The Real Meaning Of Lazarus And The Rich Man!
YOU CAN ONLY TAKE A PARABLE SO FAR
Parables are meant to illustrate a particular point. We cannot take the entire story or illustration to develop detailed basic Christian doctrine. However the world not understanding that this is NOT the only period for salvation uses this parable as the main support for immediate heaven and ever burning hell doctrine. This doctrine makes God into a sadistic Lord who tortures forever anyone who fails in this life. This is not a historical Bible fact but a story or parable. It is a bit pagan and has been used to push fear religion and obedience to the clergy, or you burn forever.
A lake of fire does exist but it is set in the future after all have had a fair chance to repent and the vast majority will. Few will be among the defiant and wicked. The wicked will be burned up in a few seconds and be gone forever. They will no doubt have a few minutes to see the fire approaching and regret their life choices and lack of real repentance.
2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Note the words burned up. If a fire is not quenched it will devour the material it is feeding on until it is nothing but ashes. This is exactly what the Bible states. This is a permanent, everlasting punishment. It is everlasting punishment, not everlasting punishing, which is cruel and sadistic.
Mal 4:3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I make, saith Jehovah of hosts.
4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, even statutes and ordinances.
God Laws are still in effect in the very end of the age. But what is the meaning of the Lazarus and the rich man parable?
THE FIRST SHALL BE LAST AND THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST
This parable is a warning to the leaders of Judah. They were first in that society. They were rich and powerful and looked down on others. The Pharisees heard Jesus tell the people about the dangers of greed and that they seek to justify themselves before men and not God.
Lu 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
The leaders were upset with Jesus and rolled their eyes dismissing his implied accusations of them.
Lu 16:14 And the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things; and they scoffed at him.
15 And he said unto them, Ye are they that justify yourselves in the sight of men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
The parable is told to respond to attitudes of leaders of the nation who are rich. They LOVED money and were covetous. They are the rich man in the story. Lazarus means 'assistance of God or 'whom God helps'. The Pharisees prided themselves on serving God and being righteous. The irony is they would not help someone who God helps. They disdained the poor whom God accepted. The rich man, is the final judgment, cast out while Lazarus is enjoying salvation with Abraham. The parable condemns and exposes a selfish, greedy, uncaring money loving evil attitude.
Lu 16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things: but now here he is comforted and thou art in anguish.
26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that they that would pass from hence to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from thence to us.
The privileged and wealthy are now suffering , the first in that society shall be last. Christ in the future judgment will look to humble and the little people of society with more favor than the powerful.
Mt 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
BELIEVING AND RESPECTING THE WORD OF GOD IS CRUCIAL TO SALVATION
A PARABLE IS A SHORT SYMBOLIC STORY DESIGNED TO TEACH A PRINCIPLE. The Pharisees believed that they obeyed the Bible and Moses diligently. Christ is telling these self-righteous hypocrites that since they did not truly believe in following what Moses and prophets wrote no amount of miracles would change their stoney, hard hearts. The hardness of their hearts would prevent even the raising of a man from the dead to convince them of the truth. This actually happened and as Jesus predicted in the parable, most of the Pharisees were too hardened to see the truth.
Joh 11:46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
47 Then the chief priests and Pharisees gathered a Sanhedrin, and said, What can we do? For this man does many miracles.
Joh 11:53 Then from that day they took counsel together that they might kill Him.
54 Therefore Jesus walked no more openly among the Jews; but He went away from there to a country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and continued there with His disciples.
They responded to his bringing actual Lazarus from the dead back to life with deep fear and jealousy of Jesus' power. They plotted to kill Christ so much thathe went into hiding. This lesson is also for all of the world and us. We no longer have God speaking to us directly like He did on Mt. Sinai or thru prophets like Moses. We just have the written word, the Bible. If we do not respect or respond to it we will not gain salvation. In the end time judgment, the Bible will be opened to all to really understand. That is not the case now. Remember the warning to leaders of Israel by Jesus. WE MUST LISTEN TO THE BIBLE AND BELIEVE IT.
Lu 16:31 And he said to him, If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded, even though one rose from the dead.
WHEN YOU READ THE PARABLE look for the core meaning and do not read into it more than is appropriate.
Lu 16:19 There was a certain rich man who was customarily clothed in purple and fine linen and making merry in luxury every day.
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, who was laid at his gate, full of sores
21 and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. But even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 And it happened that the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. The rich one also died and was buried.
23 And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.
If this were really describing the typical ever torturing hell fire why ask for just a bit water for the tongue? One would request buckets of water. This parable is telling Pharisees and us also that we must respect and fully use the written word of God for salvation. It shows respect and awe of God to try and live by every word of God. This is the true spiritual bread. The word and Jesus Christ are the true bread of life.
Remember the only Bible in existence during the time this parable was given was the Old Testament. The New would be many years off in the future. The man who wrote most of the New Testament said this about the current Bible of his day.
Ac 24:14 But I confess this to you, that after the Way which they call heresy, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things that are written in the Law and in the Prophets. (MKJV)
Christ said that he did not come to make the Bible obsolete or 'fulfilled' as some try and state today.
Mt 5:17 Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill. ( Fill completely)
18 For truly I say to you, Till the heaven and the earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any way pass from the law until all is fulfilled.
19 Therefore whoever shall break one of these commandments, the least, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
20 For I say to you that unless your righteousness shall exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven.
All of the Bible Old and New must be believed and obeyed to repent and obtain grace and salvation.