Rich Man and Lazarus Parable
The Parable of Lazarus and The Rich Man:
This parable has been used countless times by theologians to prove that the unrighteous will suffer an eternity in literal fire, with regenerating nervous systems in order to experience the full load of excruciating burning pain. The first time I read this parable I was rather confused. Taking these things literally would violate 100s of plain scripture. While confused I was even told by a churchian about this rich man being in such pain that he begged for a drop of water on his tongue. Well, enough of that spiritually dead silliness. Ray Smith of bibletruths.com has opened my eyes to the true nature of this parable of Christ, and I have learned that the truth is far greater than what is taught in the church (which is morbidly grotesque). I have come to the conclusion that while the learned Pharisees of Christ’s day were far from understanding Christ’s parables, they did know their scriptures and probably knew exactly who Christ was talking about here. They knew who the rich man was and they knew who Lazarus was. And they were pissed!! But did they think that this man was in some pagan hell? Absolutely not. In fact, any intelligent person today should not make such an assumption. But I know that the spirit of Christ has little to nothing to do with worldly intellect. As Ray shows, there is nothing in a literal reading of this parable that would suggest that the rich man deserves punishment or that Lazarus deserves eternal bliss. We shall see what the symbols represent.
Now a certain man was rich. ..
Being rich is not a sin.
. . . he dressed in purple and fine linen
These colors identify much of the symbolism in this parable.
. . .daily making merry splendidly. . .
Hummm, still don’t see why he deserves the Christian hell. Oh yea, it’s symbolism.
Now there was a certain poor man. . .
Not recognized as a virtue of itself.
Named Lazarus. . .
This common name actually meant helpless.
. . .who had been cast at his portal (gate) . . .having sores. . .
Not a virtue deserving of heaven.
. . . yearning to be satisfied from the scraps (not crumbs) which are falling from the rich man’s table.
Godly men don’t beg for food. (Psa. 37:25) . . .Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging bread.
But the curs also, coming, licked his ulcers.
Dogs represent something here.
Now the poor man came to die and he is carried away by messengers into Abraham’s bosom.
Abraham’s bosom does not represent heaven.
Now the rich man also died, and was entombed . And in the unseen (hades), lifting up his eyes. . .
He’s dead. There is no consciousness in death. It must be figurative.
. . .being in torments (basanos). ..
While this can mean literal pains, it obviously is from being tested and proved through chastisement.
. . . he is seeing Abraham from afar. . .
How? I thought he was engulfed in flames.
And shouting said. . .
Psalm 31:17-let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave (sheol or hades, well, I guess this must be figurative)
. . . send Lazarus that he should be dipping the tip of his finger in water and cooling my tongue. ..
I would be more concerned about my burning ass, and a drop of water would do nothing.
I am tormented in this flame.
Singular flame and not flames. The Greek word translated “tormented” in verses 24 and 25 is adunao and it means to be sorrowful or pained emotionally. Adunao is used only two other times in all scripture and both times means emotional sorrow or pain. Notice:
. . . and His mother said unto Him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, Thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing (adunao).
Sorrowing (adunao) most of all for the words which he spoke, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him into the ship.
Now Abraham said, Child, be reminded that you got your good thing in your life, and Lazarus likewise evil things.
Pretty soft words to a man condemned to eternal hell. Are his sins mentioned?
Yet now here he is being consoled, yet you are in pain (adunao-sorrow)
Consoled in Greek is used in conjunction with someone who is in distress. There is no need to be consoled in the Kingdom of God (I refuse to say heaven).
And in all this, between us and you a great chasm has been established, so that those wanting to cross hence to you may not be able, nor yet those thence may be ferrying (diabaino) to us.
How can a chasm or gulf keep a spiritual body? Who would want to cross a gulf into hell anyway? Also, ferrying comes from the word diaperao or through-other-side, and is used of passage over water. So to escape the burning, he should just jump into the water.
Yet Abraham is saying to him, They have Moses and the prophets. Let them hear them!
If the rich man recognized Abraham then he couldn’t hear Moses. He wasn’t around yet.
No, father Abraham, but if someone should be going to them from the dead, they will be repenting.
Why didn’t the rich man say to send one from heaven to warn them?
Who was a rich man?
Who was a poor man named Lazarus?
The only man who scripturally fits all the descriptions of the rich man is Judah. But all Israel under the headship of Judah.
Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance.
. . . and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store.
II Ch 32:27-29
Hezekiah (King of Judah):
. . . had exceeding much riches and honour; and he made himself treasures for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones. . . all manner of pleasant jewels; storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine, and oilo, and stalls for all manner of beasts. . . he provided him cities, possessions of flocks and herds in abundance; for God had given him substance very much.
