old 10-09-2007, 08:41 AM
 
Location: All around the world.....
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Smile Mockers

The Pharisees made a mockery of the teachings of Christ against worldliness;
This message of Christ was intended to arm us from the temptations of worldliness and sensuality, by reconciling us back to poverty state and afflictions. I imagine this was to prevent pride and high-mindedness which lead to destruction of the flesh and eventually the soul; Here I see that spiritual things are the primary focus, in the description of "good and bad" in this world and the other. I see the sins of the rich man as self-centered, even though he was a godly man, he wanted everything for himself, a condition that we see a lot of in this present world and in the church. It is often the lot of some of God's dearest and closest saints to have a great deal of affliction in this world. There is day coming where those who hate and despise God's people will gladly receive kindness from them. But the damned in Hell shall not have the least bit of abatement for their torment. Circumstances show that in every age shop that no terror or arguments, can give true repentance without the grace of God. renewing the sinner's heart.
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Texas
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We discussed this story Jesus related before on this board. At that time, Alpha made the point that Jesus never gives specific names in a "parable." (as He did here.) Jesus just says something like "There was a certain landowner..." Interesting point. So if it's indeed not a parable, I certainly would take it literally. Even if it is a parable, I would tend to take it literally, not so much symbolic.
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Old 10-27-2007, 12:59 AM
 
Location: CA
128 posts, read 379,619 times
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Sorry my reply took so long, I've been busy.
------------------------------------------------

THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS

What does the story of the rich man and the poor beggar named Lazarus, as given by Jesus, recorded in Luke 16:19-31, mean? Is it a story proving the existence of heaven and a hell, where people are tortured forever? Or is the story itself symbolic, as were nearly all of Jesus’ illustrations?

TO THE PHARISEES
When Jesus had given the illustration of the rich man and the poor beggar named Lazarus, he had just concluded speaking to the Pharisees, the Jewish religious leaders, about the prodigal son and the proper use of material riches. (Luke 15:1-32; 16:1-13) The Pharisees though, did not like what they heard. The account reads, "Now the Pharisees, who were money lovers, were listening to all these things and they began to sneer at him." (Luke 16:14) Jesus replied to the Pharisees sneering at him and said, "You are those who declare yourselves righteous before men, but God know your hearts; because what is lofty among men is a disgusting thing in Gods sight." (Luke 16:15 Compare Matt. 6:1-6; 23:1-8) What Jesus next says to them, indicates a change is in store for the haughty religious leaders. "The Law and the Prophets were until John. From then on the kingdom of God is being declared as good news and every sort of person is pressing forward toward it." (Luke 16:16) The Mosaic Law Covenant and the words of the prophets is coming to its conclusion. It has fulfilled its purpose of foretelling of the Messiah and the bringing of humble righteous individuals to Jesus. The Law having done this, shall be removed.


THE TWO MEN IDENTIFIED
With the start of the John the Baptists ministry, the Kingdom of God is what people now seek, not the Law Covenant. Elaborating on this, Jesus continues speaking to the Pharisees. "But a certain man was rich, and he used to deck himself with purple and linen, enjoying himself from day to day with magnificence. But a certain beggar named Lazarus used to be put at his gate, full of ulcers and desiring to be filled with the things dropping from the table of the rich man. Yes, too, the dogs would come and lick his ulcers." (Luke 16:19-21)

Knowing this illustration to be symbolic, and knowing Jesus is giving it to the haughty Pharisees , and in the context of the removal of the Law, these two men and their circumstance must mean more than what they appear.

