Answer to Kev: Universal Salvation 1
Kev said (Quoted Exactly)
Rich Man & Lazarus is a parable. The reason the church insists that it is not is because this story is the only supporting argument for immediate punishment after death without prior judgement, and it also supports the notion of immediate entry to Heaven without the required resurection that Paul taught us about. Thereby rendering resurection redudant.
From the Oxford English dictionary:
• noun a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson.
— ORIGIN Latin parabola ‘comparison, discourse, allegory’, from Greek parabole (see PARABOLA).
Something that is a parable therefore is not required to be of itself a true story, but it conveys a principle, or a spititual truth.
Twelve reasons why Rich Man and Lazarus is a parable:
1) Jesus only addressed the crowds in parables. Jesus was addressing the crowds here, ergo, this is a parable. For it to be a true account and NOT a parable, we call Jesus a liar.
Matthew 13:10, 13-14, 34-35 The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?"……This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: " 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving…… Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world."
2) This parable is parable number 5 of a 5 part parable set conveyed on the same occasion to the same crowd
1. Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep……Lost Sheep
2. Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins…...Lost Coins
3. There was a man…….Prodigal Son
4. There was a rich man…….Shrewd Manager
5. There was a rich man…….Rich Man and Lazarus
3) If this is a true acount, then it contradicts the following:
- Psalm 6:5 No one remembers you when he is dead. Who praises you from the grave?
- Ecclesiastes 3:18-20 I also thought, "As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.
- Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing;
- Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
4) You did not comment on the Jewish view of Sheol/Hades, so here it is again:
Some key points to pull out of this definition:
'Sheol is spoken of as a land; but ordinarily it is a place with gates. Here the dead meet without distinction of rank or condition—the rich and the poor, the pious and the wicked, the old and the young, the master and the slave—if the description in Job iii. refers, as most likely it does, to Sheol. The dead merely exist without knowledge or feeling. Silence reigns supreme; and oblivion is the lot of them that enter therein. Hence it is known also as "Dumah," the abode of silence; and there God is not praised.'
5) Of 76 scriptures mentioning grave/sheol/hades, only one, this parable, mentions any kind of post death punishment. To take this parable as a true account and convieninetly ignore all othe 75 accounts is not good study.
6) How can the rich man lift up his eyes and see Abraham? He is dead; his eyes are decomposing in his grave? New body in Hell? So he has two bodies now does he? How does he see Abraham if his new eyes are boiling internally from the heat of the flames? New spiritual body now? How can real material flames burn a spiritual body? Spiritual flames too? How can SPIRITUAL flames inflict a MATERIAL PHYSICAL pain on a SPIRITUAL body? It defies logic.
7) For something to burn it requires sufficient heat energy to break down the bonds between molecules, releasing oxygen which in combination with available fuel, combusts producing an incandescent flame of exhaust gases emitting heat and light. If things that are spiritual are not made of material things, then fire is impossible in the spiritual realm. As heat energy is produced by dint of molecules vibrating in an increased excitation state, then are the concepts of heat, energy and temperature present in the spiritual realm? Perhaps Stephen Hawkings would be interested in a new branch of spiritual quantum theory. Think this is silly? Not as silly as believing this parable is a real story. When God talks of fire, it is usually spiritual fire because He is spirit. As spiritual fire is an impossibility by the definition of fire, then spiritual fire must represent something else and cannot be real
fire somehow operating in a spiritual way.
8) For someone to burn for eternity, then those parts of their bodies being consumed and converted to energy, must be continually replaced by some creative process. So God must be actively recreating people as they burn.
9) How did the rich man expect Lazarus to administer this drop of water anyway? Wouldn’t Lazarus’s hand go all brown and crispy too? Wouldn’t the drop of water vaporise in the heat before it reached the rich man’s tongue? Ah but it would have been spiritual water; not affected by the flames. How could spiritual water not affected by the flames possibly have a cooling effect on a tongue that was heated by the flames?
10) Abraham then says that the gulf between them prevents anyone who wants to pass from his bosom to the rich man from doing so. Why in the world would anyone who being in paradise want to go to sit with the rich man and thus go up in flames themselves?
11) In the Greek two different words are used for pass. From Abraham to the rich man the word is diabaino, but from the rich man to Abraham the word is diaperao in the sense of sailing or ferrying over. So why didn’t the rich man just jump in the water then?
12) There’s nothing here deserving Hell. Ah but he rejected Jesus as his saviour? The parable doesn’t say that. If this story is literal, then to suggest something that is not literally in the story is to literally destroy the literal story argument. Besides which Jesus has not yet paid the sacrifice, so how can this man be condemned for rejecting something that hasn’t happened yet?
The point is all go to the silent grave as the old testament testifies throughout. Judgement does not occur till the GWF and that happens after resurection. If we say Christians go immediately to Heaven, then Pauls discourses on the hope of resurection are redundant.
My Answer to Kev
First of all, all parables in the Bible are prefaced as such. The word “parable” is used 58 times in the Bible, yet not in the account of the rich man and Lazarus.