But what else did Judah possess?
What, then is the prerogative (excess) of the Jew, or what the benefit of circumcision? Much in every manner. . . For first, indeed, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.
Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
And what was the rich man wearing right before he went to hell? Ha Ha
. . . and he dressed in purple. . .
A color used in garments of a bluish red, by a dye obtained from a shell fish, purpura. It denotes rank of royalty (Greek-English Concor.)
Judah was to carry the royal line in Israel.
Gen. 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, now a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shilo come. David as well as our Lord was of the line of Judah.
“God has always elevated Judah above the other Tribes.”
Ray makes a point that Judah, while the third born to Israel, is listed first by God when listing the tribes of Israel in Revelations.
. . .and cambric (fine linen). . .
this is symbolic of the clothing the priest wore and was of the interior decorations of the Tabernacle itself. (Ex. 26:1) Levites and the priests were loyal to Judah through their long history. Judah had both the Scepter and the Priesthood.
Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites. . . God had raised, to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.
Father Abraham “. . .Child, be reminded. . .Abraham was Judah’s Great Grandfather.
They have Moses and the Prophets. . .
“The Kingdom of Judah did have “Moses and the Prophets.” They were the protectors and scribes of those very documents till the time of our Lord’s ministry, when Jesus said that they sit in Moses’ seat. Judah was the very depository for The Law (Moses), The Prophets, and the Writings. Remember the Oracles were given to the Jews (Rom. 3:1-2)
I have five brothers. . .
Problem!! Judah had 11 brothers. But through his mother, Leah, he had. . .
Yep, that’s five brothers.
So who is this Lazarus?
Was in Abraham’s bosom showing a very close emotional relationship.
Jon 1:18-“Christ likens Himself as being in the bosom of His Father.
Jon 13:23-John leaned back into Jesus’ bosom.
“Christ had told the Jews, they didn’t do the works of faith that their Father Abraham did. So Judah is not in the bosom of Abraham as Lazarus is.
Behold, to me (Abram) thou hast given no seed; and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. “Abram told God that since he had no son, his chief steward, Eliezer, would be his heir and inherit all that was his.”
“Eliezer was so faithful a steward to Abraham that he was planning to give him all, including the promised land.” But then Abraham had a son Isaac leaving Eliezer out.
Eliezer would just be a Gentile from Damascus as well as all of his generations. They would be known as dogs. Despite this, he remained faithful to Abraham, even finding a wife for Isaac.
“Eliezer would receive non of the spiritual promises or possessions from God.” “As a Gentile, all he can ever hope for are the spiritual “crumbs” that fall from the Rich man’s spiritual table.
Faith of The Gentiles
Now the woman was a Greek, a native of Syro-Phoenicia (A Gentile), and she asked Him that He should be casting the demon out of her daughter. Yet Jesus said to her, ‘Let first the children (The Jews) be satisfied, for it is not ideal to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs.’ Yet she answered and is saying to Him, “Yes, Lord, For the dogs also, underneath the table, are eating the scraps from the little children.’ And He said to her, ‘Because of this saying, go. The demon has come out of your daughter. (“This woman was not asking for scraps of food but a small portion of Christ’s spiritual blessing. Just as Lazarus does not represent a street beggar but something much greater than one single beggar in the street.)
When Christ entered Capernaum a centurion (a Roman, a Gentile) asked Christ to heal his boy. Christ said He would come. The Centurion said He need only to “say the word” and he would trust Christ for the healing!
When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to them that followed, ‘Verily I say unto you I have not found so great faith no, not in Israel.
And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and the west (Gentiles), and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of Heaven, but the children of the kingdom (Judah, the Jews) shall be cast into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Of course not forever, and gnashing of teeth is figurative for how the Jews will react to loosing out on the promises of God.) (What’s that scripture that says “The last will be first and the first will be last”? Well it doesn’t say the last will go to heaven and the first will go to hell.)
Lazarus Is Eliezer!!
The Greek “Lazarus” is from Lazaros (Helpless).
But in Hebrew “Lazarus” is Elazar or Eliezer from el (God) and azar (Help).
The God of Help is God.
“We gentiles could now look to Eliezer as a father of rare faith as the Jews could look to father Abraham.”
Lazarus (Eliezer) was . . . cast at his (Rich man’s) gate (portal). . .
Gentiles no longer have to stand outside the gate. They have direct access to God. We now find the Gentiles in the bosom of Abraham, and the Jews engulfed in the flame of Anti-Semitism for the past 2000 years.