By the rich mans status and character, it is very clear the he represents the Jewish religious leaders. The Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, teachers, priests, chief priests and others. Indeed, they are wealthy in a material and spiritual way. Notice, though, that Jesus’ last words before giving the illustration were of spiritual matters, and the fact that the Pharisees were known for being spiritual leaders, it is clear that what Jesus means by "wealthy" is meant in a spiritual way. Yes, they are rich in spiritual things. They have all of the spiritual privileges and opportunities for spiritual learning that the common people do not have. They also embodied the spirit of the rich man. Having the same haughty and self exalted demeanor over others. They viewed the poor common people as ‘am ha-‘a’rets, or, "people of the land/earth." They literally viewed them as dirt. Remember what they said about the people in response to Jesus’ activities, "Not one of the rulers or of the Pharisees has put faith in him, has he? But this crowd that does not know the Law are accursed people." (John 7:48, 49) They implied that the contemptible, spiritually ignorant people, were an "accursed people." Even the clothing of the rich man reflects the heart conditions and status of the Pharisees. The rich mans linen pictures the religious leaders self righteousness. (Compare Luke 16:15; Matt. 23:25-28) The purple, a color of royalty, (especially in the ancient world) reflects the high status the Pharisees and other religious leaders have. Even Flavius Josephus attested to the fact that they were the true rulers of Israel. -Compare Luke 7:25

The poor beggar Lazarus though, symbolizes the poor and spiritually unlearned common people of Israel. The "rich man class" of the Pharisees and their cohorts view this "Lazarus class" of "men unlettered and ordinary," as spiritually diseased and full of ulcers and fit only to associate with dogs. (Acts 4:13) When the man who was born blind who had been cured by Jesus boldly spoke up and corrected the Pharisees on a spiritual matter, the Pharisees became highly indignant. How dare a lowly unlearned beggar correct a Pharisee! They said to the cured blind man, "You were all together born in sins, and yet you are teaching us?" And they threw him out!" (John 9:24-34) The poor and underprivileged "Lazarus class" thus sit and wait for any bit of spiritual food that might drop from the religious leaders table of the "rich man class." They are starving and begging for it. Matthew 9:30 says, "On seeing the crowds he [Jesus] felt pity for them, because they were skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd." And what did Jesus do when he saw this nation of Israelites who were "skinned and thrown about" by the Pharisees, having no shepherd? "He started to teach them many things." (Mark 6:34; Matt. 7:28, 29) But like the rich man, the Pharisees and others have little regard for the peoples hunger for spiritual food. [/CENTER]

A CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCE
Having come to identify the "rich man class" as the spiritually rich and favored Pharisees and other religious leaders, and the "Lazarus class" as the poor underprivileged and spiritually diseased common people of Israel, it is now easier to identify what this symbolic story represents.

Jesus further relates the illustration, "Now in course of time the beggar died and was carried of by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. Also, the rich man died and was buried. And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, he existing in torments, and he saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in the bosom with him." (Luke 16:22, 23) Since the Bible says "the dead are conscious of nothing at all," and that "there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol, [the Hebrew word for the common grave of mankind. In Greek it is translated "Hades," in Latin is translated "Hell"] the place to which you are going," it is clear that this is not a "departed soul" being tormented in a literal Hell. (Ezek. 18:4; Eccl. 9:5, 10) Their deaths, like the illustration itself, are symbolic of something else. Since two different classes of people are represented by the two men, then their deaths must represent a change in status for these two classes of people.

Remember, right before Jesus commenced in giving this illustration, he said to the Pharisees, "The Law and the Prophets were until John. From then on the Kingdom of God is being declared as good news, and every sort of person is pressing toward it." (Luke 16:16) Thus, it is with the preaching of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ and his followers, that the deaths of the two men begin.

The "rich man class" of Pharisees die to their seeming (Compare Luke 16:15) position of favor in Gods sight. They persecute Jesus to the death, and then his followers. They reject the good news of the Kingdom and the Messiah himself! And so God rejects them. The "rich man class" are "existing in torments." That is, they come under divine disfavor and disapproval from God through the witnessing and judgments given by Him through John the Baptist, Jesus and his disciples. Jesus and his followers expose the Jewish religious leaders for what they are, and of their coming judgment. Please read Matthew 3:7-12, 15:14, 23:1-38; 3:7-10, John 8:44, Acts 4:5-21; 5:17-40; 23:1-3, Revelation 2:9, Luke 16:14, 15, for just a few examples of the "torments" they experienced.