If you read all of Luke 16, Jesus explained the first four parables and how they relate to repentance and salvation. The Jews were furious with the parable about the shrewd master, for they loved money. Jesus then says a couple of things about the Law, then goes on to tell them about the rich man and Lazarus (to warn them about the love of money). In the account of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man was in SHEOL (Jesus didn't speak Greek, but Hebrew). If Sheol was just the grave, He wouldn't have indicated consciousness, unless it were TRUE. He mentioned Abraham (a real person), and Moses and the prophets (real people), so what makes you think that Lazarus wasn’t a real person or that this account isn’t truthful?
While you think a place of torment (hell) is not mentioned in the Old Testament, you are incorrect. Jesus' ministry was to the JEWS and He spoke about Hell, more than anyone else. Numbers 16:30 (Old Testament) also confirms that Sheol is not just the grave: "But if the LORD brings about an entirely new thing and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that is theirs, and they descend alive into Sheol, then you will understand that these men have spurned the LORD." Surely, this literally happened to them in the same passage and one could simply think they all died and that was the end of it. However, look at Mat 10:28 below, which confirms the killing of the body does not kill the soul.
Sheol/Hades is not a future tense, as the Lake of Fire is Geenna. There is no water in Sheol/Hades, nor in the chasm [chasma: a wide space] separating it from Paradise. It's not a gulf of water. That is unscriptural. You asked how the rich man could be condemned even though Christ hadn't died for him yet? Why was Lazarus NOT condemned? God knows who are His. Moses and Elijah, as well as all who believed and loved God were saved by faith in Him (evidenced by obedience and the heart), having not received the "promise", which is the Lamb of God's sacrifice (Reference Hebrews 11).
All the passages you quoted about no life after death are Old Testament Scriptures, which you admit. However, not only does Numbers 16:30 tell us about hell, people knew that the angels who sinned were cast into hell (which is the Greek word Tartaroo - the deepest abyss of Sheol/Hades), but that’s in the Book of Enoch (confirmed in 2 Peter 2:4), which was in the Bible for 500 years and removed, just like the Book of Jasher, which is mentioned in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18. In the New Testament, Moses and Elijah appeared at the Mount of Transfiguration (which, of course, you may simply call a “vision”), but Christians disagree. Why did the disciples tell Jesus people thought He was John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets (who had already died – John 8:28)? Wow, they must have “believed” in reincarnation?
If you want to insist this account of the rich man and Lazarus was a “parable”, understand that these parables were to describe the kingdom of God:
Mark 4:30 “And He said, ‘How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it?’”
Are any of His parables untrue? It is not I who call Jesus a liar; it is you.
Let's look at a few New Testament scriptures about Hades:
Matthew 11:23/Luke 10:15 "And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades [aka Sheol]; for if the miracles [God performed as signs] had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day." Do you see heaven and hell in this verse? Since Hades is not mentioned anywhere in the New Heaven and New Earth, it doesn't exist then. Since all go to the grave, this isn't speaking about the grave, for some people will be exalted to heaven and not descend to Hades. This heaven is Paradise, not the New Heaven because it also does not yet exist.
Matthew 16:18 "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." Sheol and Hades are the same. It is known as the "bottomless pit", which has gates (Rev 9:1-2). It is not the Lake of Fire (Geenna).
Luke 16:23 (rich man and Lazarus) "In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom."
Acts 2:27 "For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One [Jesus] see corruption." Acts 2:21 confirms "he [David] foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that He [His soul] was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption." This points to the fact that the soul and body are separate.
Revelation 1:18 "I [Jesus] was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades." Nowhere is there a key to Geenna, the Lake of Fire.
Revelation 6:8 "I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth." Hmmmm. How can Hades follow him and be given authority to kill a fourth of the earth?
Revelation 20:13-14 "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire." Well, if dead bodies are in the grave, how can death AND Hades give up the dead and be thrown into the Lake of Fire? I'll tell you ~ the body is dead (death); the souls that have rejected Christ are in Hades (hell).
The soul and body separate at physical death. They are separate. If they were the same, even the following scripture would not make sense:
Matthew 10:28 "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul [Hades] and body [death] in hell [Geenna, the Lake of Fire].
You quoted Ecclesiastes 3:19, but look at 3:21 and 12:7: “Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth?” And “then the dust [body] will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” Reference Mat 11:23/Luke 10:15 already quoted. Surely, we can only accomplish the will of God while we’re alive. Once our body dies, our spirit ascends to the presence of the Lord while our bodies corrupt in the grave. We can do nothing more.
Regarding the resurrection, the Bible tells us that Jesus went to make proclamation to the spirits in hell (Tartaroo, the deepest abyss of Hades) before He ascended (Eph 4:9; 1 Pet 3:19; 2 Pet 2:4). Likewise, He was the firstborn from the dead, in that His body was physically resurrected, while our physical bodies won’t be until the appointed time (on either side of the millennial reign, one for believers and one for unbelievers – Rev 20:5-6).
Paul made the statement in 2 Cor 5:8, “we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” Consider that if we never leave our bodies, we would NEVER be absent from them.
Regarding literal or physical fire, that is for God to know. Brimstone is only present in the earth. It is INFLAMABLE sulpher. So, obviously God already created something that is inflamable, not able to be destroyed by physical fire. You are welcome to read my hub Where or What is HELL? We do know our bodies will be raised incorruptible, so they cannot be destroyed (1 Cor 15:52).
For the remainder of Kev's comments and my response, please see Answer to Kev: Universal Salvation 2
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