. . . having ulcers . . .Lazarus represents spiritually poor Gentiles, but is healed in Abraham’s bossom
. . . Father Abraham, be merciful to me, and send Lazarus that he should be dipping the tip of his finger in water. . . How appropriate.
Mat 23:4-For they (Judah) bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
1 Kg. 12:7:11-. . . and spake unto Rehoboam (King of Judah), saying, . . . make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee. But he forsook the counsel of the old men. . . My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins . . . my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
“Now Judah begs the assistance of a finger from a poor man (a poor Gentile). It was custom for pious Jews to cut a section of their garment off if it were so much as touched by the finger of a Gentile.
. . and cooling my tongue. . . .
his desperation would allow a gentile to touch his tongue?
“This man (rich man) is frightened. His tongue is swelling as is typical when people are scared.” (David said let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth. . .it I forget to remember Jerusalem.”
Isa. 3:8-For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen; because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord. . .
Lazarus can’t come over to the Rich man even if he wanted to, because of this “chasm.”
And in all this, between us and you a great chasm (gulf) has been established.
Remember, After 40 years of wandering the desert, God’s people needed to cross the “Jordan River Valley” (runs through a great chasm or gulf) to reach the promised land. (Remember that crossing the red sea as well as the Jordan were the ways to a symbolic salvation, however, they never received the water baptisms to do so).
There is a realm called hades (the unseen) which is an enemy of man and has gates, for which God has keys.
“And I have the keys to hades (not hell) and of death. (But is there hope?)
The Lord Says
Heb. 8:8-10-. . . I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and the house of Judah. . . For this is the covenant that I will make (future tense) with the house of Irael after those days (of blindness and unregenerate hearts crying out from the symbolic gates of hades), saith the Lord; I will put my Laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.
Rom 11:26-And thus all Israel shall be saved. . . (but if the rich man represents Israel then he must not be in some pagan hell).
Remember-II Kg. 19:17-. . . Judah kept not the commandment of the Lord. . .
When teaching this parable literally, the rich man hardly deserves any kind of torment. Not until we identify him as the entire Jewish race (most anyway) do we understand God’s judgments against him (them). He referred to them as adulterous, evil, transgressors, faithless, perverse, hypocrites, murderers, blind guides, fools, generation of snakes.
But how can Christ base a parable on one crying out from hades (the unseen) well, he did it as Jehovah.
Gen. 4:10-. . .the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
Less than forty years after Christ spoke this parable, God took away the Temple and the Ark of the Covenant. For several centuries the Jews had wandered throughout the world not having a home until 1948. They still face horrific persecution.
Yet he said to him, If Moses and the prophets they are not hearing, neither will they be persuaded if someone should be rising from among the dead.
Well how would Abraham know? Actually, it is Christ speaking as this is prophetic. It’s ironic that the only person resurrected by Christ whose name we know, was a man by the name of Lazarus. After this many Jews believed in Him. However, others reported this miracle back to the Pharisees who sought to kill Him. So Lazarus rising from the dead did not persuade the Jewish religious leaders. This parable is speaking about the resurrection of Christ though and not that of Lazarus.
Rom. 9:25-I shall be calling those who are not My people, My people.
But why don’t the Jewish people get it.
What Israel is seeking for, this she did not encounter, yet the chosen encountered it. Now the rest were calloused. . .
God gives them a spirit of stupor, eyes not to be observing, and ears not to be hearing, till this very day. (When will that be?)
For if their (the Jews) casting away is the conciliation of the world, what will the taking back be if not life from among the dead?
. . . that callousness (by God), in part, on Israel has come, until the complement of the nations may be entering. And thus all Israel shall be saved. . .(Us too!!!)
For a thorough analysis of The Lazarus and the Rich Man parable, go to bibletruths.com.
Anyhow, after hearing for the umpteenth time that I should read about The Lazarus and Rich Man to learn about some literal hell, I decided to post this. It is not my work but a crude summary of Ray Smith’s (hope he doesn’t mind). It’s a wonder that those who take this parable literally even believe in their bible to begin with. The story makes no sense literally. It just doesn’t. Who gives a crap about what someone is wearing before going to hell? I wouldn’t. I’d be concerned for him, wondering if he’d packed enough Sun Block 10 billion into his hell sack. People, open your eyes. It’s not talking about someone burning in hell. It’s talking about an entire society loosing favor with God (you know, the first will be last and the last will be first?) Please!! By the way, I had to read Ray’s article about 3 times and study it before it made sense. And boy does it!!