However, the spiritually poor "Lazarus class" die to their seemingly position of unimportance and rejection, and are raised to a highly favored spiritual position. To the "bosom" of the "greater Abraham," Jehovah God. Before, the poor "Lazarus class" had looked to the "rich man class" for any bit of spiritual food that they might drop from their "table." But thanks to God and Christ, they are now having their spiritual needs well cared for. All who would come to Jehovah God through Christ Jesus have many wonderful spiritual insights revealed to them. Such as the "sacred secret" of the Messiah, the good news of God Kingdom and what it will do, and how they, now part of the Christian congregation, will play a part in it. Yes, they are no longer spiritually poor! They are in the "bosom" of Jehovah God, the greater Abraham! There is no better place to be!

PLEAS OF THE RICH MAN
Existing in torments, the rich man now says, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in anguish in this blazing fire." (Luke 16:24) To the Pharisees and others of the "rich man class" it is tormenting to their very being to keep hearing the repeated messages of Gods fiery judgments upon them-and from unlearned commoners at that! (Acts 5:33; 7:51-57) The "rich man class" asks God, the greater Abraham, to have Lazarus, that is, the people of the now spiritually raised "Lazarus class" to give them a drop of water, amidst their fiery torment. They want God to have his new Christian messengers to lighten up on their pronouncements and leave themselves alone.

"Father Abraham," or Jehovah God, says in response to the rich mans plea, "Child, remember that you received in full your good things in your lifetime, but Lazarus correspondingly the injurious things. Now, however, he is having his comfort here but you are in anguish. And besides all these things, a great chasm has been fixed between us and you people, so that those wanting to go over from here to you people cannot, neither may people cross over from there to us." (Luke 16:15, 26) Yes, "Father Abraham" highlights the dramatic reversal in spiritual affairs. The Pharisees seemed to have the best in the way of religious teaching, and they thought they had Gods favor. But now it is the Christian congregation, made up largely of commoners, who have the best in the way of religious teaching and Gods favor! And what is more, "a great chasm has been fixed" between them. This great chasm symbolizes Gods unalterable and righteous judgment in the rejection of the old Jewish religious system and its leaders. This chasm was "fixed" in finality on Pentecost 33 C.E. when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon 120 people of the poor "Lazarus class," forming the Christian congregation. From that time on, Lazarus was raised on high to the "bosom" of "father Abraham," Jehovah God.

~*In interesting side note on the wording of "father Abraham’s" reply to the rich man. In replying to the rich man, "father Abraham" used the words " you people" instead of just saying "you." It is clear that the rich man represents more than just himself by the use of the words, " you people."*~

The rich man makes another plea, "In that event I ask you, father, to send him [Lazarus] to the house of my father, for I have five brothers, in order that he may give them a thorough witness, that they should not get into this place of torment." (Luke 16:27, 28) Here the rich man could not be referring to the house of his literal father, for the illustration is symbolic. Since the rich man portrays a class of people, the Jewish religious leaders, his "five brothers" must represent his religious companions. And the rich mans "father" is none other than Satan the Devil. (John 8:44) So in effect, the "rich man class" of religious leaders ask the greater Abraham, Jehovah God, to send the "Lazarus class" of Christians, (now raised to life after their deaths from a diseased spiritually poor beggar) to his "brothers" of religious companions, and lighten up on their judgment messages, so that they do not end up in the same place of "torment."

BLIND GUIDES IS WHAT THEY ARE
In answer to the rich mans request that Lazarus be sent forth to his five bothers, "father Abraham says, They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to these." (Luke 16:29) The greater "father Abraham," Jehovah God, is not going to grant his request by telling his Christian, "Lazarus class" of servants on earth to ease up in their proclaiming judgment messages against the "rich man class" of the Pharisees. The religious leaders of all people should have known from "Moses and the Prophets" that Jesus was the Messiah and that the old Jewish religious system, including themselves, would be replaced. "Father Abraham" even confirmed this when he said, "let them listen to these!" If any others of the "rich man class" were to escape torment, then they had to accept Jesus as the Messiah and become one of his disciples!

However, "father Abraham’s" answer is not good enough for the rich man, so he asks again, No, indeed, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them they will repent." What is "father Abraham’s" response? "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead." (Luke 16:30, 31) The Pharisees and other Jewish religious leaders are so blind that they do not even believe nor discern the prophecies of the Messiah, and neither do they believe he is the Messiah when in fulfillment of prophecy, he is resurrected! (Matt. 15:14) But, the rich man requests that Lazarus, now raised from the dead to spiritual approval, not the resurrected Jesus, go to his five brothers, his religious cohorts. "Father Abraham," Jehovah God, will not perform special signs for the "rich man class" through the "Lazarus class" to convince them of who the Messiah was or who now hold Gods approval. They must read and apply the Holy Writings to obtain Gods favor.

The Pharisees and other Jewish religious leaders are deserving of nothing but destruction. The ax was already lying at the root of the tree with the start of John the Baptists ministry. (Matt. 3: 7-12) It was also at that time that the rich man and Lazarus, the two classes of people, died to their former positions. The "rich man class", now rejected by God, was in torment at the words of judgment at the mouths of the now spiritually raised "Lazarus class." On Pentecost 33 C.E., a "great chasm" was "fixed" between these two classes of people, symbolizing God unalterable judgment. Jehovah God, represented by "Father Abraham," rejected all please of the "rich man class" to have the "Lazarus class" ease up on their pronouncing of judgments upon them. And finally, in 70 C.E., the Roman ax came and chopped down their tree and threw it into the fire. Thousands and thousands of Jews were slaughtered all over Palestine between 66-70 C.E. The temple and Jerusalem were destroyed. As were over a million Jews, many of which were of the "rich man class." Over 100,000 others were taken into slavery and then killed for sport in the Roman arenas or slaughtered for Caesar’s birthday. The Jewish nation and its religious system run by the "rich man class" was rejected in finality. A high price to pay for the rejection and murder of the Messiah, the Son of God.
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Old 10-27-2007, 07:54 AM
 
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I think the last verse (31) points out one main point.....No matter what some people have, no matter what they are told.....they simply will NOT listen. Not even someone coming back from the dead will impress them. He is pointing out that some are just too pig-headed stubborn to listen when they don't want to.

I think we all know people like that. Nothing gets through to them. Nothing.
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Old 10-27-2007, 05:01 PM
 
Location: NC
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I agree that it is a parable and not a description of someone being in heaven and hell. There looks like there were 4 other parables that are recorded in the same section. A parable is something that is not to be taken literally, but figuratively. A few questions that come to mind if it is to be taken literally:
Will persons in Hades be able to hold conversations? Will people in heaven be able to see the eternal agony of those in hell and be able to talk to them and this for all of eternity? Do people in Hades have eyes, a tongue and fingers? Will they be able to drink water? Would a drop of water be able to cool them seeing that they are in eternal torment/flames?

Here are a few more interpretations:

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/RichManandLazarus-Patching.html
Rich Man and Lazarus
The Real Meaning of Lazarus and the Rick Man
http://bible-truths.com/lazarus.html
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Old 10-27-2007, 06:01 PM
 
Location: S. California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShanaBrown View Post
I agree that it is a parable and not a description of someone being in heaven and hell. There looks like there were 4 other parables that are recorded in the same section. A parable is something that is not to be taken literally, but figuratively. A few questions that come to mind if it is to be taken literally:
Will persons in Hades be able to hold conversations? Will people in heaven be able to see the eternal agony of those in hell and be able to talk to them and this for all of eternity? Do people in Hades have eyes, a tongue and fingers? Will they be able to drink water? Would a drop of water be able to cool them seeing that they are in eternal torment/flames?

Here are a few more interpretations:

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/RichManandLazarus-Patching.html
Rich Man and Lazarus
The Real Meaning of Lazarus and the Rick Man
http://bible-truths.com/lazarus.html
I think AR's extensive study answered all your questions, there is no hell.
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Old 10-27-2007, 08:25 PM
 
Location: NC
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I believe that the scriptures teach that people will experience hell/torment but I don't believe that this passage of scripture is speaking about eternal hell/heaven as some believe. God bless.
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